Author Topic: Space Homesteading Paper  (Read 82870 times)

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #100 on: 04/05/2012 03:01 am »
Jon Goff,

I said 600k km2 in the paragraph you quoted, but I misspoke.  The Space Settlement Initiative actually suggests 600k square miles. 

  I'm sure there's a case to be made that you need that much land to spur the investment you need, but it just flat *sounds* too big, which reduces the already long odds of something like this ever making it past Congress.

I suggested the 100km^2 number specifically because it was about the land area of a small city (about the size of Boulder and Louisville, CO).  Anything on the scale of 10,000-100,000km^2 is just way too big.  It would allow a single company to lock up a good chunk of the most valuable resources, which I think would create a lot more pushback.

I guess I'm just not too sold on the value of completely unsupported real estate speculation as driver for value vs. actually providing some backing so you can charge a price per acre that is worthwhile.

~Jon

You're already allowed to declare zones of exclusion under the current regime, as it is. E.g., NASA just posted 40 acres around the Apollo 17 site as a total no trespassing zone. Similarly, because of the risk of wayward landers, you could declare a several kilometer radius "safety zone" around you Moon mine if you wanted. This would be big enough to protect the particular crater you are working on.

Really, if you think about it, the current regime under the OST is a Libertarian paradise! There is nothing stopping anybody from going up there and getting the gold or PGM's that are there for the taking. There are no regulations nor restrictions. It's a frackin' free-for-all. What's not to love? If you want limited government and free markets, then you won't favor monkeying with the current regime under the OST!

The very idea that it is necessary to set up Ponzi scheme based on the greater fool theory that people will buy worthless land and thus fund a Moon mining endeavor is baloney!

Put together a believable plan that you can actually generate a profit--and to make it worth it, gross revenues had better be on the order of $10 to $100 billion USD per year--the money will be forthcoming.

The Space Settlement Prize Act is a misbegotten abortion that will be counterproductive! It will hinder Lunar development!  It will kill the free market and it will kill competition! It will drive prices up, and really destroy any legitimate business case that has a ghost of a chance of closing! It's a Ponzi scheme....
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline mrmandias

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #101 on: 04/05/2012 05:52 am »
Jon Goff,

I said 600k km2 in the paragraph you quoted, but I misspoke.  The Space Settlement Initiative actually suggests 600k square miles. 

  I'm sure there's a case to be made that you need that much land to spur the investment you need, but it just flat *sounds* too big, which reduces the already long odds of something like this ever making it past Congress.

I suggested the 100km^2 number specifically because it was about the land area of a small city (about the size of Boulder and Louisville, CO).  Anything on the scale of 10,000-100,000km^2 is just way too big.  It would allow a single company to lock up a good chunk of the most valuable resources, which I think would create a lot more pushback.

I guess I'm just not too sold on the value of completely unsupported real estate speculation as driver for value vs. actually providing some backing so you can charge a price per acre that is worthwhile.

~Jon

The issue isn't unfounded speculation vs. real value.  The issue is whether you want to use land claims as an incentive to settlement, analogously to the colonial land grants or the transcontinental railroad grants; or if you want to use land claims just to create and protect rational economic units, as with the US Homestead Act, the Desert Lands Act, and similar.

In principle I would prefer the former to the latter.  To my mind, the pioneers of space settlement are benefactors to the human race far beyond the economic value they themselves will capture, so it makes sense to offer them extra incentives in the form of extra land claims, tax breaks, lucrative prizes, government subsidies and contracts, or some combination of all of them.  Big land claims are attractive in that they donít cost the government anything.  They are also attractive in that they fail safe.  If settlement doesnít work, nothing changes, no money is lost, no opportunities are lost.  They are also attractive in that their value is directly calibrated to the value created by the settlement.  If the settlement successfully pioneers a model of exploitation that is higher value, their land claims are worth a lot more.  They are also superior to land claims that protect rational economic units in that you donít have to guess what a rational economic unit is.  In the history of American settlement incentive land claims (bigger land claims) were much more common in the colonial era when the risks and uncertainties were much higher.  We are in that equivalent phase of space settlement now.

Thatís the upside.  Not all of those benefits are exclusive to land claim incentives as opposed to other incentives, but some are.  Whatís the downside?  Incentive land claims are politically more difficult, and the bigger the incentive, the more difficult the politics.  Iíve already agreed in this thread that even for incentive land claims, 600,000 square lunar miles is far too much.  Land claims for economically rational units are on the critical path for space exploration.  Incentive land claims could be a big boost, but arenít critical.  Finally, the moon in particular seems to have much higher value land at the poles and marginal, perhaps even useless terrain elsewhere.  For this reason, at this point having incentive claims for the moon might hinder settlement more than it would promote it.  Mars and asteroids might be different (though for those the specific sizes of the incentive land claims in the Space Settlement Initiative also strike me as probably too large, especially for Mars).

