You Too Can Live the Galtian Fantasy….12 Miles from San Francisco!

Michael Shedlock (hat tip furzy mouse) described a new gimmick for those who want to skirt international law: live in a fancy ship, 12 miles offshore from San Francisco, with all the tech amenities. He summarizes the pitch:

A company named Blueseed is a year away from offering entrepreneurs an inexpensive place, near Silicon Valley, in which to develop their products.

“Blueseed will station a ship 12 nautical miles from the coast of San Francisco, in international waters. The location will allow startup entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world to start or grow their company near Silicon Valley, without the need for a U.S. work visa. The ship will be converted into a coworking and co-living space, and will have high-speed Internet access and daily transportation to the mainland via ferry boat. So far, over 1000 entrepreneurs from 60+ countries expressed interest in living on the ship.”

Now of course, there are antecedents. For instance, some of wealthy live four months or more at sea (and 4 months at most in any one place on shore) to avoid having a tax residence; there are also ships where the rooms are condos and the ships are designed for long-term residency. But these ships all travel to interesting ports of call, and you typically only spend a day or two (at the very most) at sea between ports except when “repositioning” (as in crossing oceans).

Pix of the “at sea all the time” ship:

As Lambert put it, “Carnival for geeks”.

Now there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for this concept, given initial indications of interest (“1000 entrepreneurs from 60 countries”!) but with no terms yet, we’ll see how this pans out. At this remove, it look to be more scam than scheme.

The reason? Have you ever spent any time on cruise? They are very confined physically (even the luxury cruises, nice public spaces, not much in the way of personal space, and forget storage) and it’s costly to provide the services on offer. And 12 miles out all the time, you really need them: dry cleaning, drugstore, etc. High speed internet? That is going to have to be satellite, and that’s not the most reliable. The ship owners promise daily ferries in, but that will be a long ride in and weather dependent. Even if they can keep the ship stable most of the time with their elaborate stabilization system, the little ferries are another matter.

Now of course, some tech types have found living in a cheap dorm with other hard core techs to be hugely productive. But that’s been when there has been some commonality of skills and background, and perhaps most important, ease of exit if things aren’t working. With a bunch of people from a huge range of nationalities, the odd of positive collaboration are lower just due to all the cultural noise. One issue is this floating geek palace is going to be heavily male, which raises the question of how they get laid, particularly so far from shore. Will the ship also supply prostitutes?

And what happens if someone on the ship has a dispute with management? Think you are gonna get very far with the promoters when you have chosen to get yourself out of any recognized legal system?

But still, part of the charm is being able to leech off the shore. What if you get sick? Well, if you can get to a hospital before you keel over, you are perfectly positioned to stick them with bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for the rest of us to pick up. Ditto the easy access to Silicon Valley, which has always and continues to benefit from government subsidies (from the military-industrial and health care complexes, as well as support of higher education). This is the same sort of activity for which illegal immigrants are pilloried, but because this is done by “entrepreneurs,” we’re supposed to think it’s OK. Another way to think of this is a low end version of the stateless rich, at least some of whom engage in outright tax evasion.

A friend worked as a singer on an upscale cruise line for seven months, and while she said the money and the opportunity to visit so parts of the world were terrific, the social experience was pretty bad. Her colleagues were people who had worked on ships for two years or more, and they had clearly become distorted. They had little interest in the outside world and gossiped mainly about their current ship v. other ships, drank heavily, and were focused on getting laid. My friend is the antithesis of a prude (foxy, often involved with more than one man at a time, no qualms about casual sex) but she found the preoccupation with sex to be one of many symptoms of cabin fever, of being confined. And

So these Galt-wannabes may find they’ve simply one set of constraints for another, and put themselves in the hands of a system over which they have even less influence than a government. Stay tuned.

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    1. PQS


      I’m thinking way more “Lord of the Flies” than Libertarian Paradise….but perhaps those are one and the same.

      How can such a place be “inexpensive” and still provide enough amenities to be comfortable? Are they going to import slave labor to cook and clean?

      1. cwaltz

        What? You don’t think people are going to be lining up for an opportunity to work for less than minimum wage and without overtime laws for a wonderful bunch of folks too cheap to pay taxes?

        You know this story is going to have a bad ending for some third world girl who figures this is her best hope to escape poverty.

    2. Matthew G. Saroff

      Gee….Didn’t L. Ron Hubbard do the same thing.

      I now have two hard and fast rules in finance:
      * If they do not use email, do not trust them, because it’s about creating plausible deniablity when the f%$# you.

      * If a major media outlet has to use a cartoon to illustrate a financial product, it’s intended to separate rubes from their money. (Saroff’s rule)

      I must now add: if they do business from extraterritorial waters, run away.

  1. jake chase

    Plants grow, companies mushroom. When will business students learn proper English?

    Why are all these Entrepreneurs having trouble getting US work visas? I thought our Gomint was dedicated to creating jobs.

    1. jake chase

      Don’t worry about their sexual needs; any English public schoolboy can show them what to do.

      This may be the birth of another Empire on which the Sun never sets.

      And what I tried to say above is that you cannot grow things that do not grow by themselves. You can grow tomatoes, even warts, but you can’t grow companies, balance sheets, cities, etc.

  2. Charles LeSeau

    More evidence of the “have your cake and eat it too” principles of libertarians. They want to massively influence, massively own, and massively profit from the world they live in – unlimited ownership – but want no responsibility for such a social contract, and ignore that such ownership is dependent on more than just their approval as supposedly great masters of the planet. At least Ayn approves of it, and that’s all they need. Their worldview is surprisingly authoritarian for all their talk of freedom, and they are shockingly incapable of seeing the market as just another state, or as anything tyrannical.

    Ask any “freedom loving” libertarian if their utopia would allow unions (i.e. the freedom to organize and bargain) and watch the cognitive dissonance commence. Especially funny if you frame it in terms of a worldwide union as the IWW suggests.

    In one way they’re at least being semi-consistent: The common refrain of the libertarian is that there is no such thing as exploitation if the employee is free to quit a job and find a better one elsewhere, but they don’t like to see that idea turned around on them – i.e. if you dislike your government so much, you can just choose another country to live in (Somalia is usually named here); hence, by the same libertarian logic there should be no such thing as an exploitative government. This boat would seem to skirt that idea in some small ideological way, but they’re still wanting to put their fingers into the global pie and benefit, sans any responsibility back to the people who baked the thing.

    Personally, I wish we could give them all an island or something, tell them that’s all they get, and watch them fight over who gets to own it and which self-made great men get to be the dishwashers or burger flippers and which don’t. Maybe make a reality show about it.

    Anyway, just to be the first to say it: They’re going to need a bigger boat.

    1. jake chase

      It is interesting that you can project so much anger against a group of idealists which has never controlled anything or taken anything away from you, while on the other hand, you seem to believe that our crony faux democracy, with its looting and insider grabs and its rocket fuel of fiat money, with just some mild tweaking, can make everything hunky dory.

      Rand may have been a crackpot, even personally reprehensible, but Atlas Shrugged resonates will millions of people who see altruist bushwa for what it is.

      1. Stephen Gardner

        If Atlas Shrugged resonates with a 16yo that is normal. If it continues to resonate with someone AFTER the teenage years that is prima facie evidence of arrested social development.

        1. darms

          “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

      2. Charles LeSeau

        It is interesting that you derived anything like support for “our” crony democracy, anything about fiat money, or anything about anger in my post criticizing the outright hypocritical bullshit of libertarians. Tell me what other interests I have that weren’t stated at all in my post please.

