Patri Friedman on Seasteading
By Arnold Kling
When we read in the evening paper that we’re footing the bill for another bailout, we react by complaining to our friends, suggesting alternatives, and trying to build coalitions for reform. This primal behavior is as good a guide for how to effectively reform modern political systems as our instinctive taste for sugar and fat is for how to eat nutritiously.
…Politicians are demonstrably, consistently, and ubiquitously expert at entrenching the power of the political class. To most libertarians this is morally illegitimate, but morality has sadly little influence over the realities of power.
He argues that the solution is to make government a more competitive industry (I agree), and he says that seasteading (setting up political entities on the ocean) is the way to achieve this. I have my doubts on that score. I think there is a fundamental problem that once a political entity achieves a scale that makes it economically and socially viable, it is difficult to keep government from breaking out. If you can solve that problem at sea, then I would think you could solve it on land. And if you cannot solve it on land, I am not convinced that you can solve it at sea.
I will be making that argument on Tuesday, April 7, at noon at Cato.