Arnold Kling  

Two Ideas from Brad Templeton

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Geography and Economic Destiny... The Nation vs. "The Eco...

1. A Ship of Nomads.


My goal is to build a large ship and put around 100 decent sized condominiums on it for co-owners. The ship would have a few megabits of satellite connectivity for internet and telephone, plus equipment to quickly get more connectivity when in port.

Reminds me a bit of Seasteading. Thinking about why I would not like this makes you realize that Richard Florida is right about how much value you get from your location. As much as I do on line, and as much as I resent politicians, going on board a ship with only one hundred families would mean I have to either giving up folk dancing or spend my whole life around folk dancers. Neither option seems palatable. Megan would say that our communication technology is complementary with real human networks, not a substitute.

2. Deliverbots.


Deliverbots could range from very small (and light) robots the size of a dog to full-sized trucks ready to haul heavy cargo. Those moving cargo could summon up a deliverbot of the right size for their cargo. In many cases, people might have a car with very little cargo space, and have a deliverbot take their cargo for them while they ride in the car.

My late father had a 1984 Toyota Camry, which I am going to give to charity. I asked a law firm in St. Louis what I needed to do to get title to the car. They billed me $750 (more than the value of the car, obviously) for 4.1 hours of work. Included in this was a 0.6 hour charge for "Deliver envelope to Probate Issue Clerk."

That delivery probably cost me more than 10 times what it would have cost if they had used Fedex. So I guess if deliverbots where even cheaper, it would not have made a difference. HBS (I believe the acronym stands for Haullit, Billup, and Soakem) still would have delivered the envelope in person.

The deliverbot concept is intriguing. However, I think that kids would be really tempted to rob deliverbots, or just sabotage them for the fun of it. So that would mean that deliverbots would have to have self-defense capabilities or else depend on deterrence created by the judicial system. Either way, HBS would still get to do a lot of billing.


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CATEGORIES: Political Economy



COMMENTS (2 to date)
Jayson Virissimo writes:

"Thinking about why I would not like this makes you realize that Richard Florida is right about how much value you get from your location. As much as I do on line, and as much as I resent politicians, going on board a ship with only one hundred families would mean I have to either giving up folk dancing or spend my whole life around folk dancers. Neither option seems palatable."

I have the exact opposite response to the "value from location" idea. Imagine if every few months you were living in your same familiar condo, but in a new country with new things to do and people to meet? If the ship was traveling around from port to port, it would be like a never-ending adventure that you don't even have to leave home to experience.

Patri Friedman writes:

Yeah, the lack of network effects is definitely a big concern. That's why we are probably going to start with a resort, so that people are either vacationing or working there (like a cruise ship). Then over time we'll grow the community and slowly transition from a vacation destination to a full-time residence (for some), like Las Vegas. It's true that most people wouldn't want to live on a small remote platform, but as long as there are enough people who do want to live there to get things started, it's possible to grow a small community into a big city.

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