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Re: Colonization

From: Allan Goodall <agoodall@i...>
Date: Sun, 14 May 2000 18:56:54 -0400
Subject: Re: Colonization

On Sun, 14 May 2000 00:41:33 -0400, "Laserlight"

>No.  I don't even know why people live in Canada.

*L* THAT could be a very long thread. I won't go into it, but if you
look at
the reasons the UN listed us as the #1 country, you'd have a good idea. 

>Particularly when they call me to tell that they just had over a
>meter of snow, and I point out that people are in shorts and tee
>shirts around here.  (Relatives in Montreal--this was late
>March, early April).

I drove back from Mardi Gras this year, starting on the Thursday at 80 F
Mississippi, stopping to visit friends in Tennessee at 70 F, leaving TN
at 60
F, and hit a snow storm from southern Ohio all the way home. Believe me,
wondered the same thing. However, I went down south twice this year and
the flu both times. Believe it or not, there are fewer incidents of
disease in
the deep cold of winter. Bacteria don't like the cold either. It's
healthier up here. Also, you adapt to the cold. I read an article in the
newspaper about tourism in the high Arctic. The Inuit woman (note: it's
not eskimo) took off her parka because it was so warm at -25 C. She
like running the sled dogs at that temperature, because they overheat
They much prefer it at -40 C.

>How about give us some suggestions?  Since manifestly colonies

Well, historically there has been one reason for colonization: resource
pressure. In early human societies, we spread out for the same reason
spread out, and that's due to the competition for food. Later, it became
resources, usually translating into wealth. Settlements were often due
to the
need for land. You get in early in a colony and you can get a lot of
land that
later makes you a powerful land owner. Meanwhile the folks back home get
to a
ready source of goods or resources from their colonies. 

One of the main reasons for the British colonies in North America (and,
think, the French colonies) was actually a wood crisis. European forests
succumbing at a fast rate, but wood was a desperately needed resource.
British colonies in India were mostly due to tea and sugar, and the
infrastructure needed to buy and ship the goods to Britain. The
however, discovered gold in Mexico and were out to plunder it. They were
out for the sugar found in the Carribean, a commodity that had a huge

Note that governments didn't push people to settle colonies to be nice.
wanted people in those colonies for a reason. They wanted the goods or
resources that the colonies produced or could acquire. You want more
you need people to cut them down. You want more people to cut trees
you'll probably want more farmers to feed those people. If those people
getting wealthy cutting down trees in a harsh, uncivilized environment,
will be plenty of others willing to service those people for a profit.	

So, why would you colonize another planet? If there's something on that
that's needed, it will be mined/harvested. That usually requires
miners/farmers/whatever. As the operation increases, the colony
increases. The
more people you have, the greater the need for service industries. This
essentially how the Klondike was "colonized". I'm not sure this would
in the future, when robots could do a lot of this themselves. But if
isn't any kind of heavy AI (which Jon's universe seems to suggest; it's
not AI
intensive) then someone will have to be on site to make value
judgements. So,
humans will probably go into space, just not very quickly or in great
These would be like mining platforms in the ocean, or mining stations in
Arctic. They wouldn't be colonies, just small corporate concerns.

You won't get interstellar colonies if Earth is a paradise. If there's a
for raw resources, then you will get some sort of colonization effort.
hard to think of something you'd find in another star system, though,
that you
can't find in our own star system. In Jon's time frame, are we REALLY
going to
have exhausted all the asteroids, moons, and hard planets in our own
system? Why go to Betelguese when you can just mine Mars, or Io, or
This probably isn't realistic.

If there is an inability to maintain life comfortably on Earth, then you
get colonies. People will want to escape the hell hole that is Earth and
go to
some other planet where there is room and they can set up their own
government/religion/social structure. Once those colonies are
they may be able to ship stuff to Earth for a profit, but it would have
to be
worth the cost of shipping the goods back and forth.

Historically, trade has resulted due to huge profits. In the time of Sir
Francis Drake, spice ships were making 100% profit on their trips. THAT
is why
people risked the treacherously long journeys. It's hard to imagine a
planet being able to supply anything that we could possibly want. A
chocolate tasting substance with no fat, no cholesterol, and no calories
also cured the common cold might be just such a thing, though. Don't
tourism. The modern tourism industry is huge, and a planet with lovely
of a lost civilization and breathtaking scenery would make tourism

So, assuming that star travel is possible, Earth like planets will be at
premium. Governments will encourage colonization if the Earth is too
full and
life is mostly horrible. Rich folk will build huge mansions on the more
beautiful planets capable of sustaining humans. Poor folk will willingly
the planet for land (but it would have to be worth the government's time
effort to pay for their trip out). The governments would open up
only if it was in their best interest to kick people off the Earth, or
to get
people farming/mining/producing whatever was on that planet. 

Trade, though, will only occur if there's sufficient profit in trading
whatever is found. And that profit had better be sufficient in the short

One last thing: you need a colony of about 15,000 people to sustain
with a sufficiently varied gene pool. 

Allan Goodall
Goodall's Grotto:

"Surprisingly, when you throw two naked women with sex
toys into a living room full of drunken men, things 
always go bad." - Kyle Baker, "You Are Here"

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