Part of the Thought for the weekend series

Thought for the weekend

In one of the key speeches of his short Presidency, JFK in 1961 set an ambitious target: ‘I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth…we choose to go to the moon and do other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard.’ What challenge should we set for ourselves? As JFK was racing against the Soviets, we are racing against consequences of over leveraging and technological transition (all reflected in a new secular stagnation). One suggestion could be: ‘this world should commit itself to achieving the goal of colonizing Mars…we need to do it not because it is easy but because we have no choice as alternatives might be deglobalization, border closures, stagnation, communism, fascism, war or a combination thereof’. It is not as crazy as it sounds. Whilst JFK was facing the unpalatable prospect of Soviets conquering space, we are facing unpalatable consequences of ‘fiat money’ and the structurally and socially unacceptable consequences of what we describe as the new ‘age of declining returns on humans’. Essentially, we are awashed in capital and liquidity and as a result face an inexorable decline in return on capital in almost every area of the economy whilst also having to adjust to the rapidly changing nature of labour markets. If we have a surplus of capital and people, the answer is to export both to another universe, and what is a better and more constructive way of doing it then to explore space?

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