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#1 2002-09-17 02:13:05

A.J.Armitage
Member
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 239

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Suppose, by the time terraforming becomes a real possibility, there are people living in the low-altitude regions that would be flooded out. If you take property rights seriously, you can't terraform.

Is there any way around the problem that doesn't involve violating private property?


Human: the other red meat.

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#2 2002-09-17 04:33:28

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

I'm the first to admit it, which probably makes me seem a bit wack, but that's okay. Private property sucks. It's non-workable in space. Well, it's workable, but it's dangerous (for lack of a better word). But I'm not going to get into that (unless you want to, I just don't want the crux of this discussion to be about private property, especially since people can still inhabit the lower regions without acknowledging private property in the sense that you use it). That said...

I think the first assumption, is that initally people (from any political orientation) won't inhabit the lower regions. Mainly because, quite conveniently (for us pro-terraformers), crustal magnetic zones exist primarily in higher elevations (which by now you should know is in the southern hemisphere), so it would be logical for early Martians to inhabit zones where cosmic radiation is least prominent. Habitats in the northern hemisphere (lower regions) would be underground, for the most part, to protect from solar radiation. Although I see it happening, I believe that such habitats would not be adversely affected by an ocean. Unless they were poorly built and were never viable as long term habitats in the first place. (Leaky ships rarely become full time members of the fleet, just like a leaky hab will rarely become a non-leaky hab, and would have to be abandoned eventually).

So the question, I believe is, if you flood a waterproof house, are you really destroying its property? Perhaps we are ?devaluing? that property, but society does that all the time. I remember a hospital being built in my neighborhood. The hospital bought out half the subdivision. Once it was built, the whole area was devalued somewhat. One would think that value would go up, but you have to realize, looking out a window to a hospital parking lot isn't very appealing. And I'm sure looking out a hab window into a dark sea wouldn't be very appealing anyway. At least you wouldn't have to put up with sirens. Unless they're from whales... hehe.

Funny how we base the value of something on its environment, though. When we terraform, we're not doing it because we value Earth aesthetically and want to recreate it, we're doing it because the tangible value of a self sustaining planet-wide ecosystem is worth the loss of aesthetic Mars.

But again, I have never advocated Earth-like terraformation. In a way, what I advocate couldn't really be called ?terraformation.? It's more like ?preformation,? since we'd be reverting Mars back to its former self, although it would be self sustainable, unlike before. Mars is at equilibrium now, I don't see a problem with returning it to a more hospitable point in its life, that too it at equilibrium.

Anyone who inhabits the lower (dare I say, flat, barren) regions is in for a little property devaluation. Unless someone can bring to this argument a more solid, scientific, reason why terraformation should be avoided.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#3 2002-09-17 14:51:51

A.J.Armitage
Member
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 239

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Josh;

I'm the first to admit it, which probably makes me seem a bit wack, but that's okay. Private property sucks.

Say what?

It's non-workable in space. Well, it's workable, but it's dangerous (for lack of a better word). But I'm not going to get into that (unless you want to

I would like you to get into why you think the laws of economics would be reversed in space.

I think the first assumption, is that initally people (from any political orientation) won't inhabit the lower regions. Mainly because, quite conveniently (for us pro-terraformers), crustal magnetic zones exist primarily in higher elevations (which by now you should know is in the southern hemisphere), so it would be logical for early Martians to inhabit zones where cosmic radiation is least prominent.

Yes, I know the relative elavation, generally speaking, of the two hemispheres. Here's the thing: doesn't the north have more water?

Habitats in the northern hemisphere (lower regions) would be underground, for the most part, to protect from solar radiation. Although I see it happening, I believe that such habitats would not be adversely affected by an ocean. Unless they were poorly built and were never viable as long term habitats in the first place. (Leaky ships rarely become full time members of the fleet, just like a leaky hab will rarely become a non-leaky hab, and would have to be abandoned eventually).
So the question, I believe is, if you flood a waterproof house, are you really destroying its property?

Depends on how much water's over it. It would seem to me that a lot of water would tend to prevent them from doing things on the surface, which would mean they're pretty much screwed.

Perhaps we are ?devaluing? that property, but society does that all the time.

Hold it right there: there's a difference between your example, the hospital, and what we're talking about. Using your own property in a way that doesn't directly harm nearby property (such as sending over large amounts of smoke) is itself a property right, even if it makes others value the nearby property less. That's why the stuff about property values is misguided; local politicians think it makes them champions of property, when in fact they're violating it. What we're talking about is directly harming the property itself. Although I'm not sure you'd care about distinctions like this if you think private property sucks.

Unless someone can bring to this argument a more solid, scientific, reason why terraformation should be avoided.

Why, exactly, is a "scientific" argument against doing something more solid than the argument that it's immoral? And what would such a scientific argument look like in the first place?


Human: the other red meat.

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#4 2002-09-17 16:23:03

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

I'm the first to admit it, which probably makes me seem a bit wack, but that's okay. Private property sucks. It's non-workable in space. Well, it's workable, but it's dangerous (for lack of a better word). But I'm not going to get into that (unless you want to, I just don't want the crux of this discussion to be about private property, especially since people can still inhabit the lower regions without acknowledging private property in the sense that you use it). That said...

I disagree.  We don't have the technology right now to really massively engineer habitats in space but in the far future it might be as easily and safe to construct a house on Mars as it is on Earth.  If you kill private property I doubt if there will be much incentive for people to develop economically.  Command economies are ineffective, they're no match for a free market which requires private property rights to exist.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#5 2002-09-18 06:07:19

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

A.J.,

Say what?

Private property sucks! In space. smile

I would like you to get into why you think the laws of economics would be reversed in space.

Okay, I will. But we've been here before, a few times already, in the political forum. The reason I don't want to go here, and didn't, is because I don't want to take a thread that was supposed to be about terraformation, and make it into this wacky political thread. My early posts about politics were pretty dreamy, if not overly optimistic (just ask clark), but as time progresses my ideas have mellowed a bit, so it's not like I'm talking utopia type stuff. But it would still be off topic.

Yes, I know the relative elavation, generally speaking, of the two hemispheres. Here's the thing: doesn't the north have more water?

Well, water does probably exist in larger quantities in the northern hemisphere, I can't say for sure because the GRS team has yet to release any of that information. But I think it's safe to assume so, since there was undoubtedly a large ocean there, it's just common sense, really.

Whether or not the north or south has more water isn't very relevant, though, in my opinion. The health of an individual is more important than anything else. Sure, we need water to survive, and expand our colonies (and to a lesser extent, for fuel), but we need protection from cosmic radiation more than anything else.

Plus, we're going to be recycling water anyway.

Depends on how much water's over it. It would seem to me that a lot of water would tend to prevent them from doing things on the surface, which would mean they're pretty much screwed.

That's pretty true, but in the same way that one would compensate someone for, say, building a roadway in their backyard, we would theoretically compensate flooded out Martians with deep water devices, and protective covers, etc.

