The Neoliberal Commons?

By strange coincidence – on the same day that CPPE is hosting the ‘Organising the Commons’ workshop – a colleague from Florida State, Phil Steinberg sent me a forthcoming paper on the so-called ‘Seasteading’ movement.  It is well worth a read.

What initially sounds like a interesting alternative lifestyle thing (and, indeed, seems to have been inspired by experiences (some pharmacological in origin) at the Burning Man Fesitival), turns out to be the libertarian super-rich trying to occupy the marine commons with permanent or semi-permanent floating enclaves. One of the leading players in the ‘movement’ is Patri Friedman – Milton Friedman’s grandson and inheritor of the neo-liberal torch.  As this might suggest, the ‘seasteadings’ are little more than mini tax-havens, though the opportunity to take mind-altering substances without the intervention of the legal minions of the state also seems to be a major motivation behind them.  Despite the Ayn Rand-inspired techno-babble and explicit anti-statism, however, it could hardly be more obvious that these people are in fact simply trying to set up their own states in which they will be king (they’re nearly all male!).  Indeed, the front page of The Seasteading Institute’s website even has a link to a short film suggesting flag designs for these new ‘non-states’.

Most of the proposals for seasteadings are no more than pipe-dreams at present, but in case anyone was wondering what ‘organising the commons’ might look like in practice, depressingly this might be it!

One thought on “The Neoliberal Commons?

  1. Patri’s father, David Friedman, is actually one of the most famous anarchists in the world. He wrote a book about how, among other things, a multitude of personal insurance agencies might create efficient law by negotiating contracts with one another.

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