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#1 2017-10-09 06:46:26

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Key features of a Mars economy

I am genuinely somewhat surprised at the seemingly  negative outlook many people here have regarding Mars’s economic potential. Currently, in the universe, nowhere else do we have the prospect of accessing so many resources (literally many trillions of tonnes of material) and so much land area for humanity to expand into. Moreover, we now have the technology to effectively tap into these resources in what is an admittedly challenging environment. 

To me it seems blindingly obvious that this will be a rip-roaring success!

Obviously no one has a crystal ball to determine what will happen in the future but I thought it would be interesting, in view of discussion on some other threads, to outline some potential key features of a Mars economy as I see it. 

My comments assume a Space X style approach with at least 300 tonnes of cargo being taken to Mars on Mission One.

The Basic Development Pattern      

I think the following will be the basic outline:

(a)   Import the energy/energy storage system

(b)   Import the “enabling apparatus”.   These will be key machines such as computers, 3D printers, CNC lathes, presses, furnaces,       
       kilns, robot rovers, explorer rovers, diggers, chemical processing equipment and so on.

(c)   Import starter materials e.g. plastic feed material, steel.

(d)   Mine and extract required materials e.g. iron ore, silicon, aluminium, calcium, water, carbon, hydrogen.

(e)   Develop the colony’s capacity to meet its basic needs: food, clothing, heating, lighting, habitation, utensils, hygiene and plumbing…

(f)   Develop the industrial infrastructure further  so that the Mars colony can begin to produce its own energy generation, industrial robots, 3D printers, and CNC machines and thus manufacture a full and wide range of products.

Might be worth popping some video links in here...

Here are CNC machines in operation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qsbjl_ExF_c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwvKjIEdxGc

And here is a state of the art 3D printer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWFF8qr0pyo


Labour and automation   
   
Labour will be in short supply on Mars.  Settlement planning needs to take account of this.  Everything needs to be designed with a view to reducing labour input. For instance, bathroom facilities should be fully self cleansing – similar to wet rooms and automated toilets on Earth.  The surfaces within habs, including furniture, should be designed to be readily cleaned by domestic robots e.g. the automated robot vacuum floor cleaners we are familiar with. New types of designs will be required for instance  self-cleaning sinks. 

No cooks or chefs will be required:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6_LCwu7dOg

Electrical supply and plumbing will also be designed to be easily installed and replaced. Whether a robot could fix a problem might be debatable but the amount of human labour time required to fix the problem will be minimal. 

The central warehouses for distribution of products will be fully automated, using automated fork lift trucks, robot pickers.  Every item will be automatically identifiable. Robot delivery vehicles (already being trialled on Earth) will distribute the vast majority of items, be it a new screwdriver, a fresh meal, a new boiler suit, or a toothbrush. The whole of the base area will of course be covered by transponders, so robot vehicles can accurately drive from any one location to another.

There will be virtually no human “truckers” – nearly all vehicles will be driverless.  Long distance driverless rovers will deliver material from mining areas. 

Materials mining and processing   

Robot diggers will automatically source and mine required materials like high grade iron ore. Explorer robot rovers and automated rocket hoppers will automatically survey neighbouring areas for required materials like water, high grade iron ore, good quality silica, calcium and so on.  Meanwhile automated atmospheric extractor will take out required gases like automated electrolysis machines will split water into hydrogen and oxygen and produce other gases.

There will be automated facilities for purifying materials like silica.

There may be a few mining areas where human intervention is required but that requirement will be very infrequent. Most mining areas will be fully robotised and monitored remotely at base.

Small scale production.

It is small scale production that will allow the Mars colony to develop its productive capacity.

Industrial robots, 3D printers and CNC machines will allow for small scale production to the highest standards. After a few years only small amounts of imports will be required from Earth (although it may be more convenient in many cases to import).

Whether Mars ever develops full scale mega-factory production remains to be seen.  It is quite likely that it will continue with the pattern of many small scale centres of production. Certainly the absence of ocean transport will discourage planet-wide trade and will favour regional self-sufficiency.

Super-productivity.

Comparisons are odious, particularly between two planets with very different needs but I think it is reasonable to suggest that Mars will enjoy a superproductive economy compared with the whole of Earth and even the most productive parts of the home planet, though within a more narrow range of activities.  This will be because of the following factors:

-    The energy system will, from the outset, provide a much higher rate of energy generation per capita than on Earth or even an advanced country like the USA.

-    Initial high level of capital investment will endow the Mars community with very advanced robotic and automated systems. This confers on Mars a huge advantage over Earth where such high capital investment per capita is simply not possible because there are simply too many people.

-    Unlike on Earth, the whole of the Mars population in the early colony will be highly productive. All persons, unless ill, will be economically active. They will happily work long hours.  There will be no children, no retired people, (likely) no chronically sick people, no women at home or on maternity leave and no part time workers. The population will also all be highly skilled.

-    The Mars city and habs will be designed to facilitate robots and automated systems. Currently Earth cities and habitation are designed to facilitate humans much more than robots! This will enable the Mars community to deploy robots and automated systems in ways that are very difficult on Earth.

-    Mars will avoid many of the costs (= resource use) on Earth that prevent us from investing in improving productivity (incidentally this is a big issue in the UK which has a poor record on productivity). For instance, it will not need to deploy resources to maintain a defence force or administer a complex tax and benefits system or provide complex medical treatment for a large proportion of its population (surgery and so on – there will be some but not much) or provide welfare to people who cannot work. Furthermore, Earth will be paying for its education system in the early colony period until procreation gets going on Mars.  So, all these huge demands on resources will be absent, which means  the Mars settlers can increase hugely their capital investment in improving productivity.

Exports and Revenue   

The Mars economy will enjoy huge revenues that will help it maintain high capital investment in robotics and automated systems and develop a self-sufficient industrial infrastructure.

  Commercial sponsorship and TV rights These will of course be very important in the earliest stages – Space X might well use them to part fund Mission One. But it would be a mistake to think that they will be irrelevant after Mission One.  I think there will be continuing opportunities for sponsorship and TV/film rights sales.  For instance, specific exploration missions will attract sponsorship. Documentary film makers will want to make films on Mars. 

Scientific experimentation – the Mars community can undertake scientific experiments on Mars on behalf of institutions on Earth.University and research stations – Mars will be of huge fascination to all sorts of universities and research institutions on Earth.  They will want to send their own people to Mars to undertake this research.  On Earth at the height of summer there are around 5000 researchers and support staff on Antarctica.  It would be reasonable to something like 1000 researchers to be on Mars within a couple of decades. They will need transit, transportation, feeding, equipment maintenance, computer facilities and life support.  All these can be provided by Space X/the Mars community, at a price (and the price is revenue).

Space agency income Many space agencies on Earth will wish to undertake missions to Mars that the Mars community can facilitate.  In many case this will be a matter of national pride perhaps – but people are prepared to stump up a lot of money to get themselves notice.

Sale of Mars regolith, meteorites, gems and (if found) fossils – these will generate hundreds of millons of dollars every year.

Sale of Mars images. On Earth you can copyright images. Many Mars photographs will be used in journals, on calendars, posters and so on.

