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#1 2001-09-07 10:26:37

Amateur Philosopher
Member
From: Maryland, USA, North America,
Registered: 2001-09-07
Posts: 5

Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

Hello? Er, hi. I'm new around here, and I saw an empty forum with a topic I felt I might comment on (and thus maybe stimulate discussion, etc.)... and so, here I am.

Having entirely too much time on my hands, the question of Martian politics has popped up in my brain a lot. The first point I think I ought to bring up is that self-government might not come about in the first place, at least not immediately. The question of how the settlement of Mars might proceed will have a lot to do with the entities involved in doing the settling; will corporations seeking to exploit Mars try and bring in workers? Will individual governments sponsor having skilled populations moved there?

Any way one looks at it, the sponsor will have an interest in keeping some measure of control over the migrants and their works. A government is not likely to say, "Oh, we're going to settle you on Mars so you can be free to form your own civilzation"; a country that settles Mars would more likely view what it is doing as extension of territory, or at the very least of influence, and wouldn't look too kindly on the people it sent getting notions of liberty in their heads. And corporations, especially those that wouldn't consider themselves responsible to their workers, would see control of their employees to be vital, especially considering the amounts of money they would've sunk into getting to Mars in the first place.

My basic point here is this; as it stands now, colonization of Mars is not likely to be carried out by groups of people for their own benefit, to escape unfavorable factors on Earth and form independent nations. Space travel (and probably, when it comes, colonization) is controlled by organizations that are either under the domination of a government, or are private companies, because they are better able to fund such missions, and can acquire the resources needed to construct and maintain them. Because of this, they will have initial control of Martian settlements.

But, in all likelihood, this control will be tenuous at best, especially as time goes on. With such massive distances separating planets, how would an entity on Earth be able to maintain direct control of holdings on Mars? On Earth, communication is near-instantaneous in developed nations, and military or paramilitary power can be deployed almost anywhere within a nation's territory. But communications between planets is limited by lightspeed, and actual travel would take months. There will be a sense of distance, and that sense will make it extremely difficult for people on each world to have a good sense of what is going on on the other world. Hence, Earth institutions are not able to properly meet the needs of Martians, and Martians become psychologically less affiliated with Earth. Not only this, but it becomes nigh-on impossible for Earth to do anything should some sort of trouble (human-inspired or natural) arise.

Martians will already have become more or less self-sufficient. They probably won't want or need directions from Earth telling them what to do, and there is little to no way for Earth to enforce it policies; physically sending armies and police between planets probably won't be feasible, and so paid local enforcers will probably be the mainstay of security, and won't be equipped (and may not have the inclination anyway, if enough of them choose the Martian side) to suppress an insurrection.

There will probably be SOME sort of confrontation; entrenched interests don't surrender power readily. But, as mentioned, transporting an army to Mars wouldn't be feasible. Thus, what occurs will probably be relatively bloodless... perhaps a blockade of resources between Earth and the colonists. IF... and this is an if, at least to me, because I don't know enough to make a judgement here... if the Martians are self-sufficient enough by this time to survive without Earthly goods, and without selling Martian resources to Earth, then they shall probably win their independence, at least in a de facto manner... unless Earth tries something like dropping bombs on settlements, and I don't think that would be popular with anyone.

Well, I've said enough for one piece... comments? Rebuttals? Vicious threats made in my direction because I shouldn't have posted this at all? wink Feel free to take my reasoning apart at your leisure.


Amateur Philosopher: the name says it all.

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#2 2001-09-08 09:33:51

Adrian
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From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
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Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

A few quick thoughts:

I agree with many of the points you made in your analysis; certainly I do think that most - but not all - of the initial colonization will be carried out by organizations and corporations rather than states (who however will still undoubtely provide subsidies and assistance in return for, say, a presence on Mars). You can't write off the fact that states still have an enormous amount of power and money floating about, even in these multinational days.

The Martian colonists will necessarily become self-sufficient and as you say, unless the lightspeed limit is violated, there will always be a huge gap between Mars and Earth in terms of communication. The two worlds will diverge, if not just from the gap of communication but from their environments.

Independence, I believe, is a given. But most of the predictions for a violent Martian declaration of independence (most notably KSR's trilogy) are based on the assumption that in the future, nothing has changed from the times of fifty and a hundred years ago.

This is patently untrue. Earth will not be able to get away with dropping bombs on Martian settlements except in the most extreme of circumstances. You could claim that we get away with dropping bombs on Iraq every day, but then Mars will not be Iraq; it won't manufacture weapons of mass destruction to be used against Earth and it won't be ruled by a dictator (well, I hope not).

Rather than the UN becoming weaker, as we saw in KSR's, we can see that it is instead becoming stronger through instruments like the War Crimes Tribunal which has the power to put leaders such as Milosevic on trial.

