Friday, May 13, 2016

The Case for Space

The Case for Space

The case for space colonization is simple to make. It consists of three main elements. These are taken from the basic rules of survival as we see them operational in biology, market economics, and fundamental physics. These can each be expressed by reference to a common pop-cultural phrase, idiom, or maxim:

1. Expand or die.
2. Diversify your investments.
3. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
The first element is the well-known maxim of business, "Expand or die," and in some form is recognized also by biologists, religions, syndicates, organizations, and cultural phenomena - if history is any guide, and history is perhaps our best guide. This maxim means that a thriving, living organism can be a metaphor for any healthy construct. Humanity as a species is such a construct. We can be seen as a collective will to survival, and the surest way to ensure our survival on a species-wide level is to expand into the environment in which we find ourselves. This is the solar system in the immediate sense, and not merely this planet.

Eventually, this will to survival must be rationally channeled by a species, or else it faces the very real possibility of extinction due to its own over-competitive impulses. Run amok, the forces of narcissism, obsessive compulsions, insecurity, and uncertainty are enough to produce an excess of predatory personalities whose proliferation of cultures of sometimes deadly competition will drown the species in blood and blast the planet into radioactive ash. While it is common to speculate that human society has at last evolved beyond the essential cycles of history known to almost every culture group on this planet in one metaphorical form or another, that point of view is precisely that - speculation only. The far more reasonable view is that we are just as susceptible to such cycles as were the people of the past.

The cycle of human civilized expansion has to date been marked by fundamental instability, punctuated by sometimes seemingly random collapse. Most cultures have at one time or another been subjected to slavery, conquest, warfare, natural disaster, calamity, plague, economic deprivation, and so forth. To pretend that this has been a mono-directional phenomena of exploitation by a particular group as against one or a group of others is to ignore the lessons not only of history, but also of abject and extant reality, observable upon close inspection of any society - be it a macrocultural or microcultural context.

To ensure continued and continuing survival, systems must expand. This is how they secure new resources as old sources of the same become depleted. The need to break new ground also helps drive a spirit of openness and hope, and motivates a frontier attitude and outlook defined by optimism and a "can-do" mentality. The examples of this phenomenon are numerous in history and will be discussed elsewhere.

The second element is the time honored, "Diversify your investments." This is an absolutely essential and obvious truth - the wider the basis from which you may draw income - on a planetary level, simply, "resources" - the more secure the flow of those resources are into your coffers. This is because a diversification of resources necessitates a web instead of a linear supply "chain." The resource web exists in a four-dimensional space time cube - a region of space from which supplies are acquired and through which they are transitted. Business no longer takes place on what is fundamentally a two-dimensional map. It is literally expanding out in all directions.

Operations so distributed translate in real terms to profound - maybe even exponential - increases in profits. Our current psychosocial and socioeconomic models do not permit this kind of inflow of resources into the planetary economy without great upset and upheaval. The fundamental beliefs of capitalists and socialists would be stretched to the breaking point if a second-scale economy of this sort were created under strictly competitive, traditionalist terms.

But we need not embrace old fantasies when concerning ourselves with the primary focus of any intelligent biological organism. We must survive, and to do that, we must have multiple sources from which to draw the three basic suvival needs of humans facing any sort of frontier wilderness, on Earth or off-world. These are:

1. Sustenance
2. Production
3. Energy
We struggle on this planet to distribute food to all who are in need, and many point to such a reality as mitigating strongly against any global scale space colonization and development ventures. But this is neither a realistic point of view, nor does it take into account that the reason for much of the injustice we endure in the present day and have seen throughout history arises out of an inability to cooperate with one another. Opinions and attitudes heavily impact human political and social interactions.

But each and every example of a human community in existence today needs food, some sort of production to meet material needs, and some sort of energy production to support and drive manufacture, transport & transit, as well as food planting, harvest, preparation, and distribution. The more concentrated the supply of resources, the more susceptible it is to damage, decrease, or obliteration. If we produce food on the moon, and energy as well; if we move polluting industries and operations off-world, we can diversify our investments and help to multiply and secure our supply lines. These lines may intersect and interconnect generally, and create the secure web of four-dimensional resource chains. Obviously, the larger and more interconnected the system, the greater the opportunities for exchange and bargaining of goods, services, risk, and securitization.

The third element, "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket," appears here at first blush to be a redundancy. But it is nothing of the sort. Here, we mean not eggs, but rather people. And we mean not basket, but rather world.

Human beings understandably think of the planetary environment as a general rule. This is the basic totality with which most of us cope. But we are capable of more and if we intend to survive we have to immediately transition our thinking from a purely planetary orientation to a realistic cosmic orientation. The point in our history at which this became painfully obvious and therefore critical is when human beings first walked on the moon. This accomplishment transformed the whole nature of the human condition.