Mars art.  The Earth art market is worth billions of pounds per annum.  The idea that the value of Mars art will be zero is absurd. So once again we can see a huge revenue stream building up.  Many prominent Earth artists will be ambitious to have their art works on Mars e.g. sculptures can be designed on Earth and built on Mars and then sold on Earth.  Similarly mosaics, murals, video art, painting, etc can all be developed and will all have intrinsic value as examples of early Mars art.

Mars TV and Radio and other media  I think there would be a worldwide audience on Earth for a Mars-produced TV and Radio network giving news, interviews, film of explorations etc If Netflix has 100 million subscribers across the globe is it really so outlandish to think that Mars channels might get at least one million out of 7 billion people on Earth?  Again revenue should be in the millions.

Other media can also be developed e.g. websites, social media, and publishing.  Why wouldn't you be able to sell  say 5 million Mars-related books every year at $30 a time = $150 million revenue, of which the Mars community might take $30 million in royalties.

Data preservation and processing. Institutions like the Library of Congress might wish to preserve their digital collections off Earth. There may also be opportunities for data processing on Mars.

Luxury goods manufacture. Mars will be able to develop luxury goods assembly and manufacture on Mars e.g. Rolex watches, low weight textiles (e.g. chiffon scarves), jewellery, novelty items (polished rock slivers from Mars). 

Most of the above can be pursued when the colony is quite small.  GDP per capita in the USA is about $58,000.  Does anyone seriously think that a Mars colony's GDP per capita where the community had 1000 residents would be less than $58,000 [Edited from the error figure of $58 million] ?  Really?  Just exploiting the full media potential of Mars back on Earth could easily be bringing in multiples of that. 

Of course, we have the serious issue of the cost of the transport link between Mars and Earth. I think that will largely be covered in the first 10 years by the universities, institutes and space agencies who wish to explore and experiment on Mars. We can perhaps examine that in more detail.

Economic priorities

Economic priorities will change over time.  As decades pass into centuries the tendency will be for the Mars economy to become more like Earth’s with a wider range of activity and a more consumerist society developing. However I have listed below what I think the priorities in an overlapping temporal order:

- Installation of energy systems (these will of course be expanded over time with more and more being manufactured on Mars).
- Water sourcing and processing.
- Construction of propellant processing facilities.
- Location and mining of range of raw materials.
- Raw materials processing.
- Manufacture of basic industrial and construction inputs like steel, glass,  plastics, range of chemicals/gases, cement, and bricks. 
- Construction of habs for residence, materials processing, industry, research stations, waste recycling, agriculture and warehousing.
- Putting in place full support (life support, transport etc) for research stations.
- Creation of a viable food agriculture infrastructure
- Manufacture of household goods (e.g. utensils, furniture, hygiene installations) and items to facilitate agriculture.
- Manufacture of industrial machines including 3D printers, robots and CNC machines.
- Developing agriculture to provide raw materials e.g. bamboo, or textile materials.
- Manufacture of energy generation equipment e.g. PV panels.
- Manufacture of chemical batteries.
- Manufacture of electric vehicles.
- Manufacture of cargo rockets, to deliver loads to LMO.
- Construction of leisure environments – large gyms, swimming facilities, domed parks, and covered, pressurised gorges.
- Creation of art installations – e.g. sculpture parks
- Establishing export oriented manufacturing e.g. Rolex watches.
- Textile manufacture.
- Construction of natural light farm domes.
- Manufacture of computers and full range of electronic comms equipment.
- Manufacture of human-rated rockets and spaceships, that can  undertake the Mars-Earth transit.

Last edited by louis (2017-10-10 00:50:35)


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#2 2017-10-09 13:00:00

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Hey Louis,

Thanks for posting this. I obviously have tons of arguments with your points and I'll get to them later.


-Josh

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#3 2017-10-09 13:35:02

IanM
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From: Chicago
Registered: 2015-12-14
Posts: 276

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Prima facie, having any country with a GDP per capita of $58 million is with all due respect implausible. Manhattan itself only has a personal income per capita of around $125,000, and using the same GDP per capita:Personal income per capita ratio of the whole United States that would imply a GDP per capita of around $250k. Are you implying that Mars would be 232 times as productive as the financial capital of the world?

Furthermore, by definition the GDP is personal expenditures + business investments + government spending + (exports-imports). The sheer amounts of imports necessary for Mars, compared to the rather meager resources it could export, would very likely put a damper on much of the GDP, even if everything else was as jacked up as Louis says it would be. On another note, the whole Reality TV thing sounds good in theory, but it didn't really work well for Mars One in practice. I'm not quite dismissing the arts as a source of revenue, but in the absence of tangible resources it just doesn't seem like it would rack up to much, and even if it does it would probably require more people than what is suggested.


The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. -Paraphrased from Tsiolkovsky

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#4 2017-10-09 13:36:02

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Supplement

What sort of GDP per annum might a 1000 person Mars economy have?

1.    $100 million sponsorship rights (payments from commercial sponsors for various aspects of the mission and exploration projects)
2.    $50 million exclusive TV rights
3.    $20 million sales of stock Mars film around the world
4.    $15 million Mars TV channel/radio station/website/social media (subscription and advertising revenue).
5.    $10 million book sales (coffee table books, academic publications, children’s books, Mars atlas, Mars annual)
6.    $10 million copyrighted images (sales to newspapers, magazines, websites, TV companies, advertisers, etc)
7.    $10 million Mars licensed merchandising (e.g T shirts, posters)
8.    $150 million* in payments from universities, research institutes and space agencies in relation to research projects, scientific experiments and costs of transit, transport,  and life support for their personnel on Mars.
9.    $50 million from sale of regolith, meteorites and gemstones.
10.    $100million from sale of luxury goods (e.g. Rolex watches, jewellery, lightweight accessories, luxury novelties)
11.    Art sales $50 million (licensed creation of sculptures and other art works on Mars).
12.    Notional value of goods produced and used on Mars (e.g. propellant, raw materials, steel, bricks, glass, household goods and so on): approx.  $200 million.

Total GDP would be $765 million pa or $765,000 GDP per capita, compared with a per capita figure of about $58,000 for contemporary USA.

I am sure business people and entrepreneurs of all types could identify other revenue generation possibilities.  Another possibility would be offering people the chance to have ashes disposed of on Mars, or to have their names carved on rock there (maybe an artificial rock face as we wouldn't want to be accused of vandalising the planet).

* There are about 20,000 universities around the world. If universities were providing $100 million  out of that total, that would amount to  $5,000 per university. Of course not every university will be involved. But I think this gives the idea that this is not an unreasonable figure. Also, note: you aren't necessarily asking universities to allocate extra money, simply rearrange their funding priorities within their own budgets.

Last edited by louis (2017-10-09 16:12:55)


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#5 2017-10-09 16:10:09

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

I'm not sure where you got the GDP per capita figure of $58 million.I haven't quoted that here.  Apologies - I've just seen where I erroneously gave a gross figure of $58 million rather than the intended $58,000 - have amended.

GDP per capita does vary hugely on Earth.  Monaco's GDP per capita is 770 times that of Somalia's. So, in principle, there shouldn't be any bar to there being a huge differential between planets as there is between countries.  We have to look at the facts and the potential. The Mars community will have unprecedented levels access to resources and technology.