      3. from Mexico

        jake chase says:

        …a group of idealists which has never controlled anything or taken anything away from you…

        Phew! When you make these empirical claims that are so absurdly and grotesquely false, I’m reminded of what James Baldwin wrote in The Fire Next Time: “The tendency has really been, insofar as this was possible, to dismiss white people as the slightly mad victims of their own brainwashing.”

        1. jake chase

          1.Check the sales figures.

          2. Imagine a real estate bubble without fuel from the Fed.

          3. Imagine a crash without a Fed and Treasury bailout.

          4. Imagine being a retired saver who has been systematically robbed by the Fed for the past four years, and a retired worker on Social Security who is systematically robbed by phony indexing.

          5. Imagine a War on Terrorism conducted by a government lacking access to a Fed money machine.

          Our Gomint systematically sustains private looting by well connected cronies of shyster politicians. The people whom you romanticize survive on crumbs. I don’t see how honest money could make things much worse, except for bankers and selected dealers and finagling CEOs.

          What would Montesquieu have done?

          1. from Mexico

            • jake chase says:

            2. Imagine a real estate bubble without fuel from the Fed.

            I seem to recall it was that Rand acolyte and sychophant, Alan Greenspan, who was the Fed chairman that blew the real estate bubble.

            Now I realize the libertarian faithful dealt with this by excommunicating Greenspan from the fold — after the GFC of course — but that’s another issue.

            • jake chase says:

            3. Imagine a crash without a Fed and Treasury bailout.

            4. Imagine being a retired saver who has been systematically robbed by the Fed for the past four years, and a retired worker on Social Security who is systematically robbed by phony indexing.

            I also recall that the prescriptions that Bernanke has followed to a “T” were crafted by none other than another famous libertarian (insert drum roll here): Milton Friedman.

            You might pick up a copy of Friedman’s Capitlaism and Freedom. Read it. You might learn something.

            • jake chase says:

            5. Imagine a War on Terrorism conducted by a government lacking access to a Fed money machine.

            But what came first: liberal internationalism, or fiat money?

            Not that I have the answer to the question, mind you. I’m just asking it. But it appears to me you have convinced yourself you have the answer to the question.

            • jake chase says:

            Our Gomint systematically sustains private looting by well connected cronies of shyster politicians. The people whom you romanticize survive on crumbs.

            That condition existed well before the advent of fiat money. If you want to impugn fiat money, you haven’t even demonstrated correlation, much less causality.

            • jake chase says:

            I don’t see how honest money could make things much worse, except for bankers and selected dealers and finagling CEOs.

            Au contraire, the implementation of what you call “honest money” could make things infinitely worse for the masses. Again, I don’t have the answer. But your logic only works if we assume there are no downside risks or consequences of implementing “honest money.” You mistake your own speculations for sure truth.

            Furthermore, fiat money has never been road tested by honest policy makers. Name one single president since 1971 who gave a tinker’s damn about anything or anybody but the transnational capitalist class. What would happen if we put fiat money in the hands of honest policy makers who care about the nation, or even the planet? Again, I don’t have the answers. But it seems to me your condemnation of fiat money is way premature.

            • jake chase says:

            What would Montesquieu have done?

            With today’s modern communicaitons technology, I think he would advocate a more direct form of democracy, giving the people a far greater say in the contest between fiat money and “honest” money.

          2. Doug Terpstra

            Well said, fM. The “Fed” is the apex of Libertarianism, an unaccountable cartel of authoritarian financial predators. It’s what happens when Libertarians finally seize control of and then personify the very government they profess to hate, the ultimate insoluble paradox.

          3. jrs

            Rand, libertarianism, the Fed, support for this government, they are all only very losely connected by the flimsiest of strings (the closest link is Rand and libertarianism and even then …).

            Suffice to say the Fed only has so many fans among those who have some understanding of it. If you’re a goldbug like Rand you’re anti-fed (with or without a selfishness ideology which I believe is false anyway, we’re all both selfish and selfless). But if you want public money issued for public purposes not through the banking cartel you’re also anti-Fed (though I think the idea is problematic also, especially with the current government, even then I might grant it might work better than the Fed!). There’s so many ways to be anti-Fed it’s not funny, you could be into alternative labor based currencies, you could run off with the Zietgeist movement and plan a moneyless techno-utopia (though it may be faint praise, such idealist are more likely to produce a society one would actually *want* to live in than the Randians).

            As for this government I think it also has few fans among those who know what it is actually doing. Specific programs may have fans, but fans of this government as a whole, nope. And frankly it’s ugly whatever extreme you go to, unaccountable government (which is mostly what we have) or corporate power structures unaccountable to *any* government (which oddly we also have, but it could be worse, ocassionally an environmental or working condition regulation actually gets enforced – to the horror of the libertarians I suppose).

          4. from Mexico

            @ Doug Terpstra

            So very true.

            Libertarianism, stripped of its illusions, delusions and false pretensions, is nothing but Hobbesianism.

          5. Synopticist

            “Imagine a real estate bubble without fuel from the Fed.
            Imagine a crash without a Fed and Treasury bailout…”

            I don’t need to imagine those things, I’ve seen them already.
            The US poperty crash post 2007, and it’s financial effects, isn’t the first and only example of a buuble bursting.

            The Durch tulip mania want caused by a central bank and fiat currency.

          6. guest

            I know libertarians live in a world free of facts or history so making random claims is an accepted form of debate but lets go down your list of facts:

            2. Imagine a real estate bubble without fuel from the Fed.

            There were plenty of real estate bubbles in the United States prior to the creation of the Fed. The earliest bubble occured in 1830s, in Maine, when Boston area speculators learned that the state of Maine was selling cheap forest land. Bostonians piled in and it crashed.
            The last real estate bubble occured in Florida in the 1920s, no Fed, but plenty of tears

            3. Imagine a crash without a Fed and Treasury bailout.

            The United States economy has repeatedly crashed without bailouts from the Fed or the Treasury. Let me give you a short list: 1797, 1811, 1813, 1816, 1819, 1825, 1837, 1847, 1857, 1866, 1873, 1884, 1890, 1893, 1907, 1921.
            No bailouts, plenty of misery. Mysteriously magic gold and magic private banks and magic libertarian super heroes didnt prevent them.

            4. Imagine being a retired saver who has been systematically robbed by the Fed for the past four years, and a retired worker on Social Security who is systematically robbed by phony indexing.

            Maybe these people shouldnt have kept voting for the Republican party who promised them all things for all the time while systematically transferring billions of dollars to their rich pals. The old people consistently vote for the GOP and now they get to join in with the rest of us who get a taste of the medicine.

            5. Imagine a War on Terrorism conducted by a government lacking access to a Fed money machine.
            These are all the wars America fought before 1914:

            As you can see it is a very long list. Numerous wars on that list led to the wholesale extermination of peoples, war crimes and acts of terrorism. The US government has no problem finding a way to murder the people it wants murdered.

            Anyway, off to zerohedge with you and your ahistorical, context free bullshit sessions where you and the rest of you poorly adjusted young men blame the evil forces that conspire to deprive honest white men of their work or whatever it is you people believe in.

        2. cwaltz

          The original poster seems to be under the impression we’re all white and male.

          Otherwise there is no way in God’s green Earth you get past the idea that before regulation existed white males were free to consider women or African Americans property and calling that taking “nothing away from you” has to be one of more disingenuous assertions made.

