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Re: [OT] Bureau of Relocation

From: "Brian Bilderback" <bbilderback@h...>
Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 16:40:13 PDT
Subject: Re: [OT] Bureau of Relocation

>Reply-To: gzg-l@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU
>To: gzg-l@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU
>Subject: [OT] Bureau of Relocation
>Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 09:22:56 -0700
>seemed to be a logical argument for colonization.  Over crowded, 
>strapped homeworld ships excess population to the stars.

And where will this strapped homeworld get the cash to send them?  Space

travel isn't cheap.

Let's assume for a moment that Space Travel and Colonization becomes 
possible.  Will it become feasible, or commonplace?  Let's look at it by

expressing the Social, political, economic factors in physical terms.

First of all, there has to be a force causing us to go to the stars. 
say that this force can either Push or Pull.

A Push would be some circumstance that makes us want to get away from
  This could be severe overpopulation, War, Oppression, Global
Catastrophe, or any other Nasty Thing DuJour.

A Pull would be something Out There we want to get to - either we want
develop new markets for goods, or we discover a new material that is in 
short supply on Earth, or new sources of old fashioned raw materials, or
just want to see what it's like (Scientific curiosity).

Second, there's resistance, as with moving a physical object.  Space
is expensive. Space Travel is dangerous.  Space travel is fraught with 
hardships, discomfort, loneliness.  If you go, you may never see Earth,
even the outside of the ship, again.  When you get there, you're on your

own, living in those terrible prefab housing units, eking a living (such
it is) from a hostile new world.

So the issue is this: for any colony to even be attempted, let alone
it, the push and/or pull must overcome the resistance.

Let's take Push first.	You're the Oppressed Minority, or you're a
urchin living with 500 other people in the back of a wheelless VW Van. 
course you want to go. Resistance in the form of danger or hardships
not deter you.	So it's rough on the Kelp farms of Aquos-7.  Back home
Angelesisco, you had to fight rats the size of bulldozers for a scrap of

crud to eat. And as horrid as death by rapid decompression may be, it 
doesn't compare to the torture chambers of the New Inquisition, or the 
symptoms of the dreaded virus GI8.1.2.Green.  But COST... now that's 
resistance.  How you gonna PAY you Tick, Streeter? TANSTAAFL.

Then There's Pull.  There's GOLD in them there hills.  Or I should say, 
there's DILITHIUM in them there stars! Or whatever - you're an
power, and for one reason or another, it is quite profitable to colonize

Blanton's Hell.  And you have the capital to fund the expedition - 
especially since your backers know what the returns could be.  But
there's a 
REASON it's called Blanton's Hell - and who are you going to get to go 
"live" on a planet with an average temperature of 120 F (with apologies
the civilized world for the archaic term) and a relative humidity of 
99.99999%, whose predominant indigenous species is a venomous,
10-meter long, semi-sentient skunk?  So what if you pay better than any 
other corp spinward of Rigel? Where are they going to spend it? And on
kind of life?

Which is why most (not all, but MOST) successful colony efforts are
going to 
combine both Push AND Pull. Let's take America as an example.  Ok, we
that Jamestown was all soft rich people looking to get richer.	Look
happened.  And we know the Pilgrims just wanted to get away.  But they
backers. And the Puritans had profits (Pull) in mind as much as
freedom (Push).  As for the secular colonies, sure, they were profit
for the nobles who had the charters (pull), but the majority of
sent over were common people who were given a choice of America, the 
Gallows, or a debtor's prison.(Push).  Even in the 19th century, many of
immigrants who came over to flee poverty and oppression in Europe (Push)

didn't have the money for the trip themselves.	Their passage was paid
by American industries who needed workers (pull).

Look at the BuReloc in Pournelle's books.  Earth wanted to rid itself of

masses of poor, but they also wanted colonies which were bound to trade
Earth.	It was both push AND pull.

It's not enough to Want to get away - you have to be able to afford to
there.	And it's not enough to want what's out there - you need
who want the Hell out of Dodge bad enough to go there for you.

Brian Bilderback

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