World governments are boring?

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Megabot
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World governments are boring?

Post by Megabot » 2018-09-26 09:56am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ftj7Z2JmtA8


This Templin Institute video addresses a common cliche in science fiction of a future humanity being under a unified government that's often depicted as some form of generic Space!America with little to no consideration for depiction of other cultures and forms of governments, and argues that a divided spacefaring humanity would make for more original and compelling storytelling. He also addresses that alien cultures are often depicted similarly homogenized to the point of being the Planet of Hats trope, and that it would also be beneficial to have more alien civilizations that aren't as unified. The aforementioned trope page argues how this cliche is often necessary with the nature of episodic storytelling, or at least makes things much more convenient for both writers and viewers: "To some degree, this is unavoidable; you only have so much screen time or page space to develop and explore a culture. This is especially true in episodic series where the heroes travel to a new planet each week and you have to both introduce a planet and tell a story all within a single episode. If planets are revisited, it also provides an easy way for viewers to keep track of which planet is which and remember where the story is set." On the other hand, there are numerous science fiction settings that has spacefaring humanity with separate "star nations" of some form or another that not under a unified banner that has plenty of room for drama and conflict. But in the end, does it make much difference if the story is about a space war between separate human star nations, or between a united humanity and a similarly united alien empire?


Another question this raises is what would it take for humanity to unite this way in the real world. Would it take an encounter with an alien species, a destructive global conflict, or like Star Trek puts forward, the latter followed by the former? I find it interesting that for all of Trek's general optimism, it seems the backstory doesn't assume that a human unification is an inevitable and natural stage of social progress that would eventually happen all on its own, but rather that it apparently took WWIII followed by first contact with the Vulcans for humanity to finally get its act together.

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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by KraytKing » 2018-09-26 10:41am

Space exploration is going to be massively polarizing (I think that's the right word). Minor nations, or even low-end powers, aren't going to get nearly as much as superpowers. France wont get much territory on Mars when competing with the US and China. So, as time goes on, they're going to become simply non-factors--when the US has 60% of its population offworld, it isn't going to be terribly worried about India that has it's whole population planetside.

One book that had an interesting take on this was The Lazarus War, by Jamie Sawyer. That had the world divided into two blocs, Asia and the US, both with a vague but massive number of colonial holdings. They warred from time to time, which sucked for everyone on Earth. Most people left Earth because it sucked so bad.
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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-26 02:48pm

Personally I think that planetary governments make sense for a post-industrial, space-faring society. But they're also something that has been historically, and likely will continue to be, resisted fiercely and often violently.

That said, there is a lot of room for diverse factions even in a setting with global governments. Obviously if you've got a multi-planet society, then there can be other factions on other worlds/in space. But even within a single government... well, look at how damn factionalized US politics is right now, for example. I'm not convinced it would become any less so if there were no other nations.
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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-09-26 05:56pm

World governments are a bit of shorthand. I'd find a world coalition like the EU writ large more likely before any such thing happened, where the countries are more or less nominally independent to govern their own affairs but are unified with open boundaries and less barriers to trade between countries.
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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Zixinus » 2018-09-26 06:39pm

The main reason we see united Earth is because bringing in real-world politics and projecting them to the future defeats the point of setting the story into the future and thus work with a politically mostly-free slate. Which is especially problematic when you are not trying to be political and/or deal with lots of cans of worms you do not want to open. Like a Japanese-esque faction invading and destroying a Chinese-esque society's capital, oh no, I just made an allusion to the Nanking Massacre which is the tip of an ice-berg of an even more awful history. A history that as an author of entertainment I either tackle very deliberately and prepared for the fallout that will follow, or not make it at all.

The main reason we see a certain kind of United Humanity is because most Western-made, English speaking media is from democratic countries that view it as a good thing and logically the next step. Americans will think that their system of government is the best and therefore a powerful future super-nation would also have it. The problem isn't the idea of "united humanity", the problem is creative visions suffering from biases (or outright prejudices) and lack of desire to show diversity.

United Humanity idea "seems" boring because usually there is little explained why and how this unity was actually archived and how it is maintained. And the whole point of United Humanity is that there is little need to. A lot of sci-fi stories are told from a perspective where the governmental form is not really important and thus the simpler, the better. "United Humanity" is a good shorthand where the form of human government is of low concern for the actual plot. Or from a standpoint where humanity has to define itself in face of other aliens and thus humans are given a governmental form that is more familiar. When people are presented against a large, external threat, people tend to unify rather than diverge.

