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Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity from Politicians Hardcover – March 21, 2017
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“This energetic and enthusiastic book gives a fascinating glimpse of the blue revolution to come, as human beings experiment with more sustainable ways of managing the biology of the sea — and experiment with more sustainable ways of living and governing ourselves as well, free from the constraints of land-based governments.” (Matt Ridley, author of The Evolution of Everything)
“Really disruptive, definitely visionary, and even more proof that tomorrow will look nothing like today. Seasteading is a grand adventure in sustainability and possibility and it’s definitely a trip worth taking!” (Steven Kotler, author of The Rise of Superman, and coauthor of Bold and Abundance)
"Seasteading provides some thought-provoking visions of the future. Messrs. Quirk and Friedman introduce us to some very interesting people experimenting with some very interesting technologies, all having to do with living and working on the sea.” (Shlomo Angel The Wall Street Journal)
“Seasteading is an enormous opportunity for humanity. Not only will these sea-based communities be able to try new sciences and technology . . . they will allow new forms of community with a fresh start, and an ability to experiment as to form. . . . Anyone willing to work for a living can come and go from a seastead. People can finally be citizens of the world.” (Timothy Draper, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson)
“Passionate and convincing. The idea of individual sovereignty could finally come true with floating ocean cities.” (Titus Gebel, Founder & CEO of Free Private Cities Ltd.)
“Today a new set of futurists is envisioning the next iteration of the floating city. . . . Quirk and Friedman’s book also serves as a manifesto for the movement.” (Rachel Riederer The New Republic)
About the Author
Joe Quirk serves as “Seavangelist” at the Seasteading Institute. He has taught at Lekha School of Creative Writing in San Jose and served as a freelance science humor consultant at Pixar. Quirk co-leads a team working to establish the first seastead with unprecedented political autonomy in the waters of a host nation. He lives in Oakland, California. Visit him at Seasteading.org.
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It may sound fantastical for thousands or even millions of people to leave the solid land they've inhabited since the beginnings of humanity. But Quirk and Friedman make the argument that it may be the only way to in fact save humanity. And even if you're not an apocalyptic doomsdayer, the idea of seasteading has something for everyone who cares about any aspect of the world. Whether the primary concern of the reader is CO2 emissions, the food supply, imminent water shortage, rising sea levels, the energy grid, global poverty, or civil liberties, apparently seasteading has got you covered.
To some extent, _Seasteading_ does ask for a leap of faith. After all, we still for the most part, live on land. But upon reading the book, seasteading seems closer to reality than a pie-in-the-sky dream. The authors argue that for the most part, the technologies for self-sustaining floating platforms already exist; all that is left is for people and corporations to take the plunge and be pioneers. Not only is this futuristic technology already available, the authors note that cruise ships functionally *are* in many ways floating cities which largely govern themselves and provide for their temporary "citizens" at prices often significantly lower than land-loving vacationers.
You might not be convinced by to pack up all your possessions and join the new frontier of ocean dwellers, but at the very least, _Seasteading_ should open your mind to the possibility of doing so, and possibly sooner than you could imagine. For that alone, _Seasteading_ has jumped into the lead for my favourite book of 2017.
This really got my attention ... and I'm writing this review just after attending the "First Tahitian Seasteading Gathering", May 15-18, 2017 in Tahiti, where the international participants met with the President, Vice President, and other representatives of the French Polynesia government. As the book outlines in some detail, the engineering challenges of building floating cities have been solved -- there are a surprising number of floating buildings, bridges, even a floating airport runway in commercial operation today -- and the Seasteading Institute is employing the latest in sustainable, environmentally friendly technologies in all their designs.
With rising ocean levels having a real effect today on low-lying atolls in the South Pacific, the French Polynesians are rightfully interested -- and the whole idea of seasteading is a natural one for a people who reached out across the Pacific and explored most of its islands, remarkably by 1200 AD. In short, seasteading is beginning to look like it's really going to happen, and Joe Quirk's book is THE current guide to what's happening!
Those skeptical of the libertarian economics will find the tone refreshing, because the book never devolves into a free market screed. In fact a great deal of the first part of the book is devoted to how novel blue-green technologies can be applied to remedy many of the environmental issues that currently plague our planet including energy and food production. Mollifying the effects of climate change is placed at the fore.
Social issues are also covered in great detail, including how to raise the bottom billion out of poverty by using the tried and true method of creating special economic zones, while maintaining and even improving the environment in a synergistic fashion. Medical innovations are discussed in relation to the necessity of technological advancement in an atmosphere of regulatory freedom.
The last section of the book investigates the deep causes of progress in society and how this can invariably be traced back to variation and selection among rule sets (laws) on political frontiers. Historical examples are cited and a convincing case is made for responsibly colonizing the last untamed frontier on Earth - our oceans.
The only real criticism which can be reasonably levied at Seasteading is that it tries to cover too much - but this can be forgiven because in truth, our oceans do touch on virtually every issue humanity faces moving forward into the 21st century. Anyone who cares about the future of our oceans and our planet would be doing themselves a disservice not to read this timely manifesto.