Liberty and the Limits to the Extraterrestrial State

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C.S. Cockell (2009), JBIS, 62, 139-157

Refcode: 2009.62.139
Keywords: Liberty, state, oxygen, economy, education

The physical conditions that inhere in extraterrestrial environments have a tendency to drive society toward collectivist mechanisms of political and economic order to successfully cope with, and prevent possible disaster caused by, the lethal external conditions. Liberty will therefore be eroded by deliberate human action, through extraterrestrial authorities, and through a natural restriction in concepts of liberty that will attend the development and behaviour of people in confined environments. The emergence of extraterrestrial governance that nurtures liberty in outer space will require the formation of many institutions that encourage competition and reduce political and economic monopolies - with the legal system to sustain them. This problem is most clearly manifest in oxygen production. These considerations allow the purpose and limits of the extraterrestrial state and precursor forms of governance to be circumscribed. Far from being a purely speculative enquiry, this discussion allows requirements in physical architecture and social organisation to be identified that can be considered from the earliest stages of space exploration and settlement.

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