You're pretty much screwed if you have a highway in your backyard, but does that prevent people from building them in someones backyard all the time?

Hold it right there: there's a difference between your example, the hospital, and what we're talking about. Using your own property in a way that doesn't directly harm nearby property (such as sending over large amounts of smoke) is itself a property right, even if it makes others value the nearby property less. [...] What we're talking about is directly harming the property itself.

Well, every hour, on the hour, sirens blare. And at night, the parking lot shines lights across the whole area, so I have to cover my windows with really tight, thick, shades so I can get some sleep. And in the morning when I go to work, I'm sometimes hindered by the emergency light that's right in front of my driveway, so I can't leave my house until the ambulance passes. I would say that that hospital certainly directly harmed my property.

The reason I used that example, was not to spin the situation, but to more or less put the two positions on an equal moral ground. I mean, you probably agree a hospital is damn helpful, right? If I had said that we were building a smokey textile plant in the middle of a suburb, you might not even get the point, since it would make no sense (indeed, that would never happen- we put textile plants in the industrial section, we put hospitals where they are most accessable, in a relatively clean environment).

I would say that we would need a terraformed planet in much the same way we would need a hospital. And I would say that some sacrifices had to be made in much the same way. And these sacrifices will have to be made for everyone, even those without private property, who live in communal cities.

Does that make sense? Is that a fair assessment?

Why, exactly, is a "scientific" argument against doing something more solid than the argument that it's immoral? And what would such a scientific argument look like in the first place?

Each of us have our own moral limits. So you could call me a bleeding heart bastard for thinking we could justify an ?Atlantis? on Mars (I wouldn't condone deaths, though). I just think the moral argument is clear, ?the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few.? And Ithink that the only way this argument can be changed, is if you show, scientifically, that the needs of the many preclude terraformation.

In truth, the only way Mars won't be terraformed, is if radicals take over, and kill anyone who approaches the planet. Starting a new society of evil Reds! Hey Stu, if you still read these forums, that'd make a great book. wink

War of the Worlds, indeed.


Phobos,

I disagree.  We don't have the technology right now to really massively engineer habitats in space but in the far future it might be as easily and safe to construct a house on Mars as it is on Earth.  If you kill private property I doubt if there will be much incentive for people to develop economically. Command economies are ineffective, they're no match for a free market which requires private property rights to exist.

Well, it's possible that in the future we'll be able to mass produce habs. But if you think that people are going to have air locks on each hab, like a subdivision, I think it's kind of silly. Each house would have an air lock, and for people to visit each other, they would have to spend time suiting up, just to go next door... doesn't make sense.

I think, without a doubt, people are going to be living together in colonies. Networked subdivisions. So I think we automatically have socialism.

Economically, capitalism and free trade are completely incompatable. How can a system function where appropriation is the key? You have to limit how much someone can have, and distribute accordingly. Otherwise you have a mass concentration of wealth, and there are only two classes. The rich and the poor. Poor people on Mars is a bad thing. You're going to have high technology, and poor people will question why they have to live in relatively crappy conditions, while rich people get to enjoy technology. Then you'll have violence, revolutions, etc.

And tell Sweden that their economy is no match for a capitalistic ?free market...? tell Swedes that they have no incentive to develop... I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything, but socialism (in whatever level we chose to have it) isn't all that amazing (or restrictive) when you think about it. It's just that I think that in space you're forced to live it.

In review, terraforming would be for the betterment of all Martians (much like a hospital is for the betterment of a city). And doing it would be worth whatever sacrifices have to be made.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#6 2002-09-18 09:11:58

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

I'm the first to admit it, which probably makes me seem a bit wack, but that's okay. Private property sucks. It's non-workable in space. Well, it's workable, but it's dangerous (for lack of a better word). But I'm not going to get into that (unless you want to, I just don't want the crux of this discussion to be about private property, especially since people can still inhabit the lower regions without acknowledging private property in the sense that you use it). That said...

*Speaking in terms of on a national level, I agree.  Supposing Chinese settlers to Mars don't want to terraform the entire planet, and EuroAmerican parties do.  Who's going to have *the say* whether or not Mars is terraformed?

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#7 2002-09-18 11:50:39

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,348

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

I leave and you guys and you get into all sorts of trouble...

Private property will exsist, in some form or another. I believe space colonization will only result in a redefinition of what is considered public domain and what is considered private domain.

If we are to take current precedent on Earth as an indication to what would happen to those living in low level areas if and when terraformation occurs on mars, we will realize that the people who face the flood waters have little recource but to move.

Harsh, but realistic.

Terraformation will begin as of day one of human landing on mars. The first nuclear reactor, base, or greenhouse will all begin to add alien forces to the current planatary equilibrium. For the most part, it will be neglible, but it will exsist.

But how does this relate to us and earth?

Ask the people living on the slowly sinking islands located in the South Pacfic. Maybe some of our Aussie members could shed some more light on the refugee crisis that is resulting from the current terraformation of planet earth.

When their islands finally submerge, will they be compensated for their loss? Whatever is given is merely derived from charity and pity, with no legal standing or precedent with which to lay a claim of reimbursement.

Of course the argument may be that teraformation is a purposeful act, unlike our accidental greenhouse terraformation efforts here on earth- Mars is a different example. Silly. As soon as we became aware of our ability to affect global climate, we become responsible for the continued effects.... I doubt those who chose not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol will offer that they are financially responsible for the loss of property suffered by climate change.

It's actually quite humours, this problem of property versus global change- what happens to personal responsibiity when humans become capable of events previously held only as acts of god?

You can't sue god if he causes the land to flood- but what if it is certain men?

Either their claim to private property will be recognized by all, and thus they will be provided with a legitimate form of compensation, or their property claims will be ignored and they will have nothing.

At least that is the story of humanity.

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#8 2002-09-18 14:23:49

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

*Speaking in terms of on a national level, I agree.  Supposing Chinese settlers to Mars don't want to terraform the entire planet, and EuroAmerican parties do.  Who's going to have *the say* whether or not Mars is terraformed?

--Cindy

I would think that some sort of global government or organization would have to be formed to cope with this problem, as well as other "global" issues...something that's a lot more effective than the U.N. here on Earth.  There's going to have to be some sort of global, democratic agreement before the Martians could even think about terraforming, and if certain cities were to be flooded, I would hope that this global organization would be willing to pay for the costs of relocation, modification, etc...otherwise the certain vigorous opposition to terraforming by the adversely effected groups would prevent it from ever getting off the ground.

B

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#9 2002-09-18 14:46:17

A.J.Armitage
Member
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 239

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Okay, I will. But we've been here before, a few times already, in the political forum. The reason I don't want to go here, and didn't, is because I don't want to take a thread that was supposed to be about terraformation, and make it into this wacky political thread. My early posts about politics were pretty dreamy, if not overly optimistic (just ask clark), but as time progresses my ideas have mellowed a bit, so it's not like I'm talking utopia type stuff. But it would still be off topic.

