Anyone who knows basic biology knows the value of natural selection — a species either adapts to their changing environment or dies off. In some ways, this process also applies to governments, but millions of people can still be chained to a failing state with no exit options. This is what the Seasteading Institute, an Atlas Network partner, hopes to solve with its Floating City Project. The freedom of international waters offers a unique opportunity to experiment with different structures of governance on floating city-states, which ultimately must compete for citizens.
Joe Quirk, communications director and “seavangelist” at the Seasteading Institute, recently spoke at the Voice and Exit conference in Austin, Texas. The conference, which has been dubbed an “edgy TED,” features outside-the-box thinkers who are devoted to challenging the current coercive social structures and institutions that hinder human flourishing and freedom.
“The global ecology of voluntary transactions that builds wealth flows wherever exchange with others improves lives,” Quirk said. The arbitrary and invisible lines that divide nations, he argues, are impediments to this process, making it necessary to rethink our current conceptions of nation-states.
Quirk makes the case that we need innovative new forms of government to tackle the myriad social and ecological problems we face today. We can no longer afford the stagnation fostered by antiquated, lumbering, and uncompetitive states. Instead, Quirk wants us to imagine a future where seafaring governments would compete to serve their tethered citizenry — free to choose governments the same way they choose products. “We want to create a thousand startup governments on the sea,” Quirk said.
View “Atlantis Rising: Why Floating Cities are the Next Frontier (Joe Quirk),” presented at Voice & Exit: