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Utopian Thought

PayPal and Seasteading

Silicon Valley millionaire Peter Thiel talks about his interest in the Seasteading Institute in the September 2011 issue of Details magazine.   As you know, steasteading is the estabilshment of a city-state floating in international waters, which Details magazine - not Thiel - describes as a libertarian petri dish.  Thiel's comparison describes a seastead as a nation established as a corporation, which isn't a particularly bad idea from a Fourierism standpoint, but if the goal is evasion of taxes and intentional lawlessness, it's doomed to fail.  Thiel described the creation of PayPal originally as a means for an international nationstate-free currency for the internet - the system never took off in that way, but it certainly worked off its rough edges and is a useful entity for international commerce today.  Maybe once seasteading wears away its rough Libertarian fantasies, it might prove useful as a way to fill in the gaps between the enormous nationstates and the individuals like PayPal has done.

 

Thirty Years of War

I know this is hardly a 'utopian' view of the world, but it certainly is a theoretical society built on a conceit: 30 years of ecological war will leave the world undone, destroying nation-states as we know them.  Note that it isn't "war", in the sense that tanks and drones are blowing shit up...it's a war for energy independence, in a world where thirty years is enough time for the world to completely be up-ended, as they've been predicting for the past fifty years.   Maybe thirty years is too short a time - try a hundred years, three hundred years, because there's more to the charts than an arrow that keeps going up.   Maybe I'm being utopian, but I think we're going to have clean, resilient energy long before the coasts flood and the arctic becomes tropical, and thirty years isn't enough time for either of 'em to resolve.   A world where we've harnessed the power of algae and the sun, just in time to react to ecological disaster, is the kind of thing found in sixties sci-fi utopias.

 

Utopias: Doomed By Dogma

Chronosphere has taken the question, "where's my flying car?" and replaced it with, "why haven't we gotten around to inventing a good flying car yet?"  The answer is that society's values need to line up creative invention with society's ability to handle it.

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