Let me make a few points about economically rational land claim units.  We donít need them yet, because we arenít that close to being able to economically exploit the moon.  They should not be one-size-fits-all.  Conversely, they should be fairly mechanicalóhaving a big bureaucracy that has to make individualized determinations defeats the purpose.  (Historically how this was managed was Congress created several categories for ranch lands,  mining lands, lands for forestry, and lands for farming, with different standard claim sizes for each (mining was a little different, but not too much).  The categories and claim sizes got adjusted from time to time as experience dictated.  At the same time, the government engaged in surveying and exploring to decide which category each area belonged to.)      Its initially better to err on the size of providing too much land rather than too little, if you can without exhausting your supply.  The more marginal the land, the larger the claim.

All lunar land, all asteroids, and all Martian land is economically marginal at best.  I mentioned cattle ranches earlier because ranching is the classic marginal land use.  There are numerous cattle ranches that are larger than 100 km2.  The other major marginal land use is forestry.  There are also a number of private commercial forests that are more than 100 km2.   I believe some mines, oil fields, natural gas fields, shale deposits, etc., are that size or greater when you include the contiguous reserves.  For these, the more marginal the natural resource extraction, normally the greater the size of the average production unit. What that suggests to me is that your 100 km2 figure may be too small.  We just donít know, of course, but I donít see that comparison to a small city makes any sense. 

Offline neilh

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #102 on: 04/05/2012 07:28 am »
According to the lead author Rand Simberg, there will be a press conference on the paper at 11am EDT:

http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=41651

Livestream will be here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/securing-property-rights-in-space
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Offline Warren Platts

Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #103 on: 04/05/2012 12:23 pm »
Footnote 9 in the paper states that "This [mandated increased government oversight of space activities above that seen in other industries, such as aviation or land transportation] also led to such absurd outcomes as space flight being left out of the categorical exclusion of aviation to the National Environmental Protection Act. This has led to requirements for checking runway for desert tortoises in Mojave, California, for space planes, but not for aircraft."

I don't see how this can be true. NEPA applies to all federal agencies; FAA is a federal agency. Desert tortoises are an endangered species and if they are likely to be found around a runway, measures will be taken to avoid running over them, whether its airplanes or spaceplanes. Correct me if I'm wrong, please.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline Cog_in_the_machine

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #104 on: 04/05/2012 01:46 pm »
I was wondering how much each claim would be given that:
Quote from: Rand
As currently drafted, the Act permits a first claim of 600,000 square miles on the moon (384 million acres, approximately 4 percent of the total lunar surface), and 3.6 million square miles on Mars (approximately 6.5 percent of the total Martian surface).

So here's the python script I used for crunching the numbers:


minimal = 7.174012e-05   # 7.174012e-05 square miles - equivalent to 2000 square feet

print ("---Moon---")
I = 600000     # initial Lunar grant
G = 0.04     # the percent of the surface a given grant is - labeled as GPoS in output
T = 0.04     # total percent of surface under ownership - labeled as TPoS in output
CLNum = 1    # number of claim

print ("Claim\tArea in mi^2\t\tGPos in %\t\tTPoS in %")

while (I > minimal):
    print (str(CLNum) + "\t" + str(I) + " \t\t" + str(G*100) + "\t\t" + str(T*100))
    I = I -I*0.15             # decrease previous land claim by 15%
    G = G -G*0.15             # same as above, but G is a percentage of land, not square miles like I
    T = T + G                # add each claim to get the total percentage of surface owned at a given point
    CLNum = CLNum + 1           #increment claim counter

print ("---Mars---")

I = 3600000     # initial Martian grant
G = 0.065     # the percent of the surface a given grant is - labeled as GPoS in output
T = 0.065     # total percent of surface under ownership - labeled as TPoS in output
CLNum = 1    # number of claim

print ("Claim\tArea in mi^2\t\tGPos in %\t\tTPoS in %")

while (I > minimal):
    print (str(CLNum) + "\t" + str(I) + " \t\t" + str(G*100) + "\t\t" + str(T*100))
    I = I -I*0.15
    G = G -G*0.15
    T = T + G
    CLNum = CLNum + 1




I'm using 2000 square feet as the lower limit (about what you need for a small-ish to medium house if I'm not mistaken). I figure it's pointless to calculate lower than that.

Usually when I attempt to use math it's a hit or miss endeavor. So I'd like to ask you to check the code and see if I made a mistake somewhere.

I've attached a .txt file with the output of the script to this post. Seems like on both the Moon and Mars it takes about 140-150 grants to shrink the remaining grants bellow 2000 ft^2. What's curious is that at that point, there is still a lot of leftover land (~73% of the Moon and ~57% of Mars).

