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Government's role in space

Posted by: SuperShuki - Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:44 pm
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Government's role in space 
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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:00 pm
I never said that there should be no government. I said that governments should pursue only national interests, not individual or group interests.

Without a stable society, there is no free market. It doesn't matter if you aren't able to use your resources because the government takes it away or if a common thief takes it away or because you are killed in a civil war, either way, you don't have the liberty to spend your money as you choose. That's why governments exist. To protect liberty, not to take it away.

The point of government space programs is not their byproducts. If it was, the money would be spent on the byproducts, not on building and maintaining spacecraft. Spain didn't send Colombus because they were interested in advancing ship technology.

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:08 pm
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The concept of untargeted research seems to elude you. Untargeted basic research, especially space reasearch, has unpredictable results. It will be profitable to someone in society, but you can't know who that will be. So it is fair that everyone chips in. Collective investment in a technology lottery is not nearly the same as redistribution of wealth.


"Collective investment" is the definition of redistribution of wealth! The government takes money from people who don't want to give it, and redistributes it to a "technology lottery". How the money is redistributed is irrelevant, it isn't in the national interests! That is why people were bringing up government health care and welfare in connection with this. It's the same thing!

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:17 pm
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Government redistribution of wealth sounds like socialism to me. How do you define socialism?


That could be a part of it, yes, but your claim that Obama is a socialist, proves that you do not know what it is.


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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:40 am
see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gUNUh6cCKU&feature=related Where Obama wants to take from the rich and give to the poor, i.e. redistribution of wealth,
seehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzkXkY5wNmg&feature=related
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRPbCSSXyp0 where he says he believes that it is good to "spread the wealth around" (sic)

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:30 pm
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As to monopolies, the biggest monopolies are governments! They have no competition! They can do anything that they want without worrying about the consequences, as opposed to the free market, where every business runs the constant risk of making less money.
That problem was solved some two millenia ago by the concept of democracy, which these days is (due to the size of our populations) usually an indirect democracy. The government is elected by the people, and if the people don't like what the government does, they can throw the government out and elect someone else.

This as opposed to private corporations, who regularly do things that are against the interests of the public (see e.g. recent comments on Yahoo's support of Google in their anti-Chinese-censorship stance being against the interests of the shareholders), their employees (see child labour and slavery), or even their customers (see vendor lock-in). None of whom can do anything about it.

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Governments have a monopoly on space. It is impossible to compete with a government because they give away their 'services' for free, being able to fund themselves by force (taxes).
They do? Where do I book my free ticket to the ISS, then? Will ESA or NASA launch my satellite for free? And why do I have to pay to get a passport then?

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If government was not funding gps, and it was worth doing, then private companies would be able to do it.
And if you were to do a private GPS (which incidentally was funded by the US military, which certainly works to further US interests), you'd have to encrypt the signal and sell subscriptions, increasing the cost of all the equipment involved by all users, worldwide. Talk about inefficient. And do you really think that Garmin, TomTom, Apple, aircraft avionics makers, FedEx, etc., etc. would have got together and invested a giant pile of money to launch a bunch of satellites? No way that would have worked, or at least they would have spent a huge amount of money negotiating and getting everyone on the same page.

But now that GPS is there, it's revolutionised car navigation, kick-started an entire market for location-based services, and allows more efficient use of airspace. All of which improves our efficiency, which means that we can do more in less time, and therefore increase our wealth.

Governments have a role in providing infrastructure. It's used by everyone anyway, so you might as well skip the accounting overhead. It's not more efficient to have payment systems at every stretch of road and every intersection (gotta pay for those traffic lights!), not to mention a coin slot in every lamp post (and another one for the maintenance fee for the first) or a licence fee to be kept track of every time you Velcro'd two things together...

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Liberty is not a gift, it's a fundamental right. A government has no right to demand that you give over your money, or leave, any more than I have a right to demand that you give me your money or leave.
Right, but then surely they'd have the right to forbid you from using the road in front of your house that they built for you. After all, suggesting that it's a public space would be rather socialist, right?

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Wow, I can't believe that there are people here who are actually defending socialism
Well, if you define "socialism" as "anything that isn't fundamentalist libertarianism" then sure. Your position is a minority one, mostly because the world is chock full of successful alternatives, and rather bereft of successful libertarian states.

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Where Obama wants to take from the rich and give to the poor, i.e. redistribution of wealth,
That depends on whether the rich got that money fairly. With money comes power, the power to distort the free market to serve your interests and not those of poorer people. Most poor people are poor because they were born to poor parents, who weren't able to provide them with what they needed to become rich (education, inspiration, contact with the right people). Conversely, most rich people are rich because they were born to rich parents. Is it really immoral to try and give those who were disadvantaged through no fault of their own some opportunity to better themselves?

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Is it what I say that gets people angry, or how I say it? Thanks
It's not what you say or how you say it, it's what you don't listen to. A discussion is a two-way street. It doesn't consist of you saying things, not wanting to read or try to understand the answers, and then saying more things.

Your main problem seems to be that you have read or heard about a few theories and stick to them, but don't have much of a clue about what the world and people are really like.

This world we live in is huge and complex and utterly impossible to fully understand for any single human being, and that is a very scary prospect. Being able to predict what will happen leads to reduction of risk and increase in survival, and so we humans long to understand. Watch any small child explore the world and you can see this plainly. But when they miss something and bump their head, they will panic and start crying. Being confused or surprised makes us feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.

Small children have parents or caretakers to comfort them, but adults don't, and so we need other mechanisms to cope with these emotions. Mostly, we respond by seeking information that is consistent with what we know already, rejecting or ignoring anything else, and thereby simultaneously satisfying the thirst for knowledge and the fear of confusion and surprise.