There are also some rational arguments for united (or mostly-united) humanity. The resource requirements for space travel, particularly realistic space travel, are so large that a divided humanity cannot spare it. After all, a species at war with itself is destroying itself rather than developing and growing. More globalized control is also something that is technologically and socially moving towards.

Then there are more prosaic arguments. The notion that hundreds of years have passed and the sum of human advancement resulted in India and Russia warring with each other with space-ships instead of sea-ships is depressing. We know how two-nation states war and (in broad terms) why. That we war for survival with another species, we don't. There is also the notion that it is a bit ridiculous to think that the balance of nations will mostly remain the same or that all nations will continue to be the same.

That is not to say that United Humanity is some sort of inherently good thing. It's just a concept, a trope, like anything else and a lot depends on what the actual story is, how it works and just what the author wishes to play with. To see a future sci-fi story with future-India and future-Russia at war with each other is interesting. Entire genres can be made that way. It's just silly to assume that this is what the sci-fi genre as a whole needs.
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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Formless » 2018-09-26 06:44pm

I understand what he is talking about, and I agree with the implication he makes that a lot of it stems from jingoism (and not always American jingoism either-- sci-fi anime often presents an equally Japanocentric future as well). However, realistically speaking, when it comes to world government and space exploration, my thoughts cannot help but be influenced by Carl Sagan's arguments on the matter. "We know who speaks for the Nations. But who speaks for the human species? Who speaks for Earth?" Our nations tend to be so self-absorbed that they cannot easily solve certain problems that have global consequences. Look no further than the disaster that is Global Warming. Because of national interests in the energy sector, the most important nations stifle progress in just slowing the damage. To say nothing of stopping it! One can argue that we have hit a point of no return, but that's beside the point. A similar situation exists with regard to space and space exploration. Asteroid impacts are the only natural disaster which humanity has the ability to outright prevent. We can't stop hurricanes or earthquakes, but in theory we can stop asteroids from hitting our planet. It is perfectly doable. But which nations can we trust to do so? Most of the truly dangerous asteroids aren't dinosaur killers, they are Chelyabinsk and Tunguska sized impactors which could wipe a city off the map. They are more frequent, probably hitting multiple times per century (just in uninhabited areas of the planet most of the time) and hard to spot. But not impossible to spot. However, if a country with a developed space program calculates that it will hit one of their cities, they might decide to deflect it just enough it hits another part of the earth, especially if there is a time crunch. But if it then hits another country, they would be liable for it-- at least, ethically. If it is a weaker nation, who will hold the country who deflected it liable? And also, if that same country finds that it won't hit them, how do you convince them to put the time, effort, and money into a deflection mission that won't directly benefit them? From the traditional view of national interest, it isn't really their problem. And what if all the countries with space programs calculate that the asteroid will hit a third world country with no ability to protect themselves? Will they all just let it fall, under the thinking that a halfhearted humanitarian aid program after the fact will be sufficient to wipe their hands clean of the affair? It doesn't sound out of the realms of possibility, even if it is completely irresponsible and potentially dangerous, especially if their calculations are off and it does hit a major metropolis in a first world country anyway. Or it contains a thousand tons of toxic or even radioactive metals like uranium (a possibility which has to be considered even if it seems like an unlikely composition for a meteor, since the dust will circulate the entire atmosphere and contaminate every nation on Earth).

And then there are other problems that are specific to setting up space infrastructure. There is a reason that the moon and the planets currently have the same legal status as Antarctica. How do we decide which country gets priority in exploiting the mineral wealth of a given lunar deposit? We don't want to start a war over something which is considered the inheritance of the human species as a whole. One purpose of a government is to solve the problem of the Tragedy of the Commons, which certainly applies to space. However, whereas the Tragedy of the Commons traditionally applies to individuals, in space it applies to the Nations of Earth. How do you stop them from ruining space for everyone? Currently its not a big issue because we don't have significant space infrastructure, but if or when it grows some kind of solution will have to be worked out, even if its just between the major powers that can develop space infrastructure. Indeed, there is some precedent for it, in that there are already treaties agreeing not to place nuclear weapons in Earth orbit or on Luna. That solved a strategic version of the Tragedy of the Commons. But once everyone starts launching high volumes of spacecraft to, for instance, mine asteroids for both commercial and national use, you have to consider the use of orbital space. Again, like with Global Warming, anything that impacts orbital space impacts all countries equally. Runaway Kessler syndrome would fuck all space travel for everyone for a good long time. Even if world government isn't the way all this and other space related problems will be solved, in order to have interplanetary government and colonization the nations will at least have to either collaborate to an unprecedented degree compared to past human endeavors, or else someone is going to have to take over the world as a de-facto world empire. And that would most likely suck for everyone on Earth, because modern warfare is so, so much more environmentally disastrous than any point in history.

