Would these sea steads have a military?

(.) #124

I would call it DefConZero.
Defense Condition Zero = you can do whatever and anything to save your life.
And later a person will have to live with that whatever and anything that happened.
It happens to coincide with libertarian ideas. It might be a Natural Law.


I think defense of a seastead may be the #1 concern for investors and potential residents.

Either the seastead is located in territorial waters and affiliated with an existing government, or it is located on the high seas as a sovereign entity. We know governments generally do not like any challenges to their monopoly to govern, tax and, most importantly, print money. It defies logic to think that these same governments would look kindly on a sovereign seastead capable of issuing its own crypto currency to a group of resident citizens or the world at large. This would be direct competition and a threat to the existing status quo.

So after making the reasonable assumption that there will be some state-level actors which will be less than enthralled about the burgeoning seastead economy it is likely to assume some level of aggression, up to total annihilation. Easy enough to cast the seastead as a “hotbed of terrorist activity”. At that point, game on. No independent seastead will be able to withstand a cruise missle, drone attack, EMP, etc. The damage may even look like an accident or natural disaster.

The notion of a federation of extra-territorial city-states is nice, but ultimately it’s a fantasy.

Also, I’m not even addressing the tempting target that an independent seastead would pose to a determined group of pirates. There are plenty of online games available today that clearly demonstrate the level of determination and creativity that will come into play given an attractive target. Check the history of Eve Online with players losing real money in epic thefts involving extreme planning and deception.

(Chad Elwartowski) #126

I find it interesting that when people talk about space travel they do not bring up pirates or the need to defend their ships/living structures.

I hear about Mars exploration but never hear about “what about pirates?”.

The ocean is more vast than all of the land in the world combined. Imagine putting a 1 square mile city in middle of Antarctica, how many people would be worried about pirates or needing a military to defend it?

If your project needs to worry about being able to defend itself against the US military, you should stop that project before even starting because even such huge projects as full nations with vast resources and populations cannot succeed if they go up against the US.

(.) #127

The topic is interesting. Would seasteaders need to defend themselves?
Probably yes.
The first defense can be; not to become a target.
Sometimes even that is a very difficult thing. For example: it might be possible
to verbally reason with a thief, but not with a shark. The shark just wants to eat.

There is the strange case of claim by the Falun Dafa practitioners:
so, it is about organ harvest. A human individual can become a target by making
organ transplant possible. It is a difficult subject and I do not want to make people
upset; but I have to say it is a possibility. This is probably one of the most ugly things
that can happen.

So, a human individual body can become a valuable thing, and a seatseader or anyone
else might have to use self-defense by whatever means it is possible.


We’re all acting like there is constantly piracy all over the damn place though… This isn’t the 1690’s. As long as we’re not living in the Niger Delta or Straits of Malacca, there’s not really much going on. Especially since all current piracy is coastal, they use tiny-ass boats with very limited range. If we’re outside the EEZ of a country, we’re too far for them to get to.

(Larry G) #129

The primary concern of investors, if there were any, would be return on investment.

It amazes me that so many people seem to think “investor” is some magical being with a pot of gold or equivalent to winning the lottery.

Unless Blue Frontiers is far more successful than I anticipate, there will be small family seasteads long before there is any kind of sea city-state. Corporate seasteads don’t provide a real (not fantasy) competitive advantage until they scale big enough to have their own economic gravity well. That’s not likely to spring full-grown from the head of Zeus.

(.) #130

Thinking ahead might be a good idea. Some people do it.
Here is an example of stipulations what could happen in the far future with nuclear waste.
It is an interesting moral dilemma.

The Place You Must Always Remember to Forget. Nuclear Waste the film


I find it interesting that when people talk about space travel they do
not bring up pirates or the need to defend their ships/living
structures. – Elwar

Do not confuse “Pirates of the Caribbean” style pirates, or even Somali tanker-hijacking pirates, with a group intent on taking possession of an economically vibrant and autonomous seastead. Do not compare space travel with a high value fixed asset. Do not confuse a boat, even a large one, with a lightly defended seastead that lacks allies or even a capable police force.

Think more along the lines warfare in Italy during the Middle Ages. You think this is far-fetched? First ask if the economic benefits outweigh the costs. Next think about the consequences, or lack thereof, of “hijacking” a seastead. Also think about the potential for disruption a city-state seastead might pose to the existing international order. Then realize that “pirates” likely would not announce their attack. Also don’t expect the “pirates” to necessarily look different from the inhabitants of the seastead.

How would you tell the good guys from the bad guys? How would you know an attack was imminent? How would you screen potential residents to make sure they would not act against the interests of the seastead or the other inhabitants?

We do not live in a “live and let live” kind or world and the issue of security is very real for anyone contemplating developing or investing in a large-scale seastead.

(Chad Elwartowski) #132

As I have posted on another thread, I would expect that every person on a seastead would own a gun or multiple.

With Metal 3D printers starting to come in under $100k, I would expect that by the time a full city seastead exists people will have their own metal 3D printers at home that can produce as many guns as they want.

The plan for a military in the early United States was that everyone be allowed to own guns and that a well trained militia be ready to react at any time.

Sure, a surprise attack would take out a lot of people but if every home is defended is it really worth the effort?

