Paypal Founder Peter Thiel Funding World’s First Floating City

An independent nation could soon be floating on the ocean and be devoid of any government or politics. The man who founded the payment service PayPal, Peter Theil, is throwing his funds behind this new community, which could be up and floating within three years.

It would be based near Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean and would operate within its own laws (a bit like Blackpool on a Friday night).

The concept is being developed by non-profit organisation Seasteading Institute, which hopes to 'liberate humanity from politicians'. The group reckons it will need about $60million (£45million) to build the city and have it ready by 2020.

Floating City
Floating City

Artist's impression of what the city could look like. Credit: Seasteading Institute/Gabriel Sheare, Luke & Lourdes Crowley, and Patrick White

The non-government initiative has been approved by the French Polynesian government and work is underway to ensure it can have its own trade laws. The Daily Mail explains that the tiny collection of islands is interested in the project as their livelihoods are being threatened by rising sea levels.

Seasteading Institue presdent Joe Quirk has told the New York Times he got his inspiration from an unlikely source: Burning Man Festival. The annual, week-long gathering in the Nevada desert exposed him to a society that makes its own rules.

"Anyone who goes to Burning Man multiple times becomes fascinated by the way that rules don't observe their usual parameters," he said.

He reckons a floating city will break the shackles of the ordinary man or woman and allow them to live their lives as they want. Quirk added: "Governments just don't get better. They're stuck in previous centuries. That's because land incentivises a violent monopoly to control it."

Floating city
Floating city

Artist's impression of what the city could look like. Credit: Seasteading Institute/Gabriel Sheare, Luke & Lourdes Crowley, and Patrick White

If you're wondering where you might have seen this concept before, you're not wrong. Actor Kevin Costner produced and starred in the 1995 film Waterworld, which was a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie about, you guessed it, a society living on a floating city. However, this was very far into the future where the polar ice caps had already melted and nearly all land on Earth had vanished.

Quirk is hoping this will be the start of the floating city revolution and expects there to be hundreds of them by 2050. They'll all have restaurants, hotels, offices and homes. It's hard to tell what laws will be prescribed on the islands and whether they'll also have their own fire and police departments as well as hospitals.

However, Quirk said: "The more people moving among [the floating cities], the more choices we'll have and the more likely it is we can have peace prosperity and innovation."

Could this be a utopia or a recipe for disaster?

Sources: Daily Mail, New York Times

Featured Image Credit: Seasteading Institute/Gabriel Sheare, Luke & Lourdes Crowley, and Patrick White

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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