How To Start A New Country: a review

The Principality of Sealand, a recognised micronation.

Recently Balaji S. Srinivasan wrote an article about the different ways to start a new country. Let's add some substance to this endeavour.

I think the easiest way to start a new country is to build a floating city. Why is that? Because you don't have to claim a piece of land that already belongs to a country and risk a conflict. International waters are vast and unconquered.

And we already know how to build huge ships that can carry thousands of people: cruise ships. So the technology, the ships and the space to build them, the sea, are already there.

What's also interesting about founding a country on a ship is that you can go wherever the climate and your neighbours are. If there is a hurricane or a maritime conflict, you can simply sail elsewhere. Even better, you could sail the seas according to the seasons. This would allow the ship's crew to enjoy good weather all year round and there would be huge savings on heating and air conditioning.

As for the laws that need to be written to govern a floating city, there are plenty of tools available on the internet. Aragon, for example, allows on-chain voting and on-chain financial management via decentralised autonomous organisations.

Thanks to initiatives such as StarLink (SpaceX), Kuiper (Amazon) and Sigfox (EutelSat), it is possible to connect to the Internet via satellite even in the middle of the ocean. People can work remotely for companies in other countries.

In terms of energy, the simplest way to generate electricity would be to cover the ship with solar panels. As the total installed capacity of solar power increased between 1976 and 2019, the cost of solar modules fell from $106 to $0.38 per watt.

Food is an important issue. How do you feed hundreds to thousands of citizens every day? Several technologies seem to be involved: vertical farms, which allow people to grow vegetables vertically under LED lights, permaculture, which produces an interesting yield per square metre and lab-grown food.

What about health? You can't live on a ship without a proper hospital on board! Infirmaries would need to be staffed 24 hours a day to care for patients. The staff should be able to provide advanced life support, emergency cardiovascular care and minor surgery. They would be expected to stabilise critically ill patients, perform appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and assist in the evacuation of critically ill or injured patients. Doctors and nurses would also be required to be fluent in the predominant language of the ship.

As for water, desalination is expensive, so the floating city would either have to import fresh water on a regular basis or develop a system for recycling used water.

Foreign relations would also be an important issue. Does the floating city want to be part of NATO? The World Trade Organisation? Interpol? Will it recognise international treaties?

Creating a new country is not an easy task, because there's everything to build. But it's also very permissive, because national laws, rules and bureaucracies don't exist yet.