That’s the question commonreader asks in a recent lj post. It’s an interesting question, but not one I’m going to address yet. Instead, I’ll answer some of the other objections to seasteading that came up in the comments.
Unless you are ready to subsist on the mercurial nature of eating the opportunal fish for the rest of your life, you aren’t going to be happy.
Like cruise ships, seasteaders plan to import most of their food.
Won’t it be prohibitively expensive to live aboard a ship fulltime?
According to this study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the cost of living full-time for a year on a cruise ship would be around $34,000/year (in 2004). The cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area for a single adult is $29,633/year (in 2007).
Therefore, living fulltime aboard existing cruise ships does not cost much more than the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although the initial prototypes will cost more than cruise ships, seasteaders expect that living aboard seasteads will ultimately cost less than cruise ship living since a) seasteads will be semi-stationary, and therefore will not incur as much fuel cost as a cruise ship and b) seasteaders will provide for themselves many of the services provided on a cruise ship (maid service, cooking, etc.)
What about motion sickness?
Millions of people travel every year on cruise ships. Most passengers seem quite capable of tolerating the wave motion for those trips. Moreover, most cruises are of a short duration. The longer one is at sea, the more acclimatized you become. Finally, the seastead prototypes current under consideration are designed to minimize wave motion.
How to you plan to raise the money?
On a square foot basis, the cost is estimated to be in the $500 - $600 range. Housing costs in the Bay Area are in the $300 - $400 range. So the expectation is to pre-sell units to wealthy Bay Area nerds. Some of the units are also expected to be time shares and rentals, since the pool of people willing to live on a seastead a few weeks out of the year is probably much larger than the pool of people willing to live there full time.
Although financing is uncertain, of course, we think there will be enough of a market to raise $50 million (+-20%), given that there was enough of a market to raise the $355 million required to build the Residensea.
I don’t understand how they plan on keeping organized crime from blowing them out of the water, since they are obviously going to compete in drugs and prostitution. The Family International was muscled out of running escort services and they were a lot more realistic and unified than these people seem to be. Plus they had actual, you know, women.
Piracy is discussed in the book. (Although perhaps we need to expand upon it.) I don’t think the mafia will perceive seasteads to be much of a threat, since we’ll be on a ship floating at least 12 miles out at sea. Unless seasteads start selling drugs into the U.S. mainland, I don’t think the mafia will care much more about seasteads than they do about Burning Man.
In my opinion, the biggest threat is the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. asset forfeiture laws. The U.S. claims the right to enforce U.S. drug laws anywhere in the world, and can seize your ship even if you’ve not been convicted of a crime.
So it may be that the first seasteads will have to forgo drugs and prostitution initially, until they’ve grown enough to have the power to successfully defend themselves against the predations of the mafia, both legal and illegal.