You said you would, but then didn't. The whole question of whether or not to terraform is inherently political.

Whether or not the north or south has more water isn't very relevant, though, in my opinion. The health of an individual is more important than anything else. Sure, we need water to survive, and expand our colonies (and to a lesser extent, for fuel), but we need protection from cosmic radiation more than anything else.
Plus, we're going to be recycling water anyway.

Maybe. I would like to see terraforming, but only in a moral way. If it never comes up, so much the better.

You're pretty much screwed if you have a highway in your backyard, but does that prevent people from building them in someones backyard all the time?

Imminent domain should be abolished, but if by "backyard" you mean metaphorical backyard, it doesn't matter.

Well, every hour, on the hour, sirens blare. And at night, the parking lot shines lights across the whole area, so I have to cover my windows with really tight, thick, shades so I can get some sleep. And in the morning when I go to work, I'm sometimes hindered by the emergency light that's right in front of my driveway, so I can't leave my house until the ambulance passes. I would say that that hospital certainly directly harmed my property.

I wouldn't.

I would say that we would need a terraformed planet in much the same way we would need a hospital.

People will get sick and die otherwise?

I just think the moral argument is clear, ?the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few.? And Ithink that the only way this argument can be changed, is if you show, scientifically, that the needs of the many preclude terraformation.

But in itself, "the needs of the many..." isn't a moral statement at all. More like an economic one. It only assumes a moral character if you accept utilitarianism. But the truth of utilitarianism is far from clear (I for one do not accept it), and it certainly is not scientifically established (nor can it be). I asked you what a scientific argument would  look like, and you've pointed to one that depends on an ascientific moral claim, namely the utilitarian claim that what tends toward the aggregate good is moral and that what tends away from it is immoral. I suppose you could argue from biology that pleasure is good and pain is bad, but biology tells us no such thing. It tells us that each creature tends to seek its own pleasure, and avoid its own pain, but that doesn't tell us what the creature should do, merely what it will tend to do. Indeed, utilitarianism itself puts restrictions on the natural tendency (as do all moral systems, which is what they should and must do).

And even accepting the greatest good for the greatest number as our moral standard, you seem to be arguing from utilitarianism of deed, which is subject to fatal criticisms from utilitarianism of rule. Suppose, for example, some people kidnap a woman and torture her to death, filming the whole thing for later sale. Under utilitarianism of deed, this was a moral act, since the lesser pleasure of a great many people watching the video will add up to more than the great pain of one person. But the pain caused by the fear of things like that will outweight the pleasure caused by them, which is where utilitarianism of rule comes in. Rules against torturing and murdering will make everyone more secure, and hence happier. Bringing it back to terraforming, if you establish that property is insecure, you leave everyone unsure if he might be displaced to by some future project for "the greater good". It's not been established which would lead to the greater good, terraforming or secure property, but that needs to be established before any utilitarian case for terraforming can be made.

And one last objection: the many in this case would be the many inhabitants of Mars who don't live in the northern plains. But they obviously don't need terraforming. If you did need terraforming to live on Mars, they wouldn't be there in the first place. So now we're at "the desires of the many outweight the desires of the few". Which makes sense, I suppose; there are a great many sources of pleasure beside mere necessity. But I can come up with lots of examples of the many oppressing the few, such as Jim Crow. They obviously desired it, or it wouldn't have happened. No doubt you oppose things like that, but it's not clear what grounds your philosophy gives you for opposing them.

I think, without a doubt, people are going to be living together in colonies. Networked subdivisions. So I think we automatically have socialism.

I'm not sure why you think tubes between habs will automatically mean socialism.

Economically, capitalism and free trade are completely incompatable.

I suppose you're using unique definitions here, because as usually used, free trade is simply capitalism over international lines

How can a system function where appropriation is the key?

Now here we move from Bentham to Marx. The idea that capitalists "appropriate" the product of labor, when in fact they freely contracted to buy it, is the basis of the Marxist critique of capitalism. At this late date, I find it hard to believe a person could suggest, based on Marxist thought, that capitalism is incapable of functioning. If there's one thing Marxism is not known for, it's functioning economies.

You have to limit how much someone can have, and distribute accordingly. Otherwise you have a mass concentration of wealth, and there are only two classes. The rich and the poor. Poor people on Mars is a bad thing. You're going to have high technology, and poor people will question why they have to live in relatively crappy conditions, while rich people get to enjoy technology. Then you'll have violence, revolutions, etc.

Well, no.

Mars is going to have a labor shortage. The solution is to attract new settlers from Earth. At first the mystique of living on Mars will do it, and to a certain extent will always help, but you're going to need to pay those people well, or the labor supply will dry up. Now, suppose there are two or more colonies. The "mystique of Mars" ceases to matter, since a potential worker can always go to the next colony. In other words, the labor conditions will require high pay. Provided you let the market work.

But if you decide to distribute through some means other than the free market, you're screwed. The only way to know how valuable something is, is to see how people value it in free exchanges, which only exist in a free market.

And tell Sweden that their economy is no match for a capitalistic ?free market...? tell Swedes that they have no incentive to develop...

I don't know... I suppose it's close enough to the free market of Mississippi to count as a "match". Really, Sweden sucks.


Human: the other red meat.

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#10 2002-09-18 15:23:32

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

*Speaking in terms of on a national level, I agree.  Supposing Chinese settlers to Mars don't want to terraform the entire planet, and EuroAmerican parties do.  Who's going to have *the say* whether or not Mars is terraformed?

--Cindy

I would think that some sort of global government or organization would have to be formed to cope with this problem, as well as other "global" issues...something that's a lot more effective than the U.N. here on Earth.  There's going to have to be some sort of global, democratic agreement before the Martians could even think about terraforming, and if certain cities were to be flooded, I would hope that this global organization would be willing to pay for the costs of relocation, modification, etc...otherwise the certain vigorous opposition to terraforming by the adversely effected groups would prevent it from ever getting off the ground.

B

*It's nice to see you here again, Byron.  smile

I was going to include in my previous post something similar to what you've written, but was pressed for time and so did not.

I agree with what you say.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#11 2002-09-18 16:42:06

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

*Speaking in terms of on a national level, I agree.  Supposing Chinese settlers to Mars don't want to terraform the entire planet, and EuroAmerican parties do.  Who's going to have *the say* whether or not Mars is terraformed?

I'm a proponent of the idea that many types of governments will develop on Mars.  I think we could see everything from Libertarian to Marxist governments develop there and in my opinion that's great, freedom of choice, live under the government you want.  I just find it ironic though how all of these people say that Mars belongs to everyone then in the same breath declare that all of Mars will should placed under X type of world governance.  If Mars turns into one Giant North Korea or Cuba, I sure as hell won't be going there.  Anyhow there's nothing evil about allowing people the economic freedom to start up their own enterprises and trade as they please.  And I also don't buy into the argument that because Mars is so inhospitable that it will require that everyone be placed under totalitarian dictatorship that does everything from force abortions on women in the name of population control to suppressing free speech for the good of the state (all of which have been advocated on this board! )  If that's how Mars develops, no one will have to worry about population control because I doubt if you'll find many people there in the first place!


