28 Mar 2014

Privatize Outer Space!

Austrian School, Economics, Shameless Self-Promotion 20 Comments

Such is my rallying cry at Mises Canada. An excerpt:

Notice too that the tradeoff doesn’t have to be between something cool and exotic on the one hand (like exploring Europa), versus something lame and boring on the other hand (like giving everybody an extra pair of dress socks). The oceans on Earth are hardly explored, after all; maybe it makes more sense to pour billions of dollars of research into colonizing them, before we try leapfrogging to a planet which is about 780 million kilometers away.

20 Responses to “Privatize Outer Space!”

  1. Tel says:

    You may wish to study the property rights related to the geostationary orbit, of which there is only one orbit, divided up into slots, thus quite a finite piece of space real-estate.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      Imagine a whole bunch of space elevators.

      • Tel says:

        I was trying to focus on property rights that exist in the present day, rather than sci-fi stuff.

    • Ken B says:

      Hmm, interesting. I had not realized this, just sort of conflating geosynchronous with geo stationary. But of course geostationary must be in the equatorial plane. So it really is very limited.

  2. Gamble says:

    But what about memory foam, if not for guberment space, we would not have foam… Wonder what mem foam would cost if NASA R&D spending was include in retail mem foam price?

    • guest says:

      Wonder what mem foam would cost if NASA R&D spending was include in retail mem foam price?

      It already IS included in the price. It cost us our tax money and it necessarily benefitted some at the expense of others. It cost us liberty and made us even more of a crony capitalist country.

      The incentive for R&D in the private sector is for individuals to tweak existing products to outcompete other businesses.

      So, R&D would happen without the government’s “help”.

      • Gamble says:

        Yeah I get it. We paid for memory foam, one way or the other. Additionally somebody would have invented memory foam even if NASA never were involved. For all we know, there would be a better product.

        I was really just trying to say that there are government cheerleaders who tout memory foam, the internet and other items as awesome government inventions yet they do not understand the true cost of these products.

        • Lord Keynes says:

          “Additionally somebody would have invented memory foam even if NASA never were involved. For all we know, there would be a better product.”

          That’s what is called fundamentalist religious faith in free markets..

          • Gamble says:

            Honestly though, you have no idea what would of or could of happened absent guberment.

            We do know for sure, the capital would have went somewhere else. We do know for sure, NASA employees and contractors are compensated way above market averages.

            So this is not market religion. You are the one exercising government religion…

      • Ken B says:


        Such a spectacular misunderstanding of “price” by an Austrian deserves your attention.

        • guest says:

          Prices are an expression of people’s subjective values.

          Even when discussing costs in terms of the materials required to produce a good, this is the case, since, at any moment, any individual could technically choose to offer or accept a price which is contrary to what would be in his physical self-interest.

          Some good could be the most beneficial, rare, good in the world, but if there are people who will only pay a handful of dirt for it, that is going to affect the price.

          And since people can only choose to buy what’s available, foregone opportunities (lost due to being taxed for government R&D) do factor into prices.

          • Gamble says:

            “Prices are an expression of people’s subjective values.”

            And taxes are opposite expression of peoples subjective values…

        • Lord Keynes says:

          “Wonder what mem foam would cost if NASA R&D spending was include in retail mem foam price?”

          Strange to see Austrians using cost-based/mark-up pricing.

          • Gamble says:

            Cost based mark up pricing?

            lk, to include Rand D in a price is obvious and has nothing to do with clearing price or mark up price.

            NASA creates something( assuming the really did) the RandD cost is paid via taxes and not at the consumer level regardless clearing or markup. What is certain is memory foam price is distorted as it was derived via guns of guberment rather than voluntary transaction.

            Without all that said, you have failed to prove any substantial difference between clearing and markup pricing. At the end of the day, the consumer will pay what the consumer will pay and the producer will stop producing absent profit motive.

    • guest says:

      Also, if the government didn’t restrict air space, there’d be a lot more Richard Bransons to create a market for memory foam.

      • Gamble says:

        If gub did not restrict air space, instead only protected property rights, humanity would probably be jumping between galaxies by now…

  3. Jim Chappelow says:

    This is already being done. As far as I know it’s entirely private.


  4. Bogart says:

    My response to any defenders of NASA, DOD, NSF, etc is simply to tell them to write me a check for the cost of the agency x the years since I have been alive / number of tax payers. Take for instance that stupid scram jet NASA wasted hard earned tax payer money on. If the total cost of that project is say 3 billion and there are 150 million tax payers well that would be $20 per person. Simply tell a supporter you want your money as you never agreed to pay it. If they pull out a 20 then ask for the price on the Space Shuttle = 20 years (Since I changed my mind about NASA) x $20 billion per year = $400 billion / 150 million = $2667.

    • Gamble says:

      Additionally, allow only voluntary tax payers to fund project, there tax burden would no doubt double, forcing project to lose even more support.

      Taxes are obviously not voluntary nor market nor consent.

      “Government is like fire, either a dangerous servant or a fearful master.”
      ~ One smart mofo

      This is why guberment should be severely restricted, finite rather than infinite. Guberment should only exist to do things no market can( this is no doubt a short list). This is why guberment should only protect against force, theft and blatant fraud. Where did my list go, I cant seem to find it…

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