      4. RepubAnon

        Out of curiosity, what makes anyone think that this will be a “government-free” zone. My guess is that the owners of the boat will make the rules – thus becoming a government. Before long, they’ll be charging participants a “commission” on everything the participants do… ie, a tax. They’ll probably need a security force to keep order, and so on.

        If I remember correctly, this same concept was tried during Prohibition. It didn’t work then, and I’m betting that it won’t work this time, either.

    2. from Mexico

      One of the seminal and best known libertarians of all time is Thomas Jefferson. But he owned slaves.

      Jefferson, being the true Renaissance man that he was, reached back to Classical civilization for his model of liberty. And Classical philosophy held that for the few to be free, the many had to be enslaved.

      Aristotle begins his famous discussion of slavery (Politics) with the statement that “without the necessaries life as well as good life is impossible.” To be a master of slaves is the human way to master necessity and therefore not para physin, against nature; life itself demands it. Peasants, therefore, who provided the necessities of life, are clased by Plato as well as Aristotle with the slaves (see Robert Schaifer, “Greek Theories of Slavery from Homer to Aristotle,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. XLVII, 1936).

      So in the new republic, founded largely on the libertarian principles of Jefferson, non-property owners could not vote, and, as Hannah Arendt notes, in the new nation “the institution of slavery carries an obscurity even blacker than the obscurity of poverty; the slave, not the poor man, was ‘wholly overlooked’.”

      But that’s not quite the end of the story. Jefferson was also a Modernist, and both the founders of Modernism — Descartes and Hobbes — believed that humanity could develop a science that will make man master and posessor of nature.

      And indeed Jefferson lived on the cusp of one of the greatest scientific and technological revolutions of all time, the energy revolution.

      Energy technology had slowly advanced somewhat in the Middle Ages and in early Modernity. Slavery as the sole energy technology had been replaced to some degree by animal power and watermills. The enormous energy of wind had been harnessed with the sailing vessel. In the days of al Idrisi, the twelfth-century geographer, Arabs had taught Sicilians how to sail boats, and Sicilians had passed the knowlege along to the Geonoese, who had taught the Spaniards and Portuguese (see William Manchester, A World Lit Only By Fire). And with this powerful new technology the Spanish and Portuguese created the first truly global empires. But In Jefferson’s lifetime a new and almost unbelievable energy bounty had been unlocked: coal.

      By all appearances the dreams of Descartes and Hobbes, articulated some 150 years earlier, were on the verge of coming true. A new era was envisioned in which liberty could be achieved not by man’s rule over man, but by man’s rule over nature. The remarkable success of the scientific conquest of nature unloosed the hope that all impediments to human happiness would be progressively removed. And these were indeed heady times, as revealed in a letter Jefferson’s long-time corresondent, Joseph Prieslty, wrote him:

      Nature, including both its materials and its laws, will be more at our command; men will make their situation in this world abundantly more easy and comfortable, they will prolong their existence in it and grow daily more happy… Thus whatever the beginning of the world the end will be glorious and paradisiacal beyond that our imagination can now conceive.

      Besides libertarianism, this positivist vision which holds out the promise of absolute and universal human freedom also lies at the heart and soul of Marxism. Even though John Gray in Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern explains how this came to be, the best statement I’ve found of it is from the 1955 New International:

      Against that day when the state has withered away and the class struggle is a bad dream, we offer the hypothesis that poets will quarrel on a mass scale with nothing more damaging than verbal violence over the use of meters, and painters will rend the air in a dispute as to the use of solid colors and abstract art. There will be all kinds of struggles. All except the class struggle.

      If men are not chained to the machine and the tractor, what productive activity will engage the free energies and minds of men? Being a child of the great German philosophic tradition, Arendt must know that Schiller defined art as the realm of freedom. When men are free from the compulsion of labor, the creative transformation of society, nature and man himself stands on the order of the day. In Literature and Revolution, Leon Trotsky foresaw the day when men would level mountains in one area and raise them in others, turn arid deserts into singing gardens and reshape even their own bodies to their own desire. And in this day of atomic energy, Trotsky’s imaginative visions become real possibilities – if capitalism is replaced by a socialist order.

      We are discovering now, however, and in an unprecedented way, that the conquest of nature and the achievement of universal human freedom is a far more difficult enterprise that what either the libertarians or the Marxists envisioned.

      1. from Mexico

        Two other features that latter-day libertarianism shares with Marxism:

        1) Jacobin elitism: The belief that a revolutionary vanguard of elite, Promethean superhumans can bring about the transformation of man and achieve his absolute, universal freedom, and

        2) Violence as the means: Any level of violence by the revolutionary vanguard is justified in order to bring about the transformation of man and to achieve his absolute, universal freedom.

        1. jake chase

          Do you really question the idea that 95% of civilization stands on the shoulders of a handful of Promethean geniuses? And before you start, I am not talking about Jack Welch, Donald Trump, Jamie Dimon, and other celebrity parasites.

          1. Mel

            You’re not? You should. You’re preferentially looking at the survivors. Some of the failed societies created by Promethean geniuses were real sh*t-holes. When you’re picking a Promethean genius you have to ask yourself “Do I feel lucky?”

          2. jrs

            Yes one can seriously question that assumption, especially as so much technological progress was actually slow development over time, often by those directly involved in performing that labor. Most modern theoretical science is this of course, but so was much technological development throughout history, not to mention minor recent tech development (is windows so revolutionary? is apple?). Sure lone geniuses, an Einstein here or there, exist, they are very far from the whole story of human scientific and technological development though.

            Never mind that if we were to set out as a goal for society to produce more lone geniuses, for the sake of argument let’s pretend that’s our only objective, never mind if whatever more ordinary men could contribute is completely flushed down the tiolet. Even then, I seriously doubt some Randian society where the whole point is to reward geniuses monitarily after the fact is what will be most sucessful even in the very narrow objective of producing more lone geniuses.

          3. LifelongLib

            The path to progress is to give as much education, leisure time, and money to as many people as possible. Sure, some (maybe most) will fritter it away but a certain number will use it to pursue their own ideas and in doing so, change the world.

        2. jake chase

          Violence? Our Democratic Republic of Money is sustained only by violence. Quick story: in 1980, a trader friend of mine printed up T shirts showing an oversized dollar bill on the front with a legend beneath reading “Fool’s Gold”. Three goniffs from the Treasury Department showed up at his storefront in Queens, confiscated all the shirts, and told him if he tried to print any more he would be arrested for counterfeiting!

          Have you ever examined a dollar bill? It says this bill (or instrument, I forget which and don’t have any in my possession right now to make a check) is legal tender for all debts, public and private. That means if you are a creditor, and you refuse it as payment, the running of interest stops.

          The 1923 inflation in Weimar Germany was engineered by the democratic government there in order to pay off with worthless fiat the bonds which had been foisted on German small savers to finance WW I. It had nothing to do with the Versailles Treaty or reparations or Jewish bankers or anything else except Government chicanery.

          1. jake chase

            Mexico, FYI, Greenspan and Friedman were simply shysters. Maybe they claimed descent from Rand, but I doubt they would have fooled Hayek. All I am advocating is a retreat from shysterism. It isn’t much, but it could help.

            Dishonest money is a critical tool in the shyster tool kit. It makes the propaganda machinery run more smoothly and more handsomely rewards the looters.

