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The Billion Dollar Islands

In the waters off the San Franciscan coast in the U.S., a chain of artificial islands are quietly being designed, with plans for their construction occurring sometime in the near future. These elaborate sanctuaries are the brainchild of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel (famous for his early funding of Facebook), and have received monetary support from like-minded individuals such as Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, and other notable and affluent figures worldwide.

A company called The Seasteading Institute has backed the construction of these islands. The idea was first presented to Peter Thiel by former Google engineer Patri Friedman, a leader within the Institute, and grandson of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. The purpose of these islands is to begin a series of city-states free from government control, taxes, and other such laws. It will be in essence a new nation, without claims of citizenship to any country.

Thiel envisions businessmen living on the islands to discuss and share concepts, political ideals, and cultural views, while enjoying freedom from excessive taxation and restrictions.That’s not to say that these sovereign islands will be filled with anarchal and disgruntled rich folks. Rather, this utopia is a place for wealthy visionaries who have grown tired of the increasing pressure placed on them by their respective governments.

The goal is to create housing for millions of seafaring residents by 2050. These floating islands will be structured on top of 12,000 ton metal chassis’, and are fully movable. The islands will assumedly be filled with plant life and other greenery, along with electricity supplied by solar power and renewable energy sources.

Peter Thiel doesn’t believe there will be many obstacles barring him from realizing his dream. When asked about the scoffing he’s received from colleagues and doubters, he replied, “There are quite a few people who think it’s not possible. That’s a good thing. We don’t need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don’t think it’s possible they won’t take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it’s too late.”

The first prototype is set to complete construction seven years from now, and will house approximately 270 residents with the idea of linking future islands together. Friedman plans on first launching a flotilla of business offices near the San Francisco coast in the next couple of years, followed by the larger habitation structures. Once permanent residences are constructed, the island chain will file for diplomatic recognition from the United Nations.

Various entrepreneurs have expressed interest in the venture, and covet the opportunity to inhabit this Libertarian-minded utopia. Patri Friedman hopes that these islands will transform into ideologically oriented city-states. “The ultimate goal is to open a frontier of experimenting with new ideas for government.”

Many have claimed that moving outwards to the sea is both logical and practical as the next step in human expansion. The artificial island movement began in the early 1960’s, when an Italian engineer constructed a 400 square-meter platform, with houses, businesses, and a post office, and called it an island.

In the coming years, we will watch with enthusiastic support as endeavors such as this make headway in becoming reality.

Sources:
International Business Times – http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/201027/20110820/paypal-facebook-peter-thiel-artificial-islands-libertarian-law-less-regulation-free-moral-code-googl.htm
Details.com – http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201109/peter-thiel-billionaire-paypal-facebook-internet-success?currentPage=2
The Lookout – http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/silicon-valley-billionaire-funding-creation-artificial-libertarian-islands-140840896.html
Web Ecoist – http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2009/04/27/12-fantastic-floating-cities-and-artificial-islands/

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