I did say on another thread  that the Mars community could be a hundred times or even 1000 times more productive than on earth on another thread.  I think the upper is possible in certain respects.  They might well be producing a 1000 times more bricks per capita or more cement or more glass. I  have given some more detailed figures on what I think would be a reasonable expectation for GDP above - and I come to a figure of over $700,000 per capita for a Mars community of 1000. World average GDP per capita is about $16,000 - so, on that basis, Mars GDP per capita would be over 40 times greater than that of Earth's. 

Where I would probably be at odds with people here as well is that I would see that differential  increasing over time, certainly until Mars gets into the hundreds of millions population, when things might begin to level off.

IanM wrote:

Prima facie, having any country with a GDP per capita of $58 million is with all due respect implausible. Manhattan itself only has a personal income per capita of around $125,000, and using the same GDP per capita:Personal income per capita ratio of the whole United States that would imply a GDP per capita of around $250k. Are you implying that Mars would be 232 times as productive as the financial capital of the world?

Furthermore, by definition the GDP is personal expenditures + business investments + government spending + (exports-imports). The sheer amounts of imports necessary for Mars, compared to the rather meager resources it could export, would very likely put a damper on much of the GDP, even if everything else was as jacked up as Louis says it would be. On another note, the whole Reality TV thing sounds good in theory, but it didn't really work well for Mars One in practice. I'm not quite dismissing the arts as a source of revenue, but in the absence of tangible resources it just doesn't seem like it would rack up to much, and even if it does it would probably require more people than what is suggested.

Last edited by louis (2017-10-10 00:48:25)


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#6 2017-10-09 19:53:21

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Oddly enough we're seeing a type of convergence here--my very optimistic, very high-end estimate for Martian GDP per capita was roughly $400,000 per person-year, and your (mid-range, shall we say?) estimate in this thread is $765,000.  I think you didn't account for imports though?

Having said that, I still disagree strenuously with your methodology. I'm not going to go through and highlight them again (it doesn't seem to have accomplished anything the last time), but your original post is basically a list of assertions that are not backed up by evidence.   These statements don't really carry much weight, either with me or with the other members of the forum, because you're giving opinions when you could give evidence-based predictions.

On the topic of economics, I think we're coming at things from two sort of different perspectives.  You come at it from the perspective of counting up, describing, and estimating the inputs/outputs of each process and product.  I will call this the Planner's Perspective, insofar as you get your numbers by planning out how the Martian economy would work.

I come at it from a more comparative economics perspective.  Rather than trying to build a piece-by-piece model of the Martian economy, I assume that it will work in a way that is fundamentally similar to how the economies of Earth work, even if many of the particulars are different.  I will call this the Economist's Perspective.

The Planner's Perspective and the Economist's Perspective are not mutually exclusive.  They are two different ways of describing the same thing. 

The difference is that the Planner's Perspective requires way, way more information to give a credible number.  In a lot of cases it requires information that nobody has, such as the actual availability of all sorts of resources, the response of people to their society, the way just about every machine works, how long it lasts, how much it costs.  It's information we simply don't have.

The Economist's Perspective is imprecise, but more accurate.  A lot of the terms (for example, the EROI of your energy source and its mean lifetime) cancel out, and you end up with just a few important parameters that can be (roughly) estimated by comparison to Earth.

Just to put this out there, by the way: I work in 3D printing.  3D Printers are not ready for primetime as far as manufacturing is concerned.

Can you elaborate, specifically, what role you see 3D printing playing in the colony's manufacturing capabilities?


-Josh

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#7 2017-10-10 01:48:08

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Imports are part of GDP.  The issue is: can a community pay for the imports?  Would $765,000,000 pa ($1.53 billion every two years on the transit cycle) of revenue be enough to cover the costs of Mars-Earth transit.  I am anticipating that the cost of funding the transit would be met from payments by researchers (universities, space agencies etc) and the revenue derived from exported luxury products. Otherwise the cost would have to come from other elements e.g. the commercial sponsorship.  How you would do this  - whether as part of a formal tax system or through Space X profits or through a specific Mars Corporation company's operations would depend on the specifics. Having a Mars currency might facilitate Mars-Earth trade since, with a growing economy, the Mars currency might be attractive and hold its value well. On the other hand, you don't necessarily want a situation where your currency is at the mercy of speculators - a kind of South Sea Island Bubble which might damage the real economy of Mars.

I do dispute these are mere assertions.  For instance, I have looked at the revenue available to companies like Netflix, Discovery Channel, the sponsorship/TV rights figures for the Olympics, Coca Cola's advertising budget, meteorite prices, the total value of book sales, steel prices, the potential for robotic manufacture and so on. It's all been researched - I haven't just plucked figures out of the air. Putting all the research in would be possible but rather boring I think. It's better if people challenge specific figures and then I can explain why I think they are mostly conservative estimates.

Yes, we do approach the issue from very different standpoints. I do not think the Mars economy will be fundamentally similar to that of Earth's, at least not for many decades, perhaps even centuries. It will leap into the robotics age, it will deploy small scale automated manufacture, it will be far less consumerist and service orientated that on Earth, and it will have different demands or priorities (e.g. water mining,  life support, creating pressurised environments using artificial air, and putting in place indoor agriculture) which simply don't exist on Earth to any large degree but will gobble up huge amounts of resources on Mars.

We all know that on Earth even with a wealth of real data at their disposal economists can make accurate predictions of value (though I would accept they can make good recommendations for action), so I doubt any economist can make an accurate prediction of the Mars economy. I think we are simply exploring here possible outcomes. If Space X decide not to put in place any industrial infrastructure or seek commercial sponsorship, then of course what I am looking at will never happen. But Space X have indicated they wish to create a viable human civilisation on Earth.

I see industrial robots, CNC machines and 3D printing as complementing each other and delivering the small scale industrial infrastructure.

There are large scale printers like this:

http://www.sciaky.com/largest-metal-3d- … -available

You could probably print 30 tonnes of metal with that in a year.

It would take a Mars community a couple of decades to build to a population of 1000 and during that time with 2 cargo loads (BFR) running at 300 tonnes delivered every two years, you would have 1500 tonnes of equipment landed, there is no reason why you might not have say 20 of those big machines in operation. I can't get a figure on how much their mass is but if it's say 2.5 tonnes per machine, then the total tonnage allowance would be 50 tonnes out of your 1500 tonnes and you could handle 600 tonnes of parts production per annum.

There would of course also be smaller 3D printers in numbers producing smaller parts.

The 3D printers would be vital in providing larger complex components for construction, vehicle production, rockets and so on and in enabling the Mars community to replicate 95% of Earth technology on Mars at an early stage. Initially they will use imported feedstocks but those will gradually be replaced by Mars ISRU.

CNC machines would probably be used for less complex parts required in larger numbers e.g. nuts, bolts, screws, and so on.

Industrial robots and automated machines would be used in all the industrial processes (heating, moulding, cutting, pressing, polishing etc) and assembly. For each process, say glass making, there would be a pre-determined plan of production and equipment put in place (which in due course could be replicated through manufacture on Mars).