            Try to imagine having saved enough money to live decently for ten or fifteen years. You would be amazed how many people have done that, and honestly too. Of course, they don’t matter to the socialist engineers determined to create a worker paradise on earth. They have the luxury to trot out all these tired quotations from a century of airhead philosophers who had university sinecures to sustain them and never did an honest day’s work. And the students? They have the nondischargeable loan obligations and heads crammed with nonsense.

          2. from Mexico

            jake chase says:

            Our Democratic Republic of Money is sustained only by violence.

            Again, pure speculation.

            In order to confirm, or debunk, your hypothesis would require not only a study of domestic economics and politics, but a study of global economics and geopolitics as well.

            Who has even attempted such a gargantuan undertaking? Michael Hudson? Immanuel Wallerstein?

          3. from Mexico

            jake chase says:

            Mexico, FYI, Greenspan and Friedman were simply shysters. Maybe they claimed descent from Rand, but I doubt they would have fooled Hayek. All I am advocating is a retreat from shysterism.

            Lordy! Lordy! Do I have a beautiful piece of oceanfront property in Arizona for you!

            Anybody who could make the statement that “My personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than a democratic government devoid of liberalism,” as Hayek did in Chile as he enthusiastically threw his support behind the brutal dictatorship of Agusto Pinochet, is nothing short of a shyster’s shyster.


          4. McMike

            RE “no true scotsman”

            Indeed. Riddle me this:

            [I] the problem on Wall Street is a high concentration of connected crony capitalists.

            [II] Wall Street has a high concentration of Ayn Rand disciples.

            PS: no one has been able to explain why everthing fell apart during the conservative ascedancy, specifically around a GOP monopoly in power. Why didn’t it blow up back when Carter and O’Neil and the Kennedys ruled the roost?

        3. jake chase

          Mexico, at the end of one of your rejoinders you state:

          “fiat money has never been road tested by honest policy makers… What would happen if we put fiat money in the hands of honest policy makers who care about the nation, or even the planet?”

          The same thing that would happen if Jesus came back and created peace on earth and justice for all. Do you think it is a cooincidence that since 1971 we have been governed by one gang after another, that labor has been screwed time after time, that the rich have gotten exponentially richer, that the middle class has gotten debt and a handful of dust?

          Earth to Mexico: these things are connected. The most prosperous 25 years of American history were 1946 to 1971. During those years we actually regenerated a middle class. Then Nixon and David Rockefeller made a deal with the Arabs to enrich the banks and the oil industry and send everyone else on the Road to Serfdom. That was the birth of fiat money. Germany kept it relatively honest until the Euro put an end to the Deutchmark. The really magnificent looter fortunes have been made since 1992. Another coincidence?

          1. gepay

            1946 to 1971 were good for the United States because in 1946 it had the only fully functional industrial economy in the world. So there was a really big pie to be divided. Big business was able to pass on the wage increases gathered by Unions onto the rest of the world. And there was an alternative system that launched the first satellite into orbit around the Earth. It launched the first man into orbit around the Earth. So door prizes were given to the American middle class. By 1971 this incredible head start had been sqandered by the evergrowing military industrial complex. The possible reformers (JFK, RFK, MLK, and others all over the world) had been assassinated. Then in the 70s it was decided by the PTB that they would use oil to indebt the developing world. When that played out and the Soviet Union gave up the Empire game, they used globalization to castrate the unions. The debt game then played out with the American middle class. Meanwhile the military industrial complex, big oil, and big finance continued their march to a New World Order. The evergrowing layers of the 1% now included the national security complex and the new IT titans as well as the old royal families of Europe.

      2. jake chase

        Hobbes? Hobbes told us life was ‘nasty, brutish and short.’ Of course this was before Medicare.

        Today our democracy democratically offers slavery to all of our people, without regard to race, color or natural origin. This is accomplished by debasement of money, the protection and encouragement of monopoly, and the substitution of usurious credit for wages.

        How come none of the people you quote have anything to say about money? Perhaps if they had known something about it their advice would be more useful, even if less inspirational?

        1. from Mexico

          jake chase says:

          Hobbes? Hobbes told us life was ‘nasty, brutish and short.’

          That he did. But your cherry picking of Hobbes leaves out a lot, and gives a highly distorted interpretation of his thought.

          According to Michael Allen Gillespie:

          For Hobbes thinking begins not with a sense of the overwhelming and inexplicable bounty of being but with a recognition that misery and death are close at hand and that we need to preserve ourselves. Fear leads us to search for the invisilbe causes behind all things…

          The final step is the recognition that by understanding causes we can develop a science that will make us masters and possessors of nature and enable us to eliminate the danger of violent death.

          — MICHAEL ALLEN GILLESPIE, The Theological Origins of Modernity

          Hobbes, according to Hannah Arendt, “was the true, though never fully recognized, philospher of the bourgeoisie.” As Danielle Celermajer explains, “for Hobbes literally, freedom in politics is an extension of freedom to be able to move, to be able to push obstacles, including other people, out of our way.”

          And as Arendt goes on to elaborate:

          There is hardly a single bourgeois moral standard which has not been anticipated by the unequaled magnficence of Hobbes’s logic…

          Power, according to Hobbes, is the accumulated control that permits the individual to fix prices and regulate supply and demand in such a way that they contribute to his own advantage. The individual will consider his advantage in complete isolation, from the point of view of an absolute minority, so to speak… Therefore, if man is actually driven by nothing but his individual interests, desire for power must be the fundamental passion of man. It regulates the relations between individual and society, and all other ambitions as well, for riches, knowledge, and honor follow from it.

          — HANNAH ARENDT, The Origins of Totalitarianism

          1. jake chase

            I tried to read Hannah Arendt but my copy was, literally, too heavy. It was published between hard covers by some amateur publisher on 100 lb stock and weighs about 15 pounds, far too much to hold up in bed. So, far I have managed to read about 50 pages. I’ll take your word that she said what you say she said.

            I think you would have had a great career in public relations, and have no doubt you could present either side with equal virtuosity. But I do not understand why you are standing up for dishonest money, since only the 1/10% really gets anything out of it.

            If men were angels Gomint would be unnecessary; if they were devils it would be impossible. (Hobbes)

            Since most of them are sheep, it works pretty well, for those in the business of fleecing them (Chase)

          2. Nalu Girl

            I tried looking up the phrase “Nasty, brutish and short” and my search engine asked me if I meant “Nasty, British and short.” Th reason I was trying to find the exact quote was that I recalled that the context was that if we did not have a religion or government-based enforcement of common morality life WOULD BE nasty brutish and short. This is not what most people take the quote to mean.

          3. from Mexico

            jake chase says:

            I do not understand why you are standing up for dishonest money, since only the 1/10% really gets anything out of it.

            I am not “standing up” for fiat money, if fiat money is what you mean when you say “dishonest money,” and if by “standing up” you mean I believe fiat money is always put to good purposes. In fact, I agree, as you say, that up until now “only the 1/10%” have gotten much out of fiat money. But I don’t believe it has to be that way. As far as I can tell, fiat money is value neutral, it is a monetary innovation, and it describes the reality of our monetary system since 1971. And sure, it requires violence to enforce, but that is true of any monetary system.

            Factual realism is not benign by itself, but only when joined with a benign value system. Facts by themselves can be used for good or ill. Values by themselves can’t achieve their goals without facts. Put them together and you have a belief system in which facutal realism works for good.

      3. jake chase

        I’ll see your Trotsky and raise you Veblen and Henry George.

