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Seasteading & Other Efforts To Break Away From A Failed Society

You may already be thinking “there has to be a better way for us all to live together.” You may even have your own motivations for getting out of here and starting all over. Expatriates flee the U.S. for more welcoming shores every year (this year's total of 5,411 individuals is 26 percent more than last year's 4,279). And a recent global poll revealed that 700 million people wish they could live in a different country.

Currently, there are 195 models of governance in practice, and they’re mostly versions of the resulting societal configurations created from the messy ménage à trois of Labor, Capital, and Culture.
  1. Theocracies/Monarchies

  2. Dictatorships

  3. Communists

  4. Democratic Socialists

  5. Democratic Republics/Parliaments

...are currently the five dominant methods of managing people, property and peace. And no one has tried anything new in a long time.

Thailand, that re-wrote its constitution in 2014, chose the least progressive idea: a monarchy. Yet, our modern society isn’t your father’s proletariat. In just one generation, we’ve evolved from the world of telephone books and encyclopedias into an economically intertwined, culturally overlapping and socially interconnected network of global strangers. Now more than ever is the time to ask “Is this the best we can do?”

The Good News: we can do so much better. We can apply technology that brings us search engines, smart phones, and 3D printing to help frame a better society. We can live fully and flourish, without imposing upon the equal entitlements of our fellow human beings. We can stop supporting the inflating mechanism of consumer addiction.

The Bad News: We would have to drop a lot of cultural baggage (misogyny, labor for money and nationalism among others). Life would certainly change, but with all of your basic needs met, imagine the opportunity for self-development and social-collaboration. There is so much work to be done to transition from the old to the new. No one is saying we could make the world into a Utopia, but who does it hurt to try? It hurts defense contractors and private prisons, that’s who.

Their work is a profound sowing-the-seeds-of-change for everyone who is yearning for personal autonomy and a community of the like-minded.

Millions of people are already impacted by the efforts of these five big-thinkers: Peter Joseph, Jacques Fresco, Joe Quirk, Marcin Jakubowski and Michael Reynolds, who are leading the way to a global paradigm shift. Each in their own way are teaching us how to break dependence on the current dysfunctional models of governance. Their work is a profound sowing-the-seeds-of-change for everyone who is yearning for personal autonomy and a community of the like-minded. They’re following a personal call-to-action to improve the common condition, eradicating inequity and establishing a sustainable equilibrium with our ecosystems. They bring awareness to the importance of a healthy sustainability of our common “Life-Ground,” as published in Part IV of The Universal Human Life Necessities: The Life Ground of Economics and Human Rights Defined by Prof. John McMurtry of the The Centre for Globalization. The Life-Ground constitutes:

  • The atmospheric goods of unpolluted air, sunlight, climate cycles and seeing-hearing space;

  • The bodily goods of clean water, nourishing food, fit clothing and waste disposal;

  • The home good of shelter from the elements and noxious animals/materials with the means to sleep and freely function;

  • The environmental good of natural and constructed elements contributing to a life-supporting whole;

  • The social goods of reliable care through time by supportive love, work-day limits/safety, accessible healthcare and security of person;

  • The cultural goods of language, the arts, participant for civil rights and play; and

  • The vocational good of enabling and obliging each to contribute to the provision of these universal life goods consistent with the enjoyment of them.

The mission statement and goals of the Zeitgeist Movement, the Venus Project, the Seasteading Institute, Open Source Ecology and the Earthship Academy are crystal clear and articulate arguments to the patriotic pessimist or the systemically loyal. The “life-ground” needs each of these proposals serve are self-evident. But these ideas would have to reach a lot of people, and fortunately, a horrible event, served as the catalyst for enlightenment.

Peter Joseph and the Zeitgeist Movement (TZM): A controversial movie, and a pair of enlightening sequels sparked a worldwide phenomenon with ongoing events, books, and spin-off movies to come. Addressing the systemic inequity in the world, and offering a sober dissection of the correlations contributing to our culture in decline.

The films illustrate the problem of “Structural Violence - the broad spectrum of built in suffering, inhumanity and deprivation that is simply accepted as normality today by an uninformed majority.” And the viral videos become some of the most viewed movies in the Netflix documentary category. Peter’s own words ( are a perfect answer to the questions around the first film and its controversy.

The text “The Zeitgeist Movement Defined” is the core source of Movement interests and expresses what TZM is about clearly. The movement’s groups follow a “flat” organizational model of independent chapters and convenes for bi-annual PR events. Some speakers share their ideas on how to materialize the ambitious concepts in the real world. But they all agree that revamping urban areas is one important key to restructuring society. The movies show floating cities in the ocean with high towers of glass and steel.

