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Nearly 150 Companies Show Interest in the Tech Love Boat 332

New submitter dandv writes with a story from VentureBeat about another entry in the race to escape national jurisdiction by offshoring work — literally offshoring, that is : "Blueseed is a Silicon Valley company that plans on launching a cruise ship 30 minutes from the coast of California, housing startup entrepreneurs from around the world. These startuppers won't need to bother with U.S. visas, because the ship will be in international waters. They'll have to pay tax to whatever country they're incorporated in, though. So far, 146 startups said they'd like to come to the ship."
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Nearly 150 Companies Show Interest in the Tech Love Boat

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:46AM (#39926895) Journal
    It seems particularly odd when one considers the fact that you don't need to spend months on a boat 200 miles off California to enjoy the privilege of booking a slightly-eyebrow-raising percentage of your profits through an anodyne corporate PO box in some sunny tax haven. You can do that from the comfort of your own home.

    Is there a large market of non-US-citizens who can't secure visas(or who find longterm shipboard stays more comfortable than flying out for a meeting?) but desperately crave physical proximity to silicon valley, possibly along with an internet connection to it that is far suckier than a hardline from virtually anywhere in the not-actively-fighting-a-brutal-meatgrinder-bush-war world?

    I understand the appeal of tax dodges; but I don't understand what this boat concept brings to the game.
  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:50AM (#39927885)
    Well, their plan is they will not be in international waters so the commute is pretty short. Instead they will fly the flag of some minor country and anchor within US waters, which is a legal grey area that in theory should leave them outside US/CA regulation/taxation yet still be able to commute in for meetings.

    But as others have pointed out it has many of the same problems as Sealand did. It is a nice concept in theory and in fiction, but in reality such plans have significant issues and, for their customers, end up with the same basic issues that basing out of a major country has with the added problem of not having a robust legal system. If nothing else, one of their big claims is that they avoid the 'immigration' problem.. by implementing their own immigration system. So you still have to go through an immigration process, just an easier to bribe one.

    I am skeptical that many of these startups are expressing real 'I would pay' interest or have really thought about the full legal ramifications of such a setup. Blueseed really seems to be more of a scam to get investor money then anything else.
  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:59AM (#39928027)
    Realisticly it doesn't actually bring much, but it draws on a rather heavy Ayn Rand mythology that they are hoping to capitalize on. The theory is supposed to be that if you take away all those pesky regulations then 'real entrepreneurs '.. some kind of the 'the best rise in power when not being kept down by other people in power, except each other since that is dog eat dog, but because people who already have power are bad we need to stop them, but not new power which should be unchecked'. So beyond just taxes and visas they can suspend things like workers rights, wages, etc... so all those pesky things like stopping child labor, taking sexual advantage of your subordinates, firing injured people, making them work 140 hour weeks but still in debt to the company store, all those things are perfectly legal again... and part of the mythology is whitewashing how badly those went the first time around.

    Oh, and of course the ship will probably have its own company store.. so everyone there will have to pay whatever prices the Blueseed charges for things like food, power, internet access, etc.

    Which is why sane companies will probably stay away, but gullible startups who have read more fiction then done research might find the place appealing.
  • Remember - the US has NOT ratified the "Law of the Sea" treaty - UNCLOS. Under existing international law, they still have jurisdiction out to the 200 mile limit, not just the 12 mile territorial water limit, nor the additional 12 mile exclusion zone.

    Other nations have the right to "innocent passage". A barge anchored within 200 miles is not engaged in "innocent passage", and as such, does not have the legal rights enjoyed by vessels engaged in "innocent passage."

    However, even vessels engaged in "innocent passage" still need to conform to the sovereign states requirements for things like a valid insurance policy for indemnification in the case of bunker oil spills, etc. right out to the 200 mile limit.

    Don't expect this idea to float unless there's lots of campaign contributions also floating around.

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @11:39AM (#39928655) Homepage Journal

    The freest country with slavery and voting for only wealthy white landowners

    - first of all, you are saying it like it was a bad thing that only landowners could vote.