Because we had at last breached the surly bonds of Earth and touched the heavens, we were capable of something more than our prior thought had admitted of. No greater call can exist for us than to continue on from where this point in time opened a portal to a greater future. Before it, there was but one world on which we might live and prosper. After Neil Armstrong put his boots on the moon, there were forever two such worlds.

But the truth of this drive for space colonization transcends poetry to come back round to pragmatic realities agate hard in their certainty, and able to cut better than any diamond in the perfection of their logic.

If we remain bound to one world, we are subject to the very real probability of planetary disasters with which we cannot cope. Our capacity for adaptation is considerable, but it is not without limits both apparent and not lacking for historical precedent. The theory of how the dinosaurs were driven to extinction is just that - an evidence supported construct that appears correct but remains subject to review - but it is persuasive. A massive asteroid, or even one not so huge, can so upset the equilibrium of the environment as to crush down our cities and drown our nations. We could be wiped from the face of the earth by a variety of forces within the space of less than a day. We could be like ants displaced by a garden hose wielded by an unruly child. We are at the mercy of a universe we do not understand, and we should take the most obvious and most evolutionarily tested and tried methods we know of to enhance our chances of survival.

This is not a change in our thinking that will occur without conscious effort, and it is not a change in our perception of reality that can come without a dedicated movement focused upon fostering this type of thinking and spreading it to others. The truth is that without an extra-planetary presence, the continuation of our species is severely limited. We have the right and drive of all organisms to survive, and like all successful organisms, we must live in more than one range if we are to enhance our chances of avoiding extinction-level events.

As can be seen from this simple and direct perusal of the fundamental and underlying forces that force us to colonize space, the idea of remaining focused on purely local concerns involves a near-sightedness our species can ill-afford. Whether we draw upon the religious notion of a divine commandment to "be fruitful, and multiply," or a biological and evolutionary imperative for all organisms to grow and change and test their will against the challenges of the universe, it is our right and duty to continue the struggle for survival that our ancestors passed onto us.

We owe it to our descendants.

We must thrive, and to do that, we must rise. Humanity must unify, and for this reason, I am a unificationist. But I am not in favor of any global governmental scheme I have read, nor of any organized attempt at global government that can be seen on the horizon currently. There is in fact in this world an obvious technoligarchy forming - no conspiratorial shadow government of internet mythos, but a real order of the investor class that has or soon will possess the powers necessary to rule us all.

Such eras have come and gone in human history - times in which social and environmental conditions, culture, technology, and education have conspired to subject the masses to the whims of the elite and select. These times occur whenever the technological balance shifts economic and political forces in the favor of these oligarchs. Such individuals exist because of the inherence of wealth in the hands of the fortunate, the bold, the capable, and the quick-witted. But the continued inherence of wealth in the power of the few creates a tension that our species cannot long bear.

If we continue to run the same cycles, the same simulation, time and again, we will eventually reach a crescendo in which our technological capacity for violence outpaces our societal capacity for cohesion. One or another of our dark age disintegrations - admittedly less severe as to loss of communication and trade, but still contentious and chaotic in the extreme, over time - will lead to a military exchange that destroys humanity's prospects for survival permanently.

We can break out of this cycle by focusing on reality instead of on the internalized fantasies that our species has come to depend upon as abstract tools for limiting and mitigating our violent and emotional impulses. But we have begun to see that these too may be transcended by an intelligent and intentioned redesign of our global outlook. We can see as one people that we inhabit a planet in space, and that we share together, each of us - individuals and communities - in a collective common cause: we can survive together, we can thrive together, by cooperating to colonize our solar system. We can begin this process by making our own moon a productive and profitable enterprise, and sharing a great bulk of that profit with the whole world in the form of health and wellness programs, education, training, housing, nutritious food and clean water, and widespread electrical power grids.

There is a cynical and backward "old way" by which this might be done, involving a mercantilist, colonialist era of exploitation and probably a fair amount of brutal repression. For many people around the world, this would mean that nothing had yet changed, as nothing has changed for them for centuries. But in the face of this kind of cynical and cold tyranny of the past, we must ask the most important question of all: why permit this system to endure?

The earth was never made to be a prison or an asylum. It was never meant to be a zoo or a preserve. The earth is a kind of naturally occuring laboratory, and if the patterns of this world and the mathematics and physics with which we can describe so much of the myriad brilliance of function that surrounds us are any indication, this is not the only such laboratory. A thinking and a betting person may not always be one in the same, but when they are, you can be sure that individual will reckon 9 times out of 10 that we are not alone in this universe. It is too vast, and life as we know it is too tenacious. The conditions we experience here are being experienced elsewhere. Someone somewhere very far away is looking at your star even as you look at hers.

