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How Space Will Fix Our Failing Economy

How Space Will Fix Our Failing Economy

By Astiles  on March 19, 2009

I'm probably going to sound like I'm just following the crowd here, but I've got to say it: investment in space exploration might be just the stimulus package the world needs right now. I came onto this idea the other day when I found the video above, which was produced by YouTube user Bagtaggar.

The concept is simple: you pump a bunch of money into an industry in order to create jobs. It worked during the Great Depression in the form of public works (building bridges and dams and roads and whatnot), so why shouldn't it work with space?

Unfortunately, I'm afraid the answer isn't so simple. Certainly it makes sense on paper, that if the government commits to an expanded space program, it could undoubtedly create jobs. Job creation breeds consumer confidence, which leads to consumer spending, which leads to rejuvenation of the credit markets, and rejuvenated credit markets lead to corporate spending and yada yada yada.

But what if it doesn't work? What if creating jobs isn't the solution? I posit that regardless of whether it fixes the economy, increased spending on space, even in hard times, will accomplish a couple of important things. First, it leads to expansion of peripheral industries. Suppliers and vendors who work within the space industry will see a boom in business. Second, private space will benefit from a revived interest in space travel. And moreover, the rallying cry for expanding our horizons - not seen since the Apollo years - may just be the perfect panacea for "fear itself." And let's not forget the myriad scientific developments which could lead the way to a brighter future tomorrow. Would the rising gas prices of last year have been such a burden if the space program had led to alternative fuel discoveries? And finally, the advancements made in space today would lead to the new industries of tomorrow; space exploration, after all, is, by all measures, a relatively new industry.

What do you think? I know this topic is mired in philosophical and economic debate. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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