I have similar reservations as to putting a large investment into a
tropical island. Many of the tropical islands have very little elevation
above sea level. Any number of natural occurences (large storm surge,
tsunami, oceanic meteor impact) could have devastating consequences.
Additionally, most of the smaller islands are not much more than
sand-logged coral reefs with only marginally substantial foundations.
While fine for a tropical bungalow, I would be more hesitant to build a
really large structure on top of it. Tropical islands with solid volcanic
or tectonic origins *are* plentiful, but tend to be significantly larger
(i.e. expensive) than their more affordable and smaller reef-based brethren.
This is why I would seriously consider the Alaskan/Canadian coastal
islands. These islands are built of some of the oldest, hardest rock*(see
below) on the planet, and many are more than 1000 feet in elevation.
Additionally, this is one of the calmest coastlines on the Pacific Ocean;
the water is *glassy*. Plenty of fresh water, lots of timber, all the
seafood you can catch/eat, and a very mild climate (similar to Washington
state). I initially visited the area only after my parents moved there
(for a scant two years) and immediately fell in love with the place.
Of more interest to many on this list is that there is no practical force
of law in these areas. Local laws are, for all intents and purposes,
absolute. Visiting the local communities is a real-life demonstration of
how this can be very good or very bad, depending on the constitution of the
particular community. In areas where strong self-discipline is the social
norm, these islands are nearly a libertarian mecca; you can do whatever you
want as long as you don't harm anyone else. However, there are some
islands that are essentially malevolent oligarchies/dictatorships, with all
the usual bad things associated. As an odd twist to the normal state of
affairs, the Alaskan government has more money than it knows what to do
with (oil revenues; there are no taxes in Alaska) and will gladly fund all
sorts of schools/ventures/projects just to spend it for the benefit of
improving the image of the state. One of their latest greatest projects is
to spend their excess funds on wiring the entire state with fiber and
high-speed switches in the attempt to turn Alaska into something resembling
a high-tech state (even if they *are* missing the tech people). Quite
frankly, there is a decent possibility that Alaska would sell you an island
"pennies on the dollar" if you promised to bring a whole lot of high-tech
expertise with you. As I said, the southern coastal islands are *not* bad
places to live, if a bit underdeveloped.
If I was to consider a permanent location for an Extropian country (per
se), this would be my best choice based on what I know.
*INTERESTING ASIDE: In this region is an island known as Annette Island
(385 km^2) that contains small hill of yellow rock that is much older than
the very old volcanic rock that surrounds it. In fact, this little hill is
one of the oldest rocks known. The interesting thing is that this rock is
also one of the toughest substances known. Diamond is the only known
substance that can cut this rock without rapidly destroying the blade of
the cutting tool. This rock eats tungsten carbide/nitride alloys for
lunch. Once considered to be an asset worthy of export, the cost of
cutting it proved to be too high to make the extremely hard rock a
commercially viable building material.