How Capitalism is Impeding Mankind's Progression Into Space

Can you feel it?  Gravity can only hold the soul so long, before it begins to feel the cosmos's call.
Can you feel it? Gravity can only hold the soul so long, before it begins to feel the cosmos's call.

Investment in space exploration would solve most of the world's problems. New resources to increase the world's wealth, colonization to reduce overpopulation, and restored hope in the leaders' abilities to advance their people, exploring the cosmos has financial, historical, and environmental benefits to our species, yet governments refuse to fund another trip to the Moon or send men to Mars. In a world where money drives politicians over altruism, the bottom dollar is the new determinant for what weighs the most on everyone's minds. A community-based society transformed into a capitalist-centralized system. If something doesn't produce profit, or is seen as having more risk than reward,it's abandoned, despite how beneficial it could be or is. The Space Program, the greatest light of possibility concerning the advancement of the human race, fell into priorities low on the economic-political community's list, a mistake the world cannot afford to ignore.

Capitalism is not an invalid system; it just lost its original purpose.  Business, Education, Government, Economics, the ultimate end should be for them all to cohesively benefit the global community.
Capitalism is not an invalid system; it just lost its original purpose. Business, Education, Government, Economics, the ultimate end should be for them all to cohesively benefit the global community. | Source

The Degeneration of the Community-Centric Business Model

The initial purpose of business was to add financial enrichment to a community, and as a result a greater health for the nation, which contrasts the current, more widely accepted model. Before the need for international expansion denigrated the old model, a single business hired those from a community, those people purchased products from that area, fueling local taxes, enabling the local government to better support its citizens. Repeat the traditional model across the nation, and one will create a nation of prosperity and balance. The current model sacrifices financial patriotism and health for individual gain. Prices are raised to compete with increases in wages, American companies place factories in foreign countries to use their cheaper workforce. The modern system eliminating innovation and advancement for profit represents the sin of its mentality. A system to mass produce electric cars stagnates from the will of oil tycoons, medicines now have less concentrations of pain relievers to reduce costs, and humanity's advancement into space has been delayed and scrapped for money.

The Fall of Apollo and Mars Direct

Dr. Robert Zubrin, a strong proponent of sending humans to Mars, faced surmounting opposition to his plans, despite welcoming jubilation from the astronomical community. He conquered his first obstacle by reducing the cost for the trip from 450 billion dollars to 55 billion with his Mars Direct program. Afterward, the plan received standing ovations from NASA, the sole exception those in charge of the International Space Station. Since the new plan excluded the Space Station, and therefore excluded them from the 55 billion, they picked the plan apart, delaying it. “Since Mars Direct didn't need their programs, they felt under threat. As quickly as doors opened for Zubrin and Baker, they began to close” (The Secret Story of Planet Mars – Documentary 2014). The fear of losing funding further delayed NASA's plans for space exploration. After the cancellations of Apollo 18 – 20, NASA's employees split their bigger, grander projects into smaller, safer ones. As David Baker, the partner of Robert Zubrin, stated, “I think the Apollo cancellation was very traumatic for NASA and it really transformed NASA from what it was in the sixties to what it is now. If you have a singular program like going to Mars then it is very vulnerable to having its funding pulled” (The Secret Story of Planet Mars – Documentary 2014). The new delineation of projects lessened the likelihood a project would lose its funding, yet diminished the chances of more ambitious undertakings, such as sending men to the Moon or Mars. At NASA's days of apex in the 60s, children wanted to become astronauts, dreamed of discovering new frontiers and possibilities outside Earth's gravity. With economic health the sole focus of the world, business and entertainment, the two quickest means to acquire wealth, are the new focal point, diminishing humanity's expansion and evolution.

Riding the Wave of Change

The implementation of several solutions could end the freeze of mankind's progression. The first would be an upheaval of change in the world's, or at least NASA's, money-centric mentality. The potential of space travel and colonization would have to outweigh the risks, costs and possible net loss. Such a change would need a charismatic individual or group capable of revitalizing the world's interests, years or decades of advancement in technologies until the risks and costs are admissible, or a time when the Earth is on the brink of annihilation. Such solutions can be seen as idealistic, the last solution too reactive and apathetic to humanity's condition. Taking into account the business-social model dominating the world, the most practical, current day solution would be to convince the ones writing the checks the lucrative value of advancing the Space Program. If a business model is introduced that shows more financial gain than loss, if one desiring space exploration could speak the language of the business world to sell their idea, then the Space Program would receive due support in surplus. A final option would be for a private company, or a chain of companies, to fund private ventures into space. Unfortunately, one wonders whether any country would allow a business entity to take such lucrative steps above its country.

A wise man once said, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."  A wiser man once said, "If you can't beat 'em, think like they do long enough for you to get what you want."
A wise man once said, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." A wiser man once said, "If you can't beat 'em, think like they do long enough for you to get what you want." | Source

What We Stand to Gain, And To Lose

Insurmountable gains would be achieved by investing in space exploration. In 2004, a planet made of diamond was discovered (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/astronomers-spot-diamond-planet/); a method was developed for turning Mars's atmosphere into methane-oxygen fuel. Planets have troves of nonrenewable minerals and metals buried beneath their mantles. The resources available beyond our blue sphere remain untapped, ready to enrich the global economy and people's lives. New opportunities would arise from the new jobs available, creating a wave of workers to settle the new worlds. Overpopulation of Earth would diminish. We would learn how life develops on other worlds, and have physical, as opposed to model, evidence revealing how Earth differs from other planets. The knowledge gained in the sciences and the history of our universe would be immeasurable.