Assuming I didn't mess up the math, what would be the status of that land and did the authors of this thing intend for this to happen? If so, why? Thoughts?
^^ Warning! Contains opinions. ^^ 

Online Chris Bergin

Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #105 on: 04/05/2012 02:04 pm »
According to the lead author Rand Simberg, there will be a press conference on the paper at 11am EDT:

http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=41651

Livestream will be here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/securing-property-rights-in-space

I won't be around for this, but if someone wants to cover it, they can use this thread.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #106 on: 04/05/2012 03:05 pm »
From the Executive Summary of the Homesteading paper:

"Many believe that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty implicitly prohibits private property in outer space, but under another conceivable interpretation, it only prohibits declarations of national sovereignty. A proposed law requiring the United States to recognize land claims off planet under specified conditions offers the possibility of legal, tradable land titles, allowing the land to be used as loan collateral or an asset to be sold to raise funds needed to develop it."

The premise of the paper is fatally flawed.  Not only does the OST prohibit private property ownership off planet for all time, it provides no mechanism for the creation of new political governments, because it spells out that for all time, only terrestrial States now existing can ever control the development of outer space.  There is nothing but empty theory behind the "conceivable interpretation".

Should the US quit the OST, then the "proposed law", or a variant thereof, could be considered, since private property ownership is the key factor to producing individual wealth.  As the paper continues,

"Property rights are a 'sine qua non' of wealth creation and a reason why America and other Western nations are rich and others are poor. Moreover, they lie at the heart of liberty. Their current absence off planet partially explains why we have not developed the next and, in a sense, last frontier -- space."

First, consider individual freedom as the "heart of liberty", particularly as embodied in the right to own property.  From the Preamble of the OST:

"The States Parties to this Treaty, ...

Recognizing the common interest of all mankind in the progress of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes,

Believing that the exploration and use of outer space should be carried on for the benefit of all peoples irrespective of the degree of their economic or scientific development, ...

Have agreed on the following:"

In an idealistic sense, outer space should indeed benefit all peoples.  However, the benefit itself is subsequently defined only as an income stream for the State, combined with a subjugation of peoples' freedom and individual rights for all time and all space.

From Article VI:

"States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty. The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty."

In other words, you can go up there if you have permission from the State, and not otherwise.  In order to get permission, you must subvert your actions to those which conform to the provisions of the Treaty.  In addition, you can't own the land that you landed on, and while you maintain a sort of fictional title to your personal property, the pragmatic control of your property is vested in the State, as outlined below.

From Article VIII:

"A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object, and over any personnel thereof, while in outer space or on a celestial body. Ownership of objects launched into outer space, including objects landed or constructed on a celestial body, and of their component parts, is not affected by their presence in outer space or on a celestial body or by their return to the Earth. Such objects or component parts found beyond the limits of the State Party to the Treaty on whose registry they are carried shall be returned to that State Party, which shall, upon request, furnish identifying data prior to their return."

In other words, I maintain ownership of my lunar hotel that I landed up there, except that I forego any jurisdiction or control over the hotel, or over my employees.  This is a serious departure from the thousand year old "common law" understanding of what constitutes property ownership.  Worse, if there is to be any economic profit to be gained from your hotel, you must the consider the interests of other States Party to the Treaty in having a share of your profits, as it is carefully and obliquely outlined below.

From Article IX:

"In the exploration and use of outer space ... States Parties to the Treaty shall be guided by the principle of co-operation and mutual assistance and shall conduct all their activities in outer space ... with due regard to the corresponding interests of all other States Parties to the Treaty. States Parties to the Treaty shall pursue studies of outer space ... and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination..."

The State has always had a "corresponding interest" in other people's profit.  This clause was not clear enough in this Treaty, so it was clarified by the explicit compulsion of profit sharing in the later Moon Treaty.  Today, there is a growing meme that proper governmental taxation, meant to support a properly restricted government is insufficient.  It was not a new idea even in 1967, but now, it seems that mandatory income redistribution is seen as a vital porpose and function of government.  It is no longer merely a safety net for unfortunately poor individuals who would, but for circumstance, have the ability and desire to gain their own wealth.  It is becoming a wealth redistribution policy with no apparent larger purpose.  An underclass of voters is being grown; this proletariat has no desire or motivation to rise above their circumstances by their own effort.  By ensuring that this group is undereducated, the State can consolidate its power; the OST would forbid individual opportunity for all time and all space.

The Homesteading paper continues:

"However, the expense (of space) remained, and for many, including Assistant Secretary of State Henry Owen, part of the goal of the Outer Space Treaty was to make space of sufficiently low value -- either militarily or economically -- as to remove the incentives for racing to get there, and thus shift resources from
NASA to the State Department.  So far, the treaty has achieved that goal, by reducing the incentive for governments to send humans into space in significant numbers."

The cancelling of Apollo has resulted in no development of a lunar base and thus no beginning steps of creating a new lunar economy and quite possibly a new form of government.  These results are the functional equivalent of there having been deliberate intention in not
proceeding with this effort.  The embodiement of human intention is the achieving of a goal.  It is difficult to rationalize the functional equivalent of staying on planet in spite of historical technical abilities as anything but
the achievement of a deliberate goal.