        George got it right on taxing the unimproved value of land; Veblen got it right on everything else. It’s too nice a day to elaborate.

    3. McMike

      The first thing to keep in mind about Atlas Shruged is that the heroine INHERITED HER WEALTH… a rail business she earned by virtue of being born with a rich grandpa, and one which she and her brother promptly ran into the ground.

      1. mac

        About Atlas Shrugged, that is a Novel, the Libertarian Wizards should read some of Ayn’s nonfiction also.

      2. jake chase

        You state, [I] the problem on Wall Street is a high concentration of connected crony capitalists.

        [II] Wall Street has a high concentration of Ayn Rand disciples.

        Therefore, Ayn Rand is responsible for Wall Street? What you fail to understand is that without the backstop provided by the Fed (for which you can thank King Woodrow (mirabelle dictu, a Democrat), Wall Street would now be a black hole. Without the failure of law, courtesy of Obama (mirabelle dictu, another Democrat), the pricipal actors responsible for the crash would be sharing a bathroom with Jeff Skilling and Bernie Ebbers (remember them?)

        Wall Street is packed with crooks, but they rely on the system to continue stealing. Give honest money and honest law a chance. We haven’t tried either in 100 years.

        All men have two legs; all monkeys have two legs; all men are not monkeys, but some like bananas.

        1. McMike

          Libertarian and Randian deregulatory fever brought us the crooked system and crowded out the honest parties.

          Many of those Wall Street geeks who ripped the face off thier muppet clients by day keep a copy of Atlas Shrugged by the bedside.

          1. jake chase

            Nixon famously called himself a Keynesian. Perhaps you should blame JMK too?

            They may think Rand was extolling them but that is a misreading. Wall Street creates nothing. It extracts rents. It’s extractions depend upon Government assistance. When bankers know they will not be allowed to fail they do anything that generates short term profit and justifies bonus and stock option looting.

            In the Seventies, Walter Wriston bet his bank (Citicorp) on loans to developing countries. Mexico went to the brink of default. The US Treasury bailed Citi out. For the past 15 years it has been residential mortgage loans to anyone willing to sign his name. Since 1999 it has been credit default swaps. The technique is always the same: book the profit, collect the bonus, leave the taxpayer holding the bag.

    4. Who is John Leech?

      I don’t know that this is “going Galt”. Rather — as the article argues — by parking 12 miles from Silicon Valley instead of the middle of the Pacific, it’s more like “going leech”.

  3. Typing Monkey

    “My friend is the antithesis of a prude (foxy, often involved with more than one man at a time, no qualms about casual sex) ”

    What’s her phone number?

    1. jake chase

      What, you’re having trouble finding enough sluts? Have you tried going out at night, or in the daytime? If all else fails, move to Manhattan.

      1. rob

        Being the master of your own universe doesn’t necessarily make you a “slut”.Equal rights to “dating habits”, is good for everyone.I would hate to live in a world where sharia law, is applied.All the women all covered up and out of sight.

        1. jake chase

          Maybe you can get her phone number too.

          Have you considered that it may be a fools errand attempting to measure up to experienced women?

          Actually, had nature been consulted, every woman would have about sixteen men, each of whom would have a lot more time for golf, and more money too.

          1. cwaltz

            Oh really?

            Speaking as a member of the female half of the species I find your comment repelling.

            1) I don’t tell you how many women you need,please don’t insult Nature by insinuating that She says 17 is the ideal number of mates a female needs.

            2) Some of us have criteria and see men as something other than a wallet. It’s been my experience that quite often the males who get treated like a wallet are the same ones that treat women like they are trophies. Coincidence or karma? I’ll let you decide.

          2. EconCCX

            @ cwaltz I don’t tell you how many women you need,please don’t insult Nature by insinuating that She says 17 is the ideal number of mates a female needs.

            Do you two know each other? Or are you expecting Jake to calibrate his comments according to what some random individual he hasn’t met doesn’t say to him? Do you imagine that this rhetorical trick of the kitchen table retains its silencing power outside your bullying circle?

            Moreover, Jake made no claim about the number of mates a female needs. He was observing, as I see it, that nature has made human males feral varietists, demanding only a fleeting and meager reproductive contribution while rewarding the DNA of those least inclined to linger.

            However we were devised by nature, civilizations that operate on the feral male model are defenseless and easily plundered and assimilated. So estrangement of the male from family life leads not to affluence, leisure, golf rounds and intimate romps, but to the rapid oblivion of societies so organized.

          3. cwaltz

            EconCCX says: Do you two know each other? Or are you expecting Jake to calibrate his comments according to what some random individual he hasn’t met doesn’t say to him? Do you imagine that this rhetorical trick of the kitchen table retains its silencing power outside your bullying circle?

            His comment was a generalized comment based on his own “random” study of men and women. My expectation was that he not generalize. Particularly, when the generalization is INACCURATE. I thought I was pretty clear on that. Perhaps some reading comprehension classes are in order.

            He was observing, as I see it, that nature has made human males feral varietists, demanding only a fleeting and meager reproductive contribution while rewarding the DNA of those least inclined to linger.

            So now YOU want to speak for nature? Listen bud, just because YOU and jake behave like feral animals doesn’t mean every man does. You may not understand the concept that quality trumps quantity but there are men out there that have evolved enough to grasp that concept. For the record, Nature rewarded my spouse of 20 years with 4 children and he didn’t need to get with 17 women to pass on his DNA.

            Nice try bullying me though.

  4. Typing Monkey

    I doubt this business idea is going to go anywhere, but if it does, I think you’re missing the point. Visas aside, you don’t really need to have a lot of employees on the ship for the idea to be profitable. Rather, you need to be able to say that the work was generated (and perhaps sold) offshore in order to avoid taxes.

    If we’re talking about code, that can be done anywhere.

    Incidentally, if you are only 12 miles offshore, you may not need to depend on satellite for communications.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      After a few months at 12 miles out to sea, they won’t be able to communicate anything coherent anyway, so why bother?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      You don’t appear to understand the economics of running ships. They have massive staff to passenger ratios because everything needs to be brought out to and done on the ship. Now this ship will have less in the way of entertainment, won’t be spending fuel on going port to port, and probably won’t have the same level of housekeeping as a normal cruise ship, but it will have to have more in the way of other facilities (dry cleaning, laundry, meeting rooms, much more in the way of exercise facilities) that it may be close to a wash.

      1. ChrisPacific

        The location will allow startup entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world to start or grow their company near Silicon Valley, without the need for a U.S. work visa.

        Much like the companies in Richard Smith’s New Zealand series, I imagine, except without the disclosure and registration requirements that make it possible to track their activities.

        ‘Snow Crash’ by Neal Stephenson features a similar concept. I wonder if the Blueseed CEO is named L. Bob Rife?

  5. Howard Beale IV

    I saw this and I laughed my ass off. Anybody trying to do any manufactruring of any type in this kind of environment will quickly find this unworkable-especially any kind of precision manufacturing.

    First off-they need a good-sized ship (actually, they need an fscking aircraft carrier.) If these folks think they can buy one off the shelf and retrofit to their requirements in less than 12 months, yow would have thought that an entire flotilla of Galtian ship-based fifedoms would already be sailing away. But as we have seen with a rash of cruise-line incidents; it seems to me these folks haven’t quite thought this whole thing out.

    As for the high-speed communications aspect-if you want any reliable high-speed access you’re talking either fixed-point microwave or optical undersea cable-neither one will be cheap to provision-and with a ship on the ocean, keeping a floating lock on a land-based micorwave tower is a non-trivial exercise.