In general, I think things are getting better on Earth; there is less conflict, both Western and Eastern Europe are slowly becoming more integrated. Russia and China are no longer the threats that they were once perceived to be. Quality of life is steadily increasing, the rate of population increase is decreasing. All of this matters because what's good for Earth is good for Mars. If Earth becomes more happy and prosperous as time passes, then they will not be so worried about a small group of people on Mars taking control of their own future.

Under a world suffering flooding and overpopulation, and governed by undemocratic multinationals, I can see Martian Independence being a very violent thing. But that's not our world.


Editor of New Mars

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#3 2001-09-08 16:35:45

GOM
Member
Registered: 2001-09-08
Posts: 127

Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

Hello Adrian,

You say:

"Russia and China are no longer the threats that they were once perceived to be."

You might want to double check on how China's military power is growing.  They were not a threat to the US in the past.  They could be soon.

And Russia is like a sleeping bear.  We don't hear the "we will bury you" rhetoric right now but they still could be very dangerous and need to be watched carefully.

"Under a world suffering flooding and overpopulation, and governed by undemocratic multinationals, I can see Martian Independence being a very violent thing. But that's not our world."

I respectfully disagree on two out of three.  It is our world, somewhat.  We are heading more and more that way, imo.  Some people would even disagree with you about the flooding, depending on what country they live in.

Overpopulation seems to mean different things to different people.  Right now we have too many people on the planet to continue consuming oil, drinking water, fishing and lumber resources at the same rate we have in the past.  We will run out.  Also, China is coming into the modern age and that one country alone adds a lot more consumption, even if the population growth dropped to zero tomorrow.

Regarding the multinationals:  They may not directly govern us, but they have tremendous influence on the people that theoretically govern us.  Money talks.  Politics requires a lot of money, at least here in the USA.

Just my .02 on the topic....

Later.

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#4 2001-09-09 06:08:20

Adrian
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From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
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Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

I don't believe that Russia and China pose zero threat to, say, America, but by all accounts that threat is nowhere near as large as it was fifty or even thirty years ago. The huge amount of trade flowing around the world would make it, well, just unprofitable to have a war these days. Not that nations have always acted rationally, but even so, any historian would agree that relations between Russia, China and America have hugely improved in recent decades.

As for the lack of resources, it's a common misconception that we're about to run out any time soon. It's been shown that the dire predictions of no oil in a few decades and global warming aren't quite as accurate as people would have you believe.

The industrialisation of China does pose a problem but I was pleased to note that over the last few years they actually managed to significantly reduce their pollution production while their GDP increased; quite an admirable feat which many people aren't aware of. Indeed, it's thought that China's pollution production will not exceed America's for at least another thirty years.

Now, I will concede that multinats do have a huge amount of power and influence. I do think that there is some hope for increased democratisation of this power though, through schemes like open source software and so on.

So, I'm the last person to say that things are perfect on Earth - after all, we haven't gotten to Mars yet! But I do think that things are definitely improving.


Editor of New Mars

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#5 2001-09-09 20:29:49

Bill White
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Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

Russia has a great incentive to support humans to Mars as their big Energia rockets are the best heavy lift now available and their Soyuz program is exceptionally dependable and "relatively" inexpensive.

Plus, their expertise in long duration missions surpasses everybody else.

I believe it is likely the Russians will become true space capitalists, selling their technology at the right price to whatever private groups undertake humans to Mars.

If Khouru (French Guinea) and the new Aussie new launch facility being planned for Christmas Island are developed to handle Energia rockets, an EU-Russia Mars mission becomes quite feasible - - possibly without the USA.

Bill White

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#6 2001-09-11 11:16:41

GOM
Member
Registered: 2001-09-08
Posts: 127

Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

"So, I'm the last person to say that things are perfect on Earth - after all, we haven't gotten to Mars yet! But I do think that things are definitely improving."


Hello Adrian,

Would you like to revise your last sentence?  I expected something like today, but not quite this fast....

sad

Mars will most likely have to wait.  I think Mars exploration is being overwhelmed by current events.  Sadly.

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#7 2001-09-11 11:29:07

Adrian
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From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
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Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

Yes, I thought someone would bring that up. What happened today with the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the other plane crash is absolutely horrifying.

However - and it may be hard to believe this - I still think things are improving. It is immensely heartening to see the universal condemnation of the terrorists from countries all over the world, and it is absolutely essential to remember that this act of terrorism was conducted not by a state but by a small group of fanatics who do not reflect upon their nation or religion.

This was clearly an act of mindless terrorism and the world has sadly always had its terrorists.

I really don't know what to say about this, but my belief and hope in humanity remains steady.


Editor of New Mars

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#8 2001-09-12 07:52:46

Amateur Philosopher
Member
From: Maryland, USA, North America,
Registered: 2001-09-07
Posts: 5

Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

I really don't know what to say about this, but my belief and hope in humanity remains steady.