Friday, November 6, 2015

What is a Global City?

"These are not accidents. These are conditions that arise always at least partly from human agency. 

Where there is poverty, we did this. Where there is death, we did this. Where there is war, we did this. What we do not mitigate or reverse, we cause.
Ours is the fault for slain children not just now, in every nation, but throughout time, and from the beginning. We did all of this, for we are not slave to our impulses and the demands of survival. We are not puppets to the whim of nature. We are humankind. We are mighty beyond measure.
We can choose a different way."

We have proposed the foundation of a unique municipal corporation and enterprise on the Moon, calling this entity a "global" city.

A global entity is one that transcends national and state boundaries such that it is not a part nor does it arise out of any particular lesser political order. Rather, a global city is a city established under the notion that the Earth itself and her population constitute a political order and identity. Citizens of a global city are citizens of the Earth, for the Earth is a political entity called a world, and it is one among many. In time, this obvious truth will become increasingly glaring, until the light of it can no longer be ignored.

Until that time, we shall continue to insist that everyone look upward, and realize that we are on a planet in space, our environment is not restricted to this world alone, and it is our manifest destiny - if we would long endure and thrive as a species - to colonize the worlds of this system and develop their abundant resources.

We should start small, on the microscale. Let us begin by establishing a laboratory for socioeconomic and political development: a global city, incorporated on the Moon, and organized to take advantage of ample energy production and mining prospects available exclusively in that unique environment.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Colonization is a Choice

It is 2015. Why aren't people living and working on the Moon, on Mars, and in asteroid mining facilities throughout the inner Solar System? The technology, the know-how, the professional and labor markets, and the fundamental proof-of-concept all exist in our times. Where is our brave new age that so many science fiction writers of the past assumed would blossom in the 21st Century?

The usual response to calls for space exploration and colonization is that such an agenda is unrealistic, disconnected from the real state of current technology, and doomed to failure because of the divisive nature of Earth politics. But we must also consider the very real possibility that in the absence of a global popular movement demanding the development of space-based resources, and the corresponding creation of job markets for all of earth's citizens within a space-based economy, the exploration of space will become the exploitation of human labor and capital. The billionaires who dabble in the fledgling space industry know that their power and wealth can only grow through off-world prospecting.

Whether we believe it or not, the inevitable and eventual emergence of a global need for off-world colonization is a given. It is either that, or a sudden and radical reduction in the human population will eventually be necessary. Barring that, there are a variety of unpleasant options involving limitations on freedom - including personal and reproductive liberties.

One way or the other, we must reduce the pressure that we place on the ecosystem.

All of these are real concerns, but not all of these concerns are founded upon solid, measurable data. The truth is that colonization is not only realistic, it will ultimately be an unavoidable necessity - if we want to prevent unending wars and reduce the impact of emergent diseases and other environmental disasters. In fact, colonization of the Moon and Mars has been on the agenda of the aerospace industry in the United States for decades, and many other nations have examined the potential for such a venture, including the development of viable plans to place real, long-term, high-population colonies off-world.

What is the hold up?

The absence of effective tech is not the reason for our lack of space colonies. The actual problem lies in two areas, but both of these areas are closely linked, and resolution of one sort of problems is very likely to resolve the others, as well.

First, there is a lack of funding. The basic answer to why the U.S. has not sent a manned mission to Mars is expense. The budget at NASA doesn't allow for such extravagant measures.

Second, there is a lack of interest. The basic answer to why NASA is so underfunded that it cannot truly undertake its mission of human-piloted space exploration is that the United States Congress cannot find sufficient popular will to justify such budgetary expenditures. Without voter demand, representative systems of government have very little incentive to undertake initiatives. There simply is a perception that there is not enough interest in these projects.

SPACE NOW exists to change that, not just in the U.S., but around the world as well.

Funding on a national scale for many countries and/or treaty organizations could potentially create large-scale, highly successful colonization initiatives. For example, the U.S., or NATO, or China, or the E.U. could readily fund massive projects, if these actors were willing to spend money without an immediate return on the investment. The short range economic analyses that we use - forecasting futures over quarters and fiscal years - does not lend itself to support for the development of long-range, expensive programs that "might" pay off in the future.

The answer to this problem is obvious - and it is just as obvious that the current attitudes in the U.S. and around the world truly constitute a problem. In fact, the general attitude is far too dismissive and ill-considered. Off-world colonization is neither a "maybe" nor is it some far-off proposition without grounding in practical reality. Instead, it is an inevitable necessity for avoiding widespread and potentially unending war as an outgrowth of population increase and resource limitations.

