Business and Industry

Create a Business for a New Libertarian Floating City…

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…and win fabulous prizes! The Seasteading Institute is offering $5,000 for the best business idea to actuate on a stateless floating city on the high seas. The details:

We believe there are vast profit opportunities to be harnessed by businesses that choose to locate aboard commercial real estate on the water. For the purposes of this contest, entrants will assume their businesses will exist on a platform 25 miles off the coast of a large first-world city, such as Miami or Shanghai. Furthermore, entrants will assume that the legal and regulatory environment aboard a seastead is tailored toward the efficient functioning and operation of their particular business.

With this contest we intend to probe the legal and physical costs and benefits afforded to businesses aboard seasteads; especially regulatory and legal comparative advantages that cannot be easily reproduced on land. The business plans developed for this contest will serve as a compendium of ideas and research from which individuals and firms can draw inspiration for future commercial seastead businesses. Moreover, contestants will become part of a growing network of resourceful individuals interested in collaborating on seasteading ventures. 

Out of the initial contestants, TSI will choose a small number of semi-finalists for review by our panel of judges. Winners' business plans will get significant exposure to investors interested in seasteading businesses.

Keep your mind on things desired, peaceful, yet pointlessly stymied by land-based authorities.

I've been on top of the unfolding Seasteading saga for Reason for awhile, with a July 2009 magazine feature on the idea and its history, and first-person reporting from their first two "Ephemerisle" festivals, 2009 and 2010.

NEXT: Happy Constitution Day

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  1. Mustache Rides one dollar!

    No homo.

  2. Growing some chronic doesn’t count?

    1. Keep your mind on things desired, peaceful, yet pointlessly stymied by land-based authorities.

      Sounds like you meet all of the requirements.

      1. I read that passage and it was the first thing that came to mind.

        If not that, then a spa offering those fish pedicures. Except it’ll be tarpon, not carp.

    2. That was my first thought too — although the floaters would have to be ok with producing something that no foreign government or corporation would trade for. Not saying you couldn’t make good money doing that though.

  3. Azathoth’s Amazing Mermaid Brothel and Live-Action Tentacle Porn!*

    *kids eat FREE!

  4. Your comparative advantage on a seastead is freedom from overreaching law. Gambling, prostitution, other “victimless crimes” should do well there.

    Another comparative advantage is freedom from jurisdictional demands. This leads you to data havens, banking, etc., where privacy/security are important.

    Of course, engaging in these comparative advantage activities will bring the US Navy, and not on shore leave, either, so I think in the current climate of universal jurisdiction and thuggery, seasteading is a pipe dream.

    1. Sounds about right, yeah.

    2. To a certain extent, this might work, though. Take Biloxi with it’s formerly floating casinos. If the “city” drives enough of the onshore economy, politicians are perfectly happy to overlook the technicalities.

    3. +Very much to what RC Dean said.

    4. I like my idea better. House foreign technology workers on a floating island 25 miles off the coast of San Francisco until they can get visas.

      1. Or even better, have an entire high-tech company town 25 miles off the coast. Live AND work there, only miles away from your customers or continental distribution facilities. If the workers don’t get US visas, so what?

  5. Fishin’ seems too obvious.

    1. Fishing tends to be best in shallow waters near reefs, etc which is to say (from what I understand) that fishing 25 miles out ain’t so hot.

      1. Howzabout mining then?

        1. There’s always the extraction of uranium from seawater.

          The Japanese have been doing it for several years now.

      2. Fish farming? Doesn’t matter how barren the deep water started out if you’re supplying your own fertilizer. The more barren water you’re surrounded by the better, in fact, since you’d have lower risk of wild fish swimming by and passing diseases to the ones in your nets.

    2. Shooting range/whale sanctuary.

      Called it. Send my prize to:

      Capt Ahab, USN retired
      SS Pequod
      South Pacific

      1. film the whole thing and package it as a anti-whaling documentary and sell it to lefties….

        Sell posterboard, crayons and chartering services to the protesting lefties…

        Sell the whale meat as eco-friendly tuna to whole foods.

        1. Whale oil bio fuel station.

  6. You might find it’s more profitable to just provide a tax-free, family friendly, disneyland style experience than to deal with the US Navy as RCD points out above.

    Just to get the obvious ones out of the way:

    – Grow pot!
    – Gambling
    – Prostitution
    – Cuban cigars
    – Cuban prostitution
    – Cuban prositute racing(doping allowed, of course!)

