It seems a lawless, immoral, floating playland of the rich and empty isn’t just a reality in failed movies starring Kevin Costner. In Wired Magazine there’s an article about a little known technology conference that took place near San Francisco recently. The conference was presented by the Seastead Institute.
Yeah, I hadn’t heard about it either. Ran by Patri Friedman, of Milton is my grandfather fame; the Seastead Institute is a venture-capital backed effort to build nations at sea.
When I first read the article I was jealous. All my life I wanted to save the world so I’ve been working in ministry, public journalism, social work etc., to solve society’s ills. But I soon learned that money helps poor people a lot faster than compassion. And innovation, a thinking man can change the world faster than you can say boo – thank you Edison, Einstein and George Washington Carver. So I became somewhat of a free market capitalistic cause let’s face it: when was the last time you saw a poor man give a guy a job.
But then the article turned to what would fuel the economies of these floating nations and I got a little bit disturbed:
“Friedman notes that some enterprises-like euthanasia clinics-would incense local authorities, but almost all the ideas attendees come up with would capitalize on activities that skirt existing laws and regulations: Fish farming and aquaculture. Prisons. Med schools. Gold warehouses. Brothels. Cryonics intakes. Gene therapy, cloning, augmentation, and organ sales. Baby farms. Deafeningly loud concerts. Rehab/detox clinics. Zen retreats. Abortion clinics. Ultimate ultimate fighting tournaments…”
It would seem anything goes.
Well I’m not surprised at their quest to vote humanity off their island. For years those who made fortunes off those they despise have been trying to get away from the hands that feed them. They disguise their “escape plans,” as pursuits of libertarianism or free markets or whatever buzz word of the time is appropriate. But we all know that only people who play the market are truly free in a capitalistic society. And the only thing that keeps rich men like Bill Gates thinking about the poor, the diseased, the exploited and the downtrodden is guilt.
What struck me though was their brazen attitude. Used to be such well-laid utopia plans were outlined in secret backrooms filled with cigar smoke and disparaging remarks about Jews. But now they’re like screw it – we’ve made millions in the tech industry and it’s time to do what we want.
Not that I’m against technology. It’s technology without thought of community that I’m against. In Money magazine Google CEO Eric says the company “is in the advertising business.” Hmmm. I thought they were in the information business.
How much we’ve changed Mr. First Do No Harm.
So the captains of industry have been steadily destroying our planet, exploiting human beings for their own gain and despising government regulations that at least try to put a stop to the carnage, yet they say that all others are the ones that they need to escape from. Interesting.
Don’t get me wrong. I love capitalism as much as the next guy. I mean, like I said, I’ve never seen a poor man get someone else a job. But I have seen a poor man share his last meal with a poorer man. I have yet to see one build a floating nation at sea. Maybe they will. Or maybe they’ll just learn how to swim. And poor rich tech guys will have to build a space ship to explore Mars. I hear they found water there.