Futurism, August 6, 2017

Could we use space to pay for a Universal Basic Income? Tom Ward addresses this question in a Futurism article. The article discusses the idea of using space to fund a Basic Income; the money being generated from future space tourism and mining. The argument—akin to that of a citizen’s dividend—is that space belongs to us all, so we should all benefit from it.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is planning to make commercial spaceflights before the end of 2018. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others are also looking to monetize space tourism.

Companies are also trying to capitalize on the enormous potential of space mining.  Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources are two such companies mentioned in the article. According to Ward, “Space mining also has the potential to be a billion — if not trillion — dollar industry” citing an asteroid containing five trillion dollars of platinum that passed by earth in 2015.

The article concludes by suggesting that the United Nations Outer Space Treaty which entered into force in 1967 would appear to support this type of approach:

“The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 states that “the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind.” Using the profits from space exploration, travel, tourism, and mining to provide financial relief for the world’s citizens would certainly meet that criteria.”


References and further reading

Tom Ward, “Could We Use Space to Pay for a Universal Basic Income?”, Futurism, 6 August, 2017,  <https://futurism.com/could-use-space-pay-universal-basic-income/>

Patrick Caughill, “Virgin Galactic CEO: We’ll Be Ready to Send Tourists Into Space in 2018”, Futurism, 9 May 2017, <https://futurism.com/virgin-galactic-ceo-well-be-ready-to-send-tourists-into-space-in-2018/>

Jacob Haqq-Misra, “Could space pay for a universal basic income?”, Boston Globe, 23 July, 2017, <https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/07/22/could-space-pay-for-universal-basic-income/tSQzfEuJxf1L3LcAsBRXcK/story.html>

Photo: Space, CC BY 2.0, Sweetie187

Thanks to Caroline Pearce for reviewing the article

About Bryan Tierney

Bryan Tierney has written 4 articles.