Driving the Rich into the Sea

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Scott Adams (Dilbert) predicts that confiscatory taxes will soon drive the rich into the sea — to seasteads, that is:

In the old days, every member of the middle class thought he or she had a chance of becoming rich. In that sort of optimistic environment, you don’t want to urinate in the pool that you hope to someday swim in. But lately there’s more fatalism in the air, thanks to our crushing debt and the hobo militias that I assume are forming all over the country. The middle class will soon trade their unrealistic dreams of wealth for the opportunity to transfer money from total strangers to themselves — a process often referred to as fairness. That’s when the rich will get serious about an escape plan, just like the brave little sea creatures billions of years ago.

But where can the rich go? Their choices include nations that have swarms of malaria-infested mosquitoes, bad TV, deadly climates, decapitation issues, French people, bland food and other signs of inhospitableness. When you consider these factors plus wars, pollution, terrorism, floods, droughts, earthquakes and tornadoes, I think you’ll agree that most of the surveyed land on Earth is unfit for fancy people.

This is where technology trends come in. We’ve already entered the era of megaships, including plans for island-size vessels with permanent homes and businesses. We’ll soon see rapid advances in high-speed Internet for seafaring vessels, floating fisheries, hydroponic gardens, energy generated from waves, and desalination. The only other element needed to trigger mass migration of the wealthy to the oceans is a financial motive. If a billionaire can escape taxation by leaving his dirt-based country behind, he’ll save more than enough money to pay for his floating fortress of awesomeness.

Out at sea, you can declare your own sovereign state or form alliances with other island-vessels. Taxes would be a thing of the past. Any government-like decisions can be handled through a Facebook page. The only downside would be listening to Ron Paul nagging you to use Twitter instead to keep government small.

Pirates would be a cause of concern, obviously. But if a billionaire has enough money to buy an island-size vessel, he probably has enough to outfit it with a drone air force, radar, sonar, laser guns, torpedoes, ship-to-ship missiles, and other technology so cool that just thinking about it raises my testosterone count.


  1. It must be a irrevocable law of man that any sufficiently complex secular ideology is doomed to eventual disintegration into a utopian fantasy eschatology where the state is doomed to wither away.

  2. Remnant says:

    Moldbug demolished — fairly conclusively in my view — the idea that seasteading offers any sort of hope for people to escape from government coercion. It is not that they will themselves need some form of internal government which could well descend into high taxes etc. No, it is that if the government ever feels that seasteading is a threat to it — and I would count threats to its pocketbook such as mass tax avoidance by the rich — it will use violence and coercion against the seasteaders to essentially restore the status quo. You can run but you can’t hide.

  3. Summary of what Mencius Moldbug has taught us about libertarian getaways so far:

    charter city == colony
    seastead == naval live-fire target

  4. Alrenous says:

    How easy do you suppose it would be to have a seastead sink ‘mysteriously’? The elites don’t need to resort to that too much domestically anymore, but I recall instances of foreign assassinations.

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