That goal may have been thought valid in 1967, but now it is time to embark on the intentional creation of a new economy, if it should be medically possible, and to embrace the possible establishment of a new off-world government.  A legal system which does not create new precedents for liberty, becomes a tool for political oppression of liberty.

The US should withdraw from the OST, and take a position of global leadership in developing the framework for a new society.  Recognizing individual rights to titled property ownership, regardless of the terrestrial political affiliations of the new property owners, would be a good place to start.
« Last Edit: 04/17/2012 01:14 pm by JohnFornaro »
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline IRobot

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #107 on: 04/05/2012 03:30 pm »
The problem is not land size, it is about land content. If some smarta** company buys moon's poles, moon exploration will certainly less viable due to resources monopolies.

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #108 on: 04/05/2012 03:37 pm »
I was wondering how much each claim would be given that:
Quote from: Rand
As currently drafted, the Act permits a first claim of 600,000 square miles on the moon (384 million acres, approximately 4 percent of the total lunar surface), and 3.6 million square miles on Mars (approximately 6.5 percent of the total Martian surface).

Seems like on both the Moon and Mars it takes about 140-150 grants to shrink the remaining grants bellow 2000 ft^2. What's curious is that at that point, there is still a lot of leftover land (~73% of the Moon and ~57% of Mars).

Assuming I didn't mess up the math, what would be the status of that land and did the authors of this thing intend for this to happen? If so, why? Thoughts?

LOL! Awesome result Cog! HAHA! The environmentalists will love this proposal! 73% of the Moon will remain a scientific wilderness preserve just like Antarctica! Sweet!
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline Cog_in_the_machine

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #109 on: 04/05/2012 03:37 pm »
Not only does the OST prohibit private property ownership off planet for all time,...

It prohibits land ownership, not property ownership in general. How many times must this be repeated to you? Please don't bloat this thread like the previous ones on this topic.
^^ Warning! Contains opinions. ^^ 

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #110 on: 04/05/2012 03:59 pm »
I was wondering how much each claim would be given that:
Quote from: Rand
As currently drafted, the Act permits a first claim of 600,000 square miles on the moon (384 million acres, approximately 4 percent of the total lunar surface), and 3.6 million square miles on Mars (approximately 6.5 percent of the total Martian surface).

Seems like on both the Moon and Mars it takes about 140-150 grants to shrink the remaining grants bellow 2000 ft^2. What's curious is that at that point, there is still a lot of leftover land (~73% of the Moon and ~57% of Mars).

Assuming I didn't mess up the math, what would be the status of that land and did the authors of this thing intend for this to happen? If so, why? Thoughts?

LOL! Awesome result Cog! HAHA! The environmentalists will love this proposal! 73% of the Moon will remain a scientific wilderness preserve just like Antarctica! Sweet!
I still think there should always be a sort of frontier for people (libertarian types, religious minorities, mountain men) to freely inhabit, free from the monopolies of private corporations and governments. That was kind of assumed by our founding fathers, that if people didn't like their property being taxed or whatever, they could leave the comforts of civilization and strike out on their own as a "savage" (their term, not mine). We seemed to have lost that even in America, and I think it should be preserved.

Of course, striking out on your own is essentially impossible without a breathable atmosphere, wild food, etc, thus I fully expect people who leave Earth to be forced into communities/civilization anyway by the need to breathe, in spite of romantic notions otherwise. Could be why Scandinavian/North European countries tend to be more socialist, since striking out on your own is pretty impractical in such a harsh environment.
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #111 on: 04/05/2012 04:11 pm »
I was wondering how much each claim would be given that:
Quote from: Rand
As currently drafted, the Act permits a first claim of 600,000 square miles on the moon (384 million acres, approximately 4 percent of the total lunar surface), and 3.6 million square miles on Mars (approximately 6.5 percent of the total Martian surface).

So here's the python script I used for crunching the numbers:


minimal = 7.174012e-05   # 7.174012e-05 square miles - equivalent to 2000 square feet

print ("---Moon---")
I = 600000     # initial Lunar grant
G = 0.04     # the percent of the surface a given grant is - labeled as GPoS in output
T = 0.04     # total percent of surface under ownership - labeled as TPoS in output
CLNum = 1    # number of claim

print ("Claim\tArea in mi^2\t\tGPos in %\t\tTPoS in %")

while (I > minimal):
    print (str(CLNum) + "\t" + str(I) + " \t\t" + str(G*100) + "\t\t" + str(T*100))
    I = I -I*0.15             # decrease previous land claim by 15%
    G = G -G*0.15             # same as above, but G is a percentage of land, not square miles like I
    T = T + G                # add each claim to get the total percentage of surface owned at a given point
    CLNum = CLNum + 1           #increment claim counter

print ("---Mars---")

I = 3600000     # initial Martian grant
G = 0.065     # the percent of the surface a given grant is - labeled as GPoS in output
T = 0.065     # total percent of surface under ownership - labeled as TPoS in output
CLNum = 1    # number of claim

print ("Claim\tArea in mi^2\t\tGPos in %\t\tTPoS in %")

while (I > minimal):
    print (str(CLNum) + "\t" + str(I) + " \t\t" + str(G*100) + "\t\t" + str(T*100))
    I = I -I*0.15
    G = G -G*0.15
    T = T + G
    CLNum = CLNum + 1




I'm using 2000 square feet as the lower limit (about what you need for a small-ish to medium house if I'm not mistaken). I figure it's pointless to calculate lower than that.

