Archive for the 'Wave Guide 1: Economic Growth' Category

Sep 02 2013

Syria Reveals that the 1960s-style “Critical State” is Imminent

The Sunday New York Times (9/1/13) headine — “President Pulls Lawmakers Into Box He Made” — sums up the current dangerous Middle East situation that Obama aggravated by announcing, a year ago, his Red Line against the use of Syrian chemical weapons and then blinking when it occurred (see also David Sanger, NYT, 9/1/13).

A popular theme is emerging that sees parallels between the current crisis and the summer of 1914 which quickly led to World War I. For example, in “Obama is Playing With Fire in Syria” (8/30/31, CounterPunch) Rob Prince and Ibrahim Kazarooni of the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies see real dangers:

The militaries of virtually the entire region are on alert. It might not take much to set a war in motion that extends far beyond Washington’s borders. What makes matters worse, is that many of the parties are itching for a fight. Indeed, a scenario not unlike that which existed in Europe in the summer of 1914 appears to be shaping up.

Are we approaching a 1914-style “critical state” in the Middle East? The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln patrols in the Arabian Sea.
Click

And in its recent politics blog, The Guardian (8/29/13) expressed the key idea in the title of its piece: The Syria dilemma: we don’t want it turning into another Sarajevo 1914.

A hint of what’s fundamentally driving this crisis is provided by historian Niall Ferguson in his 2010 Foreign Policy article, “Complexity and Collapse”:

Great powers and empires…operate somewhere between order and disorder … Such systems can appear to operate quite stably for some time; they seem to be in equilibrium but are, in fact, constantly adapting. But there comes a moment when complex systems “go critical.” A very small trigger can set off a “phase transition” from a benign equilibrium to a crisis.

In the spirit of Ferguson, Christopher Clark in his new book (The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914) summarizes how the WW I complex system went “critical” (italics below mine).

The etiology of this conflict was so complex and strange that it allowed soldiers and civilians in all the belligerent states to be confident that theirs was a war of defense , that their countries had been attacked or provoked by a determined enemy, that their respective governments had made every effort to preserve the peace.

This Ferguson/Clark concept is broadly consistent with 21stCenturyWaves.com’s model of transformative, twice-per-century Maslow Windows that are triggered by “critical states” of the complex global economic system due to self-organization over decades. The last one was in the 1960s — which featured the Apollo Moon program — but Maslow Windows can be traced back 200+ years to Lewis and Clark.

A brief intro to Maslow Windows is found HERE, and more info is HERE.

Because financial systems, wars, and NASA space programs are now known to be “fractal”, it’s reasonable to expect that the approach of a “critical state” will trigger extraordinary behavior (also known as “avalanches”) in all three, and history supports this. For example, the greatest economic expansion (the JFK boom) in history and the greatest ever technology and exploration program (the Apollo Moon landings) both occurred during the 1960s.

So in this context, the questions are: 1) Is Syria a harbinger of the approaching 1960s-style critical state? and 2) Is Syria likely to evolve into a global war like WW I?

Although predicting the future of a complex system in its critical state is tricky, the answers are probably and probably not.

History shows that Maslow Windows are asymmetrically bookended by wars; i.e., a smaller war or international conflict (e.g., Cuban missile crisis) just before or early during the Maslow Window, and a major war (e.g. WW I) that terminates the Maslow Window.
For more, CLICK: “Near-Term Wars Threaten the New Space Age.”

World War I, which originated during the most intense portion of the critical state, terminated the Maslow Window in 1914. While the smaller, early war was the Spanish-American War of 1898 which only briefly preceded the onset of a stunning JFK-style economic boom that triggered one of the most ebullient decades in US history.

During the 1960s critical state, the Cuban Missile Crisis was the early international conflict that had the potential for a full nuclear war between superpowers but was rapidly resolved. In this sense it appears to have parallels with the developing Syrian crisis, as we approach the new Maslow Window/Critical State expected by mid-decade.

Although the current geopolitical situation is not held hostage to the 200+ year historical patterns of Maslow Windows and their critical states, it appears that a major war is more likely to occur in the mid-2020s after the approaching Maslow Window/Critical State has lost momentum.

Support for this general view of a limited scenario for Syria (as opposed to a WW I analog) was reported in The Daily Caller last week. Jeff Poor quotes Charles Krauthammer as asserting Friday that any missteps by Obama in Syria could trigger a “major regional war.”

