One the problems with Sea Steading is finding people who are willing to put up with the high price and daunting environment all in the pursuit of a little freedom. However, one group you might want to target is those pursuing experimental drugs not yet legal in the West.

According to Megan McArdle the biggest part of a drugs cost in the clinical trial. I would have assumed that the R&D costs were concentrated further back into the research end. Yet, if she is right then there is the potential for some extremely beneficial gains from trade.

If drug companies can find a potential compound cheaply and Sea Steaders are willing to self-experiment then billions of dollars could be made and possibly hundreds of thousands of lives saved.

The obvious benefit for Sea Steaders is early access to drugs and access to drugs that would have been unprofitable to put through a clinical trial. The advantage for drug companies is that even causal observation of the results and side effects from the Sea Steaders experience could help to focus their mass market clinical trials on the most effective drugs. Its essentially human research on the cheap.