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#12 2002-09-18 16:57:24

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

I just think the moral argument is clear, ?the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few.? And Ithink that the only way this argument can be changed, is if you show, scientifically, that the needs of the many preclude terraformation.

That's the type of thinking that was advocated in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia and we saw how many people were deliberately tortured and starved to death.  Any state that seeks to destroy the rights of the individual in the name of the "greater" good will certainly see no problem with stampeding all over the individual.  Yep, you'll drag them into your wars against their will or "force" them to volunteer because you, the political elite, automatically declare your right to determine was is in the interest of the greater good.  Of course you'll come out and say the government of your utopia will only look out for the welfare of the little guy, but show me a government in history, Marxist or otherwise that hasn't eventually come to concern itself more with protecting the interests of those in power whether they be commissars or big business.   Governments of any type have a tendency to become more oppressive and controlling of people, and such tendencies really take off in governments that have no respect for individual rights.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#13 2002-09-19 02:56:01

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Wow, lots of replies. I hate it when that happens. smile

But clark brings up an interesting point. I'll try to address everyone here (especially you, Phobos, shame on you! ), but lemme get to a point clark sort of made.

What's stoping someone, or a group of people, possibly not even Martian, from acquiring comets around the solar system, and skimming them across Mars' atmosphere over a period of a few decades? Partially terraforming the planet out of their own selfish curiosity, or perhaps, to weaken the current political regime that only allows one view (that being ?red? is the only ?way?).

One could say this is bad; meltwater would endanger lives and ruin cultural aspects of those Martians affected by terraformation. Or one could equally say this is good; you have a self sustainable ecosystem capable of supporting life without being limited to high level technology, one with a higher capacity than high level technology alone could support. This is why the moral argument is mostly irrelevant. There is no such thing as a positive end without a negative mean.


Cindy, I think the best wat to do it is to get a majority vote (of more than say, 2/3rds) of the entire Martian population.

I say that it is only a matter of time before Mars reaches a capacity point. How many domes can you build? How many people can you support with high level technology alone? Is it really worth building hundreds of factories to maintain technological ecosystems? And are those factories, and is that resource appropriation, any less destructive than terraformation would be? If we don't terraform, won't we get to this point where we've literally scrapped the surface of Mars clean?

I think that once you reach a that level, one has to wonder what the difference is between a dome covered Mars, and a Mars that has an atmosphere and an ecosystem that is at equilibrium. Are they not identical? And is not the latter more appealing, since at least then, it resembles a past Mars, and not a technologically raped rock floating in the vastness of space?


clark, I agree with your points. Your assessment about property is actually something I can agree with, but as you well know, I think the final product would be a possession / public domain sort of thing. We probably agree, though, for the most part.

But what about the moral situation? Would you not find it appalling that we take away some northerners property when terraforming? What would it take to prevent us? And is A.J.'s assessment that doing so is disrespective of property true?


A.J.,

You quoted me, so I'll quote you.

You said you would, but then didn't. The whole question of whether or not to terraform is inherently political.

Well, I agree. And I did realize when I read your response that I neglected to discuss the economical properties of space.

Let me ask you a question though. Would you agree that independency is a requirement for existing in space? Or at least, an ideal position to be in?

Consider the following example: You have a colony on the moon. This colony recieves shipments of food every 6 months, except for a small ammount of food grown that only returns a two or three day supply over the course of a few days. What happens if several shipment rockets blow up? You're dead, are you not? I would say you were. The only safe course of action, is to be independent.

Unfortunately, capitalism doesn't allow one to be independent. An example I've asked clark before, is ?Where is the value in Iraqi oil? And what would happen to that value if Iraq took the wealth gained from selling oil, to build self sustaining biospheres, eradicating their dependency on foreign resources??

Now, this isn't entirely inconceivable. Middle Eastern countries have amazing water filtration capabilities. And they are arguable the wealthiest nations on the planet. So it's not like they couldn't do this.

But capitalism requires that one be dependent. That's just how things are. Oil would have no value if Iraq didn't depend on foreign countries for food. And food from those countries wouldn't be valuable if they didn't depend on Iraq for oil.

Now, I don't know for sure if we can exist in space without being dependent initally, but I certainly think that this is a prerequisite for colonization.

In fact, clark has argued before, that we won't be going to Mars (or space in general) without having ?used up? all of Earths resources. Inferring that any value belonging to Mars stems from a physical resource we need. This basis for ?value? goes against the Laws of Thermodynamics, and is entirely illusionary (I can explain it if you want).

Maybe. I would like to see terraforming, but only in a moral way. If it never comes up, so much the better.

Same here! I do have my own set of morals, you must realize. Just because I think property is unworkable in space, does not make me an evil cretin. Like I said to Cindy, I would like to see at the very least, a fully democratic vote of all the people of Mars, pertaining to the situation. It's very possible that terraformation won't happen until the limits I was talking about with her, occur.

People will get sick and die otherwise [if we dont' terraform]?

Well, arguably. Don't you agree there is an upper limit to how many people Mars can hold? Would you rather have a planet covered in habs, or domes, or what have you, or a planet that sustains itself with open air buildings that are much simpler and easier to construct?

I have no doubt that a regular house uses less resources than a hab. Regular houses don't have to be air tight, don't have to have all sorts of technology for air locks, and so on. But habs need all this, and more. And not only would individual habitats need this kind of airtight construction, but so to would all modes of transportation (at least those that function outside of large colonies), from suits, to vehicles.

But in itself, "the needs of the many..." isn't a moral statement at all. More like an economic one. It only assumes a moral character if you accept utilitarianism.

Well, I guess you can assign utilitarianism to this mode of thinking (although I wouldn't call it that, myself). But I don't think it's fair. Survival is a lot harder in space, so you have to consider the things we require to survive. If many require something to survive, and few are in their way, then is it really immoral to ignore those few? Any other examples used with the ?needs of the many? I would probably disagree with. In space you need to survive. Anything else is highly subjective. So I still think it's a moral argument.

The question gets back to that upper limit. What happens when we ?near? it?

We stop people from coming to Mars once we have this ?ideal? population limit, maybe. We also have to stop people from procreating, or limit how many children they can have, because they too would expand the population density. Where does it end? Do we stop people from studying ecology? We certainly don't want people to terraform, do we?

Assuming we aren't so draconian, and we do allow people to immigrate at their whim, and we don't restrict people too much from having children, would not Mars quickly become a bubble covered planet? Would not the whole point of not terraforming be defeated? Again, I remind you that you're going to consume more resources (and these resources are non-renewable), be it physical resources, or landspace. I believe terraformation makes the most use of both.