I wish I could say the same about my own belief in humanity... not that I've ever leaned too much toward optimism anyway.

Actually, though, I amimpressed with the reaction to the attacks... both on the world scene and here at home (I live an hour or more away from where the Pentagon is, but on the greater scale of things, it's in our backyard). Reading about the declarations made by various countries... and especially reading about the willingness of American citizens to help out... these things hearten me in a way my sense of ego insists can't be done.

Blech... now I'm getting into mushiness. Forgive me.

At any rate, I'm not entirely certain that things can be said to be getting better, as such... but we'll have to see, won't we? Perhaps whatever sense of unity is being forged by the events will be at least partly channeled into the space program... not immediately, of course, but perhaps once things start running again.


Amateur Philosopher: the name says it all.

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#9 2001-09-12 09:31:22

GOM
Member
Registered: 2001-09-08
Posts: 127

Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

"DAY OF EVIL" is the headline of our local paper.  I guess President Bush has named September 11 for history.

I believe you will see more terrorism in the future, not less.

sad

This was the most dramatic event of its kind, maybe of all time.  Hopefully it will never be repeated.  However, there are other tools that terrorists have at their disposal.

I expect all space exploration, except military applications, to be slowed by this disaster.

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#10 2002-03-20 13:33:49

Ian
Banned
Registered: 2002-01-08
Posts: 236

Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

Under a world suffering flooding and overpopulation, and governed by undemocratic multinationals, I can see Martian Independence being a very violent thing. But that's not our world.

Undemocratic multinationals? Since people travel all over the world and communicate back and forth through satellites and the internet, I can see the world becoming more democratic with the digital revolution. And that part about communication with Mars. Didn't you hear that there's going to be a mars internet. People are getting connected to the internet every day.

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#11 2002-05-03 07:40:44

Omer Joel
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From: Quiriat Tivon, Israel
Registered: 2002-05-03
Posts: 23

Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

Human nature won't change THAT quickly, if it'll ever change. I remember reading about people who thought (in the early 1900's) that the 20th century will know no war. Then came two world wars, a cold war, and countless smaller regional wars, and proved them to be wrong. Sure, some nations are more democratic or more pacifist than others, but war crimes, terrorism, slavery, corruption, dictatorship and fundementalism still exist and will continue to exist.

About the multinational corporations, you should refer to the Napster case and the several Microsoft trials to see how corporations behave. Considering the amount of money corporations will probably invest in the Mars colony, I don't think they'll let Mars slip out of their hands so easily. Corporations large enough to sponsor, or atleast take major part in mars colonization projects would have extreme political power. Just think of the quality of the lawyers and the amount of the lobbyists they could recruit for their cause!

Though Mars might possibly achieve independance without violence, it will not achieve it without struggle; if a military struggle will be avoided, a political and legal struggle will still take place. Too many people with too many power won't like the idea of losing ownership of their major holdings on Mars.

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#12 2002-06-08 10:49:49

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

Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

Omer Joel wrote:  "About the multinational corporations, you should refer to the Napster case and the several Microsoft trials to see how corporations behave. Considering the amount of money corporations will probably invest in the Mars colony, I don't think they'll let Mars slip out of their hands so easily. Corporations large enough to sponsor, or atleast take major part in mars colonization projects would have extreme political power. Just think of the quality of the lawyers and the amount of the lobbyists they could recruit for their cause!"

*Precisely.  This is my fear as well.  I could wish that the entire funding of Mars exploration and eventual colonization will be entirely by that of private, individual citizens...but considering the enormous cost involved, I'm sure it's simply a wish.  sad

--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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#13 2002-06-14 18:43:01

anansi
Member
Registered: 2002-06-14
Posts: 23

Re: Martian independence - One kid's own opinion and speculation.

A martian colony is going to be such a long term project, so amazingly expensive, and by necessity draw from such a large infrastructure on earth, that I don't think any of the historical examples will quite apply.

When I consider the Heinlein or KSR rebellion, it's a trivial exercise to imagine terran authorites lobbing a neutron bomb and then announcing an inexplicable life support failure, and then send another load of loyalists to recycle the bodies and start anew.

In fact, this line of reasoning has led me to the conclusion that until some kind of world government is established where soldiers are obsolete and policemen keep the peace everywhere equally, expenditures on space will never be able to compete with military spending.

As long as wars can be fought on the ground, the public imagining of what 'space' is, will be limited to that thin shell of LEO. Military minds will have no interest in putting civilians out of reach of their weapons, and it makes no military sense to fight on the moon when it's easier to shoot things down than to rise up and meet them. (what lasers work for SDI, work even better from the ground, shooting up at satellites.)

The colonization of space will be as if the earth's entire economy has gone into labor to produce a child. Nothing less will produce a self-sustaining human economy out of the gravity well. Such an effort cannot afford war, and may be the best reason of all to build a democratic UN with teeth.

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