segunda-feira, maio 26, 2008

A propósito da Phoenix Mars Lander

A chegada a Marte da Phoenix Mars Lander lembrou-me uma curiosa leitura de há quase um ano na The New Individualist que insistia no facto de estarmos limitados por um mundo de política espacial que, por sua vez, limita o potencial mercado espacial:

«[…] First, NASA operations are, to a great extent, determined by politics. For example, various NASA centers and projects continue, in large part, because of support by elected officials from the congressional districts and states that benefit directly from their local presence. Second, because NASA is a government agency using taxpayer dollars, it must secure annual approval for its budget, and its projects are subject to oversight by Congress, the Government Accountability Office, Inspectors General, and others. Like other government agencies, NASA answers not to market demand and conditions but to politicians, whose primary incentives are to respond to political pressures and otherwise cover their butts. Third, because NASA uses taxpayer dollars, the incentives to be economical, frugal, and innovative are reduced. Failure often means more taxpayer dollars and bailouts – witness the history of the shuttle and station. […] The seeds of a competitive system of space-development consortia have already been planted. In recent decades, the government has relaxed many of its more onerous regulatory restrictions and unfair practices vis-à-vis private-sector space exploration. As a result, we are now beginning to see how our future in space might look and how that future will be established – not by governments, but by the efforts of individual entrepreneurs. […] But even voluntary, cooperative associations can kill individual initiative and entrepreneurial spirit. […] So, while a free-market system is a necessary condition for space settlement, it is not a sufficient one. Economics is not enough. There is also philosophy. […] Individualist values are required to tame any frontier and to create a harmonious society in a new world. Iniciative, independent thought, personal integrity, self-responsability – these are the virtues that lie at the heart of the individualist code […].»

Edward Hudgins, «Individualism in orbit: morality for the high frontier», The New Individualist, vol. 10, n.º 7 (Julho-Agosto 2007), pp. 16-21.