    I just want to know what these guys are smoking…so I can avoid it.

    1. Typing Monkey

      “if you want any reliable high-speed access you’re talking either fixed-point microwave or optical undersea cable-neither one will be cheap to provision-and with a ship on the ocean, keeping a floating lock on a land-based microwave tower is a non-trivial exercise.”

      Well, considering I wouldn’t have to pay income tax, sales tax, unemployment insurance, licensing fees, social security, medicare, worker’s comp, etc, I’m pretty sure that I could afford the comm link.

      I unfortunately can not afford a yacht yet and therefore have no experience with it, but I don’t see why it would be so difficult to lock onto one (or two) land based microwave tower(s) that is a mere twelve miles away. I’m not moving the boat around for the most part–I’m anchoring it in pretty shallow water.

      Again, to be absolutely clear, I do not believe that this idea is going to go anywhere. But on a purely operating basis, I don’t believe that it is necessarily unviable for certain businesses–especially ones that are highly regulated or which don’t produce physical products (code, casinos, brothels, etc).

      1. Stephen Gardner

        “I don’t see why it would be so difficult to lock onto one (or two) land based microwave tower(s) that is a mere twelve miles away.”. That’s probably because you haven’t considered the problem on a sufficiently detailed level. Let me get you started. The shore to ship link isn’t the big problem. Although power is a problem even there because of nearby residents who may object to microwave energy in a fat, powerful lobe warming their soup outside their microwave oven. Let’s assume that you want two nice tightly lobed patterns (one for each link). Now think about keeping two flashlights aimed directly at each other across twelve miles in choppy seas. By the way how tall do they have to be to have line of sight at twelve miles? What SNR do you need for the same bandwidth and six nines reliability like they would have on land?

        The link to land is just one of many engineering problems that has to be solved before anyone even thinks about these guys’ money. Oh, wait, these guys are all Randroids. Never mind. It’s all good. Fleece ’em.

      2. JTFaraday

        “Well, considering I wouldn’t have to pay income tax, sales tax, unemployment insurance, licensing fees, social security, medicare, worker’s comp, etc…”

        I can see why you want the foxy monkey with the other boyfriend(s).

    2. Dogberry

      A dual 802.11n wifi set-up will handle 12 miles easily and deliver 300mbps – not what you can get over dedicated fibre, admittedly, but more than fast enough for most anything.

      1. Stephen Gardner

        Do you have a citation for this? I am skeptical to put it mildly! You see, dispute the simplicity of the Wikipedia page. Range is not just one number. A maximum range is a number like gas mileage. You need to consider power, conditions (fog, rain, land/sea path, motion of source), required bandwidth, and required error rate.

        1. Dogberry

          Sure 300mbps is the hypothetical transfer speed of a dual 802.11n set-up in ideal conditions. What you could actually achieve depends on a lot of variables, not the least of which is the height of the landside transmitter as in my experience wifi doesn’t much like passing flat across water.

          However, allowing for 30m height at the ship end and 100m at the land end I’d be comfortable guaranteeing 250mbps across 12 miles and that’s with off-the-shelf gear in the 5GHz public user domain.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      The real technical issue isn’t communication; it’s remaining stationary for long periods. Ships aren’t made for that. Being 12 miles out at sea for any length of time will run havoc on any engine or power system. And that can not be resolved by simply turning it on to idle for a while each day (which would get very expensive anyway). At the same time, you can’t run a proper labor sweat shop if you’re going up and down the coast. The cost of fuel alone would prohibit it, but there are plenty of other reasons it wouldn’t work as a model. But you can’t simply put a big barge out there (something you tow) since there is no stabilization system in existence that can handle even moderately rough weather and once things get really rough, no tug boat would have anything to do with it. So, at best, just considering weather, you will have people at high risk of being caught in sudden storms where evacuation is difficult to impossible.

      I suppose you could define your project boundaries such that a given phase was “complete” each time the code-heads were washed over-board and a new set had to be imported…

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        I should have said, “no economically viable stabilization system in existence”. If you have a spare half a billion or so, you can do like the oil rigs and that will work for everything up to a major storm. Otherwise, you have to be able to move about 300 miles or so and get under way on short notice.

  6. 1 Kings

    Spy Who Loved Me II? Last movie for D.Craig, with Barbara Bach of course(at 65 still ridiculously hot).
    And if we’re gonna blow it up, at least let’s accompany it with Classical, due respect for a classic.

  7. Jim Haygood

    The offshore tech ship is actually a science fiction trope that goes back at least to Robert Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (1966), if not a lot farther.

    In 2075, underground colonies are scattered across the Moon (Luna), of whom most inhabitants (called “Loonies”) are criminals, political exiles, or descendants thereof.

    The total population is about three million, with men outnumbering women 2:1, so that polyandry is the norm.

    Although Earth’s Protector of the Lunar Colonies (called the “Warden”) holds power, in practice there is little intervention in the loose Lunar society.

    You too can be a starship trooper.

  8. Schofield

    The thing to understand about Libertarians is that they really don’t think there’s any such thing as “collective governance” not even amongst our primate cousins the chimpanzees when they do their “Waw…Waw” vocalization to deter aggression within their group.

  9. McMike

    Wait’ll they get hit with their first norowalk virus… Mommmmmmieeeeee!

    Of course, they’ll need their own navy and coast guard, i mean, why the hell should we protect them from pirates and rescue them from storms?

    By the way, to be true Rand disciples, shouldn’t they invent their own internet, without government subsidy?

  10. Ep3

    Yves, r u sure this is for the wealthy? To me, I can imagine richies having their wage slave employees living on these boats so they don’t have to follow any labor laws or adhere to a living wage.

  11. Furzy Mouse

    I just recalled a boat trip to see the whales off the coast of San Francisco, around ’05…my husband’s birthday prize…and off we went into some of the roughest weather-blown, rolling waves I’d ever witnessed…yet, you would have to say, normal, windy ocean weather…we joked around while people slid around the deck and became rather ill..!!did see whales!!.

  12. Cameron Hoppe

    I think this is actually a good idea if you can find enough people to go along with it. There’s a mountain of problems to be dealt with. I think the social setting stuff you deal with is among the least of them. Start with maintenance for a ship that doesn’t intend to enter port, supply, removal of waste. How does the ship deal with bad behavior? In international waters a ship’s captain has tremendous authority from indefinite detention to casting offenders overboard.

    As for this being a place for geeks, coders, and IT entrepreneurs, I find it highly unlikely. Accomodations like this will cost a pile of money. A cruise on an ordinary ship costs $100 a day minimum. The cruise company has to have at least 90% of cabins sold to have a profitable voyage. And if you think it’s just well-meaning folks going to show up, you’re nuts. The place will be chock-full of folks hoping to avoid extradition, drug and weapons traffickers, terrorism financiers, etc. We’ll see how long it remains an offshore haven when the USS Bainbridge or some such shows up demanding to inspect all cargo or that a passenger be handed over for trial.

    As for sexual services, those will show up and it won’t take long. The ship won’t have to supply them, just turn a blind eye, and/or demand a cut. It’s an interesting idea, but I see too many risks for this whole thing to be insurable. If it’s not insurable, no big investor will consider it. Sigh!

    1. darms

      I would think the current epidemic of poop cruises would have put a stop to this kind of nonsense. Oh well…

  13. HotFlash

    This does not seem like a good venue for its stated purpose.