BTW, remember the dependency thing? We really need to keep people dependent on technology. Especially if we centralize the whole thing, and keep information proprietary. You can't fix a scrubber, if you don't know how it works. Instead, you have to take it back where you got it, and likely pay a bundle to get a new one. Or die trying, maybe. Can that work in space? How long until people start working together and stop horeding information and technology? Maybe after a few thousand people die, as they struggle to survive?

I'm not sure why you think tubes between habs will automatically mean socialism.

Because those tubes will be publicly owned, and the most likely scenerio is that people will share resources freely, rather than horde individually.

If not, who owns the tubes? And who owns the habs? Who pays taxes on the upkeep of the tubes? How do you pay these taxes? Who builds the tubes? How much do they cost? How do you pay for them? What kinds of work do you do? We could ask these sort of questions indefinitely.

The idea that capitalists "appropriate" the product of labor, when in fact they freely contracted to buy it, is the basis of the Marxist critique of capitalism.

Who said anything about labor appropriation? I'm talking about capital (which could be labor by your definition, maybe). I'm talking about technology and resource appropriation. My critique is based on the fact that without appropriating resources, they become ?valueless.?

If technology to acquire certain minerals was not proprietary, and anyone could build that technology, how could anyone possibly hope to force people to buy their resources? Would we not be in a situation where we merely share resources?

BTW, I hardly know anything about Bentham or Marx. But looking up a bit about Bentham, I have concluded that you have me all wrong. I'm not talking about cultural aspects of society, but rather the core requirements for surviving in space. And I believe socialism is the most suitable political theory for space.

Mars is going to have a labor shortage. The solution is to attract new settlers from Earth. At first the mystique of living on Mars will do it, and to a certain extent will always help, but you're going to need to pay those people well, or the labor supply will dry up.

How will you keep Terran settlers from forming complete independence from foreign societies? Disallow access to technology? Sue them if they steal (borrow) it? Kill them if they don't work for you? Why would I work for some company, building habs for their tourist program, when I could be off building a own city with others, and living my own life?

The only way to know how valuable something is, is to see how people value it in free exchanges, which only exist in a free market.

Yeah, the chicken and the egg scenerio amuses me, too. Frankly, I think value should be based on time and energy. There is no other defacto standard one can come up with. And it fits quite well with the laws of thermodynamics, unlike capitalism.

I don't know... I suppose it's close enough to the free market of Mississippi to count as a "match". Really, Sweden sucks.

Well, I went to that page and spent a few minutes there, following links and stuff, until I realized how stupid I was for doing so. Every society on the planet can be painted in a bad light. Especially, say, the US.

The point about Sweden, is that although they have a huge ?welfare state? they are still growing quite well. Unlike, say, other capitalistic economies on the planet.


Phobos,

That's the type of thinking that was advocated in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia and we saw how many people were deliberately tortured and starved to death.  Any state that seeks to destroy the rights of the individual in the name of the "greater" good will certainly see no problem with stampeding all over the individual.

Heh, I hardly advocate killing people, but you knew that. And I don't see the comparasion, because the only way I'll accept the ?needs of the many? argument, is if survival is at stake. Which it is, in space.

If we were reaching a societal upper limit on Mars, terraformation would be justified. I suppose you advocate technological centralization, where those who control that technology, control the people who use it?

Me? I advocate allowing those, if a majority so choses, to rip themselves away from technology, and create an ecysystem that no one can control. An ecosystem that is for everyone.

Yep, you'll drag them into your wars against their will or "force" them to volunteer because you, the political elite, automatically declare your right to determine was is in the interest of the greater good.

I wouldn't have to. It's inconcievable for me to think that a majority on Mars, once it reaches an upper limit population-wise, won't want to terraform. The place will be a freaking wasteland by this point, though. Unless we restrict who can come to Mars, and restrict what they do while they're there, to extreme limits.

You, however, and those who advocate property, will force people to use your technology, denying them the ablity to ever have their own. Requiring that they rely on you so that you may forever profit. I geniunely doubt such a society could exist in space, and I would be very amazed if it ever did.

Of course you'll come out and say the government of your utopia will only look out for the welfare of the little guy[.]

clark hates that I don't advocate government. And I fail to understand where you think that I do. I may advocate law, and perhaps a small government, but I wish for such a society to be decentralized, and highly democratic. Socialism isn't Marxism, you know.

I think that people ought to be able to go to Mars and do what they wish, so long as it doesn't interfere negatively with other people. I think that there will be a potential point where terraformation will become the only solution to a population problem that is inevitable if people are allowed to be as free as I think they should be.

I suspect, however, that you, and perhaps A.J. will wish to create immigration laws whereby no one but those who follow a certain ideology can come to Mars.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#14 2002-09-19 07:34:05

HeloTeacher
Banned
Registered: 2002-01-26
Posts: 38

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Seems simple.  Terraformation, if it is possible, will begin with the first microbe placed into an environment where it can survive and reproduce.

Short of sterilizing the area around any colony on a fanatical basis, bugs will get out.  If the planet is capable of sustaining life, it will.

You won't be fighting factories and referendums, you will be fighting a hundred new-age Johnny Appleseeds.  If I ever make it up there, I will be one of them.  Struggling to give my children and grandchildren a new home and a most precious gift.  Land that will be theirs, not a loaner from some impersonal political institution.


"only with the freedom to dream, to create, and to risk, man has been able to climb out of the cave and reach for the stars"
  --Igor Sikorsky, aviation pioneer

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#15 2002-09-19 07:47:57

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Just some thoughts I'd like to share, based on the responses i've read above...

Josh, you mention that it is not a good idea to be "dependent" in space, and that capitalism requires people to be dependent.  What I would like to ask, how is it possible to be truly independent on Mars?  Irregardless of whatever political / economic system is in place in Martian settlements, independency will likely be a concept that people will laugh at.  Even in a perfectly "socialistic" system, each individual will be highly dependent on each other, because of specialization..i.e., the life-support engineer will be dependent upon the farmer, and vice-versa.  Without one, you cannot have the other. 

I will agree with the idea of the "big happy family" model, in which everyone cheerfully works their butt off to contribute to the total pool of resources, which is freely shared among the populace...who wouldn't want to live in such a Utopia?  Unfortunately, the vagaries of human nature really do not allow this type of society to exist, even in space. (This is where ugly reality sets in ??? )  You always have the ones that don't want to pull their own weight, who consume resources without regard for others, people who refuse to get along with others, etc.

In order to cope with the problem of human nature and to be able to maintain a cohesive society that can actually thrive, some sort of system will have to be devised that will induce people to do basically two things:  Contribute time and labor to the resource pool, -and- follow a pattern of consumption that does not adversely effect the community as a whole.  In this respect, you have equilibrium between what is produced, and what is consumed, at a level sufficient enough to ensure a desirable standard of living.  In Phobos' model, a total free-market system would be used, and the "price" of labor and goods would ensure that the system would function as a cohesive whole.   

