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Category — Private Property Rights

‘Theft of the Subsoil’ (Guillermo Yeatts on Latin/South America mineral-rights reform)

“[There is] a general economic maxim: public [government] resources are really private, owned and exploited by a political elite, while private resources are really public, owned and managed by a multitude. Government-owned resources do not ‘belong to all of the people’ and allow ‘self determination;’ they belong to none or a very few.”

- R. Bradley, Foreword to G. Yeatts, Subsurface Wealth: The Struggle for Privatization in Argentina (Foundation for Economic Education, 1997), pp. xv–xvi.

The recent reform of Mexico’s Constitution to allow private investment (up to $20 billion in production-sharing agreements) still leaves state-owned PEMEX with a legal monopoly for oil and gas development inside the country. But it is a start at reform that may turn into a deregulatory, privatization dynamic.

More, indeed, awaits to open the energy sector internal and external competition and to foreign investment in any amounts:

1) Competition to PEMEX in all oil and gas areas should be legalized;

2) PEMEX shares be allocated to the country’s private citizens;

3) Subsoil mineral rights should be assigned–with deed of title–to the (private) surface owners of land. Surface land not privately owned can be privatized with mineral rights attached.

Thus, Mexico’s recent reform can be seen as the first of four steps to fundamental reform so that mineral wealth can benefit the masses, not just a political elite. [Read more →]

February 6, 2014   No Comments

Seasteading and Stewardship: An Introduction to a New Frontier

[Editor note: The growing importance of offshore mineral development (including oil and gas) makes property rights and the rule of law important for 21st century development.

In this post, Mr. Borders introduces us to this new frontier of human ingenuity. Cities of the sea will be way stations for a variety of commercial activities, including ultra-deep mineral development in future decades and centuries. ]

“History teaches us that we see incredible gains for civilization whenever a new frontier is developed. Seasteads represent a freedom frontier unique in the world: offering a chance to provide social, economic and political freedom to its citizens. Humanity will benefit from more places open to liberty, opportunity, free markets and innovation in everything.”

- Jim Von Ehr, founder and CEO, Zyvex Labs

When I tell people I’ve been working part-time as a scholar with the Seasteading Institute (see description below), I usually encounter polite skepticism. Fair enough. New things are often greeted with skepticism. But I’d like to offer some reasons to be lessskeptical of seasteading. In particular, this movement/enterprise could go toward solving some of the most pressing resource and environmental problems of our time.

Seasteading Defined

Imagine a city on the sea. This city could very well be a cluster of floating platforms like the platform pictured below. Given the modularity and mobility of these future platforms, each will likely position itself as a beneficial unit within a commercial ecosystem.



Like benevolentfungi, seasteads are likely to accrete where their presence is most highly valued. These clusters might crop up near resource-rich areas. Or they might emerge near urban centers. Wherever they arise, seastead clusters will likely be the next frontier of human expansion. At the Seasteading Institute, we are most excited about the new legal rulesets that will emerge as people live, love, barter and cooperate.

Common(s) Problems? [

July 29, 2011   1 Comment