Why do we not push for getting everyone everywhere all on the same level first?
I recently answered this question on a discussion forum. Here it is:
It’s silly to think we should solve every problem on Earth before we explore anywhere else for a large number of reasons:
First of all, space exploration takes a comparatively tiny amount of Earth’s resources. Even if it was possible for going into space to take anything away from anyone else or prevent feeding anyone, it would have an effect of almost zero. Because, overall, we spend a very small amount of money on space exploration.
But it isn’t even possible for it to hurt anyone in the first place (especially where the people doing it are private companies like SpaceX.)
Exploring space takes nothing away from anyone and prevents nobody from getting fed. Starving people aren’t going to eat liquid hydrogen or stainless steel or grow their crops in the marshlands of Florida or Texas.
In fact, spending money to put together a rocket ship helps people to buy homes and groceries, for which other people get paid in order for those people to buy more food and homes and cars, etc.
Any commercial expenditure of money helps to feed vastly more people than are involved directly in the original expenditure as it pushes money and wealth through the economies of the nation and world.
No commercial expenditure of money takes any food away from anyone.
Starving people can’t eat money. Money is not a resource. And just because money is spent in one place, doesn’t mean that any wealth is gone or used up in any way either there or anywhere else. Spending money pays for people doing things. The more people are doing things, the more people are getting paid and the more things are being produced — whether it’s internet web pages, books, spaceships, cars, houses, or whatever.
Spending money to make things creates wealth. It does not use it up.
But to address the last question (which is the biggest misunderstanding of all):
Why isn’t there a huge push for getting everyone on a similar level?
That would be a HORRIBLE idea on the face of it, regardless of whatever we do or don’t do in space.
For one thing, it would create a horrendous amount of more widespread poverty for the poorest classes of people. It’s what China tried to do for over a quarter of a century. And it caused tens of millions of people to starve and everyone else to live in poverty.
Only by initiating a system whereby wealth could be concentrated in the hands of the most productive and ambitious people did China even begin to raise itself out of abject poverty.
Capitalism concentrates wealth into the hands of the most productive and innovative and ambitious people and companies.
This is a good thing.
Historically, it has been the best thing in the world for poor people.
People complain about the fact that Chinese workers get paid $3 per hour for doing menial tasks. But, if they weren’t getting paid those $3 per hour, what would they be getting paid? Nothing.
The $3 per hour is just a stepping stone. Because regardless of the fact that people say, “The Rich” would (somehow) “never allow” those people to get paid more and become more successful in their private lives, it has happened over and over and over again throughout the entire history of the Industrial Revolution (which is still going on.)
There is NOTHING that “The Rich” can do to prevent Chinese workers from creating labor unions and demanding better wages. Just like they did in the United States. Just like they did in England before that. Just like they can do in Vietnam or in India during their competition with China.
Development takes time. But it is driven relentlessly by capitalism, which requires concentrations of wealth in the hands of the most productive and innovative and ambitious people.
Today has the lowest amount of poverty in the history of the world.
Think about that.
I did not say that we have the lowest “poverty rate.”
I said that, even though the world’s population has exploded and we have more people in the world today than people in past decades predicted that the world could even feed, we now have the lowest number of people in extreme poverty in terms of absolute numbers of any time in the history of the world.
Capitalism and concentration of wealth did that.
Don’t break it by trying to “fix” it.
So let’s go explore space — and do lots of other things, as President Kennedy said, “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”