Floating cities "take shape"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/13/floating-cities-take-shape.html


I’m sure these utopias will coexist peacefully and prosperously with any pirates or other non-state actors who share their libertarian vision of the future, and they won’t be sending out desperate SOS’s to the nearest USN ships to avoid being pillaged and ransomed.


The Asgardia news this morning and this story remind me of one of the cooler versions of this idea, The Millenial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps by Marshall T. Savage. His vision was much less Fuedal Distopia and more Star Trek Socialism.

The Aquarius sea cities and Asgardia data haven were steps along his plan, and I have to assume influenced the current projects (if only in naming),


It looks like it would do well during say a Maria scale storm.

And - who wouln’t want to live in a company town that you couldn’t leave if they didn’t want to let you?


One word: pirates.


They should totally go establish their own rich man’s utopia. What can go wrong?

Gotta focus on the important things in life


I’m floating right now.


Yup, taxation on land, that’s gotta be to root of all humanity’s problems, all right! I’m sure if they just keep ignoring women and black people, blame homelessness on (someone else’s) mental illness, yup!

If they can exclude all the undesirables from this floating city, only other billionaires will be available to fix the plumbing and serve the coffee. I wish them luck with that!


Isn’t this just a modern cruise ship?


That will never happen. The pirates are from Somalia, a country that shares the Libertarian dream of minimal government. They’ll get along with them … swimmingly.

[and as @Grey_Devil notes, once your utopia has been thoroughly debunked by a video game it’s really over – “These sad saps. They come to Rapture thinking they’re gonna be captains of industry, but they all forget that somebody’s gotta scrub the toilets.”]


Not just any cruise ship. Specifically, this one:


Or that one of them won’t be a flotilla of religious nuts in combination with what’s left of the non-privatized federal government trying to spread a herpes-like memetic virus…

Oh sorry, too much Neal Stephenson lately.


I don’t think it’s incorrect to say that the way land taxes are assessed is close to the root of all humanity’s problems.

Here is a good essay by Michael Hudson, a heterodox Marxy economist: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/04/land-disappeared-economic-theory.html

One of the things he points out is that modern economic theory treats land as a commodity - but land is NOT a commodity, because you can’t make more of it (seasteading aside), and you can’t destroy it (nuclear weapons aside).

This makes the way we interact with land special and different from the way we interact with other forms of property. Land is not a form of capital - it is not produced by human effort, and it does not increase or decrease in availability. A more accurate formulation is given by Henry George in his famous book “Progress and Poverty”, one of the bestsellers of the nineteenth century: land yields resources which are turned into capital by human labor.

Making land into private property (a practice derived from an ancient feudal habit coincident with the advent of civilized life and the formation of cities) is probably the main source of wealth accumulation and power. Real estate is STILL where the vast majority of human wealth is tied up. Changing (or perhaps removing) the ownership structure of land is probably the most radical act we could undertake to help women, black people, and the rest of humanity, most of whom are still giving up their surplus productivity to landlords in the form of rent.


Back in my teens when I thought about writing a sci fi story that took place on a floating city, I immediately jumped to the city being abandoned by its original owners/developers because utopian fantasies like that seem to never pan out as planned.

I thought the same about the recent news that Bill Gates has bought land in the desert to make a smart city. It’ll be interesting to see the video tours of the ruins fifty years later when it’s been forgotten: http://www.forbidden-places.net/explo1.php.

As much as I love concept projects, they need a demand and sustainability to make them more than just a temporary exhibition.


Reading the little explanation bubbles on the pic, I get the definite impression of a roving strip mining op that floats in, steals resources in secret beneath the waterline and then floats away again.

Yup, that’s 1%ers in a nutshell.


Bah, I was expecting something more like Bespin.

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I am not going to defend land taxation the way its practiced, not at all. But if you don’t think about the way land ownership interacts with our peculiar ideas about race and gender, then any reform you try to enact is only going to benefit white people.

By all means, let’s talk about about what’s wrong with Cadestre! But don’t expect the topic to only stay within the bounds of “problems experienced by white male property owners”.

(it’s taken me a while to find this statistic- nearly 20 million empty homes in the country, 3.5 million homeless: This represents an epic failure to provide for human needs.)


Those cannons and muskets and cutlasses weren’t all just for decoration.


God I love the Millennial Project.

Also, with this sort of thing, aren’t we actually talking about applying post-scarcity principles to real estate?

Again, we’re faced with a situation whereby our technology is allowing us a full scale Star Trek utopia, but we are forcing it to conform to our existing capitalist/feudal socioeconomic system.