But of course, as we all know from experience, free-market captitalism has its pitfalls, as resources tend to flow from the many to the few, especially if you have "monopolies," which would be a common occurence on Mars.  Pure capitalism is like a big pyramid, with the most productive and effecient people at the top, controlling most of the resources, and the middle and lower classes of people who depend on the ones at the top for their livelihood.  Not so good, huh?  Could socialism must be the answer then?...  However, it has its own share of problems as well.  For one thing, in a pure socialistic system, in which all the people share freely of their labor and resources, how does the community determine who does what?  Obviously, not everyone can be a field scientist or life support engineer...we need people to be doctors, teachers, waste disposal workers, janitors, barbers, tailors, etc.  People perform at their best when they focus on a particular skill or endeavor...that is how technologically advanced societies come into being in the first place.  Without a system of "rewards," what incentive will people have to perform at the thing they are best at?  If no one draws a salary and has unlimited access to the resource pool, who gets to determine who does what and who gets what?  In Josh's "low government, highly democratic" system, there really wouldn't be any mechanism to keep the whole system in equilibrium.  It's not difficult to imagine what will happen in that kind of society...

In light of all this, I think some sort of balance between the competing social / economic systems discussed above would have to be struck..i.e., perhaps allowing capitalism to exist, but limit its excesses.  "Socialism" could be used for such things as domes, air, things that everyone shares in common. 

But people in general do need to have "ownership" over their lives, their work, and at least a minimal amount of property, and it's quite unreasonable to think everyone will enjoy the same standard of living, unless all the residents are biologically hyper-engineered for max intelligence, ability, etc.  And like it or not, government will likely be a necessary feature of life on Mars, probably more so than here on Earth.  Being on the "edge" will require a great deal more "discipline" than living on Earth requires, and considering human nature, a government or some other central, universally recognized authority will be the only way to ensure the continued survival of the community, as well as to enforce the laws, contracts, etc.

Getting back to the orginal topic..lol...yes, I think a majority of Martians would want to see Mars terraformed eventually.  But in order for such a huge undertaking to work, some sort of global Martian government will have to be put into place to raise funds, minimize harm as much as possible, ensure careful study of what terraforming measures to use (so Mars is not turned into a muddy hell), etc.  And all this would have to be very democratic as well...I can only imagine what would happen if some powerful corporation did start slinging comets into aerobraking orbits around Mars without the permission of those being effected....that can only spell one thing: W-A-R.

I certainly don't have a problem with different types of settlements being created on Mars...Phobos can start his 100% Free-Market city, Josh can have his All Socialism, All the Time community, and I can have my little dome where only Mensa members are allowed to live...(just kidding  tongue  ), but in all seriousness, in order for a new Martian society to grow and thrive, as well as carry out the transformation of an entire world...there's no avoiding having a centralized government that is global in nature, which is *hopefully* carefully controlled and managed by a knowledgable, civic-minded populace.

B

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#16 2002-09-19 18:07:40

A.J.Armitage
Member
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 239

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Josh;

I wrote a very long reply, but my cat stepped on the escape key and ruined all of it. :angry: Below are a few highlights from what might have been, if only...

You don't seem to understand economics, or indeed what sort of being a human is. You dependence thing, for example. I suppose Middle Eastern countries could build biospheres and be "independent" of the west, but the they'd just have food. If they sell oil, they get money for food, and palaces, race horses, catamites, ect. They do what they do because it's in their interests, otherwise they wouldn't do it. It's called specialization of labor. It's the basis of civilization. Economic independence for Mars is neither possible nor desirable, least of all for the Martians, which is why your speculation about having to kill Martians or otherwise coerce them to make them do business with Earth is off base. Why would Martians be so eager to make themselves poor and probably die? And as to the possibility of rockets failing, make sure it doesn't happen.

And anyway, I don't see what trade between Earth and Mars has to do with property rights on Mars.

On "needs of the many..." It still looks utilitarian, with "the greatest survival for the greatest number" in place of "the greatest good for the greatest number." But whatever the philosophical basis, it still rests on the assumption that living is good and dying is bad, which is not a scientific fact at all. It is, as I said, a scientific fact that living beings tend regard their own life as good and their own death as bad (I will have reason to refer to this fact again), but that doesn't tell us that life is in fact good, nor which lives are to be preferred. The few predators kill the many prey to live.

And, moving on from the lack of relation between science and ethics, you have failed to establish that it's anything like a matter of survival to terraform Mars. If Mars has a limit to the number of people who can live there, it'll take so long to get there, people can just move to O'Neil colonies. As long as people can move around, overpopulation in any one place will solve itself; seeking better conditions, people will move to where there aren't so many people.

And I've saved, I'm afraid, the part where you're most wrong (if not just nutty) for last.

Humans (and all living things) live by appropriation from the environment. We appropriate oxygen from the air. So any economic system will be based on appropriation, because of what kind of being we are.

Your theory of value also misunderstands human nature. By "time and energy", you seem to mean the time and energy spent making it, which is the labor theory of value (Marxism again). I remember reading the perfect demonstration of how very stupid it is: according to it, if I spend a lot of time and painstaking effort making a mud pie, it's more valuable than an apple pie somebody threw together and stuck in a microwave. And this, you add, is required by the laws of thermodynamics! I say, any economic system can't help but obey the laws of physics; if you could violate them, they wouldn't be the laws of physics. The basis of economics is in our nature, which is at least partly to say, in biology. We'll value the apple pie more because it can aid in our survival, and will give us pleasure. The mud pie, on the other hand, will not, and no amount of chatter about the laws of thermodynamics will make our stomachs digest it or our palates enjoy it. Human nature is, of course, more than that, but the same thing holds from the most basic desire to the noblest. In short, The value of an item to human life is in the consumption, not the production. Of course, neither economics nor biology can tell you that human life is itself worth anything, but I never claimed to be entirely scientific.

(BTW, I might add that since I had to rewrite this, I almost certainly spent a lot more time and energy on it than you spent on yours, making it more valuable. Since mine is more valuable, and the value of a post is the insight and truth of the contents, my post is more insightful and truer than yours. tongue  )


Human: the other red meat.

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#17 2002-09-20 07:15:58

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Byron, to start, I'm just saying, as you said in your very own post, that sharing air, water, and food alike, are paramount for survival in space. That is truely the crux of my argument.

You're right that individuals within a colony will be dependant upon each other. And I certainly wasn't suggesting otherwise. Iraqi's, with their hypothetical agricultural independence, would still be dependent upon each other to maintain their biospheres, and so on.

But I think that people in a colony will be better off if their dependence on each other was even more broken up. More decentralized. Instead of having, as you suggested, one life support engineer, have a dozen. Instead of having a few hydoponic experts, have a couple of dozen, each with their own hydroponic environment, or a few shared hydroponic environments.

Each of these specialities could be shared by familes (I guess this means this really is a ?big happy family model,? eh?). Say we have fifteen familes, each who have one hydoponic expert, one life support expert, and so on. There is no inherent dependence here. And there is no capacity to restrict freedom to any one individual, other than the jobs that they have a speciality at. (In which case, they would probably be doing because they enjoy doing it, rather than doing this job because they are about to die of starvation.)

