« AnteriorContinuar »
government subject to a relatively small ruling group indulging (consciously or subconsciously) their primeval urge to dominate others. Space colonies would offer excellent opportunities for this to happen because of the discipline needed to operate life-support systems and because of the high degree of control that can be maintained over communications and travel. A space colony so operated would resemble an island of prisoners and would not likely become a source of great joy for most of its inmates. At any rate I see no chance for a true diversity of social systems unless local developments are restrained by effective outside control. This, however, implies government on the scale of the solar system and few people would be willing to call that a "small-scale government unit. Thus, in my view, the expectation of small government together with local diversity is unrealistic.
A large-scale, tolerant, concerned government is a necessity if the emergence of autocratic systems is to be avoided. Indeed, in the absence of big government the many local societies would develop essentially independently from each other. On purely statistical grounds, the emergence of many autocratic systems is to be expected. Colonies Would Fight Each Other
2. Plentiful Lands. Let us turn from the internal social organization of the space colonies to the relationships among them. Still assuming that space colonies are sovereign to the extent that nations are today (ie. that no large overall government controls them), let us ask the question: Is their relationship likely to be always har
O'Neill argues that these relationships would be peaceful because the habitable space territories, being extendable, would be practically limitless," and also because the use of atomic weapons in space is forbidden by an international treaty
1, however, believe that violent conflicts would soon become likely. Let me enumerate a few of the many reasons for my belief.
Construction of a new space colony much would require several years. work and a great many resources. Occupation of a colony by force would be faster and cheaper, constituting an economic incentive for aggression. reasoning is born out by past experience: when the colonists reached the New World, they did not just occupy themselves with peaceful labor or the contemplation of nature. They fought numerous battles And not only with the Indians who understandably objected to their intrusion, but also with each other-the Spanish with the Portuguese, the French with the English, etc.
Many of them also fought within their
"We must assume that
most isolated space communities will, almost
non-democratic form of
Furthermore, competition for the most desirable raw materials (best lo cation, highest quality, etc.) would result in raids on each other's installations and in counterraids, retaliations and general violence. Examples of such conflicts-between individuals, labor unions, and industrial companies as well as nations-are so numerous and well known as to render further exposition unnecessary
Continuing development would be
Racial, Cultural Hostilities Will
Even more dangerous than the eco-
borders; the motive cannot be econom
ic, since the entire economy is state-controlled. The religious wars in Ireland and Lebanon and the intercultural strife in Cyprus also have long outgrown their economic origins.
Let us also remember the simple joy felt by many which comes from conquering others. It would be one of the rewards of aggression. And let us not forget those select few who would consider it their duty to lead the misguided masses of the solar system to greater happiness-against their own will, if need be. Among the many tyrants (whose number, like the total population, can be assumed to double about every 35 years) there will likely be some who will run their space islands on the basis of black magic, voodoo, or various superstitions of their own invention. There will also be those to whom the Lord will reveal that He finds certain types of space colonies offensive and wishes them destroyed. A crazed ruler, acting on "God's orders," may set out to cleanse the solar system of this entire humanity of sinners and repopulate it with the surviving creatures of his own spaceship, a la Noah, but on a grander scale.
Need I go on? There is really no reason to anticipate harmony instead of conflict. On the contrary, the sources of potential conflict will remain plentiful, whether or not habitable areas can be expanded by spaceship construction, Conflict could not be prevented by material abundance, but only by a univers ally-felt deep respect and concern for all human beings. Such a feeling is insuffi ciently encouraged today. For its acceptance, a long-range cultural reorien tation would have to occur, and that may take generations.
Conflicts would not be restricted to conventional warfare. True, we do have a treaty forbidding the use of "weapons of mass destruction" in outer space. However, the treaty does not define "weapons of mass destruction," and although it does require inspection of all installations on celestial bodies, it says nothing about stations or space colonies in orbit. In any case, the moral force of this treaty, all by itself. is hardly likely to deter the greedy ones, the bullies. the maniacs, the suicidal types, or the provarious champions of human gress liberation," or rejuvenation Every colony, as well as the Earth itself would be in danger from outer space at all times. No matter how many problems we may have today, we can still look at the stars with fair assurance that they constitute no immediate threat to us. But with millions of space colonies roaming the solar system, life could degenerate into a series of preparations for and recoveries from attacks an updated version of the life
on Earth, this opportunity does not constitute a real incentive to start even a limited colonization program.
5 Unique Advantages of Space Environment. Only this final item on the list of benefits constitutes a real incentive. One could derive genuine benefits from research laboratories and certain types of industries located in space colonies, where low temperature, high vacuum, and zero gravity environment would be easily accessible, and sunlight would be plentiful and could be converted into microwave energy to be radiated to Earth. Furthermore, the artificial habitats would have novelty value for visiting tourists.
Outlook for Space Colonies
There is no need to rush into a large scale colonization program. Its foresee
able benefits would be genuine but lim
ited, nowhere utopian in dimension, and would certainly not solve our most
pressing problems such as overpopula
Before large-scale space colonization is undertaken in the far distant future, we need to solve three problems: (1) how to settle conflicts (e.g, concerning the distribution of resources) nonviolently and justly. (2) how to safeguard the right of self-determination of various groups (on Earth and in space colonies) without opening the door to perpetual turmoil. and (3) how to limit population growth and waste production to avoid finding ourselves in desperate situations leading to desperate
All three problems are more likely to be solved here and now rather than after large-scale colonization has started. Reaching a consensus is much easier if the number of participants (i.e independent states or space communities) is small. Increasing the number of participants by even a few greatly increases the number of potential conflicts Furthermore, experience has shown that assemblies of more than a few hundred participants cannot be grasped by an average human being and are therefore quite ineffective.