No responses yet

Aug 01 2013

State of the Wave: The Physics of Finance As We Approach the 1960s-Style Critical State

For most people the financial Panic of 2008 is probably the most famous evidence that conventional economic models — like those long-used by the Fed and other central banks — are simply not adequate. In fact, many decades have been littered with officially unforeseen recessions and initially minimized expansions. So many that in 2010 economist Russ Thomas (Hoover Institution & George Mason Univ) finally asked, “Is the dismal science really a science?” (Wall Street Journal, 2/26/10).

Thomas’ bottom-line is revealing:
“The economy is a complex system, our data are imperfect and our models inevitably fail to account for all the interactions.”
Click

Momentum is growing in this direction. For example, after asking whether economics is “a science or a religion” physicist Mark Buchanan concluded recently (Bloomberg, 7/17/13) that,

Economics is riddled with hidden value judgments that make its advice far from scientific … (and) economists would do well to derive their prescriptions from observations of how the world really works, with a healthy respect for its complexity.

In 2010, The Economist (7/22/10) reported on growing insight into complexity in the economy using Agent-based Models or ABMs, with an eye toward forecasting major fluctuations.

ABMs do not suffer from key assumptions that limit traditional (dynamic stochastic general equilibrium) economic models including a theoretical equilibrium that attracts all prices or that markets must be fundamentally rational. Instead an ABM assigns specific rules for each agent (e.g., an individual, a firm) including for example, how it regards fundamentals or technical analysis of market data. Agents can also interact with each other and learn from experience, and thus mirror real-world activities.

Michael Casey (Wall Street Journal, 7/10/13) concludes that

the Universe’s dynamic tendency toward disequilibrium and instability … (is) a direct challenge to the prevailing economic theory that markets are inherently self-correcting and always reverting to equilibrium.

Mark Buchanan sees sudden events like the 1987 stock market crash as an “avalanche” in economic behavior. In the 1980s physicist Per Bak and his colleagues originated the term “avalanche” in reference to his famous sand pile analogy to explain the behavior of a fractal system that has self-organized to a “critical state.”

This is an increasingly popular theme with econophysicists. For example, European geophysicist Didier Sornette founded the Financial Crisis Observatory in Zurich and developed his “Crash Risk Index” to monitor the approach of market-related critical states. Researchers at Oxford University, the Santa Fe institute, and elsewhere envision a super-ABM — by linking many ABM modules — that can anticipate avalanches across the globe.

Although the details in some physics-based models are proprietary (because of their commercial potential), the physics of finance has achieved significant success and recently even became a marketing tool. The Paris-based Capital Fund Management, whose chair is physicist Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, prominently features this on their website:

Research in the statistical properties of financial instruments and the development of systematic trading strategies are carried out at CFM by a team of Ph.D’s, most of them former physicists from prestigious international institutions …

And we should remember that on September 15, 2008, Scientific American magazine republished an article by Benoit Mandelbrot (who originated the concept of a fractal) on “How Fractals Can Explain What’s Wrong With Wall Street,” with this note:

This story was originally published in the February, 1999 edition of Scientific American. We are posting it in light of recent news involving Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

This is a glimpse of the exponentially expanding world of the physics of finance that provides theoretical support for our empirical model of the Maslow Window. Indeed, Maslow Windows appear increasingly to be the manifestation of “critical states” in the international economic system.

Twice-per-century, rhythmic pulses of unprecedented activity — in great explorations (e.g., Lewis and Clark), monumental macro-engineering projects (e.g., the Panama Canal), and major wars (e.g., World War I) — produce transformational, 1960s-style decades called Maslow Windows powered by “critical states.”

The last one was in the early 1960s and it led to the first human landing on the Moon.

Over the last 200+ years, the approach of a Maslow Window is signaled by a financial panic (e.g., Panic of 1893) that precedes it by 6-7 years. Such panics are now understood as “avalanches” in the complex international economic system due to the development of “critical states” over decades of self-organization.

Based on 200-year patterns, the Panic of 2008 signaled that we were within 6-7 years of the opening of the next Maslow Window (~2015).

Recovery from the Panic/Great Recession duo typically results in a JFK-style economic and technology boom that momentarily creates an “ebullient” population ready to tackle major projects like Apollo despite the rather bumpy road (e.g., Cuban Missile Crisis). The rapid-fire juxtaposition of both “good” (e.g, Apollo, Peace Corps) and “bad” events (e.g., CMC, Cold War) is understood now as characteristic of a complex system in a critical state subject to major avalanches (technological, economic, or geopolitical) in both positive and negative directions. Once in the critical state almost anything can happen.