How could this not work in space, and what would be a better model? If we centralize technology, we could be in a position where one family with divergent opinions is negatively oppressed. In other words, they depend on a colony of Mormans and have to give their virgin daughters up to survive. We also have a higher failure risk. If one (or even two or three) central life support systems broke, everyone would be screwed. Technological centralization is tough to get working for sustainable time periods in space. At least that's my argument, I'm open to suggestions as to why this is wrong.

And I don't want to get into an argument about ?human nature,? it's going to be hard to avoid such an argument as it is. But there is no evidence that human bahavior follows some intrinsic path, outside of instinctual habits like walking. ?Human nature? is undefined.

But even if we assume that it's not, and that ?human nature? is exactly what we claim; this greedy, selfish, stupid stereotype, how much ?work? can you expect one to have on Mars? Existing on Mars requires high level technology, so ?work? would be highly minimized. I can imagine situations where hard labor would be required, but even then, the lower gravity of Mars would make even the most laborious tasks easy. And I don't see these situations being a common occurance. It's not like we're going to be in space suits, manually mining for important resources. Sustenance labor would be very minimial, the labor that one does to survive, keeping scrubbers in good condition, insuring that the hydoponic environment is clean, making sure that the solar arrays are dust free. This is no more than an extension of hygiene. And doling out these positions is hardly difficult, as most of them would be relatively easy.

And this [socialism] does not prevent us from having a free market. If anything, it prevents free market monopolies from occuring, since monopolies center around essential commodities, and most, if not all of those, are provided by our ?big happy family model.? I don't see a problem with there being monopolies for non-essential, or semi-essential commodities, since the free market will never allow them to occur. But I still don't understand how essential commodities can even be bartered safely in space, since if someone needs an essential commodity, something terrible is wrong with their conditions. If I can't pay for electricity on Earth, my lights get shut off. If I can't pay for electricity on Mars... I die.

Let's get back to free market socialism, though. How would it work? Well, it's simple. If a group of people decide they want to create a resturant, they go about the colony bartering with non-essential resources, possibly making trades, or future revenue promises with people to gain access to extra hydroponic room, and a place to set up their little business. In an ?All Socialism, All the Time? colony (which I don't exactly advocate, by the way), each family would have a piece of the resturant, and instead of the owners requiring everyone to pay, each family would get free meals (although obviously how much they could eat would be limited). But this is free market socialism, so the resturant owners require people to pay for service (and how much they can eat is limited by how much they can afford).

Now these resturant owners could concievably take their profit and use it to buy more hydroponic space, and even hire out more hands to grow more stuff; in the end, everyone would be working for the resturant, getting paid by the restruant, and eating at the resturant. This exhibits the inherent lack of intelligence in a hierarchal, centralized, capitalistic economy. If all you do is work for the resturant, you don't need to know how to cook, and indeed, you don't. Your task in life is to grow and gather food.

Of course, these intelligent colonists are not going to allow this to happen. They will realize after a point that their possessions are more valuable than someone elses service, and will probably buy back the hydroponic space they once sold, or at least stop selling. Their individuality is more important than some elses profit.

Is this a fair enough assessment? Or am I delusional?

But yeah, global governments are good. And terraformation won't happen unless everyone is in on it (unless some outside force does it for some reason, of course). The question is how long it will take before everyone is in on it.

Centralization of this government, however, is questionable. I agree that it should be centralized to a degree (representative democracy is the only way to go on a worldwide level), I think at the local level, decentralization is the key. That's the kind of organization I speak of when I talk ?small government.?


A.J., I'm sorry your cat destroyed your post (I hope you didn't get mad at him). I know exactly how that feels sometimes; even though I don't have a cat, my computer has crashed various times during a lengthy post in which I made what I thought were very good points.

I do think I actually know a bit about economics. But hey, I welcome criticism. When you listed those things which Middle Eastern countries import, and would have to do away with if they stopped selling oil, you sort of miss the point I was making. I don't think Middle Eastern countries should stop selling oil. I think they should invest their oil in more renewable resources. The reason I came up with that analogy, is to show that resources are inherently ?valueless? unless a dependence is enforced out of necessity.

I don't exactly see why economic independence for Mars is impossible or not desirable. I desire it. And I'm sure others in the scene desire it. The man himself (Zubrin) desires it in some form or another (although probably not as much as myself, I admit).

If you read what I said to Byron, you might understand where I'm coming from. What I find interesting, is that you think it would be immoral to terraform a planet if someone loses their property, but you seemingly have no problem with people dying because of a magical respect for property.

If we're letting people die because they can't afford electricity, or water, or food (which is the situation they would be in if capitalistic economic centralization was to be in place) out of respect for property, are we really ?moral??

?The needs of the many...? is more democratic than it is utilitarian, in my opinion. And it does become a moral argument when lives are at stake. And they would be at stake once we reached an upper limit. Your interspecies example is a straw man, since humans normally interelate in a civilized way with each other. Gazelles and cheetahs do not. This isn't about ?killing off northern plainers and taking their property,? this is about, ?allowing all Martians to have a more hospitable ecosystem.?

And I don't see how I've failed to prove anything. What shall I do, create some equations for you? I think the best example is this; Earth is arguably ?overpopulated,? we're polluting out the wazoo, and destorying our ecosystem every day. How in the world- well, how on Mars do you expect Mars to be able to hold that many people? I know I made assumptions about space elevators before, but it's not hard for me to conclude that O'Neil colonies would be huge projects to deploy, and not realizable to me before a Martian population limit is. And even still, no matter how ?bad? the conditions are on Mars, people will still want to go there. You have to understand that this upper limit could be a billion or so people. A lot, but not enough to make Mars ?cramped.? I honestly don't see how anyone can stave off this limit indefinitately.

In fact, this upper limit could occur when the freaking population reaches a thousand! Our mere presence on Mars could cause global, never ending dust storms, and the only way to stop them is thicken the atmosphere!

And all living beings don't live by environmental appropriation, those that do die very quickly, in fact. A cancer cell, gobbling up resources, not returning them to the ecosystem (that of the body), is dying. Adrian can attest to this (never knew he was a biologist until recently). Living beings always return something back to the system. When you breath in oxygen, you exhale carbon dioxide (actually, you exhale oxygen too, but we don't have to be that specific). When you eat something, it is eventually returned to the ecosystem. Life is a neat circle, which is kinda cool.

And when I was talking about time and energy, I was, as they say, ?being frank.? I don't literally think that all value should be determined by time and energy. I just think time and energy is a good way to show that essential commodities are most efficiently shared amongst each other. Since nothing in the universe is free, one is better off spending their time and energy doing things for themselves directly, rather than working for someone else, benefitting that someone else more than themselves (read the resturant analogy).