Usually when I attempt to use math it's a hit or miss endeavor. So I'd like to ask you to check the code and see if I made a mistake somewhere.

I've attached a .txt file with the output of the script to this post. Seems like on both the Moon and Mars it takes about 140-150 grants to shrink the remaining grants bellow 2000 ft^2. What's curious is that at that point, there is still a lot of leftover land (~73% of the Moon and ~57% of Mars).

Assuming I didn't mess up the math, what would be the status of that land and did the authors of this thing intend for this to happen? If so, why? Thoughts?
Nice, though I don't think writing a program is necessary for this calculation. Some algebra (and pre-calc) should work, too. I'll try to double-check you later today using pen, paper, and Google Calculator (makes it easily verifiable by you guys).
« Last Edit: 04/05/2012 04:13 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #112 on: 04/05/2012 04:16 pm »
From Article VIII:

Quote
"A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object, and over any personnel thereof, while in outer space or on a celestial body. Ownership of objects launched into outer space, including objects landed or constructed on a celestial body, and of their component parts, is not affected by their presence in outer space or on a celestial body or by their return to the Earth. Such objects or component parts found beyond the limits of the State Party to the Treaty on whose registry they are carried shall be returned to that State Party, which shall, upon request, furnish identifying data prior to their return."

In other words, I maintain ownership of my lunar hotel that I landed up there, except that I forego any jurisdiction or control over the hotel, or over my employees.  This is a serious departure from the thousand year old "common law" understanding of what constitutes property ownership.

This is wrong: all "jurisdiction and control" means is that you are subject to the laws and regulations of country who's flag you're flag you're flying. Things like not owning slaves or committing murder. That's all.

Quote from: Fornaro
Worse, if there is to be any economic profit to be gained from your hotel, you must the consider the interests of other States Party to the Treaty in having a share of your profits, as it is carefully and obliquely outlined below.

From Article IX:
Quote
"In the exploration and use of outer space ... States Parties to the Treaty shall be guided by the principle of co-operation and mutual assistance and shall conduct all their activities in outer space ... with due regard to the corresponding interests of all other States Parties to the Treaty. States Parties to the Treaty shall pursue studies of outer space ... and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination..."

The State has always had a "corresponding interest" in other people's profit.  This clause was not clear enough in this Treaty, so it was clarified by the explicit compulsion of profit sharing in the later Moon Treaty.  Today, there is a growing meme that proper governmental taxation, meant to support a properly restricted government is insufficient.  It was not a new idea even in 1967, but now, it seems that mandatory income redistribution is seen as a vital porpose and function of government.  It is no longer merely a safety net for unfortunately poor individuals who would, but for circumstance, have the ability and desire to gain their own wealth.  It is becoming a wealth redistribution policy with no apparent larger purpose.  An underclass of voters is being grown; this proletariat has no desire or motivation to rise above their circumstances by their own effort.  By ensuring that this group is undereducated, the State can consolidate its power; the OST would forbid individual opportunity for all time and all space.

What gratuitous tripe! Leave your politics at home please. They're not necessary. The OST does not require anyone to share any profits. It just says that people should conduct their activities in the spirit of cooperation respect other's corresponding interests. In other words, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. No big deal...

Quote
The US should withdraw from the OST, and take a position of global leadership in developing the framework for a new society. Recognizing individual rights to titled property ownership, regardless of the terrestrial political affiliations of the new property owners, would be a good place to start.

Ugh! And this is just gross... All you would be doing is extending the biggest police state on the planet into space. Granting land titles to absentee landlords who are nothing but speculators and have no intention of actually mixing their labor with the land and who are there to see how much money they can wring out of actual mining concerns who actually want to do something productive is most definitely NOT the place to start...
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline neilh

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #113 on: 04/05/2012 04:19 pm »
According to the lead author Rand Simberg, there will be a press conference on the paper at 11am EDT:

http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=41651

Livestream will be here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/securing-property-rights-in-space

I'm watching/typing on my phone so can't live post, but I highly recommend tuning in. The QA are currently asking  many of the same questions being asked in this thread, just had a question about recognition of claim by govt-funded company, and now a question about dispute resolution.
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Offline jongoff

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #114 on: 04/05/2012 04:31 pm »
Jon Goff,

I said 600k km2 in the paragraph you quoted, but I misspoke.  The Space Settlement Initiative actually suggests 600k square miles. 

  I'm sure there's a case to be made that you need that much land to spur the investment you need, but it just flat *sounds* too big, which reduces the already long odds of something like this ever making it past Congress.

I suggested the 100km^2 number specifically because it was about the land area of a small city (about the size of Boulder and Louisville, CO).  Anything on the scale of 10,000-100,000km^2 is just way too big.  It would allow a single company to lock up a good chunk of the most valuable resources, which I think would create a lot more pushback.

I guess I'm just not too sold on the value of completely unsupported real estate speculation as driver for value vs. actually providing some backing so you can charge a price per acre that is worthwhile.

~Jon

The issue isn't unfounded speculation vs. real value.  The issue is whether you want to use land claims as an incentive to settlement, analogously to the colonial land grants or the transcontinental railroad grants; or if you want to use land claims just to create and protect rational economic units, as with the US Homestead Act, the Desert Lands Act, and similar.

In principle I would prefer the former to the latter.  To my mind, the pioneers of space settlement are benefactors to the human race far beyond the economic value they themselves will capture, so it makes sense to offer them extra incentives in the form of extra land claims, tax breaks, lucrative prizes, government subsidies and contracts, or some combination of all of them.  Big land claims are attractive in that they donít cost the government anything.  They are also attractive in that they fail safe.  If settlement doesnít work, nothing changes, no money is lost, no opportunities are lost.  They are also attractive in that their value is directly calibrated to the value created by the settlement.  If the settlement successfully pioneers a model of exploitation that is higher value, their land claims are worth a lot more.  They are also superior to land claims that protect rational economic units in that you donít have to guess what a rational economic unit is.  In the history of American settlement incentive land claims (bigger land claims) were much more common in the colonial era when the risks and uncertainties were much higher.  We are in that equivalent phase of space settlement now.

Thatís the upside.  Not all of those benefits are exclusive to land claim incentives as opposed to other incentives, but some are.  Whatís the downside?  Incentive land claims are politically more difficult, and the bigger the incentive, the more difficult the politics.  Iíve already agreed in this thread that even for incentive land claims, 600,000 square lunar miles is far too much.  Land claims for economically rational units are on the critical path for space exploration.  Incentive land claims could be a big boost, but arenít critical.  Finally, the moon in particular seems to have much higher value land at the poles and marginal, perhaps even useless terrain elsewhere.  For this reason, at this point having incentive claims for the moon might hinder settlement more than it would promote it.  Mars and asteroids might be different (though for those the specific sizes of the incentive land claims in the Space Settlement Initiative also strike me as probably too large, especially for Mars).

Let me make a few points about economically rational land claim units.  We donít need them yet, because we arenít that close to being able to economically exploit the moon.  They should not be one-size-fits-all.  Conversely, they should be fairly mechanicalóhaving a big bureaucracy that has to make individualized determinations defeats the purpose.  (Historically how this was managed was Congress created several categories for ranch lands,  mining lands, lands for forestry, and lands for farming, with different standard claim sizes for each (mining was a little different, but not too much).  The categories and claim sizes got adjusted from time to time as experience dictated.  At the same time, the government engaged in surveying and exploring to decide which category each area belonged to.)      Its initially better to err on the size of providing too much land rather than too little, if you can without exhausting your supply.  The more marginal the land, the larger the claim.

All lunar land, all asteroids, and all Martian land is economically marginal at best.  I mentioned cattle ranches earlier because ranching is the classic marginal land use.  There are numerous cattle ranches that are larger than 100 km2.  The other major marginal land use is forestry.  There are also a number of private commercial forests that are more than 100 km2.   I believe some mines, oil fields, natural gas fields, shale deposits, etc., are that size or greater when you include the contiguous reserves.  For these, the more marginal the natural resource extraction, normally the greater the size of the average production unit. What that suggests to me is that your 100 km2 figure may be too small.  We just donít know, of course, but I donít see that comparison to a small city makes any sense. 

I think the problem is that using colonial land grants, or managing in fine detail various classes of smaller land claims appear way too much like an assertion of sovereignty.

~Jon

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #115 on: 04/05/2012 04:42 pm »
Seems like on both the Moon and Mars it takes about 140-150 grants to shrink the remaining grants bellow 2000 ft^2. What's curious is that at that point, there is still a lot of leftover land (~73% of the Moon and ~57% of Mars).

Assuming I didn't mess up the math, what would be the status of that land and did the authors of this thing intend for this to happen? If so, why? Thoughts?
Nice, though I don't think writing a program is necessary for this calculation. Some algebra (and pre-calc) should work, too. I'll try to double-check you later today using pen, paper, and Google Calculator (makes it easily verifiable by you guys).

You guys are making it way to hard. It took me about 3 minutes to run an xcel spread sheet. Just start with 1,553,992,800,000.00 m2. Then the next cell is D1*.85, then copy it down. At line 200, the parcel is 0.01 m2. I get the same number: 72.69% of the Moon's surface would be left as a wilderness preserve.
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Offline mrmandias

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #116 on: 04/05/2012 04:45 pm »
Speaking of leaving politics at home . . .

From Article VIII:

Quote
"A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object, and over any personnel thereof, while in outer space or on a celestial body. Ownership of objects launched into outer space, including objects landed or constructed on a celestial body, and of their component parts, is not affected by their presence in outer space or on a celestial body or by their return to the Earth. Such objects or component parts found beyond the limits of the State Party to the Treaty on whose registry they are carried shall be returned to that State Party, which shall, upon request, furnish identifying data prior to their return."

In other words, I maintain ownership of my lunar hotel that I landed up there, except that I forego any jurisdiction or control over the hotel, or over my employees.  This is a serious departure from the thousand year old "common law" understanding of what constitutes property ownership.

This is wrong: all "jurisdiction and control" means is that you are subject to the laws and regulations of country who's flag you're flag you're flying. Things like not owning slaves or committing murder. That's all.

Quote from: Fornaro
Worse, if there is to be any economic profit to be gained from your hotel, you must the consider the interests of other States Party to the Treaty in having a share of your profits, as it is carefully and obliquely outlined below.

From Article IX:
Quote
"In the exploration and use of outer space ... States Parties to the Treaty shall be guided by the principle of co-operation and mutual assistance and shall conduct all their activities in outer space ... with due regard to the corresponding interests of all other States Parties to the Treaty. States Parties to the Treaty shall pursue studies of outer space ... and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination..."

The State has always had a "corresponding interest" in other people's profit.  This clause was not clear enough in this Treaty, so it was clarified by the explicit compulsion of profit sharing in the later Moon Treaty.  Today, there is a growing meme that proper governmental taxation, meant to support a properly restricted government is insufficient.  It was not a new idea even in 1967, but now, it seems that mandatory income redistribution is seen as a vital porpose and function of government.  It is no longer merely a safety net for unfortunately poor individuals who would, but for circumstance, have the ability and desire to gain their own wealth.  It is becoming a wealth redistribution policy with no apparent larger purpose.  An underclass of voters is being grown; this proletariat has no desire or motivation to rise above their circumstances by their own effort.  By ensuring that this group is undereducated, the State can consolidate its power; the OST would forbid individual opportunity for all time and all space.

What gratuitous tripe! Leave your politics at home please. They're not necessary. The OST does not require anyone to share any profits. It just says that people should conduct their activities in the spirit of cooperation respect other's corresponding interests. In other words, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. No big deal...

Quote
The US should withdraw from the OST, and take a position of global leadership in developing the framework for a new society. Recognizing individual rights to titled property ownership, regardless of the terrestrial political affiliations of the new property owners, would be a good place to start.

Ugh! And this is just gross... All you would be doing is extending the biggest police state on the planet into space. Granting land titles to absentee landlords who are nothing but speculators and have no intention of actually mixing their labor with the land and who are there to see how much money they can wring out of actual mining concerns who actually want to do something productive is most definitely NOT the place to start...

Offline mrmandias

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #117 on: 04/05/2012 04:47 pm »
The issue isn't unfounded speculation vs. real value.  The issue is whether you want to use land claims as an incentive to settlement, analogously to the colonial land grants or the transcontinental railroad grants; or if you want to use land claims just to create and protect rational economic units, as with the US Homestead Act, the Desert Lands Act, and similar.

In principle I would prefer the former to the latter.  To my mind, the pioneers of space settlement are benefactors to the human race far beyond the economic value they themselves will capture, so it makes sense to offer them extra incentives in the form of extra land claims, tax breaks, lucrative prizes, government subsidies and contracts, or some combination of all of them.  Big land claims are attractive in that they donít cost the government anything.  They are also attractive in that they fail safe.  If settlement doesnít work, nothing changes, no money is lost, no opportunities are lost.  They are also attractive in that their value is directly calibrated to the value created by the settlement.  If the settlement successfully pioneers a model of exploitation that is higher value, their land claims are worth a lot more.  They are also superior to land claims that protect rational economic units in that you donít have to guess what a rational economic unit is.  In the history of American settlement incentive land claims (bigger land claims) were much more common in the colonial era when the risks and uncertainties were much higher.  We are in that equivalent phase of space settlement now.

Thatís the upside.  Not all of those benefits are exclusive to land claim incentives as opposed to other incentives, but some are.  Whatís the downside?  Incentive land claims are politically more difficult, and the bigger the incentive, the more difficult the politics.  Iíve already agreed in this thread that even for incentive land claims, 600,000 square lunar miles is far too much.  Land claims for economically rational units are on the critical path for space exploration.  Incentive land claims could be a big boost, but arenít critical.  Finally, the moon in particular seems to have much higher value land at the poles and marginal, perhaps even useless terrain elsewhere.  For this reason, at this point having incentive claims for the moon might hinder settlement more than it would promote it.  Mars and asteroids might be different (though for those the specific sizes of the incentive land claims in the Space Settlement Initiative also strike me as probably too large, especially for Mars).