Our recent statistical study of the costs of NASA space programs — over the history of the agency — showed they are fractal, in the same fundamental sense as financial markets. Thus the fact that Apollo became a featured element of the 1960s is now understood as being due to the development of its critical state.

The ongoing, linked North Korea/Iran nuclear crisis is, in some ways, reminiscent of the Cuban Missile Crisis and signals that the opening of the next Maslow Window is imminent. Just how imminent is still uncertain. Until the JFK-style boom appears the Maslow Window cannot blossom.
For scenarios that lead to a near-term JFK-style boom, click: “State of the Wave: 10 Space Trends for 2013 — Featuring the Approach of the New International Space Age”

Historically, wars and/or major international conflicts punctuate Maslow Windows. For example, the 1960s Maslow Window began with the Cuban Missile Crisis (nearly triggering a nuclear war) and ended as the Vietnam War destroyed any remaining societal ebullience.

This is to be expected because in 1998 geophysicist Donald Turcotte and his colleagues discovered that wars are fractal and subject to self-organized criticality — like financial systems and NASA space programs! According to Turcotte:

World order behaves as a self-organized critical system independent of the efforts made to control and stabilize interactions between people and countries.

The early war/conflict is always smaller than the major war that abruptly terminates the Maslow Window. Widespread affluence-induced ebullience early in the Maslow Window may moderate conflicts at that time, while the terminal war accelerates collapse of the Maslow Window; the classic example is World War I.

The fact that Maslow Windows are bookended by wars and/or major international conflicts is now understood as a natural consequence of the fractal nature of wars and the development of a critical state before and during each Maslow Window.

The fractal nature of financial systems, wars, and NASA space programs informs us why “avalanches” in these entities cluster exclusively during the self-organized critical states of Maslow Windows. Expanded ABM’s will reveal the details of these mutual relationships in time (hopefully!) to illuminate our near-term, 1960s-style transformative future.

No responses yet

Apr 10 2013

New at “The Space Show” and in Space Policy journal

Dr. David Livingston has archived my recent (3/29/13) appearance on The Space Show at: http://www.thespaceshow.com/detail.asp?q=1983

After introducing the Maslow Window concept I reviewed my annual summary of space-related trends which highlights the approach of the new international Space Age.

For example, the widespread excitement associated with Curiosity rover on Mars is reflected in a recent national poll on human Mars exploration by Explore Mars and Boeing.

This type of “early ebullience” — including that associated with Dennis Tito’s proposed 2018 manned free return mission to Mars — suggests the new Maslow Window is just around the corner.
Click

Likewise, geopolitical and macroeconomic precursors also point to the near-term arrival of a 1960s-style “critical state.” For example, escalating conflicts in nuclearized North Korea and Iran remind us, in some ways, of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which played a role in accelerating the race to the Moon.

And the financial Panic of 2008 indicated we can expect the new Maslow Window to open by mid-decade; it’ll be triggered by a JFK-style boom powered by development of US energy resources and led by high-technology innovations, and will feature pent-up demand that you can’t believe.

Our new article — Economic rhythms, Maslow Windows and the new space frontier — happily written with my UT Dallas colleagues Kruti Dholakia-Lehenbauer and Euel Elliott, appeared in Volume 28, Issue 4 of the UK journal Space Policy and is available HERE. (The Preprint is HERE.)

Here is the Abstract:

This paper explores the possible relationship between space exploration and long swings in the economy and socio-technical systems. We posit that the early phases of long upswings are characterized by periods of optimism and the spirit of adventure that provided a motivation for large-scale explorations and other great infrastructure projects in the past. These Maslow Windows help us understand prior eras of exploration and cultural dynamism, and offer a hopeful scenario for space exploration in the next two decades. We offer some observations as to what the exploratory thrust might look like, including a return to the lunar surface combined with other activities. Of course, we also point out that the next great wave of space exploration will almost certainly have a much more international flavor than has heretofore been the case.

No responses yet

Feb 02 2013

Deep Space Industries Joins the New Gold Rush into Space

Last week Deep Space Industries of McLean, VA publicly announced their mission, as a new space company formed only six months earlier, to commercially develop the resources of space. They’re reminiscent of another new company, Planetary Resources of Seattle, that promised last April to also seek its fortune in the stars.