    As to blacks, as I said, I would NOT have ratified that Constitution with that language in it, but by 1870 the slavery was no longer the same issue at all.

    I am against democracy, unless you are mistaken, I am against democracy, AFAIC democracy is mobocracy, it is the gateway to tyranny, that is my conviction.

    OTOH having a representative democracy is fine, where a subgroup of people will vote on issues directly, not the entire population.

    In 1870 to 1913 we had the beginnings of the labor movement.

    - so? There could be no labour movement before there was labour, could there? When everybody is a subsistence farmer, hunter / gatherer, they don't form unions. But that's not why wealth was created at all. Wealth was created by the businesses, not by unions.

    The businesses made people productive, provided management, efficient allocation of land, labour and capital and created the goods that actually were then bought by the very people who were working. That's how the tide lifted the boats.

    As the free market capitalism provided the profits and investment capital, this was used to acquire and build better tools, making the workers more efficient and productive, and this is why one person could do much more with the tools than anybody before could without those tools, that's what investment is, and that's how a worker becomes more affluent earners - by being more efficient, by doing more with less time. That's why the working hours could eventually be shorted, that's why there were weekends.

    Subsistence farmers don't get to enjoy 8 hour days and 5 working day weeks, they don't have that luxury. Only capitalist free market could create that.

    The reality is trickle down does not work, and the rich are more than happy to take all the gains.

    - nonsense.

    This so called 'trickle down economics' is the ONLY economics that works. The more productive a worker at a factory is building cars, the more efficiently the cars are built, they cheaper they can be sold, so that more people buy them, because more profits are made by selling more cheaper products, not fewer more expensive products.

    Originally only the very rich could afford cell phones, computers, plasma TVs. Today everybody has them - that's how productive the capitalists made the workers, that everybody can afford these things.

    THAT is trickle down economics, THAT is how wealth is distributed in the free market. Your problem is you think about wealth in terms of money - but the best way to treat money is to have it concentrated in the hands of those, who were the best at organising land, capital and labour to produce that profit, that resulted from all those efficiencies and overproduction, and the market willing to pay for those profits.

    You are saying that the wealth isn't being distributed? How many cell phones have you had in your life? Cars? Houses? Pairs of clothes? Shoes? TVs? Computers? Tables? Chairs?

    You think wealth is what the rich have and you do not? Wealth is what you can use on daily basis, the rich have the WORK.

    You think Steve Jobs having spent under 4% of his entire fortune during his life enjoyed the wealth he created by using it? NO. It was all invested, 96% of his wealth was always invested, so that slobs like you could be lifted in the tide that he was busy creating.

    So only those with money should be allowed to vote?

    - straw man.

    The only people who PAY for the music should be able to order it. Those who pay income taxes to the federal gov't are those who should be allowed to vote, nobody else.

    If I lose my job and live off my savings for a year I should not be able to vote?

    - CORRECT.


  • Wrong. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @12:14PM (#39929149)

    That's one of the problems with libertarian dreamers. They crave a dog-eat-dog world, but they all think THEY'RE going to be one of the top dogs.

    Wrong. In a truly dog-eat-dog world, any dog that gets too far ahead gets eaten by the pack...

    Libertarians have no desire for power. They just want to see limited power OVER THEM. You seeing it as a quest for power over others is more revelatory to your own subconscious desires and/or fears than that of Libertarians.

    Basically, you apparently can't handle a world where you are not on a leash...

  • by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @12:39PM (#39929543)

    The advantage of these ventures is that they're outside national jurisdiction. The problem with these ventures is that they're outside national jurisdiction - and for almost every company out there, they benefit from the protection of a country's laws more than they suffer from them.

    Sealand failed because anyone who hosted data there was wide open to the whim of Roy Bates - and if you didn't like his whim, you had no recourse. This will be no different.

    A good article on Sealand: http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/28/2909303/sealand-havenco-doomed-data-haven-history [theverge.com]

    If you outright bought the boat, the only whim would be your own. Of course, true pirates could also come back to the high seas.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.