I would envisage that the whole infrastructure system would be intricately designed on Earth with a view to minimising human input. So, for a CNC machine, we would be looking to having an industrial robot handle the material that is passed to the CNC machine, working to a software programme which tells the industrial robot what's up next and instructs the CNC machine what to make) and the finished parts would be collected by robots that would then package them, code them and take them to a central warehouse for onward distribution. There would be an overall plan for how many nuts  and bolts etc are required in relation to the habitation construction programme being pursued.  As far as possible maintenance and cleaning of the workshop would be automated, though I accept there will be some human intervention.


JoshNH4H wrote:

Oddly enough we're seeing a type of convergence here--my very optimistic, very high-end estimate for Martian GDP per capita was roughly $400,000 per person-year, and your (mid-range, shall we say?) estimate in this thread is $765,000.  I think you didn't account for imports though?

Having said that, I still disagree strenuously with your methodology. I'm not going to go through and highlight them again (it doesn't seem to have accomplished anything the last time), but your original post is basically a list of assertions that are not backed up by evidence.   These statements don't really carry much weight, either with me or with the other members of the forum, because you're giving opinions when you could give evidence-based predictions.

On the topic of economics, I think we're coming at things from two sort of different perspectives.  You come at it from the perspective of counting up, describing, and estimating the inputs/outputs of each process and product.  I will call this the Planner's Perspective, insofar as you get your numbers by planning out how the Martian economy would work.

I come at it from a more comparative economics perspective.  Rather than trying to build a piece-by-piece model of the Martian economy, I assume that it will work in a way that is fundamentally similar to how the economies of Earth work, even if many of the particulars are different.  I will call this the Economist's Perspective.

The Planner's Perspective and the Economist's Perspective are not mutually exclusive.  They are two different ways of describing the same thing. 

The difference is that the Planner's Perspective requires way, way more information to give a credible number.  In a lot of cases it requires information that nobody has, such as the actual availability of all sorts of resources, the response of people to their society, the way just about every machine works, how long it lasts, how much it costs.  It's information we simply don't have.

The Economist's Perspective is imprecise, but more accurate.  A lot of the terms (for example, the EROI of your energy source and its mean lifetime) cancel out, and you end up with just a few important parameters that can be (roughly) estimated by comparison to Earth.

Just to put this out there, by the way: I work in 3D printing.  3D Printers are not ready for primetime as far as manufacturing is concerned.

Can you elaborate, specifically, what role you see 3D printing playing in the colony's manufacturing capabilities?


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#8 2017-10-10 14:12:14

JoshNH4H
Member
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

louis wrote:

Imports are part of GDP.  The issue is: can a community pay for the imports?  Would $765,000,000 pa ($1.53 billion every two years on the transit cycle) of revenue be enough to cover the costs of Mars-Earth transit.  I am anticipating that the cost of funding the transit would be met from payments by researchers (universities, space agencies etc) and the revenue derived from exported luxury products. Otherwise the cost would have to come from other elements e.g. the commercial sponsorship.  How you would do this  - whether as part of a formal tax system or through Space X profits or through a specific Mars Corporation company's operations would depend on the specifics. Having a Mars currency might facilitate Mars-Earth trade since, with a growing economy, the Mars currency might be attractive and hold its value well. On the other hand, you don't necessarily want a situation where your currency is at the mercy of speculators - a kind of South Sea Island Bubble which might damage the real economy of Mars.

To answer the question in bold*: No, that money would not be revenue.  To call it revenue is to badly misunderstand what GDP is or how an economy works.  According to your list, the only things that could be considered "revenues" would be the $565 million per year in basically free money that you seem to think a Mars colony could get.

You have provided these estimates before and I have rejected them before.  They're not just optimistic--they're absurd.

louis wrote:

I do dispute these are mere assertions.  For instance, I have looked at the revenue available to companies like Netflix, Discovery Channel, the sponsorship/TV rights figures for the Olympics, Coca Cola's advertising budget, meteorite prices, the total value of book sales, steel prices, the potential for robotic manufacture and so on. It's all been researched - I haven't just plucked figures out of the air. Putting all the research in would be possible but rather boring I think. It's better if people challenge specific figures and then I can explain why I think they are mostly conservative estimates.

It's incredibly disrespectful for you to come to us and try to defend as facts numbers that you refuse to research adequately.  I'm out.

*I know that is technically not the question you were asking, but it's one that needs to be answered.


-Josh

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#9 2017-10-10 15:30:34

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Agreed I made a technical error re imports. They aren't directly added to GDP but of course their value becomes part of the final value of GDP. If we import an engine from Germany to put in a car assembled in the UK, we don't add the import value, but we do incorporate the value of the engine in the final cost of the car sold in the UK or overseas.  That's what I meant.

Revenues may be a loose term for GDP but essentially this is the amount of priced value in the economy -it all represents revenue for someone. Revenue is income and GDP essentially represents the income of the economic entity.

Projections are never facts. And that's a fact.

My posts in this area are far more detailed and backed up by research than anyone else's.  If you wished you could easily go through my 12 point breakdown of notional GDP and give your alternative figures, be they 0 or whatever but I suspect you are embarrassed to do so because you can see they are perfectly reasonable.

Here is some research for you: 

NBC paid $4.3 billion  for Olympic TV rights over 4 years (two Olympic cycles).

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics-sochi … -1.1012854

Coca Cola spend over  $3 billion per annum on marketing.

http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/c … nd/294251/

Nike spend  $3.2 billion per annum on marketing.

https://www.fastcompany.com/3061133/nik … -toms-more

Total annual expenditure on research and development worldwide is  $1,948 billion per annum.

https://www.iriweb.org/sites/default/fi … cast_2.pdf

NASA spent $3.2 billion on getting the Curiosity Rover to Mars.

http://www.investopedia.com/financial-e … llion.aspx

Netflix revenue was $6.8 billion in 2015.

https://revenuesandprofits.com/netflix- … -analysis/

The global art market is worth $56.6 billion pa.

https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/ne … ler-sales/

The quartz segment of the global wristwatch market alone was worth nearly $40 billion pa.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases … 97059.html

The idea that the Mars community couldn't get something like £565 million pa from such sources combined is really laughable.  Mars is a marketing dream and has real value as a research outpost.


JoshNH4H wrote:
louis wrote:

Imports are part of GDP.  The issue is: can a community pay for the imports?  Would $765,000,000 pa ($1.53 billion every two years on the transit cycle) of revenue be enough to cover the costs of Mars-Earth transit.  I am anticipating that the cost of funding the transit would be met from payments by researchers (universities, space agencies etc) and the revenue derived from exported luxury products. Otherwise the cost would have to come from other elements e.g. the commercial sponsorship.  How you would do this  - whether as part of a formal tax system or through Space X profits or through a specific Mars Corporation company's operations would depend on the specifics. Having a Mars currency might facilitate Mars-Earth trade since, with a growing economy, the Mars currency might be attractive and hold its value well. On the other hand, you don't necessarily want a situation where your currency is at the mercy of speculators - a kind of South Sea Island Bubble which might damage the real economy of Mars.

To answer the question in bold*: No, that money would not be revenue.  To call it revenue is to badly misunderstand what GDP is or how an economy works.  According to your list, the only things that could be considered "revenues" would be the $565 million per year in basically free money that you seem to think a Mars colony could get.

