Will, thanks for posting, interesting subject. I would question the logic of Seth Shostak, and deduce absolutely the opposite is true.

The only shortage of resources is that which we impose on ourselves in order to preserve the system of profit, in which all wealth is transferred on agreement of return, and witheld otherwise.

We would recognise that easily if we could somehow hoist ourselves up onto stage 1 of the Kardashev scale.

Stage 1, which is our whole species fully powered from the sun, is effectively free power for all. Since power is interchangeable with money, then everyone effectively has limitless free money, which eliminates scarcity, which in turn removes all incentive and possibility of profit.

That, is a necessary state for us to aspire as a species towards any serious attempt at interplanetary travel.

Likewise, the same applies to aliens, if they exist.

Therefore they will not be interested in our resources. If they manage to get here at all, they have already eliminated scarcity.

Remember colonialism is a purely profit driven characteristic.

For the moment, we seem unable to recognise this, thus are locked into the self destructive cycle of all things for profit, and are actually going backwards technologically, through the pursuit of profit.

We have already lost countless numbers of technologies which were integral or relevant to interplanetary ambitions.

Did you know that the very beautiful Arecibo observatory, as pictured in your story, has already gone?

It collapsed only a few weeks ago, due to lack of maintenance, no doubt to save money, or because no money was made available for that.

It joins concorde, the space shuttle, international travel for ordinary people, and public safety itself.

As long as we think money is scarce, things like this, with poor conventional business cases, yet of potentially huge benefit to humanity, will continue to be discontinued / cancelled / neglected / destroyed.

Rather than reaching for the stars, we seem to be battening down the hatches, waiting for the end, our end as a species.

Yet there is no need for us to be in this position.

We could, tomorrow, instruct all banks to assign all human debt to future implementation of worldwide solar power, turn on the money taps, and just leave them on.

I guess in that case, we would be on about stage 1 of the Kardashev scale within 10 years, immortality within maybe thirty years, and in the stars as aliens ourselves, within maybe 100 or so.

Solarpunk

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store