The War for Antarctica

The War for Antarctica

Antarctica is not the most interesting place in the world right now. Located at the South Pole, it has a land area of 14.2 Million km² which is pretty large and it is covered by ice with an average thickness of 1.9km.

Now on to the more interesting part. Who owns Antartica?

It's territorial claims is regulated by the 1959 Antartic Treaty and a bunch of other treaties and agreements between countries. The main countries who lay claim to Antartica are France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Chile and Argentina.

The main purpose of the treaty was to establish freedom of scientific investigation and it banned military activity on the continent. This made sense in the 1959 after the second world war. But things are changing.

In case you haven't heard, the earth is getting a bit warm. Also heat isn't really good for ice. So if we combine both of these we get an actually habitable Antartica in the future. This is going to be fun. Scientists say it's going to become habitable by the end of this century. That's pretty soon.

Even more interestingly, the Antarctic Treaty expires in 2048. So combine the end of the Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica becoming more habitable and lots of countries land mass decreasing due to climate change and there will be some interesting confrontations in 2040. It seems almost inevitable that there will be some sort of conflict in the next few decades. I mean who wouldn't fight for a land area twice as large as Australia that is the last unoccupied area in the world.

Alright now that we've set the context. The first question you should be asking is how do I profit from this tragic war. Obviously a short term play would be buy hugely into defence stocks and make bets on prediction markets about the war. You can hedge this bet by buying a bunch of land in Antarctica so if somehow humanity decides to solve the issue through peace then you can at least benefit from the appreciate from the appreciating land price.

Obviously, if there was a war, your claim to the land will expire and will probably belong to some random world power instead.  If I were to make a guess right now with my limited knowledge about the situation, I think there's like a 5% chance the Antarctic war doesn't immediately happen around 2048 and a 1% chance it doesn't happen this century.

Alright, so that now we have set the stage and explained briefly how you can profit in the short term, if you were the richest person in the world how would you take control of some part of Antarctica and start your colonisation pursuits in the 21st Century.

There isn't really a guide to this on the internet so let's just think about the situation.

Buying your coutnry

Obviously you can buy land inside of a country but what about buying it from the government and setting up your own country?

Turns out it's not really common practice anymore.

America did this in the 1800s. They just straight bought sovereign territory from other counties. Example include the Louisiana Purchase where America purchased Louisiana (2.14 million km²  from the French for $15 Million dollars in 1803. Apparently that $15 million is worth $393 million in today's dollars which still seems super low. $15 million was 3% of America's GDP in 1803 so that would be like America buying a territory for $600 billion today. Still wtf.

white is the lousiana purchase land

Another example is the purchase of Alaska and I thought my 8 fig bag fumbles in crypto were big. Russia took a bigger L than France. They sold 1.5 million km² of land for the cost of $7.2 million in 1867 or $140 million in 2021 dollars. T

HEY SOLD FOR $0.39 PER ACRE IN 2021 DOLLARS. If anyone has a couple million acres in Antarctica for $0.39 per acre, please email me.

Here's a complete list of territory purchased by a sovereign nation from another sovereign nation.

Alright so which of the seven countries is going to start selling land first

Tabular Iceberg
Photo by 66 north / Unsplash