You have provided these estimates before and I have rejected them before.  They're not just optimistic--they're absurd.

louis wrote:

I do dispute these are mere assertions.  For instance, I have looked at the revenue available to companies like Netflix, Discovery Channel, the sponsorship/TV rights figures for the Olympics, Coca Cola's advertising budget, meteorite prices, the total value of book sales, steel prices, the potential for robotic manufacture and so on. It's all been researched - I haven't just plucked figures out of the air. Putting all the research in would be possible but rather boring I think. It's better if people challenge specific figures and then I can explain why I think they are mostly conservative estimates.

It's incredibly disrespectful for you to come to us and try to defend as facts numbers that you refuse to research adequately.  I'm out.

*I know that is technically not the question you were asking, but it's one that needs to be answered.

Last edited by louis (2017-10-10 15:32:55)


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#10 2017-10-10 18:35:03

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
Website

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Nope, still out on this


-Josh

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#11 2017-10-10 20:17:32

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,690

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

The GPD is going to be subject to the amount of debt that each individual carries as based on going to mars, supplies, habitat to live in and ect.... for the life of the individual as the pay is not going to be that great when you consider that a return trip may come in ones future or that you may order more equipment to make your self sufficient.

Loius the post 4 items are just one way to offset the individual cost but you are going to owe someone and they will not last forever....

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#12 2017-10-11 03:35:02

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

My analysis doesn't really take account of people moving to Mars on their own initiative (nearly all the income would be earned in the first place by companies and institutions and then disbursed as expenditure including salaries and capital investment) but whether you could "take" debt to Mars is very debatable.  If someone paid for a habitat to be built on Mars using a loan obtained on Earth, that would simply become part of the Mars community's GDP in terms of the economic activity of building the habitat. The person would owe the money on Earth, not on Mars. The Mars community would not owe anything. I don't envisage the Mars community itself incurring debt, although a company like Space X could probably obtain loans but debt payments of themselves are not necessarily a negative for GDP.  Japan has huge debts but most of the money is owed to Japanese people and institutions, so debt repayments are simply circular in effect, going back into the economy.

Not sure what you  mean by the "post 4 items".

If you are focussed on the question: how are we going to cover the cost of settlers moving to Mars? , I would make two points: with the BFR being involved in ISS deliveries, satellites launches, orbital tourism, long range Earth travel and lunar tourism/research, it is reasonable to expect the cost of Earth-Mars BFR travel to come down dramatically through economies of scale. A price tag of $200,000 per person seems within reach eventually. The Mars community may decide to cover the cost just as the Australian government used to cover the cost of migration of people from the UK to Australia because they wanted to build up their population.  They would cover the cost through income earned or taxation on various economic activities.


SpaceNut wrote:

The GPD is going to be subject to the amount of debt that each individual carries as based on going to mars, supplies, habitat to live in and ect.... for the life of the individual as the pay is not going to be that great when you consider that a return trip may come in ones future or that you may order more equipment to make your self sufficient.

Loius the post 4 items are just one way to offset the individual cost but you are going to owe someone and they will not last forever....


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#13 2018-01-14 16:57:50

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

I have been reading a book on the history of the Netherlands and it occurred to me that a future Martian nation would have one thing very much in common with the Netherlands.  Land in a habitable form will not be something that can simply be taken from nature, it is something that will need to be made at enormous cost.

Take a look at this brochure selling geodesic dome greenhouses:
https://fdomes.com/wp-content/uploads/2 … rchase.pdf

A 30m diameter dome costs €120,000 - that's about $150,000.  And this dome is not pressurised and doesn't really require a lot of groundwork to install.  If we were to build a pressure dome on Mars, it would probably cost at least twice as much.  So that's $300,000 for 706 square metres of land - just a tad over a sixth of an acre, $425/m2.  That puts the cost of Martian land on a par with expensive urban building land in European cities.

This suggests to me that Martian settlements are likely to be very compact.  Within a pressure dome for example, there will be a strong drive to make the most of each cubic metre of pressurised volume.  This suggests to me a likely pattern of living in a Martian city.  People will attempt to share space wherever they can.  A family of four will probably share a single room, with bunk beds extending up to the ceiling.  Toilet, bathroom, kitchen, dining and sitting areas, will all be shared with many other people.  Social spaces will serve multiple functions, with a dining area also serving as a meeting place, a sports room, etc.  Sitting rooms will be places where people read and study as well as socialising.  Sleeping areas will be where people go for privacy.  It will be expensive to manufacture objects on Mars for a long time to come.  There will be a strong incentive to maximize the utility provided by each manufactured item.  This too suggests a pattern of collective ownership of many items.  On Mars, power will be relatively expensive.  Without fossil fuels, all energy must be generated by solar power or nuclear reactors.  The need to minimize energy consumption per capita, will also tend to drive a highly collective way of living.  In the UK, studies show that houses tend to maintain fairly constant energy consumption regardless of the number of occupants.  Hence, cohousing is a very effective way on reducing energy consumption per capita, without necessarily forcing people into hardship.

This suggests something important about future Martian society.  There will be close-knit social structures and social taboos.  It will be very much a small village / tribal mentality, in which everybody attempts to fit in and does their best to avoid any activities that might provoke gossip and lead to being outcast.  People will be social minded and will keep track of favours that they owe or are owed.  Sexual relationships will take place in marriage and few people would risk extramarital affairs.  Xenophobia will be an issue, as tribal groups only tend to work when there is a common ethnicity binding it's members.

Food will be a precious resource and in the environment of a tribe, will need to be shared very equitably.  There will be communal dining rooms where people eat and there will be taboos against taking too much or wasting anything edible.  No one will likely have too much to eat, as every calorie must be grown within an expensive pressurised space.  Agriculture will be biointensive, requiring careful planning and maintenance to ensure that each square foot of land produces the most food possible.  The Martians will be a thin race of people and any other body shape will be associated with gluttony.

Each dome will be filled by a single extended building right up to the limits of its fabric.  The settlement will contain mixed areas of habitation, manufacturing and agriculture, so far as safety will allow.  Such an arrangement not only makes the best use of pressurised volume, but also conserves heat.  The outer terraces of the building will be covered with edible plants, growing right up to the limits of the dome.  Many of the outer rooms will get too cold to work in at night.  Social and sleeping areas will be located at the core of the structure, which will remain warm as the outer reaches of the dome drop to temperatures only slightly above zero.

The social ideal for each tribe, will be one of self-sufficient living, rather like a Greek city-state.  Anything that is bought from outside, will cost money, whereas the same thing made internally will cost only the time and innovation of members of the tribe.  There will be a lot of social kudos in making something that the tribe can use.  There will be little private space and this will tend to constrain private time.  Most of the individual's time will be spent working for the community in one way or another.  Games will tend to be communal activities, but will focus on things that can be carried out in relatively small spaces.  Table tennis, boxing, squash, etc.

Last edited by Antius (2018-01-14 18:27:30)

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#14 2018-01-14 19:58:19

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,528

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

I am always concerned when the word "Dome" is used.  It rhymes with "Home", and it suggests to me that people don't really want to cope with reality.  They just hope that instead of adapting and inventing they can just jump from Earth to Mars, and it will be an easy thing.

