One of the visualizations of the BFR rocket from Space X

Space research: proof of state inefficiency

A common argument of proponents of state intervention and funding is science, research and development - the state is said to be effective in research because it is able to raise money for something that the private sector would not finance, would not invest in it due to the length of any return on this investment; According to advocates of this theory, current private space companies would never have been established without a state, because it was precisely the state that gave rise to the entire industry.

As logical as this argument may be, is not true. It focuses on what is seen and ignores what is not visible. What if states helped create a "space industry," are we all really poorer?

What is effective?

The state has a great advantage over the private sector - it can force resources to fund all kinds of activities by force. It therefore has the ability to forcibly withdraw large amounts of money and resources, such as labor, and to determine by directives where those resources will be used.

In state enforcement through violence, the state can be more effective than the private sector. It has its own but.


This is how he was in Czechoslovakia extracted for example uranium through the abuse of political prisoners. What we would call at first glance the cost of a given mining was indeed low, at first glance cheap. It is then easy to do "cheap mining" if, as a state, I have the opportunity to send a group of uranium to mines under appalling conditions involuntarily. I don't have to pay attention to safety or corresponding market wagesif I don't want to. But was it "efficient mining"?

It is efficient where - in simple terms - I get the highest possible return for my deposit. The greater the disparity between deposits and returns, the more efficient we are. Indeed, the state received a large return for few deposits - a small deposit was the violence perpetrated on a group of people, the return was their work.

Note, however, that nothing has been said about efficiency in uranium. The state - if effective - is effective only in enforcement. What the enforcement is applied to is already secondary. Whether it's uranium or space research; effective so there was no uranium miningbut enforcing the job!

People process resources to make them live better. This is the basis of all real economic growth. Did we live better thanks to uranium mining? Did prisoners live better in forced labor? Has living standards improved thanks to uranium mining?

Not. And we are very similar in space research - there is no difference between the "efficiency" of uranium mining in Czechoslovakia through slave labor and the "effectiveness" of space research based on war research.

"Oh yeah, "Objects the advocate of state financing,"but thanks to space research, we really live better, all around us we have things that raise our standard of living that have been developed through space research, such as Teflon!"

War deception

However, this argument is an application of what I call myself "war deception": If we take the entire productive population into the army during the war, we can very easily report 100% employment. However, it does not mean any prosperity, if due to state-controlled war production people have nothing to eat, the production of consumer goods is limited and people are really poor because she employment - ie human labor, human capital - is spent on killing, liquidating cities and factories, and making tanks.

If from a position of power during the war I force everyone to work on the development of tanks and other weapons - for example raket - Of course, when you do massive violent resource allocation I will gain new scientific knowledge and technical development as a by-product.

However, there are farms destroyed, millions dead, livelihoods destroyed, factories, infrastructure destroyed and years of hardship. indeed, the price we want to pay for the technical development, thanks to which we obtain, for example, Teflon?

This is a point that advocates of state funding forget: at what price do we gain gains from state-controlled development? How, in theory, could Europe, for example, be doing economically today if we erased the damage and liquidation caused by World War II from the development of the 20th century? How effective is the revenue from rocket engineering, if they are a deposit tens of millions dead?

For example, space-based research is based on armaments research in World War II. It's World War II an acceptable price for the development? 

Costs that are not visible

But let's continue with this consideration:

World War II destroyed a large amount of capital, which had to be rebuilt. We thus lost part of the post-war period in the development of the "standard of living" and the creation of wealth rebuilding something that was already here. Houses that were already standing were being rebuilt, and factories that were once repaired and were being repaired were being repaired.

All because of the huge development rocket engineering, on which space flights still stand. It was worth itwhen we see that private companies behind private resources manage to plan the journey of people to Mars and make similar developments behind many times lower costssuch as SpaceX?

And space research, driven by massive coercive funding during the Cold War, continued - which cost more money from the economy, from people's pockets.

Were it not for such enormous damage and would become rocket engineering did not monopolize due to wars, what if SpaceX with private funding and faster development was created 50 years earlier, because there would be space and resources on the market for that? The notion that "it certainly wouldn't happen" falls into the same category as the statements from the 80s that mail "certainly can't be digitized." And lo and behold - we have (not only) email.

Were it not for the losses caused by World War II, Europe would have entered the 50s richer - and with it the rest of the world; in the US, industry would not have to shift from war production back to market production. Yes, there would not be a huge investment of resources in the technologies created by the development of the Second World War, but we would have more resources to achieve the same results.

And without all the losses and horrors that were associated with it.