Jacques Fresco and the Resource Based Economy: Admittedly, Peter Joseph’s movement stands on the “backs of giants,” and none more so than Jacques Fresco’s, the founder of the Venus Project, which is featured in “Zeitgeist Movie: Moving Forward.” The recently departed, 101-year-old mechanical engineer spent a career (or two) designing a better world, city by city. He literally drafted and hand-carved scale model cities of a superior civilization. His work in defining the Resource Based Economy (RBE) was even showcased by numerous broadcast news outlets including Larry King. The RBE idea is being carried on by his long-time partner Roxanne Meadows and thousands of volunteer advocates.

Joe Quirk and his Seasteading Institute: Based in San Francisco, Joe Quirk and his Seasteading Institute is leading a multinational effort by Dutch marine architecture firms, American materials manufacturers and the highest levels of the Tahitian government to construct a man-made floating island running a startup government incubator. These are 3D printed islands the size of the Easton Shopping Center a few miles off the coast of Tahiti that process the wastewater and garbage of the host-island, and create electricity, food, fuel and jobs in return. Their goal is to enable everyone willing to homestead on these platforms and choose which Society 2.0, they want to subscribe to as a citizen, turning the current model of land-locked political choices on its ear. Imagine; nations wanting to earn your affiliation, and having the choice to choose which (if any) you would “dock to.”

Marcin Jakubowski and Open Source Ecology: Marcin Jakubowski of Open Source Ecology’s TED talk presenting his Civilization Starter Kit opened my eyes to a whole new world. Now, sharing to improve works with hardware too? If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, but do want the benefit of hundreds of years of mechanical engineering. OSE’s website offers free for download, improve, and upload for sharing of blueprints, schematics, video tutorials, instructor-led workshops, and an archive of help documents. Nuclear physicist-turned farmer and manufacturer, Jakubowski has methodically cataloged every machine a new town needs: Brick Press, Tractor, Lathe, 3D Printer, Modem, etc. Simply download your copy, burn a DVD or thumb-drive, and you’re ready for any dystopian future (sans zombies). The Jakubowski development roadmap actually has “End World Hunger” and the “Age of Abundance” on it.

Michael Reynolds and the Earthship Academy: Michael Reynolds, a.k.a., “The Garbage Warrior.” Seriously, that’s the title of his documentary. He is the father of "biotecture," the Dean of the Earthship Academy, and a rebel architect from Taos, New Mexico who is pounding dirt into tires, harnessing the Earth’s properties, and forging an international following of builders who are all reforming what our homes are and what they can be. Self-sustaining, self-powering, and carbon-negative, these all-natural homes conform to a sustainability standard that is breaking efficiency records. With hundreds of custom built Earthships already housing families, his unique building methods are proven to provide temperature sustaining, energy producing homes, free of toxic building material, featuring its own off-grid food production. Inspired by a mariner’s vessel, the Earthship provides both a home and a harvest.

 The confluence of these ideas (perhaps propagated by social unrest and social media), is rapidly reaching critical mass. The Burning Man values (shared by the hundreds of thousands of people who form a temporary community in the desert every year) of a human-centric and technology-driven city is already in production. An army of open-sourcing and kickstarting startups are disrupting the market of proprietary ideas-for-profit. Uber and others are heralds of the age of a network-enabled efficiency that validates Buckminster Fuller’s prediction of “ephemeralization.” The result: an ever-increasing standard of living for an ever-growing population despite our planet’s finite resources. As counter-intuitive as that sounds, simply consider the impact of the personal computer on the world.

The Seasteading Institute was founded by Google software engineer Patri Friedman—son of legal and scientific scholar David D. Friedman and grandson of the economics Nobel Prize laureate and libertarian Milton Friedman. Patri’s and Joe Quirk’s shared experiences with Randy Hencken at the annual Burning Man festival inspired their idea for governmental startup incubators on the water. Seasteading may be the easiest way mankind can finally break free of the “hamster wheel” of our land-based political and economic systems. No war, no coup, just updating your government’s operating system.

These examples are a few slices of a larger pie chock full of innovative, conscious, and creative endeavors aimed at attacking our shared human needs (food, water, shelter, community, etc.), with a practical and measured scientific approach. If we can let go of the social and cultural baggage that keeps us onshore. We might just need to get our feet wet.

If you want to change the whole world, or just yours, learn more:


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