We are at a point where we can render ourselves extinct. That changes everything.

And all of this is without considering what happens when we run into aliens. "National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space." Extraterrestrial civilizations won't immediately know or necessarily care about the political divisions among humanity. All they will see is another civilization expanding its sphere of influence, especially if FTL is a part of the future/your science fiction universe. Even if aliens can be relied upon to have nations or tribes the way humans do, which we cannot assume a-priori, during first contact we will likely treat whatever individual alien or group of aliens we meet as representatives of their entire civilization or species. It would be prudent to assume they will see the first human or group of humans they come in contact with the same way.

Of course, this is not to say that humanity will cease to be diverse in the future, or that future human colonies will necessarily view themselves as extensions of Earthly governments. It is quite easy to see them severing their original affiliations by force like past colonies did or due to distance making continuity of governance impractical. But if those colonies are on other planets or celestial bodies, they will quite likely have to solve the same set of problems. Space in my mind is an environment that simply demands a greater degree of cooperation from humanity than we have seen in the past. Self destruction and war are the only other alternatives I can see. When any spacecraft that can deflect an asteroid could also turn it into a weapon of mass destruction, how could it be any other way? So science fiction which appears to present the Earth as more unified than the present aren't really a problem but to me a realistic consequence of what must happen in order for us to get to the stars. But at the same time, yeah, you probably should still include political distinctions between humans in the future. But it would more likely look like The Expanse or Gundam, where the distinctions are between powers and affiliations that don't have to share a common planet anymore.
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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-26 07:02pm

Zixinus wrote:
2018-09-26 06:39pm
The main reason we see united Earth is because bringing in real-world politics and projecting them to the future defeats the point of setting the story into the future and thus work with a politically mostly-free slate. Which is especially problematic when you are not trying to be political and/or deal with lots of cans of worms you do not want to open. Like a Japanese-esque faction invading and destroying a Chinese-esque society's capital, oh no, I just made an allusion to the Nanking Massacre which is the tip of an ice-berg of an even more awful history. A history that as an author of entertainment I either tackle very deliberately and prepared for the fallout that will follow, or not make it at all.
This may apply to escapist SF somewhat, but less so to SF that deliberately uses the setting as a way to speculate on where current political trends may ultimately end up. See Brave New World for an example of a dystopian united Earth, and 1984 for an example of a dystopian divided Earth (or Mad Max for a take at the opposite end of the warlordism to totalitarianism spectrum).
The main reason we see a certain kind of United Humanity is because most Western-made, English speaking media is from democratic countries that view it as a good thing and logically the next step. Americans will think that their system of government is the best and therefore a powerful future super-nation would also have it. The problem isn't the idea of "united humanity", the problem is creative visions suffering from biases (or outright prejudices) and lack of desire to show diversity.
That a United Humanity is a good thing, or the logical next step, is by no means a consensus in the western, English-speaking democratic countries. It is in fact a distinctly minority view on both the Left and the Right, I believe.
United Humanity idea "seems" boring because usually there is little explained why and how this unity was actually archived and how it is maintained. And the whole point of United Humanity is that there is little need to.
Only if you see United Humanity as just a device to create a blank slate, rather than a way to explore the politics of how such a society would function, for example.
A lot of sci-fi stories are told from a perspective where the governmental form is not really important and thus the simpler, the better. "United Humanity" is a good shorthand where the form of human government is of low concern for the actual plot. Or from a standpoint where humanity has to define itself in face of other aliens and thus humans are given a governmental form that is more familiar. When people are presented against a large, external threat, people tend to unify rather than diverge.
To me, that's a rather poor approach to story-telling.
There are also some rational arguments for united (or mostly-united) humanity. The resource requirements for space travel, particularly realistic space travel, are so large that a divided humanity cannot spare it. After all, a species at war with itself is destroying itself rather than developing and growing. More globalized control is also something that is technologically and socially moving towards.
There is also a good argument that there are global issues facing us (climate change, pollution, terrorism, refugees, nuclear weapons, etc.) that likely cannot be adequately addressed without more international cooperation, and even that we are unlikely to survive long as a global civilization without greater unity. And that mass transit and mass communication may ultimately make larger more viable, and smaller ones less so.
Then there are more prosaic arguments. The notion that hundreds of years have passed and the sum of human advancement resulted in India and Russia warring with each other with space-ships instead of sea-ships is depressing. We know how two-nation states war and (in broad terms) why. That we war for survival with another species, we don't. There is also the notion that it is a bit ridiculous to think that the balance of nations will mostly remain the same or that all nations will continue to be the same.
Indeed.
That is not to say that United Humanity is some sort of inherently good thing. It's just a concept, a trope, like anything else and a lot depends on what the actual story is, how it works and just what the author wishes to play with. To see a future sci-fi story with future-India and future-Russia at war with each other is interesting. Entire genres can be made that way. It's just silly to assume that this is what the sci-fi genre as a whole needs.
Oh yeah, you can make both approaches work with a good writer. And neither will work with a bad writer.
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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Feil » 2018-09-27 02:27am

