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Capitalists in Space --- 1nc

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Capitalists in Space --- 1nc

C --- The alternative is to vote negative to reject aff’s cosmic capitalism --- this is a crucial political intervention to subject free-market capitalism in space to critical evaluation and build more socially equitable economic models

Nature 7 (p970 “Space for capitalism”. Academic OneFile. Web. 14 July 2011. Document URL)

Although British prime minister Edward Heath turned a fresh phrase in castigating "the unacceptable face of capitalism" in the 1970s, he was hardly unearthing something new. Aspects of capitalism have always suffered from unpalatable appearances, sometimes coinciding with genuine flaws. But capitalists' knack for opening up markets and creating wealth has benefited society sufficiently to make some of its practitioners' faces more than acceptable. Few fit more squarely in that camp than those who have made their fortunes through computers and the Internet. "The largest single legal creation of wealth we've witnessed on the planet", as venture-capitalist John Doerr has termed it, was brought about by imaginatively finding ways to provide things that made lives and businesses more efficient, more effective, more fun, or some combination of all three. Now a few of these people are devoting some of their acquired fortunes to the as-yet-untested business of inexpensive space flight (see page 988). Jeff Bezos, the founder of, has gathered together the expertise he thinks is needed to build rockets that will fly passengers first to the edge of space, later to orbit. Elon Musk, one of the begetters of PayPal, is building a range of rockets, some tailored to traditional satellite markets, some to taking people to the International Space Station. SpaceShipOne, which three years ago won the Ansari X prize for flying to an altitude of 100 kilometres and back twice within a fortnight, did so with the financial backing of Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft. SpaceShipTwo is being developed in partnership with the Virgin Group, chaired by Richard Branson, a popular capitalist from a different background. At the very least, this activity is likely to provide some thrills for wealthy customers -- and cheaper launch options for certain types of satellite. Today's established rocket companies are vast concerns deeply embedded in the military-industrial complexes of various nations; it is a fair assessment that entrepreneurial competition will shake them up a bit. At best, one or more of these companies might actually find ways to make the launch of private citizens into orbit cheap and routine. This wouldn't just allow a lot of people to fulfil their childhood fantasies; it would also make it cheaper for governments to put people into orbit -- a capability that a number of them currently maintain at very high cost for little clear benefit. And it would render the eventual exploration of other bodies in the Solar System more affordable than it is today. This somewhat distant prospect, however, should not obscure various grounded truths. One is that getting cheap, reusable vehicles into orbit and back again is not going to be easy, and may well prove beyond the reach of current technologies. There are also security concerns. Given that the technologies needed to circle round Earth are basically the same as those needed to lay waste to the ground below, their development cannot always be viewed as an unmitigated good. Some faces would be entirely unacceptable as owners of what amounts to a privatized, intercontinental ballistic missile. The issue of who decides what constitutes 'acceptable' in that context remains unresolved. Finally, it can be anticipated that some would-be space entrepreneurs will, given half a chance, seek subsidy from the public purse. Such calls should be treated with scepticism. Certain public-private partnerships may make sense, and the programmes so far offered by NASA to encourage the development of private-sector resupply craft for the space station seem to do so. But in general, those who believe in private spaceflight should pursue their dream at their own expense. Of course, we might simply extend our existing rules of property to govern space as well, assuming all nations involved endorse a free-market system. But in uncharted territory, such as with cyberspace, our options seem to be limited to first-come-first-served and to the highest bidder, which we have seen lead to the inefficient and disorderly Internet gold rush. And because how we formulate property rights sets the tone for whatever economic model is adoptede.g., a high-bid process would naturally foster capitalism – this has great implications on how markets and transactions would proceed in space. 

If entering space marks our opportunity to start over again, then it seems that unfettered capitalism should no longer be a sacred cow and should be subject to critical evaluation along with other competing economic models. For instance, a purely free-market economy, while efficient at allocating scarce resources and inspiring innovation, is not so much concerned with need or merit, so a hybrid model may be desired.
 At the risk of cynicism, if we were to truly apply Earth rules to space, then the ultimate, albeit morally problematic, litmus test for claiming property may be about one’s ability to physically defend the property. Without a police force in space, it may first start with individuals or corporations defending their parcel against competitors in turf battles, despite any prevailing laws on Earth. But while “right through might” may perfectly describe frontier justice, one would hope that we have evolved beyond that. 

Even among enlightened people, there will inevitably be property-rights disputes in space, just as there is on terra firma between reasonable parties, so we will need a regulatory or administrative body that has jurisdiction over those lands, in addition to an enforcement agency. It won’t be enough that we govern from Earthwe will need a local organization to maintain law and order in real-time as well as to more efficiently administer public policy, urban planning and other matters. Again, these concerns point to our new era in space exploration as a true opportunity to start over from scratch, bringing with it new responsibility to architect a blueprint for society in space.

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