Science and Technology

Billionaires Want to Be the Gatekeepers of the Solar System

Well, Marx did say that the capitalist class has generated enormous innovation even if it created a new system of oligarchical oppression in the process.

By Eleanor Penny, In These Times

Space is our birthright. ​Amer­i­cans should have the right to engage in com­mer­cial explo­ration, recov­ery and use of resources in out­er space,” Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump wrote April 6, 2020, issu­ing the ​Exec­u­tive Order on Encour­ag­ing Inter­na­tion­al Sup­port for the Recov­ery and Use of Space Resources.” In the stroke of a pen, Trump plant­ed the U.S. flag on ​the Moon, Mars and oth­er celes­tial bodies.”

As Trump declared these space lands and resources open for busi­ness, you could hear the cheers — most­ly from ​moon­shot” cor­po­ra­tions that have clam­ored to sweep away the patchy, unreg­u­lar­ized Cold War-era space law in favor of new, unreg­u­lat­ed cor­po­rate plun­der of the solar system.

While the insti­tu­tion of pri­vate land own­er­ship is now wide­ly tak­en for grant­ed, it was — like many so-called nat­ur­al things — invented.

Before the mud­died, gru­el­ing tran­si­tion from feu­dal­ism to cap­i­tal­ism, peas­ants in Britain and much of West­ern Europe depend­ed on their right to farm, for­age and har­vest on com­mon, com­mu­ni­ty lands. The land was con­trolled by local lords, but it belonged (in a loose, de fac­to sense) to the com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing on it and depen­dent upon it. Even­tu­al­ly, com­mon lands were ​enclosed” and became the pri­vate prop­er­ty of aristocrats.


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