Speaking of schemes, some people dream of creating their own little island nations where they can make up their own little laws (and perhaps their own money). An article in the June 2009 issue of Reason magazine mentions a group that made their own coins in the early 1970s. The coin was called a "deca" because it contained a decagram of silver.
Is anyone familiar with these? I contacted Oded Paz of the Unrecognized States Numismatic Society, and he may be able to provide an illustration for a subsequent issue. -Editor
Other libertarians, largely in the 1970s, actually attempted to create free nations on the open ocean, sometimes using existing islands and reefs, sometimes using boats or artificial islands. The history of these attempts is equally comic and terrible. The one that most resembles the Seasteading Institute’s efforts was Operation Atlantis, in which Werner Stiefel, an upstate New York pharmaceutical manufacturer, convinced a small gang of eager young libertarians to help him build a ferro-cement boat called “Atlantis II” in 1969. This vessel was supposed to sail down to the Caribbean, where the crew might grab some land in disputed territories such as Anguilla or the Silver Shoals near Haiti, or just use the ship as a staging ground to build some artificial concrete land.
The schemers had their own silver coin, dubbed the “deca”; they got some press in Esquire; and they had their own homemade boat. But the ship sank in a hurricane, attention from the Haitian government forced the project into quiet mode (canceling the highly entertaining newsletter Atlantis News), and no new libertarian Atlantis ever arose in the Caribbean.
The king of the “take over existing land” plan was Mike Oliver, a Nevada-based real estate developer and coin dealer who had published a book called A New Constitution for a New Country in 1968.
To read the complete article, see: 20,000 Nations Above the Sea (www.reason.com/news/show/133865.html)
Visit the web site of The Unrecognized States Numismatic Society (www.usns.info)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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