Lunar Supremacy and Lunacy

“The manned moon shot, like the war on terror, is an example of the inferiority of the political allocation of resources. In their choices of projects, political leaders do not seem to display a high degree of rationality, or at least their rationality seems distinctly below what common sense or even a small amount of thought might produce. The reason for this is that they have power to implement what they think is right or want without having personally to face the full measure of the consequences. They do not directly face the market test, which is this: Will consumers fork over their hard-earned money for the product? Politicians have a higher chance of implementing hare-brained schemes based on false theories. And if they can con the public, the degree of rationality falls even more steeply.”

The entire essay is worth reading.

Those who have been following the discussion here re: state investments in spaceports – that last bit should be particularly of reference.

6 thoughts on “Lunar Supremacy and Lunacy

  1. So, Apollo was mostly about the marketing of America? Showing the world the US of A is Numero Uno? Tell me, who didn’t know that already?

    Today, how much might the citizens of various nations around the world agree to pay for the privilege of watching NASA lose a new race back to the Moon? Sell the TV rights for a joint Russian-ESA lunar mission and be sure to take a South Asian to capture the growing market in India.

    Marketing may well be the most logical source of funding for space ventures. If Tiger Woods can be paid many millions to sell Buicks and NASCAR can sell Wonder Bread, why not use space adventures to sell stuff to consumers?

  2. Mark, I am certain you are aware that Dwight Eisenhower called Project Apollo a “damn fool publicity stunt” or something very close to that. As I recall, he was a Republican. 😉

    What I propose is that we embrace that way of thinking for funding space. Other than selling marketing considerations, and the occasional tourist, what other source of private sector revenue is there?

  3. It sometimes just hits me, if Newton had spent his money on helping the poor, we would have not had half of the things we do now.

    Life is not fair. You cannot save everyone. Some must reach higher and if they don’t, we cannot let them bring the rest down. I say this as one who has reached up.

    For this reason, the allocation of money and resources for ANY scientific, political, philosophical, .. research is too well justified. We all live and we all die and most of us are forgotten in a couple of generations. I don’t know about any of you, but I plan to learn as much as I possibly can about everything. At least I’ll know I tried…I tried to figure this universe out.

  4. It sometimes just hits me, if Newton had spent his money on helping the poor, we would have not had half of the things we do now.

    really? You have an awfully low view of humanity, then. to assume NO ONE else would have figured out the laws of gravity if it weren’t for Newton is naive to say the least. And I’m sure you’re aware he wasn’t the only one to “discover” calculus, right?

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