There is no shortage of studies, research projects, and cost/benefit analyses available for popular or even professional review:

Mars Base

The bottom line is and has long been that we know how to do space colonization, and we even have a fair idea of how much it might cost - from a start up perspective - to begin the development of industry off-world. But we have done very little in the way of looking at off-world resource gathering and shipping in a practical sense, over many decades, as a real business model. The truth is that this represents a significant capital outlay for even the simplest operations on the nearest heavenly body - the Moon. So short-term analysis is not favorable. But long-term analysis is very favorable - not least because putting permanent human colonies on other planets and planetary bodies means increasing the statistical likelihood that human beings will continue to exist in the far-flung future. The more spread out we are, the less likely that we will all be killed off by some catastrophic event.

Survival is an important goal, but sometimes humans think upside down and backwards, so we are often much more motivated by potential profit than we are by staying alive. After all, what's the use of staying alive if we can't find a way to get rich quick?

But as it turns out, even the most local destination has an abundance of resources that equal industrial and energy production profits, if one accepts an upfront capital investment of literally astronomical proportions. Even small Lunar bases are figured in the billions of dollars.

The fact is that over time, profit is inevitable. In fact, the economic activity that even a few thousand people living on the moon might generate here on earth is considerable. This is because it would take a large amount of support - initially - to maintain such a colony. There would have to be a regular cycle of transit to and from the moon, and a regular schedule of workers going back and forth. This way, no one would be exposed for too long to a Lunar environment with which we remain largely unfamiliar. The potential for harm caused by cosmic rays and various other forms of radiation is great.

One of the significant stumbling blocks in this process is likely to revolve around liabilities for personal injury, negligence, and environmental impact. But here too, a large enough capital reserve can handle the costs. And the potential capital rewards are staggering - given enough time to develop the infrastructure and energy production needed to run a large scale industrial operation off-world.

The issue is simply that no single earth-based corporation or conglomerate is big enough to venture the capital and undertake the risk. And no single political entity has demonstrated the willingness and foresight necessary to force the issue and forge ahead by building and populating a Lunar colony of scale. Our goal is the construction of an economically viable, aesthetically pleasing, truly livable Lunar city of over 100,000 citizens by the year 2065.

We believe the local moon economy can be driven by resource gathering and limited resource refining, with an emphasis obviously on shipping to the earth, while finished goods and needed supplies are shipped back to the moon in return. The model contemplated is similar in form to mercantilism, with the notable departure that any rational approach to economics limits exploitation and encourages a greater sharing of profits.

Basic Mercantilism

Our suggestion is that a global commission be convened to study the overall requirements, and to propose resource allocation tables, schedules, and routines in which all nations participate. The focus of these resource allocations would be to immediately apply production capacity to truly large-scale space industries, created through intra- and inter-industry partnerships. The overall model is a hybridization of capitalist and socialist economic doctrines, so that the balancing of interests can foster growth with a minimum of the friction and resistance so often associated with economic disparity. The great departure from previous political or economic approaches is that SPACE NOW contemplates a world capable of gradual unification through focus and effort expended upon a shared, planet-wide goal: survival and enrichment through colonization of our solar system.

SPACE NOW imagines a Lunar city that has no national or international identity, but is instead a global city, a city for all the people of the world. In time, the world will lose any control over this city, and it will take on an identity of its own - a human city, on a human colony-world we know as our Moon. By then, it will be one world among many. The general trend in the history of our world has been toward larger systems and greater freedom. Let us continue that trend into the future through conscious agency and a will to prosper and endure.

A critical stepping stone is the development of a doctrine that views global resources as composing a worldwide pool. This pool belongs to each and every human being currently living on this planet, with remainder interest resting in generations yet unborn. It is incumbent upon current generations that every effort be made to ensure our continued survival as a species. No less, great prosperity is possible through a global shift of agenda.

If nations gradually dissolve as individual people living in every part of the world awaken to our global political and economic identity, then the need for artificial division is eliminated at the same time as our priorities radically shift. Money spent on sporting events, entertainment spectacles, political contests, and various public works projects is obviously better spent on expanding opportunities for everyone.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How is Space a Social Agenda?

Too many of our words are used to tell stories of hate, or violence, or outrage. We spend too much of our time on trying to hurt one another, get ahead of one another, or beat one another at some sort of game that doesn't even have a name. But this game has cost countless human lives down through the centuries.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


SPACE NOW is a global initiative of unified purpose and profound importance. We demand the immediate re-base of all global activity upon the foundation of a space-faring, global society, with the goal of expanding the potential for human survival by spreading out and colonizing other worlds. Eventually, we will colonize other star systems.