    What about fusing the ideas – an adult, disneyland(controlled, clean, safe) environment to party. A floating rave – Goa without dysentery and poor people. Tax-free liquor and coke, with saline-IV’s available when the morning comes. Provide free STD testing to all entrants. Sell DVDs of the experience, or allow signing away rights to use the footage for girls-gone-wild style porn DVDs and marketing.

    Medical tourism, but with limits on liability to keep costs in check. Go and sell an organ, buy an organ, whatever.

    Simply providing people with a business friendly environment like old Hong Kong would probably be enough to get things going. Provide communication, transportation, and utility service to businesses for a fee.

  7. Hazardous waste disposal?

    I had a few more ideas but apparently they smelled like canned pork shoulder and were quickly consumed by the server squirrels.

    1. Adult disneyland. STD checks at the door, tax free liquor, coke and viagra, saline IV’s in the morning, and when you’re done, you get a DVD of the experience – to which you could sign away the rights and get compensation once we start selling our girls-gone-wild style DVDs.

      Sorry though – no prog rock. Just smooth, 70’s style porn music piped through the whole joint.

      1. Damn freedom-hating floating adult hedonism emporium, with your one kind of terrible music. Let people live their own lives, assholes.

  8. I will build tiny coffins to hold all the victims of your evil libertarian child labor policies.

    I also want to open a monocle store, and a moustache-waxery.

  9. Manufacturing heroin dispensing vending machines.

  10. Massive scale algae and biomass farming with indulgences (err … carbon credits) sold to the credulous

  11. I think a suicide service would work. I mean, people come out to you and die in peace- or rather, you kill them in peace. No more of this “ok, now you press this button here and do this” crap. Here, we’ll kill you when you can’t, but really, really want to die.

  12. One word: Plasmids.

    1. Now hiring: Big Daddies

  13. Isn’t the desire to create a homeland exclusively for a certain group of people kind of, er…, Nationalist and Xenophobic?

    Racists!

    1. It’s not a homeland. It’s an end around restrictive laws for businesses to locate.

  14. Desalination service. Where’s my $5000?

  15. I’m thinking of something involving sheep.

    1. Yes! Great idea!

    2. It’s possible a some litigious-type lawyers might want to get in on that action.

    3. Look, we’ve already gone over this here. There is absolutely no conclusive evidence that Arthur Alan Wolk fucks sheep.

      1. No but the possibility is still an absolute and irrefutable fact.

  16. What about ghost sheep?

  17. This is easy:
    1) Drugs
    2) Sex
    3) Fish Pedicures

  18. The Seasteading Institute is offering $5,000 for the best business idea to actuate on a stateless floating city on the high seas.

    A dingy and escape pod sales outlet.

  19. Furthermore, entrants will assume that the legal and regulatory environment aboard a seastead is tailored toward the efficient functioning and operation of their particular business.

    I know: A bank. The new Switzerland.

  20. Furthermore, entrants will assume that the legal and regulatory environment aboard a seastead is tailored toward the efficient functioning and operation of their particular business.

    This reminds me of the economist joke that ends “Well, assume a can opener…”

  21. All I can say is, if Seastead City becomes in any way controversial to the Old Guard, then investing in a nice big navy would probably be helpful.

  22. Manufacture of untested toys and baby clothes.
    Hydroponic production of unauthorized GMO crops. And peanuts.
    Unlicensed Yoga classes, hair braiding, and manicures.
    Sales of pharmaceutical drugs not yet authorized by the FDA.
    Out-of-pocket medical treatments by unlicensed doctors. Possibly shipped over from India.
    And dentists.
    Manufacture and export of non-export-compliant technology. (Engineers can live on shore and take a ferry out to work.)
    Hiring of undocumented immigrants. (They can work on the platform and take a ferry in to live.)

    1. ohh … another one … human cloning research center.

      1. Offshore medical facilities that can use drugs, devices and treatments that are unavailable via US health care, and which emphasize innovation and relentless cost-cutting to make treatment more effective and more affordable, would enjoy big business AND serve as a model for health care after the government messes up the stateside system beyond repair.

        1. Also, medical tourism is already a big industry. You just make the transportation costs cheaper by putting it offshore. Bring the doctors to us … or to within 25 miles off the coast of us, anyhow.

  23. Anything but a police department.

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