DSI believes it’s time “to begin harvesting the resources of space — including asteroids, sunlight, low gravity — both for their use in space and to increase the wealth and prosperity of the people of Earth.”
Click

In August, 2008 I suggested that based on the last 200 years of macroeconomic trends and the history of exploration and technology development, that a “gold rush” into space was likely to emerge by 2015 as part of a 1960s-style transformative decade called a Maslow Window.

Click on “10 Lessons Lewis & Clark Teach Us About the Human Future in Space.”

For example, it’s not a coincidence that about 45-50 years after Lewis and Clark drew international attention to the American northwest, the California Gold Rush became symbolic of its commercial potential. Likewise, it’s no surprise that a “gold rush” into space — symbolized now by Planetary Resources and DSI — will materialize 45-50 years after the Apollo Moon program initially introduced the international community to the resources and commercial potential of space.

All four of these seemingly unrelated seminal events were/are fundamentally driven by twice-per-century JFK-style booms apparently triggered by self-organized “critical states” in the international economic system, known as Maslow Windows. The most recent one featured the Apollo program and the next transformative 1960s-style decade is expected by mid-decade.

Importantly, both asteroid mining companies expect to be operating during the approaching Maslow Window (~2015 to 2025). For example, DSI’s public business plan features initial asteroid explorations using it’s off-the-shelf, cubesat-based systems (“Fireflies”) by 2015, while larger “Dragonflies” will do asteroid sample-returns in 2016.

They also speak of supporting Solar Power Satellites and human spaceflight to Mars by 2025.

There are, of course, great financial, scientific, technological and other risks associated with such an ambitious endeavor. For example, it might take years to identify commercial-level asteroid targets — not to mention the initial requirements for significant investor capital.

However, I was impressed with DSI’s vision, direction, and human resources. Indeed, one of my closest colleagues during General Dynamics days — Chris Cassell, Ph.D. — is a Founder of the company.

No responses yet

Feb 01 2013

Lunar Bases Via 3-D Printing?

The European Space Agency announced today that they and their collaborators — including London architects Foster + Partners — are investigating the possibility of using 3-D printing to facilitate the expansion of human civilization to the Moon.

Typical of Foster + Partners’ spectacular projects is the Millau Viaduct in southern France. Completed in 2004, the bridge is so high — towers stretch up to 1125 feet — that drivers often “glide above the clouds,” (Wall Street Journal, 1/26/13).
Click
(Daniel Jamme)

3-D Printing has been identified previously as being one of three key developing technologies (the other two are big data and the wireless revolution) that are likely to have as much impact on our future as electricity and telephony had on the last century.

These and other 21st Century technologies are poised to trigger a near-term JFK-style boom. In the last 200 years such twice-per-century expansions have repeatedly led to Apollo-level great explorations and 1960s-style cultural transformations, and can be expected to do so again.

According to Mark Mills (founder of Digital Power Group and Forbes columnist) and Julio Ottino (engineering dean at Northwestern), in WSJ (1/30/12):

America’s success isn’t preordained. But the technological innovations circa 2012 are profound. They will engender sweeping changes to our society and our economy. All the forces are in place. It’s just a matter of when.

ESA, Foster + Partners and their collaborators believe that building a lunar base using lunar materials and a 3-D printer would be simpler and more economical than previous ideas.
Click

Because 3-D printing has already been used to create buildings on Earth, Foster + Partners is using their experience designing structures for extreme climates on Earth to envision 3-D printer technology on the Moon.

One attractive idea is to mix lunar material with magnesium oxide to make a “paper” the 3-D printer can use. Engineers believe that a next gen 3-D printer will be able to create an entire lunar building in only a week.

2 responses so far

Sep 18 2012

Bruce on The Space Show (audio) & 15th International Mars Society Convention (video)

Dr. David Livingston has archived my appearance yesterday on The Space Show; Click HERE.

We had a lively discussion — including several call-in guests — about our recent discovery that NASA space programs are “fractal” and why this, plus the financial Panic of 2008 and current unrest in the Middle East, ironically imply we’ll have an excellent shot at human spaceflight to Mars during the coming decade+ (i.e., by 2025).

My Mars Society Convention presentation on “Fractal Maslow Windows and the Near-Term Colonization of Mars” is available HERE.

On the final evening (8/5/12) of the 15th International Mars Society Convention in Pasadena, CA, I had the pleasure of being part of a panel on “Our Future in Space.” Emceed by Dr. Robert Zubrin of The Mars Society, it also included, Dr. Story Musgrave (physician and former NASA astronaut) and Prof. J. Richard Gott of Princeton University.

