Friday, August 05, 2005

Why economics should matter to the community

From Larry Niven's "How to save civilization and make a little money"
A. E. Van Vogt never worried about what a spacecraft cost. I don't think Isaac Asimov did either.

Nobody ever did until, in the 1950s, Robert Heinlein published "The Man Who Sold the Moon". And nobody did again for a long time. Imitating Heinlein used to be normal, but the science fiction writers of the day couldn't imitate this. None of us had trained for it. The excitement of travel to other worlds is in our nerves and bones, but where is the excitement in economics?

Then we watched mankind set twelve human beings on the moon for a few days at a time, come home, and stop.

We saw our space station built in Houston, orbiting too low and too slow, at ten times the cost.

Thirtieth anniversary of the first man on the moon, celebrated by grumbling.

My tee shirt bears an obsolete picture of Freedom space station and the legend, "Nine years, nine billion dollars, and all we got was this lousy shirt," and it's years old and wearing out.

Now is economics interesting?
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