#WorldFuture2016 – A Tiny Critique @Bob_Richards

Do you ever have one of those moments where you read something and you’re immediate reaction is, WTF? Well, here’s my WTF moment for the day, where I can’t type as fast as my mind seems to be spitting out the words in response to the following tweet from the World Future Conference in Washington D.C.:

“To go to space to stay, it has to pay. There has to be an economic element.” – ‪@Bob_Richards ‪#WorldFuture2016

Now, if you’re a #World Future2016 keynote speaker, as @Bob_Richards is, WhyTF are you banging on about economics in relation to space exploration (namely the desire to populate the moon)? Economics is an outmoded concept for this planet, devised over a long period of time and currently culminating in late stage capitalism, in “developed” countries, where companies and governments are trying to keep it all together by kicking the can down the road in the hope that we don’t get to realise that economics, capitalism, the acquisition of money, etc., is all a load of BS.

So, people of the World Future Society, just how “futuristic” is your thinking when you can’t get past Cantillonian, Smithian (is that how you refer to Adam Smith?), Keynesian, blah blah…, economics?


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3 responses to “#WorldFuture2016 – A Tiny Critique @Bob_Richards

  • Svalbard’s #Doomsday Project | the textual silence project...

    […] of £$€, etc., are printed on a whim). Then there’s the current fascination with planning the colonisation of two barren rocks (Earth’s Moon and Mars) when this planet remains a far more pleasant place to live. And finally, […]

  • Bob Richards

    Hi Matthew,

    I think I understand your points and perspective, and it would be interesting to debate this with you in person, but we are left to textual convo for now…

    Okay, so, while respecting everyone’s right to a belief system and a free voice, here are my thoughts on the WTF moment my quote caused you:

    There appears to be a simple collision of ideologies here. WFS 2016 was my first exposure to the organization. I found the audience to be intelligent, optimistic, and generally open minded nice people. I met people from a variety of socio-economic belief systems and ideologies, who were curious about new ideas and open to challenging (“unlearning”) personal patterning or dogmas. The notion that the WF organization would prejudicially filter out capitalistic ideologies would be close minded… and if that was the case I don’t think you would have found me there as a key speaker.

    Trying to avoid the 3rd rails of labels, the context of my comment was the notion of expanding the economic sphere of Earth through innovation, entrepreneurship and freedom of individuals and enterprise.

    I am attracted, ultimately, to the utopian ‘Star Trek” ideals of an infinite abundance of health, wealth and material things in a world of complete demonitization. But that doesn’t mean I believe in socialism to get there. In the pre-replicator world we live in, today, money is either earned through productive effort or afforded through the productive efforts of others. Money is not ethically “acquired”, unless you are a thief or living in the 2nd mode. Money is not a commodity, it is a symbol of value, created by intellectually active innovators through the process of logical thought, and once created, traded on par for the value of others. In a civil society this all happens voluntarily.

    With my declaration of “To go to space to stay, it has to pay,” I meant that economic value must be sought and achieved in our expansion into space, to enhance the world we live in and the future we strive for… I did not mention anything about the mechanisms of distribution of economic wealth. I only pointed out that when space exploration and development is in the hands of governments alone, it is very expensive and not scalable.

    My view is that the application of entrepreneurship and innovation to space will democratize access to low cost transportation, energy, materials and technologies, as well as new wonders of knowledge and discovery, just as entrepreneurship historically transformed our world of maritime, aviation, computation and communication technologies, ultimately raising our global standards of health, wealth and opportunity for everyone… and someday, an infinite abundance of energy and materials serving humanity on Earth and our expansion as a multi-world civilization.

    I hope that’s helpful and more explanatory of the context of my quote… perhaps when the video of the whole talk is online, my capitalistic “one liner’ will have more context.

    Here’s to reading, thinking and writing… 🙂

    – @Bob_Richards

    • the textual silence project...

      A very full, frank and helpful response there, @Bob_Richards. And yes, a chance to hear the whole of your talk would be most useful – I will look out for that. I very much like the fact that you like the “Star Trek” ideals you speak of, and I can definitely dig a “world of complete demonetisation,” and if what you speak of leads to “an infinite abundance […],” and so on, that’d be great, but I’d have to say that the “raising of global standards […]” is a contentious point (given the homelessness issues plaguing “developed” countries such as the U.S. and the U.K., and this is only one tiny example from many that I could mention), but I suppose that’s a whole ‘nother argument.

      So, yes, here’s to reading, thinking and writing… And long may we be allowed to do so.

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