This panel interacted with a packed house from 8:45 pm until just after 10 pm when the Curiosity Rover landed on Mars. Here’s the YouTube version (first 30 minutes):

The remainder of this panel can be seen at The Mars Society link;
Click HERE.

No responses yet

Sep 16 2012

Bruce’s Mars Society Convention Presentation (8/3/12)

This is my ppt presentation to the 15th International Mars Society Convention in Pasadena, CA on August 3, 2012: “Fractal Maslow Windows and the Near-Term Colonization of Mars”
Click Mars.8.3.12.cordell

For the presentation Abstract, Click HERE.

Introduction:
This presentation introduces the concept of a “Maslow Window” which has been very successful in providing an economic explanation for why humans have not returned to the Moon (or even left Earth orbit) in 40 years, and also why we expect a new Apollo-level international Space Age to dawn by mid-decade.

The Maslow Window Economic Model:
Over the last 200+ years, great explorations like Lewis and Clark, huge technology projects like the Panama Canal, and major wars like W.W.I are seen to cluster exclusively near twice-per-century major economic booms. The most recent example was the 1960s Apollo Moon program.

Maslow Windows as “Critical States”:
Our recent discovery that NASA space programs are “fractal” suggests that space programs — like financial systems, earthquakes, wars, and many other large complex systems — are due to “critical states” which spontaneously self-organize over decades. Once in the critical state, almost anything can happen (e.g., Cuban Missile Crisis, Apollo, Peace Corps), even if triggered by only the smallest stimulus. We are apparently entering another 1960s-style critical state now.

Forecasts and Issues:
Rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East support our entry into the new critical state/Maslow Window by 2015, as the arrival of the financial Panic of 2008 did four years ago. Based on patterns observed over the last 200+ years, near mid-decade the great global boom of 2007 should re-ignite and trigger human colonization of Mars and/or major scientific and commercial development of the Moon and near-Earth space.

For more info on Maslow Windows, Click HERE.

No responses yet

Jul 24 2012

Current Economic and Political Trends Support Maslow Forecasts

Poverty in the U.S. is soaring to levels not seen in several decades according to the Associated Press (Hope Yen; 7/23/12):

The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy …

Increasing poverty in the U.S. ironically points to the approach of a transformative 1960s-style decade by mid-decade.
Click

The AP’s broad survey of economists, think tanks, and academics reveals a consensus that the official poverty rate of 15.1% in 2010 may surge as high as 15.7% for 2011, although even a 0.1% increase will make it the highest since 1965.

In February the Congressional Budget Office indicated that the last 3+ years with over 8% unemployment have been the longest sustained period of high joblessness since the Great Depression, and the AP sees a connection to poverty.

Poverty is closely tied to joblessness. While the unemployment rate improved from 9.6 percent in 2010 to 8.9 percent in 2011, the employment-population ratio remained largely unchanged, meaning many discouraged workers simply stopped looking for work. Food stamp rolls, another indicator of poverty, also grew.

Although Maslow Windows are transformative decades that feature JFK-style economic booms — note the dramatic decrease in poverty during the 1960s Maslow Window (above) — they are typically preceded by a financial panic like that of 2008, a great recession and a slow recovery. Therefore the strong desire for a return to Maslow-level prosperity begins to dominate the political discussion.

In 2010, just before the election, I indicated that,

current trends support a continuing political realignment fundamentally motivated by the drive for prosperity more than any particular candidate.

While well-documented for the 2010 election, we are beginning to see the same widespread drive for prosperity surface in the current presidential campaign. For example, Rasmussen reports (7/19/12) that by a 2-to-1 majority, voters believe the government should focus on “economic growth” rather than “fairness.” This is partly due to the stumbling economy but also because only 1 in 5 voters believe that more government involvement in the economy results in increased fairness.

In early 2011, I expressed the strong connection between prosperity and winning:

History shows that as we approach a Maslow Window (such as the one expected in 2015), the leader who can best manifest prosperity and model ebullience wins. In the early 1800s it was Jefferson, in the mid-1840s it was James Polk (of all people), in the early 20th century it was Theodore Roosevelt, and in the 1960s John F. Kennedy. It appears that long-term economic circumstances do more to determine our leaders than the reverse.

While it is far from clear who will wn the U.S. presidency in 2012, for the first time, perceptions of President Obama’s economic policies are beginning to decline. Yesterday The Hill announced a new poll that shows

53 percent of voters say Obama has taken the wrong actions and has slowed the economy down. Forty-two percent said he has taken the right actions to revive the economy.