Which do I benefit from more? Planting a tree by hire? Or planting a tree for myself? Most likely, I won't get paid much to plant that tree. And my pay (due to how capitalism works, but certainly not due to the Laws of Thermodynamics), will never be enough to plant my own tree. It won't even let me break even. But if I plant that tree myself, on my land, I can enjoy that tree as long as it grows. In both situations I expend about the same about of energy.

And your microwave example doesn't quite fit. The resulting entropy from a mud pie, no matter how long you fiddle with it, is still higher than that of a freshly baked pie.

...in a way, to the tree planter, the ?entropy? of a tree he can't use and enjoy, is higher than the ?entropy? of a tree he can.

But hey, since there is no such thing as human nature, it doesn't matter.

(BTW, since you clearly spent so much more time working on this than myself, I hope next time the level of ?entropy? in your next post is much lower. tongue)


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#18 2002-09-20 12:43:44

Pat Galea
Banned
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-12-30
Posts: 65
Website

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

These days, I don't even consider socialist (or quasi-socialist) schemes unless the author provides a solution or convincing rebuttal of the economic calculation problem.

The critique of socialism advanced by Mises is the vital hurdle that any such schemes must overcome if they are to be considered seriously. (It's equivalent to the second law of thermodynamics in physics; if someone comes up with a new revolutionary theory that violates this law, they'd better have some really convincing evidence or arguments to bolster their claim.)

Mises' essay can be found here: Economic Calculation In The Socialist Commonwealth.

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#19 2002-09-20 14:14:28

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Hmm, which problem? Here's how it is. On Earth, air is free. (In the long term, ecological destruction would make air expensive, but we'll ignore that for now. Air is free.)

So I don't quite understand how the economic situation would cease to function if other necessities were free. Any argument that invokes ?human nature? is wholly useless, because it wouldn't take me momments to cite many papers pertaining to the subject of ?human nature,? showing that there is no such thing.

The paper you cited goes a long way to define how much something is worth. If Marxism goes that deeply, I pity it. Supply and demand need be the only source of value in the free economic system. The reason we cite ?time and energy? is to show that effort expended towards essential commodities, is best spent where benefit is direct.

The problem with that paper, as far as I can tell, is that it critiques Marxism, and not basic socialism where essential commodities are owned collectively, in a decentralized society. Totally planned economies cannot work at this point in time, and as far as I can tell, planned economies are the center of Marxism. Also, some of the concepts in that article are actually quite useless given technological advances. Consumption problems would arguably be fixed in a highly technological civilization. If a few farmers can feed tens of thousands of people in the present, how many farmers would it take to feed ten times as many in the future? One of our current problems is obesity. Just imagine how bad it could be in the future!


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#20 2002-09-20 14:41:06

NovaMarsollia
Banned
Registered: 2002-09-20
Posts: 52

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

My view on the initial quandery:

The 1967 Space Treaty (which the USA has signed) declares that private appropriation of space is illegal and that Mars is the province of all humankind. Therefore, 1stly the settlers in the lowlands don't own the place that they are occupying, and 2ndly, terrafomers have no right to change Mars without the signatories of the Space Treaty renegotiating the treaty. This is a good thing 'cause both the settlers AND the terraformers would only be imperiously annexing then destroying an environment that doesn't belong to them anyhow.

Questions then: Am I an extremist in thinking this? Or am I a mainstream law-abiding peace-loving citizen and it is you Mars-dudes who are the extremists wanting to colonize another planet?

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#21 2002-09-20 16:57:35

Josh Cryer
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Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

The inherent unenforceability of the Space Treaty makes it largely symbolic. If one has the capablity to go somewhere and do something, and they want to do it and nothing is stopping them, they will. How do you enforce the Space Treaty?

And I don't see how we would be ?imperiously annexing then destroying an environment that doesn't belong to? us, by settling and terraforming Mars, or ignoring the Space Treaty. Mars belongs to its possessors. Or, actually, those who live on Mars are possessed by Mars; but there is nothing saying possessions can't change the environment of their possessor. Indeed, possessions change us all the time. By the same token, we would change Mars. Almost everyone here has said this.

I agree that private appropriation of space is unjust, but I would not support banning it (unless somehow someone decided to try to enforce the Space Treaty). I just don't think private appropriation can work at sustainable levels for long. But hey, go for it if you think it can.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#22 2002-09-20 16:57:38

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Ouch, double post!


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#23 2002-09-21 12:33:02

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

*Marsians will probably, unfortunately, be -- politically speaking -- under the yoke of the nations and corporations sponsoring/supporting them.  Not that I want it that way.

BTW, Phobos, the image you tried to include didn't show up...or is it just supposed to be that www.aboutme.com ad?  And what's this about Lord Clark?  wink  I've always kind of had this mental image of Clark dressed in black leather with a whip in his hand.  Kinda sexy.  smile

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#24 2002-09-21 12:46:14

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

The 1967 Space Treaty (which the USA has signed) declares that private appropriation of space is illegal and that Mars is the province of all humankind. Therefore, 1stly the settlers in the lowlands don't own the place that they are occupying, and 2ndly, terrafomers have no right to change Mars without the signatories of the Space Treaty renegotiating the treaty. This is a good thing 'cause both the settlers AND the terraformers would only be imperiously annexing then destroying an environment that doesn't belong to them anyhow.

Assuming the totalitarians who want to control the universe can't stop people from migrating to Mars, Mars will likely come under the control of the people who exist on it, and rightfully so.  To a native born Martian, Earth treaties probably won't mean much anyhow.  After all, would you really give a damn if some governmental body a 100 million km away thinks it has a right to rule over you?  Sure, at first, the Martian colonies will likely abide by Earth laws or suffer the consequences of being embargoed or whatever, but once Mars gains self-sufficiency there will be no reason for them to live under the thumbs of the totalitarians on Earth.  The native born of Mars will claim the planet as theirs and rightfully so.

Questions then: Am I an extremist in thinking this? Or am I a mainstream law-abiding peace-loving citizen and it is you Mars-dudes who are the extremists wanting to colonize another planet?

Depends on the laws your obeying.  Would Blacks in the South be extremists because they sought to overthrow segregation?  Are people who would want to start a new life on Mars because they feel they'd have more opportunity there be extremists?  Does blindly following oppressive and totalitarian laws automatically make you a well-rounded, peaceful, and moderate individual?  In my opinion there's nothing wrong with fighting oppressive laws.  Laws which prohibit people from colonizing another planet are most certainly a form of oppression.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#25 2002-09-21 12:59:10

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: A Question for Greens - Possible show-stopper for terraforming

Cindy: Those images aren't showing up because the server that they're hosted on (www.aboutme.com) won't allow people to view them on webpages hosted on other servers. The reason this is done is because otherwise people could simply leech images and bandwidth off other sites. For example, I wouldn't like it if somone went and put images hosted on New Mars on their own pages. If they copied the images (and asked me) onto their own servers I wouldn't have a problem because they wouldn't be using my bandwidth.


Editor of New Mars

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