I am not aware of one dome on Earth that has ever been pressurized to even + 333 mb above ambient pressure.  I would like to see an attempt.  I would like to see what it would cost, and how long it would be before it had a blowout.

As you probably know, I believe that a good trick is to use hydrostatic pressure for agriculture on Mars.

I also believe that a sanity measure would be to have towers with little viewing rooms / lounges so that people can sit in a chair and just look out at the landscape.  Maybe these could be libraries as well, so that when the sun shined while you were reading a pseudo-book, you would feel the sunshine on you.  I should imagine decorative plants would go a long way toward making this nicer.

I like the Louis idea of covered over gorges.  It has potential, I think.

And for myself, I like lava tubes, but I know already the Louis hates them.

And then if you can find sandstone, (Usually only near the equator?), then you can build all kinds of underground structure.

But this time how about lava tubes?  We can just leave Louis in his gorge, and he can gloat when lavatube rocks fall on my head.

Anyway, have you considered a situation where a section of Lava Tube not used as habitat were walled off, so that you could fill it with water vapor?

So, during the day you could boil water with solar energy for instance, and fill the lava tube.  You might even run a tubine while venting this water into the sealed section of lava tube.

Then especially at night but even likely most parts of the day as well, you could have a double condensation process which would generate energy and fresh water.

The double condensation process would involve a closed loop system with turbines, where perhaps an Ammonia solution was boiled, the boiler would actually be the condenser for the water vapor placed into the closed off section of lava tube.  So, the water vapor would do a phase change which should deliver significant energy.  The condensers for Ammonia of course would likely need to be made of metal, and be exposed to the surface, and preferably out of the sunshine during the day.

This is energy from day(Sunshine>Heat) and night(Or Shadow>Cold).

I am really surprised you did not take a look at this:
http://newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=7994
I know it is along the lines of games you like to play.

And then of course you don't have to use the whole lava tube this way you can make living space in other sections.

Last edited by Void (2018-01-14 20:19:14)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#15 2018-01-14 21:14:25

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Since Void reactivated this thread I will take the pleasure of pointing out that no one ever came up with any alternative figures to suggest mine were wrong...and my figures suggest a commercially orientated Mars Mission will be incredibly profitable. smile

louis wrote:

Agreed I made a technical error re imports. They aren't directly added to GDP but of course their value becomes part of the final value of GDP. If we import an engine from Germany to put in a car assembled in the UK, we don't add the import value, but we do incorporate the value of the engine in the final cost of the car sold in the UK or overseas.  That's what I meant.

Revenues may be a loose term for GDP but essentially this is the amount of priced value in the economy -it all represents revenue for someone. Revenue is income and GDP essentially represents the income of the economic entity.

Projections are never facts. And that's a fact.

My posts in this area are far more detailed and backed up by research than anyone else's.  If you wished you could easily go through my 12 point breakdown of notional GDP and give your alternative figures, be they 0 or whatever but I suspect you are embarrassed to do so because you can see they are perfectly reasonable.

Here is some research for you: 

NBC paid $4.3 billion  for Olympic TV rights over 4 years (two Olympic cycles).

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics-sochi … -1.1012854

Coca Cola spend over  $3 billion per annum on marketing.

http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/c … nd/294251/

Nike spend  $3.2 billion per annum on marketing.

https://www.fastcompany.com/3061133/nik … -toms-more

Total annual expenditure on research and development worldwide is  $1,948 billion per annum.

https://www.iriweb.org/sites/default/fi … cast_2.pdf

NASA spent $3.2 billion on getting the Curiosity Rover to Mars.

http://www.investopedia.com/financial-e … llion.aspx

Netflix revenue was $6.8 billion in 2015.

https://revenuesandprofits.com/netflix- … -analysis/

The global art market is worth $56.6 billion pa.

https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/ne … ler-sales/

The quartz segment of the global wristwatch market alone was worth nearly $40 billion pa.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases … 97059.html

The idea that the Mars community couldn't get something like £565 million pa from such sources combined is really laughable.  Mars is a marketing dream and has real value as a research outpost.


JoshNH4H wrote:
louis wrote:

Imports are part of GDP.  The issue is: can a community pay for the imports?  Would $765,000,000 pa ($1.53 billion every two years on the transit cycle) of revenue be enough to cover the costs of Mars-Earth transit.  I am anticipating that the cost of funding the transit would be met from payments by researchers (universities, space agencies etc) and the revenue derived from exported luxury products. Otherwise the cost would have to come from other elements e.g. the commercial sponsorship.  How you would do this  - whether as part of a formal tax system or through Space X profits or through a specific Mars Corporation company's operations would depend on the specifics. Having a Mars currency might facilitate Mars-Earth trade since, with a growing economy, the Mars currency might be attractive and hold its value well. On the other hand, you don't necessarily want a situation where your currency is at the mercy of speculators - a kind of South Sea Island Bubble which might damage the real economy of Mars.

To answer the question in bold*: No, that money would not be revenue.  To call it revenue is to badly misunderstand what GDP is or how an economy works.  According to your list, the only things that could be considered "revenues" would be the $565 million per year in basically free money that you seem to think a Mars colony could get.

You have provided these estimates before and I have rejected them before.  They're not just optimistic--they're absurd.

louis wrote:

I do dispute these are mere assertions.  For instance, I have looked at the revenue available to companies like Netflix, Discovery Channel, the sponsorship/TV rights figures for the Olympics, Coca Cola's advertising budget, meteorite prices, the total value of book sales, steel prices, the potential for robotic manufacture and so on. It's all been researched - I haven't just plucked figures out of the air. Putting all the research in would be possible but rather boring I think. It's better if people challenge specific figures and then I can explain why I think they are mostly conservative estimates.

It's incredibly disrespectful for you to come to us and try to defend as facts numbers that you refuse to research adequately.  I'm out.

*I know that is technically not the question you were asking, but it's one that needs to be answered.


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#16 2018-01-15 02:50:29

Antius
Member
From: Cumbria, UK
Registered: 2007-05-22
Posts: 1,003

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Time will tell whether Louis' export figures are realistic.  I have my doubts.  Figures like $3 billion Coca-cola advertising budget are mentioned.  Why would anyone sitting in a dome on Mars, expect that money to come their way?  The idea of Olympics on Mars is a bad one.  It would mean all of the players enduring 6 months of travel, with long periods of low-g and high background radiation.  Netflix revenue is $6.8 billion.  So what?  How much of that money are they going to give you for the privilege of filming people trot around an airless desert?  The global art market is worth a lot, granted.  But why would we expect a small colony of a few tens of thousands to produce even 1% of what the many nations of Earth can produce with their nearly 8 billion people?

Too much hopium here I think.  None the less, per capita earnings will need to be high, because per capita costs are clearly very high.

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#17 2018-01-15 07:17:02

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

I am referring more to the Mission itself and the immediate period of initial exploration when it comes to the main sponsorship.  As we get closer to the Mission taking place, there will be more and more news and documentary coverage and that's what sponsors like.  Companies like Coca Cola, Toyota or Nike will also pay for the associations - exploration, a new beginning, adventure (they always want to associate with "youthful" enterprises like sport and music).  Same goes for TV rights. If a news organisation or company like Netflix knew they were getting certain exclusive rights to aspects of the landing, mission operations and so on, I think it would mean a lot to them.  Remember that astonishing figure of over $4 billion for Olympic rights (spread over four events totalling a mere 12 weeks of viewing fodder). Remember how many people watched or listened to the Moon landing.  The audience for the Mars landing would I think be in the billions - maybe 3 billion. But there will be a lot of interest both before and afterwards.