Let me make a few points about economically rational land claim units.  We donít need them yet, because we arenít that close to being able to economically exploit the moon.  They should not be one-size-fits-all.  Conversely, they should be fairly mechanicalóhaving a big bureaucracy that has to make individualized determinations defeats the purpose.  (Historically how this was managed was Congress created several categories for ranch lands,  mining lands, lands for forestry, and lands for farming, with different standard claim sizes for each (mining was a little different, but not too much).  The categories and claim sizes got adjusted from time to time as experience dictated.  At the same time, the government engaged in surveying and exploring to decide which category each area belonged to.)      Its initially better to err on the size of providing too much land rather than too little, if you can without exhausting your supply.  The more marginal the land, the larger the claim.

All lunar land, all asteroids, and all Martian land is economically marginal at best.  I mentioned cattle ranches earlier because ranching is the classic marginal land use.  There are numerous cattle ranches that are larger than 100 km2.  The other major marginal land use is forestry.  There are also a number of private commercial forests that are more than 100 km2.   I believe some mines, oil fields, natural gas fields, shale deposits, etc., are that size or greater when you include the contiguous reserves.  For these, the more marginal the natural resource extraction, normally the greater the size of the average production unit. What that suggests to me is that your 100 km2 figure may be too small.  We just donít know, of course, but I donít see that comparison to a small city makes any sense. 

I think the problem is that using colonial land grants, or managing in fine detail various classes of smaller land claims appear way too much like an assertion of sovereignty.

~Jon

I disagree that it should make much different to the legal question, but I see the appearances problem.  Hereís the  other problem: you canít foster widespread settlement without either managing classes of land claims in gross detail (not fine detail) or else by recognizing a standard size claim that is way too big for some regions (like the lunar poles, for instance).

If you are telling me that breaking the Outer Space Treaty is the only way to do that, then you are telling me that breaking the Outer Space Treaty is (eventually) a must.  I disagree, but thatís where your argument takes you.

If you wanted to avoid the appearances problem, what youíd do would be to recognize a claim size that would be enough for the very first settlements in high value regions, and wait to recognize marginal claims for less valuable areas until some later date.  That was how US lands policy developed after the Civil War.  We started with the 160 acres of the Homestead Act and gradually increased the grant sizes once it became clear that the remaining land wasnít viable in 160 acre chunks.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2012 04:58 pm by mrmandias »

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #118 on: 04/05/2012 04:48 pm »
Here is a very interesting paper:

Castles in the Air: Debunking the Space Settlement Prize by Thomas Gangale AIAA 2008-1466

Quote
The libertarian [sic] agenda to tear down the international legal regime of outer space is not only based on the erroneous premise that it presents a barrier to private enterprise, but that the success of this agenda would create legal uncertainty, thereby tending to discourage investment, as well as set the stage for armed conflict in outer space.

The Space Settlement Initiative turns international law on its head, as well as relying on a distorted rewriting of history, misunderstanding of legal principles, and a new adventure in voodoo economics.
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Space Homesteading Paper
« Reply #119 on: 04/05/2012 04:56 pm »
Quote from: JF
Not only does the OST prohibit private property ownership off planet for all time,...

Quote from: Cog
It prohibits land ownership, not property ownership in general.

It prohibits, in my view, individual rights of any sort.  It acknowledges the State as the only power, while restricting the sovereignty of the State in the real estate in question. 

You are free to support the State in its endeavors.

Quote from: Warren Platts
The very idea that it is necessary to set up Ponzi scheme based on the greater fool theory that people will buy worthless land and thus fund a Moon mining endeavor is baloney!


The Homesteading paper errs a great deal in suggesting a pricing scheme based on the current "pet rock" pricing scheme of the novelty companies.

Quote from: Warren Platts
The OST does not require anyone to share any profits.

The OST sets the stage for this, as evidenced by the later clarification of the Moon Treaty.

Quote from: JF
...developing the framework for a new society...

Quote from: Warren Platts
All you would be doing is extending the biggest police state on the planet into space.

It is exactly not that. I explicitly would have the new government be a democratic republic, along the lines of the US, yet be politically independent.  Eventually, and not a minute before.  If we get up there first, and stay, we increase the chances of architecting an intentional democracy.

Quote from: Warren Platts
Granting land titles to absentee landlords...

I suggested no such thing.  As is your habit, you put words in my mouth that are completely contrary to what my posting history could possibly support.

The Homesteading paper also errs grievously in its call for a land grab as described in the legislative language that Simberg reports.  Clearly, the ideal sites would be taken first, and barring further mineral discoveries, would dampen subsequent land values severely.  Furthermore, the system would be readily gamed, and phony "corporations" under hidden ownership could easily acquire more land than the proposed "law" would allow.  The proposal is not completely thought out.  Even universal healthcare would be a better proposal.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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