Seasteading: Homesteading the High Seas for Liberty

Event of the Day (that is not taking place today) is from CATO: HT: Peter Leeson

Tuesday, April 7, 2009
12:00 PM (Luncheon to Follow)

Featuring Patri Friedman, Executive Director, Seasteading Institute; with comments by Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; and Arnold Kling Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute.

The Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Come back to this page to watch the event live.

History provides us with many examples of powerful institutions being disrupted by technology. The invention of the printing press undermined the authority of the Catholic Church by democratizing access to knowledge. Today, the Internet is undermining the traditional copyright industries.

Now, an ambitious new project aims to achieve a similar result by creating competition for the world’s sovereign nations. The Seasteading Institute seeks to build self-sufficient deep-sea platforms that would empower individuals to break free of national governments and start their own societies. Executive director Patri Friedman predicts a future in which any group of people dissatisfied with their current government would be able to start a new one by purchasing a floating platform — called a seastead — and building a new community on the open ocean. He hopes that the availability of alternatives will encourage existing governments to reform themselves to better serve their citizens.

Can seasteading succeed where past plans have not? Are people willing to brave the high seas for liberty? Economist Arnold Kling will address the viability of the project in light of similar efforts in the past. Doug Bandow will address whether existing governments will tolerate seasteads, and specifically how the international Law of the Sea Treaty might complicate matters. Please join us for an in-depth discussion of the prospects of this exciting new effort.

Cato events, unless otherwise noted, are free of charge. To register for this event, please fill out the form below and click submit or email, fax (202) 371-0841, or call (202) 789-5229 by noon, Monday, April 6, 2009. Please arrive early. Seating is limited and not guaranteed. News media inquiries only (no registrations), please call (202) 789-5200.

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75th Anniversary of the End of Prohibition

There have been very few things that the government has done and later was undone as fast as alcohol. Today marks the 75th anniversary of this. This from The USA Today:

“People across the USA might take time out from the economic crisis and its sober comparisons to the Great Depression today to toast the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition.

Celebrations of the 1933 ratification of the 21st Amendment, which ended the country’s dry spell, are planned in San Francisco, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

The milestone comes at a time when a growing number of states and municipalities are relaxing Sunday alcohol sales restrictions.”

The free market haven Cato Institute is holding a party and speakers will be present for this occasion. The event is here but is is sold out. Of course, Alcohol is still heavily regulated and heavily taxed. Some of these loosening of restrictions are more just attempts to try and gain more revenue but what are some of the things we learned from the Prohibition.

  • Banning something benefited the black-market more than the moralists.
  • Enforcement was very expensive
  • People found a way around the ban.

The government realized that instead of taxing and spending money on an unpopular war on Alcohol that they could allow it and just tax us. Call that freedom, sure it is better than it was but we still have a ways to go.


Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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Are we that different from Rome?

After watching the first season of Rome, that came on HBO, it dawned on me politics haven’t changed much in a thousand years. Rome, the series, was suppose to show the Roman empire for what it really was. If you look at a movie like Gladiator then you would notice that it is a more perfect view of Rome.

This is not a completely thought but I thought I would write it down and get some ideas out there. First, the United States like Rome for a very long time lived under the idea that the Republic is powerful and the senators ruled. If you would look at the United States, you would see that the President’s power has grown continually over the years. Our country is young and I am not saying that the President will take power and make the Congress unimportant but it shouldn’t be something we ignore. History is doomed to repeat itself if not studied well. Even when we look back in history and say who was the most important person in Roman history, most people would say Julius Caesar. The man who was assassinated as he was turning Rome into a dictatorship. They were unsucessful at preventing it but none-the-less, most people do not know who killed Caesar and more importantly do not know the people who first installed the Republic.

Next, we portray Rome to be fully of corruption and bribes but is it that different than pork spending and earmarks? Instead of doing it behind doors, we do ours in plain daylight and we are so good that everyone can know the exact amount of money you wasted and you will still be re-elected.

Finally, when we talk about monetary policy we notice that Rome fell into inflationary pressures as most modern governments do. As we know government prints the money and the more they print the more inflation goes up. In Roman times, they weren’t on a fiat standard because the gold you owned was in the coin. Instead they would chip off the corners of the coins. They were actually more restrained in this field than we did.

So I beg the question once again, are we that different from Rome? Most people know the Cato Institute but do you know why it is called that?

Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 5:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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