We’re not sure how closely you follow the fascinating world of college dropout fans Peter Thiel & Pals, but the writers at Betabeat have had more than one animated conversation about Thiel-funded libertarian utopias and life longevity experiments. One of the PayPal cofounder’s buddies is Patri Friedman, the San Francisco-based grandson of economist Milton Friedman, who shares some of Mr. Thiel’s notions of libertarian politics: mainly, that establishing floating cities in international zones will “give people the opportunity to peacefully test new ideas about how to live together.”
Mr. Thiel has funneled millions into the Seasteading Institute, the primary initiative working to construct these floating cities, which is the brainchild of Mr. Friedman. But recently, Mr. Friedman stepped down as the institute’s executive officer to become chairman of the board, a move that had some wondering whether Mr. Thiel and Mr. Friedman had had a falling out.
Not true, Mr. Friedman told us by phone last week. “[James Hogan and I] had actually been setting up a transition plan and finding new people to run it for six months or so. I’m more of a starter of projects than a maintainer and the institute seemed off to a good start. And I said, ‘Okay, what does this movement need next?’”
In fact, despite Mr. Friedman’s transition away from the day-to-day activities at Seasteading, he and Mr. Thiel are still business partners. Mr. Friedman told us that Mr. Thiel is “one of the major investors in Future Cities,” Mr. Friedman’s new pet project that exploits an amendment to the Honduran constitution and seeks “to build a chartered city within an uninhabited special development region in Honduras.”
Unfortunately, bureaucracy surrounding the new decision has slowed the project’s progress. But luckily for Mr. Friedman, he just scored a book deal with a major publishing house to write about the concept of seasteading.
“We have a seasteading book contract with Simon & Schuster,” he told us. “We got a nice advance, and so that’s coming out next year.”