We risk to lose everything by remaining complacent under our blue skies. The gold bars, silver, and diamonds our green backs symbolize will eventually run dry, placing caps on the wealth of the world. As a boat starving in the sea of the cosmos, Earth's human population will one day surpass what its resources can support, leading to worldwide famine and water rationing. Our understanding of the universe will be limited to mathematical and theoretical models, which will place limitations on humanity's understanding of the natural world. The greatest loss, however, cannot be measured in dollars and cents: The death of the pioneer spirit. The global community will continue down an abysmal domino effect as complacency weighs-down our courage to explore new frontiers. The same spirit that advanced the world's great nations will not grow, but will allow greed, corruption, and stagnation to stifle like a pestilence, until the entire world becomes indistinguishable from a Third World country.

Works Cited

Works Cited:

The Secret Story of Planet Mars – Documentary 2014. 22 June 2014. Dir and prod., Scott J. Gill. Joshua B. Dasal. 25 January 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw2fycH-Avc

“Astronomers stop 'Diamond Planet.'” 14 October 2012. CBS News. Accessed on 25 January 2015. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/astronomers-spot-diamond-planet/

Do You Think We Should Prioritize Space Colonization?

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6 comments

lions44 profile image

lions44 8 months ago from Auburn, WA

While I agree with you wholeheartedly on the value of space exploration (your first sentence is very powerful), I disagree on why the priorities changed. This was a political and a social change.

The nation took a leftward shift in the 1970s. The hangover of Vietnam, and Watergate hurt the program. President Johnson, who saw the program as his "baby," left office a broken man. Combine that with a short American attention span, and you have changing priorities.

The same is true for today, only the philosophy behind government spending has changed. Years ago it was people on the left who complained about the space program. Now it is those on the right.

What we need is a President who can harness that level of interest again. I knew President Obama was not supportive of space exploration, he made that clear during his 2008 run. Maybe he was just reflecting the nation's interest. But finding another Kennedy might be too much to ask.

I highly recommend Robert Zimmerman's book Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8. He combines the story of the mission with a social analysis of what changed during the Apollo program.

Sharing.


Zeron87 profile image

Zeron87 7 months ago Author

Thanks for your comment, lions 44, and for the recommendation of Robert Zimmerman's book. I'll definitely check it out ^_^. I do see truth in what you're saying: our priorities did change after the golden age of space exploration socially and politically, even though I contribute that to a shift from a nationalistic (a grander scale of the community model) to an economic focus.

The nationalism that pushed space exploration in the first place, for us to advance mankind and to improve our position on the world stage, has vanished. The new shakers that rock the world aren't presidents or even the legislative branch, but businesses releasing the latest product and lobbyists who puppeteer political figures. My belief is that, because of the priority change concerning economics, a negative change, that we have to change our approach. A rally cry for nationalism and advancing our species won't be as effective now as an appeal to how much money we can make from the deal. It's either that, or we shift our priorities. But you know what they say, it's easier to convince someone to do what they want to do than to do what you want them to do.


lions44 profile image

lions44 7 months ago from Auburn, WA

Good point. The feeling of a cause greater than oneself has been lost.

All of the tech "geniuses," along with the up and comers appear to be focused solely on consumer goods. Fifty years ago, Mark Zuckerberg would have been a rocket scientist or a government researcher at a lab. Instead, he developed a business in his dorm room. Same with Gates and Wozniak.

While I admire men like Paul Allen and Richard Branson, who have used their biz success to fund space travel and other social ventures, they still have to focus on the bottom line. Thx.


Readmikenow profile image

Readmikenow 7 months ago

Simple economics. A space program requires money, lots of money to be successful. No other economic system on the planet can generate wealth like capitalism. The value of the space program by capitalistic countries has to change. It was a capitalistic system that put a man on the moon, built the international space system, created a space shuttle and more. I wholeheartedly support putting much more of the national budget toward space exploration. So many inventions came from the space program. It's not a budget item, investing in space exploration pays many dividends in the future. I believe it needs to be made a national priority. I can't describe what national pride we all felt when the US landed a man on the moon. We need to recapture that drive, determination and national pride.


Zeron87 profile image

Zeron87 7 months ago Author

So true, Readmikenow. Now we just need, essentially, a business plan explaining this to our government and other potential investors. The advances in technology we acquired from space exploration allowed us to reach the point we've reached today, and we can reach further by continuing where ambitious projects such as the Moon landing left off. It will not only boost us a species, but also as a nation. Thanks for your comment ^_^.


Readmikenow profile image

Readmikenow 7 months ago

I think it's time for people to begin letting their elected officials know how they feel about this. I will let mine know about how important I feel the space program is to us as a nation. I believe the only limitations for all Americans are those which we put on ourselves. Space is a challenge and one I feel confident the American people can handle. Zeron87...enjoyed your hub!

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