Companies like Netflix and National Geographic have billions to spend. Globally, I think there would also be a "permanent" audience of at least 10 million people  (only about 0.15% of the world's population) - but maybe a lot more -  who would regularly watch a TV channel dedicated entirely to the Mars Mission.  There are over 7 million  scientists on our planet and 4 million science students. Add to them hundreds of millions interested in space and popular science.  If you see a space story come up on a news site it often goes straight to the top 3 stories. The problem with space news is there isn't really a lot of new stuff coming up all the time but a Mars TV station could supply that.

The point about the art potential is not that the Mars community will so much be creating the art initially but it will be humans on Earth who will get the Mars community to produce the art to their directions.  This is something that would need to be marketed of course back on Earth, but this is precisely the sort of thing that NASA have never shown any interest in but Space X might well do because it is in their interest to do so - they definitely need the money.

As for the Olympics on Mars, of course that would start small...I am not suggesting it would be a big event from the get-go. But the point is the Mars community can say to the Earth Olympics Committee "Look, do you wish to provide the funding for this venture or do you want us to go ahead and set up our own equivalent - Olympus Mons Games or whatever."  In my view there is no doubt the IOC will opt to fund the Mars Games.  You then can stage some games...maybe some fit young sports people will be attracted to visit Mars. Maybe one will be able to break the Earth record for the 100 metres. That will get you lots of news exposure (which again your main sponsors will love). The Games themselves can generate separate sponsorship, maybe from trainer companies.  The Games will also provide more programming for your TV network. See how this works? It's only going one way: to increased revenue.

Anything that is "First on Mars" will have a lot of intrinsic value back on Earth.  Imagine how much the original human lander BFR will be valued back on Earth? Hundreds of millions of dollars I think...anyone who exhibited that could be guaranteed annual income of millions of dollars, year after year after year. Or some eccentric billionaire might just want it in their backyard. It wouldn't necessarily go to the USA. Maybe Dubai would like it as a centrepiece.

Antius wrote:

Time will tell whether Louis' export figures are realistic.  I have my doubts.  Figures like $3 billion Coca-cola advertising budget are mentioned.  Why would anyone sitting in a dome on Mars, expect that money to come their way?  The idea of Olympics on Mars is a bad one.  It would mean all of the players enduring 6 months of travel, with long periods of low-g and high background radiation.  Netflix revenue is $6.8 billion.  So what?  How much of that money are they going to give you for the privilege of filming people trot around an airless desert?  The global art market is worth a lot, granted.  But why would we expect a small colony of a few tens of thousands to produce even 1% of what the many nations of Earth can produce with their nearly 8 billion people?

Too much hopium here I think.  None the less, per capita earnings will need to be high, because per capita costs are clearly very high.


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#18 2018-01-20 17:28:44

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

A private collection of space photos (about a 1000) was valued at over $1 million...

https://medium.com/vantage/the-largest- … 6596fcf247

Photos from Mars are going to have huge value to collectors and also research institutions.

If any fossils are found, well then the value will shoot up...

But still photos will probably be worth at least $500 million over the first 10 years I would suggest.


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#19 2018-10-18 01:58:52

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

I don't think I wish to change anything in my original outline.

Some further thoughts:

1.  Mars Experience Park .

The Mars Consortium or Space X could earn huge revenue through Earth-based parks and resorts. The Disneyland parks generate $18 billion in revenue annually, so probably something like $1billion profit.  I think a "Mars Experience" park and resort would be very successful. It might include: an in situ BFR and BFS, Mars Habitat, simulated Mars environment under a dome, Mars Rover rides, a Mars IMAX and Mars 3D cinema. There might be a live feed from Mars every hour. There might be a central rollercoaster ride "Olympus Mons". You could have a Mars Habitat hotel, where you would live "like" the Mars pioneers and the "windows" would show simulations of a Mars exterior. You might just hand over the project to Disneyland and take a share of the profits but either way I think annual profit would be in the tens of millions of dollars. Moreover this could be replicated in other tourist centres like Europe, Dubai, Singapore, and so on - and you might then be in the hundreds of millions of dollars range.

2.  Mars Interaction Centres

Once communications with Mars have been approved, I think there is great scope for small Mars Interaction Centres to be set up in major cities across the world.  Here people would visit (likely as family groups) and pay to be able to operate small robots on Mars. This would need some thinking through,since obviously the communications time lag presents problems, as do the night/day factors. There would be lots of fun activities - maybe you can use a computer programme to design a flag with your name on it...fifteen minutes later, you can witness the flag being planted on Mars with your name on it. Or you might be able to inscribe your name and a message on a "rock face" on Mars.  Or maybe you can look at a live panoramic view of the base. 


3.  First on Mars - Marketing Mars

You can't sell if you don't tell, they say... I am sure that a Mars Marketing Organisation will be developed that can promote the "First on Mars" concept.  I gave previously the examples of the Olympics and Art Works. 

But there will be lots of examples where Earth based organisations wish to be first on Mars in their field and will be prepared to fund a project. Gallo Wines has a net revenue of $1billion and made a profit of about $50 million (they also have other alcohol products - total revenue of $4.5 billion). Maybe Gallo would like to be able to boast that they made the first wine on Mars? It would bring huge free publicity and could be used as a marketing tool by Gallo ever after. So  a small wine making kit could be shipped to Mars and with much TV friendly publicity eventually a bottled wine would be produced. Gallo could probably be persuaded to part with at least $10 million over a few years to pay for that publicity stunt and to be able everafter to refer to themselves as "makers of the frist wine on Mars".  This sort of approach could apply to a lot of beverages and foods.

You just have to use your imagination.  Why wouldn't a road construction company want to be able to boast it built the first road on Mars?  Why wouldn't a housing company want to be able to boast it built the first proper "house" on Mars? Why wouldn't Microsoft not want to boast they were providing the computer power to the Mars colony? Why wouldn't Apple not want to be able to boast its phones were in use on Mars?  Why wouldn't a solar power company not want to boast its panels were keeping the Mars pioneers alive? Why wouldn't a bank not want to open the first branch on Mars?

Understand that none of this requires companies to spend extra money. They already have advertising and marketing budgets designed to keep their names in the public eye and generally prop up their prestige factor.

Global advertising spend is around $600 billion...with marketing as well, it must be well past the $1 trillion mark.  I think it is definitely feasible that the Mars Colony could skim off 0.5% annually - something like $5 billion per annum.


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#20 2018-10-18 06:15:08

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,304
Website

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Do you have anything real that a Mars economy could be based on, Louis, or is it all gimmicks? Gimmicks get old fast. Probably within the time it takes for the next launch window to come around.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#21 2018-10-18 12:17:08

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

You might call them "gimmicks". Other people call them "a living". About 80% of the UK's economy is in the services sector. It's the sector most people work in.

