03 August 2007

Space Colonisation as an Alternative to War

As supplies of conventional energy resources begin to plateau--while demand continues to grow wildly--prices will rise, sparking territorial disputes over energy supplies. As demand for biofuels grows, crop prices will grow, sparking territorial disputes over prime cropland. Humans fight over any number of things, and until abundant (fusion?) energy is ubiquitous and nanotechnology provides near-universal affluence, humans will fight over whatever is there to fight over. Unless . . .

* If the materials in the single largest asteroid, Ceres, were used for orbital space settlement construction, we could build territory equal to over 200 times surface area of the Earth (1). This is enough to provide every single nation as much territory as if they conquered the entire Earth. Furthermore, conquering Earth is probably impossible, whereas building space settlements is merely incredibly difficult.
* The total energy resources of this solar system are about 2.3 billion times the energy available on Earth. This is simply the Sun's energy output -- and the Sun is an enormous nuclear fusion reactor that works perfectly right now, today, and is perfectly safe -- or at least isn't going away. Furthermore, we know, more or less, how to exploit space solar power .
* There are thousands of asteroids in orbits that cross Earth's, and just one of them, 3554 Amun, contains roughly $20 trillion dollars worth of precious metals.

Space settlement can make resource wars a thing of the past, something we only read about in history books, because space settlement can deliver far, far more resources at far, far less cost. Less money, less death, less destruction, and infinitely less stupidity.

Resources and territory are not the only reasons for war, but they cause a lot of them. The U.S. has spent far more defending oil access in the Mid-East than it would cost to build space settlements. Perhaps it's time to change direction. Perhaps it's time to make Earth a bit healthier for children and other living things. Perhaps it's time to choose life over war. Perhaps it's time to start building space settlements.

The resources of the solar system and its neighborhood are incomprehensibly vast. Would humans only learn to develop the tools of surviving and thriving in the space environment, there would be no resource scarcity.

The energy of testosterone laden young males needs an outlet. That outlet can be either exploration or war, unless the young male devotes most of his energy to work and family life.

When you look at India and China, you see two populous countries with tens of millions of excess males each. Muslim countries that allow polygamous marriages likewise produce an excess of non-marriageable males.

As women in more parts of the world devote their lives to careers instead of raising families, more men find themselves with abundant time and energy on their hands. After a generation or two of this, the population begins to drop, and the number of excess males will decline. Western Europe, Japan, and Russia have populations that are imploding rapidly. For those, the drive toward war and exploration may be declining, currently.

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Blogger Will Brown said...

Sorry Fin, I don't think this one is anything like as simple as you present it here.

For one, when (he hopefully asserts) we do become established off-planet, I am confident that our resource shortages will only change, not go away.

For another, I don't think a predominantly male society automatically supports an exploratory society. In fact, I suspect the very opposite is more likely to be the case. Predominantly male societies are generally more prone to violence (and to finding violent behavior to be acceptable), but I don't see a coorelation between that (such societies are commonly autocratic and suspicious/fearful of loss of control over it's members) and an expansionist, exploratory one.

We agree that humanity needs to set a higher priority for settlement of near-Earth space (to the orbit of Jupiter say), but I don't agree that our population imbalance provides any sort of desirable impetous to doing so.

Saturday, 04 August, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

You make some very good points, Will.

The article I quote is only saying that societies that are tempted to go to war for resources might wish to look outward to space instead. In the long run, at least, that is good advice.

Saturday, 04 August, 2007  

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