    If I were a high-tech innovator, the *VERY LAST* thing I would want is a whole boat-load of hungry high-tech innovator wannabes snooping my precious ideas. This would work nicely for exploitation, idea theft and piracy, though. Me, I would want to be the IT boss and skim that ‘high-speed internet’ for useful info. Heh. All’s fair…

    “The location will allow startup entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world to start or grow their company near Silicon Valley, without the need for a U.S. work visa. The ship will be converted into a coworking and co-living space

    1. cwaltz

      Idea theft?

      In international waters I’m pretty sure patent laws won’t apply.

      Won’t that be fun for the would be innovaters?

  14. Sufferin' Succotash

    Look at it this way. If the toilets overflow the passengers/inmates can reflect on the virtues of “socialist” sewage removal systems as they pick their way through masses of doo-doo.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Actually, no. Each sovereign citizen on board will be required to carry their own “Personal Waste Disposal Unit” with then at all times, in contradistinction to the collectivist plumbing systems on shore. Beccause freedom!

  15. Brooklin Bridge

    Sounds like a real hell hole. The code coming off that ship is going to be one gigantic “get me out-a here” loop.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      A few suggestions to the architect. The black bars in the back of that common room depiction are appropriate, but not close enough together and that’s not the only poorly thought out aspect of your scam. Your stabilization mechanism is, by definition, a joke in any sort of severe weather. Even oil rigs are abandoned during major storms and they are truly high tech.

      1. Ms G

        Endless Loop From the Ship: “May Day May Day May Day.”

        Shore to Ship Response: “Rand Gault Rand Gault Rand Gault” [and no assistance units activated]

  16. BondsOfSteel

    I think the idea is less to live on the ship, and more to get work get paid on it. The first $95,100 would be tax free no? Plus, a 12 mile ferry? That commute is short in the bay area.

    Like most Galt fantasies, it’s less about creating things and more about stealing from the commons.

    1. McMike

      But if the ship founders, you can seize it and claim ownership of all the businesses and patents, and force all the geeks to be your cabin boys.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Moving people 12 miles out to sea and back on a regular basis gets to be pretty heavy duty pretty quick. It might work, logistically at least, for the rich who don’t have to be anywhere at any particular time, but not so much for a business that needs to meet schedules.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          That may work when the mission is to keep the oil rig going and you’re willing to pay for the extra man power needed to make up for bad weather, and willing to pay high salaries for a high risk environment, but if you are trying to meet on-shore schedules for start-ups efficiently, not so much. Note also, with a few exceptions, all those oil rig guys can think about while on the rig is when they are getting off the rig.

          1. McMike

            What the difference between spending 14 hours a day earning out your H1B visa in a cubicle farm in some office park, versus on a repurposed cruise ship?

            They can put foosball tables and capuccino makers on the ships.

            Actually, I think the point of the ship is just to be a floating mail drop, sort of a Caymen adress where you can still go to Giants games.

          2. Yves Smith Post author


            If you spend a week on a ship and don’t get off, the answer will be bloomin’s obvious.

  17. PeonInChief

    Well, if they have a problem–power breakdown, illness, food, and so on–we just tell them they’re outside our jurisdictional limit and they’ll have to find their own way out of the problem.

    There were proposals to do this, oh, 30 years ago. Factory ships would travel from port to port, getting the cheapest labor and lowest taxes. That was actually more sensible, in that they could get land-based services.

  18. Robert Dudek

    If these are supposed to be entrepreneurs, who will they sell their products to – each other?

    It sounds Galtian when convenient only.

  19. Brooklin Bridge

    Again, the only way you will get people to stay on a stationary ship 12 miles out to sea for any length of time is by moving the bars depicted in that common area (and on the cabin windows) a lot closer together. Land will look like a blue gray ribbon on a clear day and everywhere else will be water water and more water.

  20. Edward

    Are these people free to build a meth lab? A darker version of this idea is used by the U.S. military, which holds some of its ghost prisoners on ships, because they are considered law-free zones.

    1. McMike

      Any structure that will house thousands of people in close quarters for long periods of time with a chance for privation will always have to be a bit like a prison.

      The drawings don’t show the Safe Room for the senior crew.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      You can see the bars even in the picture of the rec room above (at the end). Of course they are not close enough together but then that depiction is just for marketing purposes.

  21. steve from virginia

    The company does not appear to have any ship(s) … newbuild ocean-going ships are not cheap. $300 million to $1 billion or more. Not easy to finance as general cargo ships are under-subscribed with many more new ships in the pipeline. Operating costs are additional $5,000/hour and up (for cargo vessels, cruise ships are much higher due to the need for a large crew).

    Last year a newbuild cape-size oil tanker was for sale on Yachtworld … not a passenger vessel but basically a large floating tank … $2 billion.

    Nothing is mentioned about insurance, re-supply, sewage (a big problem vis Coast Guard), cargo handling, SOLAS, etc. Cruise ships dock frequently to take on fresh water and food, to make repairs and to discharge waste. Even so, there are breakdowns and ‘accidents’.

    The ship would require prodigious amounts of either diesel fuel or polluting bunker fuel. Cruise ships waste as much energy as do airliners. The cruisers pay for themselves because they are basically floating gambling casinos.

    The Pacific coast is hit with real live storms from November to March. Being on a big boat with 1000 seasick people is … nauseating.

    1. McMike

      This thing is increasingly sounding like a scheme to seperate some “ground floor” “investors” from their money.

      Of maybe land some government grants and contracts.

    2. bob

      “basically a large floating tank”

      Even that isn’t accurate for most people. The giant open space in the picture is not at all feasable.

      The giant “tanks” all have supports running through them.

      Ships need lots of interior support.

      You seem much more knowlegable then me, but I had to add that.

  22. Brooklin Bridge

    Actually, the whole thing is utterly absurd. It’s technically difficult in the extream. It’s a horrible place to live for any length of time. Everything about it is expensive as hell and dangerous to boot unless the whole lot of em going down meant nothing more to the “owners” than, say, coming up with a new version number and throwing another bunch of “guests” on another ship.

    1. Ms G

      Entrepreneur Cruise 2.0

      Entrepreneur Cruise 2.3

      Entrepreneur Cruise 3.1

      etc., etc. No costs for handling the bodies of the participants in each Cruise Version — just salt water + sharks!

  23. DC

    The weather off San Francisco is never flat and much of the year downright ugly. Good luck trying to concentrate on a computer screen while rolling your guts out. Even big boats toss around. Its the silliest idea I have ever heard.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Hmmm, that might be a fun project; get the image to appear stationary to the viewer even as he or she is violently tossed about… Naa, it’s already been done or close enough.

      1. McMike


        Actualy, I thought that heavy seas were a result of government intervention. Absent the gummint, the seas would be perfectly flat.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Well if it’s a Web project (as Proust might have said) at least there is, “No need to remember your cookies if you have already lost them…”

  24. Brooklin Bridge

    Part of the problem when we have no system of law for the 1% may be that the ideas they come up with are totally un-glued to reality.

  25. kevinearick

    no place to hide…

    Killing Fields

    They haven’t even finished planting their seeds and they are spending the money, leverage on property they stole in the last round. So, you are low on cash flow to pay the increasing taxes and you rent your land out to a pot grower. With the proceeds, free money, he bids up the price of real estate, and screws you in every which way, because he’s a civil servant.