The problem is, ignoring reality doesn't make it go away. At some point, the differences become too big to ignore, and younger generations (or geographically separated groups) will decide upon a different world view for themselves, while the previous generations become increasingly marginalised as they grow older (see future shock, generation gap, paradigm shift). In highly conservative societies with a rigid value system, indoctrination and oppression are used to counteract this, resulting in economic and cultural stagnation as people are limited by their world view (see Asimov's The Caves of Steel).

Of course, in an ideal world, we would not respond to the discovery that our knowledge is incomplete or incorrect by closing our eyes. Instead, we would open them wider, overcome our fear and unease, and explore and investigate and learn and grow and bump our heads and cry and try again. Not because it'll make us rich, or because it's efficient, or because of some future returns, but because curiosity is a fundamental part of who we are.

The global village that we now live in presents us with the most extreme form of this situation in our history. We now have all the information, from all different points of view, and more of an opportunity to learn and have our world views turned upside down than ever before. Today, we can all be scientists. But do we dare?

Good night, and good luck,

Lourens

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:37 am
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Where Obama wants to take from the rich and give to the poor, i.e. redistribution of wealth,

That depends on whether the rich got that money fairly. With money comes power, the power to distort the free market to serve your interests and not those of poorer people. Most poor people are poor because they were born to poor parents, who weren't able to provide them with what they needed to become rich (education, inspiration, contact with the right people). Conversely, most rich people are rich because they were born to rich parents. Is it really immoral to try and give those who were disadvantaged through no fault of their own some opportunity to better themselves?


Here is the crux of the issue. You don't believe in people's inherent right to their own property, rather you believe in a subjective "fairness".
If you want to give poor people money out of your own free will, I applaud you. But it is immoral for you to give someone elses' money away to poor people. As it says in the American Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I believe that people have a right to their own property.

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:39 am
You are opposed to taxes, which are 'stealing' and the use of force in controlling people, yet are pro-government?

How should governments be funded?

How should governments stablise society if not with force?

Are you saying that the only free markets are government controlled ones?

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:41 am
Governments should take taxes in order to spend money on the national interest. I am for limited government, not no government.

Markets should not be controlled by governments, as that is not government's role. Governments should pursue national interests, that's it. Keeping people from stealing, and murdering is a national interest. Building and maintaining infrastructure is a national interest. Redistributing wealth is a private interest, and government has no business doing it.

My question is, how are government space agencies in the national interest?

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:05 am
Here in the UK we have had very little government spending on Space tech, and I personally think that has been detrimental to the national interest. We do have indigenous companies who are doing OK (Surrey Satellite comes to mind), but there is no blue sky research, which has been a problem in the UK in other industries as well. Which in my opinion is why we are now a country with no manufacturing to speak of, that relies on service industries (like banks!) to survive, that is in debt that will take 20 years to pay off, and is slowly turning in to a police state.

And we are taxed heavily as well.

Fun eh?


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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:39 pm
SuperShuki wrote:
Governments should take taxes in order to spend money on the national interest. I am for limited government, not no government.

Markets should not be controlled by governments, as that is not government's role. Governments should pursue national interests, that's it. Keeping people from stealing, and murdering is a national interest. Building and maintaining infrastructure is a national interest. Redistributing wealth is a private interest, and government has no business doing it.

My question is, how are government space agencies in the national interest?


So basically then, force is okay as long as you define it to be in the national interest?

How do you define national interest? Small private companies can build roads and railways, do targeted research, run security forces, fire departments can be voluntary.

But left to its own devices, the private populace doesn't do serious space research. If radical technological development is in the national interest, if economic expansion is in the national interest, if good weather predication, and other remote senseing is in the national interest, then, at the moment, the government has to do it because it won't get done otherwise.

Thanks to sixty years of government investment in space, companies like Space X and Iridium are able to start attempting the beginnings of private space activity.

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:24 pm
I want space research, good weather prediction, etc. I'd also like a million dollars. You can't do these things without taking money out of people's pockets.
Thing which are in the national interest are those things that provide a nation's citizens with liberty. Or in the words of the US Declaration of Independence, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". That is the job of a government.

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:03 pm
So its okay to take money out of peoples pockets as long as its to give them more liberty?

How is it that medical breakthroughs are not good for 'the pursuit of happiness' but PR flags and footprints missions are?

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:28 am
idiom wrote:
So its okay to take money out of peoples pockets as long as its to give them more liberty?

How is it that medical breakthroughs are not good for 'the pursuit of happiness' but PR flags and footprints missions are?


If everyone needed medical advances that could only come from government spending in order to live, than that would be fine. But that isn't the case.

On the other hand, the more powerful a nation is considered to be, the better it can act in the international arena to ensure liberty for its citizens.

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:52 am
Domination is Liberty?

Interesting? You are trying to argue that a nation without a space program can't be free?

I would tend to find it much easier to believe that a nation without a space program is less likely to be on the cutting edge of research and therefore less likely to be prosperous.

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Post Re: Government's role in space   Posted on: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:44 pm
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Domination is Liberty?

Not domination - pursuit of national self interest.

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Interesting? You are trying to argue that a nation without a space program can't be free?

Huh?

Quote:
I would tend to find it much easier to believe that a nation without a space program is less likely to be on the cutting edge of research and therefore less likely to be prosperous.

A nation has no obligation to ensure prosperity to its citizens. People have no right to be prosperous, but rather to be free to earn prosperity by themselves. The more money government takes away, the less money they have to earn that prosperity.

It is very easy to accept government problem-solving. If there is a problem, just have the government to fix it! The idea that problems are better dealt with by people acting out of their own self interest, in fact, the whole idea of freedom itself, is very counter intuitive.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPyoEbU_wc4&feature=related

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