It would be ludicrous to forgo billions of dollars of revenue per annum just because some people are snobbish about the types of activity.

Regarding what is happening on planet Mars itself, a lot of the economy in terms of value will come from providing interplanetary transport, life support, accommodation, rover transport and science experiement support to universities, space agencies, research agencies and private companies who send their personnel or experiments to Mars. There will of course be energy generation, mining, manufacturing, construction and agriculture taking place. A lot, perhaps most of, that cost of that activity will be covered by selling the services just mentioned. Actual pricing will have more in common with transfer pricing between different departments and locations within large corporations. However, as the economy grows, there would likely be more economic actors coming into play and pricing will be determined more by supply and demand perhaps.

The Mars colony will contribute directly to revenue generation through transfer back to Earth of meteorites, regolith and precious metals for sale on Earth.  Luxury niche industries such as Mars Rolex Watch assembly on Mars will prove very lucrative. They will also export  video and photographs, as well as text, which will generate revenue back on Earth.  There are other potential articles but you probably think Art on Mars is a "gimmick"!


Terraformer wrote:

Do you have anything real that a Mars economy could be based on, Louis, or is it all gimmicks? Gimmicks get old fast. Probably within the time it takes for the next launch window to come around.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#22 2018-10-18 13:44:16

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

And to add another point to the above response - I think that as the population of the colony grows, eventually its domestic economy will come to dominate.  This is the usual way on Earth - that the domestic economy normally exceeds export revenue by several factors.

But at the beginning of colonisation, the economy might be extremely unbalanced. Initially there will in effect be a flood of imports paid for by Space X (primarily).  The initial 500 tonnes landed on Mars is going to cost at least $2.5 billion, though some of that will potentially be offset by sponsorship, payments for delivery of scientific experiments and pre-payments on booking cargo and personnel transport. It's difficult to predict quite how unbalanced in terms of the balance of payments as that will depend on how good Space X's ability to exploit the revenue opportunities.


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#23 2018-10-19 14:59:39

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,526
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Re: Key features of a Mars economy

Louis brings up the economy of the UK.  Okay, let's talk about that.

The UK has an economy worth £3 trillion per year ($4 trillion), or £32,300 per person per year ($42,000).  The economy is roughly 1/5 industry and 4/5 services, with a very small amount of agriculture and mining.

The top service job categories in the United Kingdom are:

  1. Retail (including auto repair): 4.97 million workers

  2. Human health and social work: 4.43 million workers

  3. Professional Scientific and Technical Activities (I believe this category includes both scientific research and corporate research as well professional as jobs such as cable repair): 3.05 million workers

  4. Administration: 3.02 million workers

  5. Education: 2.93 million workers

  6. Food service and hospitality: 2.42 million workers

  7. Transportation and Storage: 1.79 million workers

  8. Public administration and defense: 1.50 million workers

  9. Information and communication: 1.48 million workers

  10. Finance and insurance: 1.14 million workers

  11. Art, entertainment, and recreation: 1.01 million workers

All other service jobs have fewer than 1 million workers.

I don't believe that the intent was to denigrate the service sector, which is a crucial part of the economy of any advanced society, but rather to denigrate the specific services which you are claiming to be valued in the billions on a sustainable basis.  One thing that stands out about these activities is that the bulk of them are not exportable at all, and the  remainder are not better-suited to Mars. 

Let's have a look at the dictionary definition of the word "gimmick".

dictionary.com wrote:

Gimmick (n):

  1. an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.

  2. a concealed, usually devious aspect or feature of something, as a plan or deal

An interesting thing about these two definitions is that they're opposites: In the latter you're trying to hide what makes you different and in the former you're profiting off it.  I suppose the common thread is the notion of making sales by cheating or hiding the ball.  We seem to be going with watches, so to speak briefly on that: Martian Watches can either be made in-house or in cooperation with an established luxury watchmaker.  If made in-house it will be difficult to make watches of a high quality and also difficult to establish a reputation as a luxury brand (Consider that there is no meaningful difference in timekeeping ability between a $5 watch, an Apple Watch, and a $50,000 watch).  Once you get past the hype of a Martian watch, after all, you might find that the Martian brand doesn't stack up to established watchmakers in quality.  If working with an established watchmaker, it's certainly worth asking how much value the "Martian" brand adds to a watch because this is the maximum amount of money they will be willing to give to a settlement organization to achieve that branding.

You have provided guesses on what this value is, but when pressed you retreat into claims like "I think it's reasonable that..." and "wouldn't you agree that..." when in fact nobody agrees and they are unreasonable on the face, particularly as a long-term multibillion dollar revenue strategy.  Coca-Cola ads on rockets going to places where nobody lives? I think not.

Fundamentally, the underlying value behind most of your revenue schemes is a kind of fashion.  It is your belief, based on the things you have proposed to date, that Mars will be so fashionable that all sorts of companies will need to get a piece of the Martian pie.  It's not clear to me that there's any reason to believe this is or will be the case, but even if such a fashion comes around there's one thing with fashions that you can always count on: They will eventually pass. For a settlement on Mars that means a group of people will be left high-and-dry with no viable source of income, a catastrophically bad result if you want to see settlement that is sustained and perpetual.


-Josh

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#24 2018-10-19 17:06:07

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,690

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

I know that Lious did a count for the 100 that would go in another topic and it turns out that if you use the above numbers the science personel account for 10% approximate of the total population based on the UK numbers.

The gimicks are just a one time thing untilwe have people that stay for the next. This first are photo ops and advertising and trial sample for the crews that would enjoy there product to get endorsements.

Its not until the formal request come from those living and paying for the product to be delivered that you could call the numbers for being for the economy....

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#25 2018-10-19 18:40:46

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Key features of a Mars economy

I wouldn't say the "gimmicks" were just one timers.  Just as there are sponsorship opportunities on Earth, there will be sponsorship opporunities on Mars, only more so (proportionate to population that is) I would say.  Every major exploration effort on Mars would attract sponsorship, just as solo voyages, Antarctic expeditions and so on still attract sponsorship. I think thought, that the real analogy is with sport. Sponsors like sport because of its aspirational associations (we'd nearly all like to be natural athletes capable of world class performances) and its replication via news. I think both apply to Mars as well.  Nearly everyone would like to be the sort of person who got selected to go to Mars and exploration of new parts of the planet will be newsworthy...Of course if it is found there was ever life on Mars, the interest levels will be off the scale. But even if it's just a case of investigating interesting geological formations and spectacular landmarks like Olympus Mons or the Poles, a lot of news interest will be generated for many decades to come.

I think I may have referenced employment types...can't recall right now. But my view now is  I would expect in the early Mars colony  (say up to 500) that science/researchers/Space Agency personnel would likely make up at least 50% of the population. I think we only have to look to Antarctic bases to reach that conclusion. Of course some people will have multiple functions. 


SpaceNut wrote:

I know that Lious did a count for the 100 that would go in another topic and it turns out that if you use the above numbers the science personel account for 10% approximate of the total population based on the UK numbers.

The gimicks are just a one time thing untilwe have people that stay for the next. This first are photo ops and advertising and trial sample for the crews that would enjoy there product to get endorsements.

Its not until the formal request come from those living and paying for the product to be delivered that you could call the numbers for being for the economy....


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