    An empire is monkeys typing on a keyboard hoping to generate a program that will dig them out of the last mess they created. To adjust gravity, let them steal your “random” program and think they have destroyed you in the process, leaving the Newsoms of the world “thinking” they are successful.

    All the stores are fronts for the drug trade. Flush out the last population and bring in the next, to keep the growing population of civil servants busy, one the same as the next, in a row of teeth, in a shark that cannot stop.

    If they sold drugs like cigarettes, the economy would collapse. Never buy pot. If you must smoke, trade for it, and the best thing to trade is potential, because the monkeys destroy kinetic energy every time. Remember that Eastwood flick where he has them burn their own town down, after hanging and failing to kill him?

    Coming from tobacco, which I tell everyone who cares to look, by the way I smoke a Camel short, why would a peer workgroup pressure me to trade my paycheck for cocaine, upon termination for denial and the argument that it is cheap because it is from Connecticut or Rhode Island, when I can harvest better than these bozos, pulling all the sharks into the killing field? Monkeys.

    A seed for $500 an ounce of bush and a piece of coveted property is an awful lot of monetary leverage. It’s pretty simple; don’t show up to a jobsite with your best tools where the inflation rate of real estate is greater than the inflation rate of your labor. If you don’t want sharks, don’t feed them.

  26. different clue

    Since taxes pay for police and law enforcement among other things, all the governments of the world (national/state/county/city/etc) should announce that they will let the denizens of these offshore tax-haven ships live out the full meaning of their tax-refusal libertarianism by refusing to provide any benefits of law enforcement to any denizens of those ships. In other words, there will be no government enforcement of laws against mugging, burglary, murder, kidnapping for ransom, etc. committed against a person on one of these ships.

    So if you are physically present on one of these ships and you get kidnapped for ransom, you can either pay the ransom, or someone else can pay it; or you can just die. Governments at every level should make such an announcement very loud over every media device and megaphone.

    1. Ms G

      Problem is that while taxpayers pay for the police forces and the armies, the .01% have appropriated these for their private purposes, including, for ex., enforcing the “Law of the Cruise.” (Remember Michael Bloomberg: “I have my own private army” — referring to the NYPD; and the JPM “foundation” that funnels extra cash to NYPD for special services.)

  27. diane

    You are a treasure, Yves.

    Thank you so much for the huge smile you brought me with this post. If I’m not mistaken, I believe little Petey Thiel was at the forefront of those Seafaring, …. Thought Leaders!

    11/28/11 – No Death, No TaxesThe libertarian futurism of a Silicon Valley billionaire. By George Packer

    Thiel is no different. He wants to live forever, have the option to escape to outer space or an oceanic city-state, and play chess against a robot that can discuss Tolkien, because these were the fantasies that filled his childhood imagination.

  28. Chris Engel

    Just more evidence that the rich need more tax cuts. (sarc)

    Clearly they don’t have enough money…if they’re buying offshore boat cities to live off American soil to evade even more taxes than they already do.

    These sorts of events should be clear indicators for American policymakers that they need to get serious about ending these absurd tax expenditures and loopholes for the wealthy.

    1. diane

      I’m a tad bit unclear (especially having read a bit of your prior commentary here) as to whether you are implying that those American (did you mean US policymakers, which is quite different than that blanket America (over all, slightly darker skinned, and far less powerful as a whole) categorization) “policymakers” actually would do the right thing if they understood what that meant, especially since they have had plenty of time to figure that one out at this point in time.

  29. Veri

    Do business in America. Pay taxes. Want to be an international person who does business in America (or any country for that matter) while living in an international zone?

    Pay taxes.

    It really is not so hard to write the legislation. Passing it would be another matter.

  30. rhelonegunman

    Have fun being ‘country-less’ in international waters… If i were a pirate, your’s would be the first boat i’d seize and hold your ass ransom… Without a country to whom you pay tax, do you REALLY believe any government would put their tax-paying sons in harm’s way to save your greedy ass?
    I’d say ‘not’…

  31. diane

    … do you REALLY believe any government would put their tax-paying sons in harm’s way to save your greedy ass?
    I’d say ‘not’…

    So sorry, but Huh? The U$ “government” ……. did that quite some time ago.

    1. cwaltz

      We should totally figure out what we’re going to charge them to save their sorry backsides.

      I hear that municipalities are charging tax paying people for their “rescues” so I figure when they send out a distress signal we should have a pre pay upfront fee for them. Kinda like an “uninsured” tier system too.

  32. Lidia

    This was in our local paper this morning. While the whole thing is laughable especially in light of the many recent cruise-ship breakdowns, what really struck me was what they thought they could get the “entrepreneurs” to pay for the privilege of being cooped up on a boat most of the time: $1200/month for a SHARED cabin. Anyone who’s been on a cruise ship knows how claustrophobic those cabins can get, even with your significant other on honeymoon. Imagine a MONTH with some other geek roomie 6 feet away from you at the most.

    Then the “Blueseed” people demand a 6% equity stake!

    1. Ms G

      Wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out that “Blueseed” is a joint venture of entities including Carnival Cruiselines?

      No way the last 60 days of Sewer Cruise news isn’t going to blow up *this* genius plan. Besides all the other reasons highlighted in this comment thread!

  33. Lidia

    Another “who knows how anyone is supposed to make money” scheme was also featured in the same paper: Northern Vermont, a god-foresaken wilderness for the most part, is now the proposed site of a huge year-round resort expansion and a biotech center to be plopped there out of nowhere. Footing the mega-million-dollar bill will be foreign E-5 visa applicants who pony up $500k each (with no oversight nor guarantees of recouping their money) in order to jump the line for green cards.

    This area is two hours from anywhere, and these structures are destined to be white elephants.

    In the financial universe, it seems as though far many more tails are wagging dogs than vice versa. Looting is almost understandable; this is the opposite of looting: pissing money down a black hole guaranteeing pain for all involved.

    1. Ms G

      For sure guaranteeing pain for the sucker E5 people and the Vermonters. For the Masters of the Universe who would be collecting the $500K per sucker, not so much pain.

  34. KY

    It’s not for Americans. Americans are taxed on worldwide income. If they happen to be very rich, they pay no income tax at all and only nominal capital gains tax (Romney style).

    I think the originators of this idea have it the wrong way around. For foreign entrepreneurs, the cost to them is not personal taxation but the cost of capital for physical assets and labor. Better, I think to have off-shore, sweatshop work barges tailored to low cost manufacturing; and being only 12 miles off-shore, its minimal shipping costs too.

    Imagine Channel or Louis Vuitton shipping raw material to Rag-Trade work barges with its contingent Indonesian and Mexican crew, absent all that employment law nonsense; then importing finished goods to the onshore 1% without all that international trade agreement stuff and import tariff nonsense (or they could yacht to the respective barges and buy at ‘manufacture’s discounted prices – every little counts). Or Apple, having its tech barges holding thousands of Chinese and Taiwanese crew with clean rooms (and, naturally, the requisite rice silos), manufacturing the latest sexy, and smooth edged glass “thang” for a fraction of the price. It’s free market, capitalism, Aryan Rand, nonsense free innovation – true entrepreneurism or what?

    Of course, the US would have to increase its coast guard and submarine patrols; and place submersible anti-personnel mines along the shoreline – but that’s just the cost of doing business in the new, offshore economy – let’s see the Mexicans walk those 12 miles (we know the 1% can, so already it’s an automatic border control mechanism). Shit, the more I think about it the better this idea becomes.

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