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January 28, 2006


A post easy to agree with. The problem is not so much dependence on foreign oil, but the regulatory difficulties in domestic production.

To argue that the NASA had no benefit, you would have to argue that the satellite and space industries would have developed without government backing. That is a really tough thing to prove if for no other reason that the employees of all the so-called private space companies would originally trained by either NASA or NASA contractors.

I said that sending men to the moon had no benefits. Obviously there is great commercial benefits to satellites.

Nice duck but you did not answer the question. Would there be the same satellite programs if there had never been a "race to the moon?" Where would the technology have been developed for satellites if not for ICBM's paid for by DoD spending and putting men into orbit with all of the associated research withouth NASA spending?

If there is demand, the market will find a solution for it. All DOD/NASA spending did was to speedup the commericial use of satellites at great expense. A better question would be, how much longer would it have taken if there was no space race. Is a 10 year delay worth the billions dollar?

Some people define corruption as any activity that interferes with natural progression of the market. There is probably some truth to that. There is little doubt that some corporations with the right political connections profitted greatly. They were able to double dip first with their government contract. Later, they took the government funded research and applied the know-how to the commericial arena. Government should not be in the business of subsidizing private business.

The first American satellite was launched in 1958, three years before Kennedy's moon speech.

So I don't see how sending men to the moon is directly related to the development of satellites.

The moon race had nothing to do with markets or improving the quality of life for the man on the street.

It was all about the cold war and the question of whether capitalism or communism would be the best system at developing advanced technology. It was a symbolic race, rather than a race to develop something of practical value. It is easy for young people who did not live through the shock of Sputnik and the Russians being the first to get a man into Earth orbit to say that the moon race was a waste of money, but those accomplishments by the Russians were a huge symbolic challenge to capitalism. The US landing of a man on the moon was an important milestone in reestablishing the superiority of capitalism in developing advanced technology. It showed the world and the Soviet leadership the weakness of the communist system. The failure of communism to meet the challenge Kennedy laid down in 1961 was the first small step in the collapse of the Soviet Union.


Do you reall think that a private company could have put the capital into proto-types and testing. Remeber, NASA chased many ideads that did not work. No private company can afford those expenses in a start up market. Besides, there have already been many private companies who have come and gone trying to launch rockets. Image a private company trying to pay off for the use of the airspace.

Rockets are not the only mean to deliver a transponder into space. A private company would have sought to provide cheaper solutions. Consider the various super cannons that has been proposed over the years. There is little doubt that they could have delivered objects into space at considerably less cost. Even high altitude balooms can provide somewhat stationary platform.

So, why hasn't these plans materialized? Probably because the space business is heavily sudsized by governments. There is no incentive to change the way business is done since the tax payers are footing the bill.

mikeca, I have no doubt that the moon race was quite symbolic. Of course this also probably heated up the Cold War, as well, increasing a certain amount of patriotism and fanaticism. But to call it a race for capitalism, even symbolically, is rather ironic. Government spending and subsidization is not capitalism. It wasn't capitalism that got the U.S. to the moon, but plain, old socialism.
The Soviet Union was always precariously preserved, even if most people didn't realize it.

So. Here's a question. Give me a market that has developed all by itself. No government interference, nothing to tamper with the perfection of supply and demand. Cars? Nope. Need roads. Internet? Definitely not. Aeronautics? The Wright brother's first contract was with the French gov.

Actually, let's go further. What is the free market? Corporations wouldn't exist without a government to charter them, to protect the investors. Currency certainly wouldn't exist without governments. And what about this supposed efficiency? Do you really think we're more efficient today than two hundred years ago? No. We have soo much useless junk, pushed upon us by inducing advertising. Humanity uses so much more energy today than it used to. And those damm governments keep getting in the way of natural, supply/demand processes, like murder, disease, famine, and anarchic war, that used to keep human populations down and evolving.

Now on to oil. I've said this, on this blog, too many times, but oil is a strictly government process to begin with, and this talk about consumption being a market function is crap. Who builds the roads? Who regulated the price of oil in 70's, keeping demand up while supplies dwindled? Who keeps the supply lines open with 100s of billions in foreign aid/military intervention in the middle east? And do you think the producers have any more fair a market than we consumers? Is OPEC a free market apparatus, a natural child of supply and demand, or cheating? If they're cheating, why not us?

I pray the answers are fairly obvious, and with it that our oil addiction is a government problem to begin with, rendering a government solution entirely appropriate.

And despite the fact you're wrong you'll go ahead and make the exact same post 3 months from now, without ever defending the point. My lord you people piss me off.

William, there are so many things wrong with your post, I wouldn't know where to start...

What about the definition of government interference? It is true that is probably impossible to a find a society without some type of control mechanism.

By that logic, everything under the sun is a product of governmental action. Without government, you can't even walk out your front door.

So what was his point again? Is he saying that since we can't escape from government influence, they should have more power to interfere some more?

The ancient Romans built roads. It has traditionally been a government function.

Free market American ingenuity figured how how to build better vehicles to put on the roads.

..or it was a balance of free market incentives coupled with American public education, but that's beside the point.

Here's the point: the government has a role, and a positive one at that. Simple as that. Everything it touches does not turn to lead, and everything the market touches does not turn to gold. Only by balancing the two can you obtain a maximum yield.

That said, oil is a sector of particular government dominance, both due to our own government's influence on demand and foreign governments' great influence over supply. It's not a free market, won't be, and thus our addiction creates an excellent opportunity for drastic government action to cut the habit out.

The price of oil doesn't fluctuate any more than the price of other commodities. It's no less of a free market than any other commodity. There are more nations selling oil than there are companies selling Microsoft Windows. Now computer operating systems; that's not a free market.

An entirely inappropriate metaphor. You cannot monopolize computer operating systems because they are pure programming. There is in fact an operating system you can download for free. They're also easily substituted by other operating systems, and Microsoft is not owned nor heavily subsidized by any country. Entirely inappropriate.

On the other hand, most oil reserves are owned by a few countries. Of those few countries, a significant number have banded together to cooperate. And when I say owned, I don't mean they just happen to be in the country, I mean that their oil industry is nationalized, owned by the government. I could go on for a while, but this isn't exactly obscure knowledge.

I really can't believe I have to explain this to you, and that you considered yourself oil savy enough to pronounce Tom Friedman a moron. The only moron in this discussion is you. You're entirely clueless when it comes to oil and markets for that matter.

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