If and when these problems have been solved, we may safely commence fullscale space colonization. We would then be expanding an orderly, concerned, nonviolent society into the vast spaces of our solar system. By contrast premature large-scale space colonization would amount to exportation on a cos mic scale of oppression, suffering, and disorder-the very qualities which characterize most human existence today.
Less crucial than such a moratorium, but nevertheless important, would be insuring that all space installations are built under international-or at least multinational-auspices, to prevent them from simply becoming space extensions of the industrially developed nations on Earth. This would decrease the probability of conflict, and may provide experience in how to embark on large projects cooperatively, rather than competitively.
There is no hope to realize either of the above two suggestions until the general public as well as governments understand the destructive potential of a
full-scale space colonization program. Unfortunately, it may be too late when that finally happens. The appealing aspects of space colonization are immedi ately obvious: A growing number of diverse space habitats, flourishing and multiplying in harmony, aiding each other economically and culturally is a very appealing goal. Viewed superficially, space colonization appears to be a noble venture on the road to an expand
ing, happy human race; by contrast,
recognizing the potential for danger requires more careful thinking.
One lesson to be learned from the mistakes of recent decades is that the technical feasibility of something (whether it be babies or nuclear reactors) does not, in itself, prove its desirability. After technical feasibility has been demonstrated, the potential benefits and drawbacks should be carefully evaluated. No agency, no pressure group should be allowed to proceed selfishly, overriding the common good. Foresight and timely dialogue are essential, especially when the project in question is of the size here contemplated.
Exterior view of a possible space habitat. If man undertakes a large-scale space colonization program now, says author Paul Csonka, the result is likely to be "exportation on a cos mic scale of oppression, suffering, and disorder-the very qualities which characterize most human existence today."
lines are crowded, the country lanes become four-lane death traps, the fishing streams get polluted The need for TV talent runs hopelessly ahead of the talent supply. Even the elephants and marlins have to be rationed The theaters and courts and courses and pools and beaches and restaurants are con gested with people who have just as much right to be there as you do. Only the cathedrals are still empty.
Because playtime is available to all. it comes back into perspective. As a by-product of a busy, productive, relevant life, leisure is a boon and a balm. As the purpose of life, it is a bust
More Interesting Jobs in the Future?
What lies beyond affluence, for most people, is not likely to be the use of their guaranteed income to finance their weekends and vacations Young people especially will want to use their economic security as a launching pad for adventure, for "action." And most
of them will find their adventure, not primarily in their leisure time, but in their working time-if they can tell the difference
Luckily, in post-industrial society there should be much more room for workaday adventure. As new machines, new kinds of energy and fast computers take over the drudgery men and women-and children-used to endure, what is left for people to do is the interesting. policy part of each task -the creative, planning, imagining. figuring-out kind of work. The fast but stupid computers, which after all can only count from zero to one, have to be fed by our more complex and agile human brains, their routinized wonders to perform. And the handling of relations among people has to be a rapidly growing industry when nearly everyone becomes, through education, a sovereign thinker and communicator -and communications technology makes remoteness and isolation a
The author, Harlan Cleveland, has held many posts during his career. including that of U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and President of the University of Hawaii
While Director of the U.S China Aid Program in 1948, he first used in a speech title the phrase "Revolution of Rising Expectations" which is attributed to him in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations In 1961 President Kennedy made him Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs and in this capacity he worked closely with Adlai Stevenson, then US. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Cleveland's continuing professional fascination with administrative complexity is reflected in his 1972 book The Future Executive (Harper & Row, $9.95), which is widely used in business and public-service execu tive training programs. (The book is available from the World Future Society's book service.)
Cleveland currently is Director of the Aspen Institute's Program in International Affairs His article is adapted from remarks he made at a panel on The Quality of Life in the Year 2000
Cleveland's current address is. Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, Rosedale Road, Post Office Box 2820, Princeton, New Jersey 08540
matter of choice and not of geography or fate.
How do we make sure there are as many interesting jobs as there are interested people? My prediction is that we will do it, because people will insist on it. If we in the private sector can't find interesting work to do for those who want to do it. the people will push their government into the vacuum; that's what happens whenever in our history the private sector fails to get something done that the people want done.
One way to spread the jobs around has just been suggested in a report by the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress If everyone in the work force were entitled to a sab batical year-for upgrading of skills. changing their line of work, or refreshment of the spirit-that would open up more than 14% more jobs, or twice the number represented by our 7% unemployment.
Who will be in charge of all this progress? In overall charge, no one: for growing complexity seems to require a constantly looser and more fluid administration of human affairs But this, too, is good news for those who worry about whether there will be enough interesting work to go around. The general management of the United States is already spread among a million leaders or more, dealing with each other in mostly horizontal relationships The post-industrial society won't work unless literally millions of men and women are acting, in their own places and functions, as selfstarting organizers and energizers and innovators. Each year, more and more Americans are drawn into positions as private and public leaders-not just more of us but a greater proportion of us. My impression is that the same is true in varying degrees in other industrial societies.
So, in the 23 years from now to the Year 2000, and beyond. fewer and fewer of us will have an excuse for advocating a short day in a short week in a short year. The tasks that machines cannot do will be creative enough to lure men and women into work schedules that are lengthened by the sheer excitement of the work to be done
In such a society, the people who seek the easy jobs and the shortest hours of work will die of man's most easily curable disease-absence of adventure, suffocation of the spirit, and boredom of the brain The age at which they die of these avoidable maladies will hardly matter. Died at 40. buried at 70 will be their epitaph I don't know about you But I'm looking forward to the Year 2000