Why in most minds is mars not seen as an opportunity for freedom? (...and wealth as well?) Is it just the perceived difficulty in getting there and living there or is it something more? Usually the idea of freedom and new lands go together, but something has changed in society since we landed on the moon.
America elected an incompetent marxist president. Twice! Proposals for martian settlement talk about centrally controlled bases, not independent settlers pursuing their own individual happiness. We have a mindset with regard to space that doesn't understand economics or freedom. People are blind to the possibilities. Settling mars will open those eyes if we choose the path of freedom. It will provide the example that will eventually lead to other stars.
Can free enterprise work on mars?
Ownership is the key to freedom. Since nothing on earth is owned that isn't taken away in part or even entirely by governments; that kind of freedom is not currently possible anywhere on earth but it is possible on mars. Regulations and taxes are an infringement on ownership and should be as minimal as possible. Mars gives us an opportunity for freedom by making property rights absolute. Eminent domain doesn't exist with strong inalienable property rights.
The rule found in Ecclesiastes 8:9 that man dominates man to his injury is diminished if we take away the right of many to take property away from an individual without their freely given consent in free trade. The principle of strong property rights instilled in every martian would provide an experiment in politics never before seen. Most of the ills we see on earth that really can't be fixed could be if we started from scratch on mars with the right philosophy. We can do this if we choose to. Let others choose different and let them compete on mars with the best philosophy winning.
Is mars too difficult for this? Not when you understand the knowledge problem. Central planning has some advantages in limited situations but is the opposite of freedom. Nothing central planning can accomplish denies what individuals can figure out for themselves. Sure the colonists will have to cooperate and support each other to survive and some planning is required but inflexible central planning is not. Freedom is superior in every way.
Hurdles to overcome...
- The individual cost to get to mars.
Elon dreams of people selling everything they own to buy a $500k ticket to mars from him. That's just not realistic today but his dreams are doing wonderful things that will get us to mars soon. The fact is the cost will be higher and we have to find other ways to pay for it (not taxpayers or the colonists themselves.)
- Supplies from earth.
The requirements for life support (power, water and living space, all other essentials, including food, are derived from these) are abundant on mars and do not need supply from earth past initial needs. But martians will want other things from earth with cost being prohibitive. The solution is simple and solves a host of other problems as well.
- Quality of life and other challenges.
Are solved by free individuals and make life worth living. Wimps need not apply.
Overcoming the hurdles...
- Costs -- are paid by those with money. That doesn't justify making taxpayers do it. Especially so, when there is a free enterprise solution. Where's the money? Private investors here on earth. What are they investing in? The future essentially but more tangibly. We set up a trust so they can trade the future value of private property. Mars has more than enough about equal to the dry surface of the earth. With strong property rights the colonists will have to pay for any use of private property providing another source of return for the investors. Colonist would pay a lease to use investor land that would eventually return costs as determined by market rates. The colonists would also have their own properties as well of course.
- Supplies -- come with the colonists as part of their personal provisions. By setting up the right incentives we create a constant influx. Travel costs and spacesuit are free to the colonist. We insist that they have 1000 kg of personal property as part of their ticket to the surface of mars. This property has a mass surcharge value worth millions. So every martian goes for free and arrives a potential millionaire bringing essential and luxury supplies to the colony. Martian industry will have the incentive to make these items locally to get beyond the innate surcharge.
- Quality of life -- colonists will not spend their lives in tin cans or space suits. Would you? With individual freedom they will soon build large shirt sleeve environments to live and work in because they own it. Ownership does that to people. They will learn how to deal with the environmental issues until it becomes second nature. Some may not meet the challenges and die. They will be in the minority. The rest will show us poor earthlings how it's done and give a definitive answer to those that say it can't be.
Wealth for us poor earthlings... as mars is developed we will share in it's growing wealth. How much do you think a whole planet with a growing population and industry will eventually be worth? How much if we never get started?