No responses yet

Jul 03 2012

Happy 4th of July — Independence Day 2012 !

The 4th of July is the day Americans celebrate freedom and all its fruits, including prosperity, innovation, and the pursuit of happiness!

To read about Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Click HERE.

Dr. Harrison Schmitt, the first scientist on the Moon, shows how good the American flag — the symbol of freedom — looks on the Moon during Apollo 17.
Click

Princeton University professor Gerard O’Neill (1927-1992), author of The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space (1977), believed that the colonization of space would open up …

a hopeful future for individual human beings, with increasing personal and political freedoms, a wider range of choices, and greater opportunities to develop individual potentials … The most chilling prospect that I see for a planet-bound human race is that many of those dreams would be forever cut off for us.”

As I pointed out recently in Ad Astra of the National Space Society, the macroeconomic and technology history of the last 200+ years indicates we are approaching a transformative, 1960s-style decade known as a Maslow Window.

It will feature a new international, Apollo-level space age that will be triggered by a major economic boom … by mid-decade.

However in the short term, there is still plenty of bad news — e.g., the Wall Street Journal reported this morning (top, front page headline) that the U.S. manufacturing sector shrank in June for the first time in 3 years — and some see this as evidence for another recession.

While hopefully this will not occur, it’s important to realize that “double-dip” recessions are common in the years immediately preceding Maslow Windows, and signal the approach of much better times.
Click: “Slow Recovery Fits 200-Year Pattern”

And historical analogs indicate that — during times like now — the widespread drive for prosperity results in a political realignment that triggers a new economic boom.

Enjoy the 4th’s fireworks and remember that the new Space Age is just around the corner…!

No responses yet

May 23 2012

Economic Rhythms, Maslow Windows and the New Space Frontier

This is the preprint version of a new paper recently accepted for publication by the international journal Space Policy:

Economic Rhythms, Maslow Windows and the New Space Frontier (Preprint)
Click HERE.

Kruti Dholakia-Lehenbauer, (Corresponding Author) and
Euel Elliott, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX, U.S.A.;
Bruce Cordell, 21stCenturyWaves.com, Bonsall, CA, U.S.A.

Abstract:
This paper explores the possible relationship between space exploration and long swings in the economy and socio-technical systems. We posit that the early phases of long upswings are characterized by periods of optimism and the spirit of adventures that provided a motivation for large scale explorations and other great infrastructure projects in the past. These Maslow Windows help us understand prior eras of exploration and cultural dynamism, and offer a hopeful scenario for space exploration in the next two decades. We offer some observations as to what the exploratory thrust might look like, including a return to the lunar surface combined with other activities. Of course, we also point out that the next great wave of space exploration will almost certainly have a much more international flavor than has heretofore been the case.

Over the last 200+ years, the rhythmic dance of the Stewart Energy Cycle — discovered in 1989 by the distinguished nuclear physicist Hugh B. Stewart — has been a reliable predictor of great explorations like Lewis & Clark and Apollo Moon, as well as monumental macro-engineering projects like the Panama Canal and the Apollo infrastructure.
Click

1. Introduction

This essay examines the relationship between the exploration of space in the 21st century and the phenomenon of long economic and socio-technological cycles. The basic contention of this study builds upon prior work by Cordell [1, 2] — See Space Policy (1996) and FRQ (2006) — and Lin, Dholakia & Elliott [3]. The latter offers plausible scenarios for future exploration and exploitation of lunar and near-lunar resources. Cordell’s work, in particular, offers a foundation for the current study by providing arguments for future human activities in space based on long economic and socio-technical cycles, and their subsequent impact on human activities.

This research also proposes important linkages between space exploration, long cycles and the phenomenon of Maslow windows which are characterized by bursts of interest in exploration and human adventure, combined or integrated with large-scale macro engineering projects (MEPs). Thus, we suggest a linkage, through long cycles of a connection between earlier human exploration and development of MEPs and the near term future of humanity in space, beginning in the 2015-2020 time frame.

This essay proceeds by first discussing the role of long economic and socio-technical cycles in the global economy. We then move to a discussion of the specific relationships between economic cycles and exploration, including those activities directed toward the frontier of space. We offer a scenario that suggests the form that activities beginning in the 2015-2020 time period and lasting until about 2030 or so might take. We conclude our study with some observations about the deeper connections that may exist between human psychological needs, economic cycles and the properties of self-organizing systems …

No responses yet

Next »