Re: predictions if wave passed here

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 15:35:43 MDT

Robin Hanson wrote:
> It isn't a question of resources, or intelligence, or foresight, or
> compassion. It is a question of ability to coordinate and commit.
> Consider the analogy of firms trying to collude to raise prices.
> They each have a common interest in so colluding, but also a private
> interest in secretly violating the agreement and selling more at a
> lower price. Even though firms are smart with great resources, it
> is their inability to coordinate and commit that typically drops
> prices to far below the collusive level.
> If there is just one colonizing agency, then yes, they might assign
> property rights to places to colonize, and take their time about it.
> But if some other "sooners" get out there too, and get out in front
> of the slower standard colonists, then there may not be much the
> official agency can do to stop them or punish them. By the time the
> colonist "police" arrive, the sooners are off to the next place.

But what is the advantage, economically, to just build and go, build and go?
This presupposes that the overriding source of intrinsic value in interstellar
colonization is in going places, not in getting to places. I don't see this as
being realistic. Anyone with any curiosity is going to want to stop to smell the
roses, meet the natives, catch all the local diseases... This also presupposes
that any 'state' finds it more economical to go out and find sooners AND
transport them back to face justice, unless they are merely to be exterminated
as they are found. Since the source civilization sees no benefit in preventing
the diaspora after its started (indeed, dumping the restless and misfits beyond
the frontier has often been used as a stabilization technique for established
societies). Any colonist 'police' are only going to find those who are left
behind, while the real 'criminals' will always be yond the light cone of the

> The key technology that would make a difference would be an ability
> to project force out farther and faster than reproducing colonists
> could move. But it is hard to imagine such a technology.

Yeehaw, bring on the Cavalry.

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