On the Economics of Space Colonisation

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D. J. King (2011), JBIS, 64, 116-134

Refcode: 2011.64.116
Keywords: Economics, space, colonisation, Mars, compound growth

An economic model of the future colonisation of Mars is developed, which, for simplicity, is assumed to be a one-off transplantation of capital and population to Mars. The model demonstrates that compound growth of output and population, and diminishing natural resources on Earth eventually create sufficiently intense economic pressures that the colonisation of Mars (and by implication of space generally) confers a net economic benefit on humanity. The model illustrates that the colonisation of space is likely to occur because economic forces will ultimately compel it to occur. The model is highly counter-intuitive because it has traditionally been believed by many that the colonisation of space could only be done at a net economic cost to humanity and would not result in a net economic benefit to mankind.

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