Friedman is convinced that only competition can produce the way to extricate us from the mess the politicians have created. "Seasteaders believe that government shouldn't be like the cell phone carrier industry, with few choices and high customer lock-in. Instead, we envision a vibrant startup sector for government, with many small groups experimenting with innovative ideas as they compete to serve their citizens. ... The world needs a place where those who wish to experiment with building new societies can go to test out their ideas. All land is already claimed -- which makes the oceans humanity's next frontier."
To promote actual experiments in seasteading, Friedman's institute seeks to launch a "Seasteading Evangelist" program, with local chapters for enthusiasts. By 2015, the institute hopes to present its Poseidon Award, "our prize for the establishment of the first independent seasteading community." To win, a community will need at least 50 full-time residents, financial self-sufficiency, seastead real estate for sale on the open market and de-facto political autonomy.
Friedman doesn't expect lots of people to drop everything and start living on the ocean immediately. He writes in the upcoming issue of The Freeman (thefreemanonline.org): "Technology, though, has the potential to make the ocean a feasible alternative for more people. Early pioneers will learn lessons that will make life on the ocean easier, thus prompting previously unwilling pioneers to make the move. Over time, the costs in comfort, safety and access to civilization will fall and the ocean will be just another place to live. This is the path we see on any frontier."
I will not be among the first to move to a seastead. But I wish Patri well. We need all the alternatives to big arthritic government that we can get.