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Sea-“steading” Semantics and a Socratic Dialogue on Seceding from Spain

October 30, 2017
Four years ago, DeltaSync debuted a preliminary plan which estimated that a series of platforms for 20 to 30 people would cost around $15 million. With one-fifth of the space reserved for open greenery, the firm estimates living space would cost about $500 per square foot, which is just over half as much as the average price per square foot in New York City (and less than a third of the price of Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side).

Later, Wachs is critical of frontiersman language – like “homesteading” – which she associates with genocide and colonialism. I don’t hesitate to speak positively about homesteading, which has a noble intellectual tradition when bound up with the Lockean proviso: while individuals have a right to homestead private property from nature by working on it, they can do so only “…at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others.”

Still, we must remember that the Homestead Act gave rise to the Trail of Tears, and reflect on the maladies the global north has brought to the western and southern hemispheres.


What is the modern equivalent of cholera?

It is equally important to push back against the idea that seasteading is somehow ‘colonialism 2.0.’ The subtle art of subjugation has been evolving all along, and the right to self-determination was never re-established in the South Pacific. After all, this was just 50 years ago.

Hopefully seasteading will help countries like French Polynesia in the on-going quest for self-determination.

2. Dialogue on Catalan Independence, By Jason Sorens, Pileus Blog

If you haven’t followed the news out of Catalonia, this socratic dialogue between an imagined opponent and supporter of independence will get you up to speed on the issue, from the right to self determination…

TONI (Independence Opponent): The right to self-determination is not an individual right like freedom of expression or the right to vote; it’s a collective right and therefore subject to far stricter limits. Your right to secede infringes on the rights of others who do not want secession. Like me.

…to the political status…

TONI: [Independence] could happen, but only if we stay in Spain and make the case. Persuasion is the way to go, not just leaving. Once you leave, you can’t go back.

GEMMA (Independence Supporter): If you had a girlfriend who told you that she would beat you violently if you ever tried to leave her, wouldn’t that make you want to leave her more?

…to the economics…

GEMMA: No one denies there will be short-run costs to independence. The long-run benefits are larger. If Spain is willing to harm Catalans by keeping us outside the EU after independence, they will also be willing to harm us when we are under their thumb. At least independence lets us negotiate with other European countries as an equal. WTO membership will happen relatively quickly. Also note that as long as other countries do not recognize Catalonia’s independence, our goods will have access to European and global markets on the same terms as Spanish goods. There is no reason recognition of our independence and accession to the WTO and EU could not happen around the same time.

TONI: It’s odd, you have to admit, for independentists to hope that Catalonia’s independence is denied recognition so that Catalonia’s citizens are still treated as if they were Spanish citizens. If Catalonia is denied recognition, other European countries are not going to negotiate with Catalonia as an equal. You cannot have it both ways: all the rights and benefits of independence but none of the duties and costs. The short-term costs of secession could be huge. Just look at all the businesses moving out of Catalonia.

I guess exit works both works ways.

  1. October 30, 2017 10:57 pm

    I appreciate you guys posting again!

    Typo at the end there: “I guess exit works both works ways.”


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