Article by Matt Campbell
Submitted to Pegasus Archives 8/07/2006 12:19 AM
I wish to address a future event that I have named The First Global Industrial Revolution.
What I have done is create hope where there was none. With the majority of people fighting over issues in Iraq, terrorism, and looking for the return of their messiah, they have missed the most obvious and fundamental change in their world, and that is the addition of four billion people over the next 10 to 50 years. Now to give you a sense of scale, a minute has 60 seconds in it. An hour has 3600 seconds in it. A million seconds comes in just under 11 days. A billion seconds comes in under 33 years. Days-years.
Are you listening? Do you hear the thunder? The distant rumbling of four billion more people coming onto this planet?
If the G8 countries are going to get off planet to mine resources to support an infrastructure for four billion people, well it stands to reason the Third World will have to have their standard of living raised to the First World level in order to support the higher standard of living a country with off planet operations will require. And it is inevitable that more resources will have to be mined by and for the Third World to accomplish this, and the First World will need to do the same for their jump, at which point resources will become so scarce mining off planet will no longer be an option but a necessity. That is where we will be beyond the point of no return and become citizens of the Solar Commonwealth.
What goes into an infrastructure? Well, materials like metals for one, energy for another. And that my friend is one huge tuckload of heavy metal!
Looking further into the future I see scram jets mining the upper
atmosphere of Venus for tritium to use in fusion reactors. I see the space
cities of G. K. O'Neil's vision in the L Zones, space elevators, companies
squabbling over ice rights to the sea ice on Mars, tankers shipping petroleum
products from Titan, exotic materials made in floating cities on the gas
giants, a heavy population on the Moon, and eventually space mirrors harnessing
solar energy to mention a few.
It is not like the old days of us vs. them, Jack comes up with an invention, hides it from the prying eyes of Big Brother and hopes to make a few million and save a good part of the world. The rules have changed. Jack sells his invention rights to a company, goes out and beats the pavement to find venture capital so that company can produce and market the invention, settles for a finders fee and/or royalties, stocks, options, or whatever, then sits back to enjoy the show. Everyone gets a cut and no one gets hurt providing no one wants the whole pie. And those are the worthy. That is one scenario. Others may require Jack selling his rights to suppress his idea because of the stakes involved. This can be a good thing because Jack may not know what those steaks are since they are tied so closely to the international market. Or bad, but good for his health. But he will still be able to afford eating at the Outback Steakhouse twice a week, and with luck will continue being creative enough to produce or save more original ideas or save small bits of the world.
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