Resource mining collects private capital through exploiting resources
Hickman 99 (John, Associate Prof. of Government in Dept. of International Relations at Berry College, “The Political Economy of Very Large Space Objects,” Journal of Evolution and Technology http://www.jetpress.org/volume4/space.pdf)
Mining also serves as the primary economic rationale in Donald Cox and James Chestik’s (1996: 138−146, 211−272) proposal to colonize the asteroids. Planetary defense against asteroids and comets which might strike the Earth, transportation facilities intermediate between Earth and Mars, research facilities, and tourism and retirement homes all provide additional reasons for making asteroids the first focus for human expansion into space. Although Cox and Chestik offer little detail about financing their proposal, this may be excused because the probable incremental nature of exploiting the asteroids is likely to mean that attracting capital should be comparatively less difficult than for other very large space development projects. Each asteroid mining venture might be financed separately and the total capital necessary for mining the asteroids could be raised over time and in smaller amounts. Robotic mining of asteroids passing near the Earth might be within the technological and economic reach of private firms and government space agencies in the next century. Subsequent robotic mining ventures of bodies farther from the Earth might build on that initial experience. Yet rather than open a new frontier for human settlement, such incremental economic development via robotic mining might foreclose it. Private investors and government space agencies might be content to limit space development to those ventures which yield economic returns in the short term. Given better returns on investments on Earth and demands for government spending for public services, the occasional robotic mining ventures on near Earth asteroids might be the most ambitious space development project ever undertaken. It is difficult to see why such investments would generate other economic activity in space. Part of the problem is that robots might be too cost−effective.