Could a large-scale lunar base project stimulate both space and
terrestrial economies? (credit: NASA)

Back to the future: Space and escaping the gravitational pull of economic crisis

by Vidvuds Beldavs and Jeffrey Sommers
Monday, November 19, 2012

The compelling argument for space industrialization is that we are near the limits of our ecological niche on Earth and, as a species, must expand our territory much as territorial expansions have occurred many times before.

We have arrived at a historical moment of economic crisis where no exit appears visible. The limits of financialization and the “service” economy have been reached. The way forward is through a return to developing the real economy. However, we are also at the limits of globalization. Technological advances and their commercialization with new products, though necessary, will not solve the problem.

Most countries plan to produce more engineers and PhDs in the sciences to innovate out of the morass. Yet, globally, we are already producing more people with high levels of education for which they will find no meaningful roles. In the US, many science postdocs can’t get tenure and seek out alternative opportunities. Others supplement adjunct salaries with poverty relief programs, while scores more abandon their chosen disciplines seeking alternative lines of work. China, which is producing vastly more technical specialists than the US, is finding it hard to generate jobs that match the skills and expertise that are being acquired. This problem will be compounded as universities around the world disgorge increasing numbers of highly trained specialists.

Read more: The Space Review: Back to the future: Space and escaping the gravitational pull of economic crisis.

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