(Larry G) #133

The single most common firearm in the world is the AK-47 and it’s derivatives. The receiver of this firearm is stamped out of sheet metal and can be purchased as a pre-cut flat-pack kit with included jigs and built according to simple instructions. Any small machine shop and many Americans’ garage workbench can produce the rest of the parts, with the most difficult piece for any small shop or hobbyist being the barrel. Or you can buy trigger group kits, barrels, and furnishings through the mail at wholesale prices and assemble them, the only part of the assembly with legal controls (in the USA) on purchase and delivery is a finished receiver. The whole thing can be built from scratch with a little knowledge and $2000-$5000 dollars worth of tools you can purchase at Home Depot, depending on how fast and how convenient you want production to be. The pre-designed kits can be had for a couple-few hundred each. Less if you buy in bulk.

Why buy a $100,000 zebra to ride when you can get a horse for $1,000? The lack of practicality and default preference for “science-fictiony” solutions is one of the biggest problems with the Seasteading discussions.


There’s always a danger in fighting the next war with the weapons of the last war.

Traditional firearms have their use and their place. What, however, is the defense for an EMP or bio-attack? How about a drone swarm? Dirty bomb? (None of these are terribly high tech or expensive.)

None of these are everday concerns, but as the value of a prize increases the efforts of those interested in “winning” the prize also tend to increase.

(Chad Elwartowski) #135

What is your solution to an EMP attack, dirty bomb or even a full out nuclear attack?

Do you worry about small nations becoming successful for the same reasons? Should the Bahamas start preparing for such attacks, instead of just having 6 or so naval vessels, due to their economic success?

Does the Bora Bora military stand a chance if the US decides their island paradise is far too successful? Should they have drills at schools for possible bio-attacks?

(Chad Elwartowski) #136

The fact that a 3D metal printer is under $100k today means that by the time we have full seasteads in international waters (decades from now), they will be like buying a new washing machine (which you won’t need to buy anymore because you can just print one).

Even today’s 3D printed guns in such a primitive stage have been found to be superior to manufactured guns.

(Larry G) #137

No offense, but that’s a pretty big assertion without much evidence to back it up. Remember, I had a federal firearms license for several years and only closed that business a couple years ago. There are no 3D printed guns actually in commerce that I am aware of. And superior (in relation to firearms) is a VERY subjective term. There are many firearms that fit lots of purposes, and some that have very specific and narrow applications. Superior (other than a fuzzy line separating manufacturing quality of very cheap firearms from average price firearms) is generally a matter of preference. Many of the most expensive firearms have only cosmetic differences and brand recognition separating them from generic production.


I never heard about any of those dreaded pirates roaming in space “seeking whom they might devour”, @Elwar.

Please share your analysis of the relative presence of pirates in space vs their known presence on the oceans and seas of Planet Earth …

… and explain why your comment has any relevance to security on Earth.


The original difference of opinion was over the need for security at any significant level (e.g., comparing a seasteading community to a vacation at Disneyland, etc.) … which ignores the attraction of “something of value to be seized” to those who tend to take by force what is not theirs to take.

@Elwar is, IMO, correct that 3D printing will be a growing trend probably heavily used in seasteading.

I also think @dodger is correct to state that threats are from more than just pirate sailors on the Jolly Roger.


First, thanks for calling me out on some pretty strong hyperbole. I was trying to make a point and could have toned down my rhetoric. I do think, however, the security challenges would be at least as significant as for a large international city. We can debate about what specific threats should be addressed, but I think that list should go well beyond petty crime and muggings.

Second, my interest in joining this forum is primarily an intellectual attraction to a sovereign seastead (a SovStead?), however that might be created. I have little interest for an untethered and/or (semi) nomadic group of residents creating a floating island somewhere. I also see the complexity of developing the former as several orders of magnitude greater than the latter.

Back to the questions you posed: I think there are similarities and differences between a SovStead and a small nation. The difference, in the case of the Bahamas, is that it is already recognized as an independent state (country), is a party to many international treaties (e.g., Rio Treaty - 1947), has an established financial and legal system, and more.

I’m honestly struggling to think how a SovStead will find legal standing, how it will function in international trade, whether it could have its own currency and participate in SWIFT, etc. Would it have to pay “protection” to some benefactor?

At a deeper level, what would you change about the US or French constitutions, knowing what you know now? IMO, this is not simply about the technology.


There was some interesting discussion at the beginning of the year, found here:

(.) #142

Space piracy: I understand that would be an extreme example, but it is an example.

It is probably possible to destroy satellites from Earth.
A third party, non government entity could develop such a thing.

The same way, Greenpeace might get pissed at a seastead, for whatever reason.
Iron dumping could be one.

Paul Watson (Seashepard) (http://www.seashepherd.org)
already made a statement about Russ George, so that is a threat.

I like the idea of Russ George: http://russgeorge.net
So the declaration of Paul Watson is not a friendly gesture to me.
The Haida Gwaii natives might feel the same way about Watson.


Sea Shepherd’s Watson vows to stop B.C. ocean fertilization plan

Paul Watson is declared by many countries as a criminal, and he is wanted as a criminal.

On one end there is no recorded piracy, on the other end there is, and there is probably lots of shady
areas between the two.


Since there is no recorded history of piracy in space … probably due to economic realities like excessive barriers to entry and a negative cost/benefit ratio, there is no logical reason to associate piracy in space with the security posture of a seastead on Earth.

Hyperbolics aside … there are practical reasons for a seastead to maintain some degree of security.

Having a military force sufficient to repeal an invasion from a global superpower is probably excessive.

Seasteading, Sovereignty & Citizenship