Way I see it:

You can have war between space groups; belligerent groups at least two of whose power comes mostly from somewhere on Earth; and/or nobody who can control whose space ships get to be in orbit around Earth. But you only get to have two of those at a time. Want Space Comcast to go to war with Space Sony over who gets to mine Ganymede? Go for it - but you need a third power who's enforcing a demilitarized near Earth orbit, or you need to start Comcast and Sony on different planets.

Same reason you don't see much in the way of multiple ancient empires on the same river.

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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Q99 » 2018-09-27 03:03am

World governments can be interesting... if it's an actual 'gotta manage the whole world, which is hard,' type and not an 'and now we're a monoculture' type. Or 'we exist to be either evil or useless.'


Really, a world government should not represent homogenization in a culture sense- it should be more like a level on top of current countries, just as the US has Federal above State above County and all that. We may be loosely unified, but we're still plenty different and all that.

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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Jub » 2018-09-27 04:47am

Q99 wrote:
2018-09-27 03:03am
World governments can be interesting... if it's an actual 'gotta manage the whole world, which is hard,' type and not an 'and now we're a monoculture' type. Or 'we exist to be either evil or useless.'


Really, a world government should not represent homogenization in a culture sense- it should be more like a level on top of current countries, just as the US has Federal above State above County and all that. We may be loosely unified, but we're still plenty different and all that.
I feel like the world is slowly homogenizing already though. We're far more connected now than we've been at any other time in history. Linguistic divergence is shrinking as local languages are replaced with a lingua franca. Entertainment is shared, trade is global, even with current pushback borders are more open now than they ever have been, travel between nations is fast, safe, and relatively affordable and only growing more so. If these trends continue we'll keep becoming a more and more homogenous monoculture over time.

This might even accelerate once we get independent space colonies creating an Earth vs Space cultural gap.

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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-09-27 11:27am

Yeah world government is a boring totalitarian idea. And a dangerous one in practical terms even if you manage to achieve it, diversity has a lot of strengths for a lot of purposes. Once you get one government you are putting a very vast amount of power into a very small amount of hands, and have eliminated any fact checking demonstration of alternatives. No matter how well meaning they might be the risk is very great in doing this. What's more as a practical matter the bigger the resources behind a government, the more bureaucracy you have between the people, the pyramid effect, and basic requirements like 'fix this road first' and the top levels. Which tends to make actually implementing policy shifts harder. And that creates a feedback loop where oh, someone like Trump, might get put into power precisely because they promise radical quick shifts that the system isn't really capable of doing.

The real world is harmonizing on some fronts, but it's just nowhere even close to anything resembling a world government, and people tend to have a big sudden halt when it comes to cooperating in any kind of way that actually cedes a serious amount of sovereign power.

Also in general world government type sci fi tends to assume like the video points out, that basically one preexisting system 'wins' over all others which is just incredibly unlikely as a way for stuff to go down. As we see in the EU, trying to actually connect even closely related states in a manner they accept quickly morphs into something very different. And in the EU's case, not very scalceable which is why it's spent half its existence trying to slim back down with little success to show for it.
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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Jub » 2018-09-27 11:37am

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-09-27 11:27am
The real world is harmonizing on some fronts, but it's just nowhere even close to anything resembling a world government, and people tend to have a big sudden halt when it comes to cooperating in any kind of way that actually cedes a serious amount of sovereign power.
I guess it depends on how the EU experiment goes. If it succeeds in eventually creating a United States of Europe, which is the original stated goal. That's a major chunk of the world under one government. At that stage, the world will basically have four very large nations the US, the EU, China, and India. Then Russia, whatever emerges in Africa, Brazil, Japan etc. as second-tier powers. It's not inconceivable that power keeps consolidating into these large and powerful nations/economies. It wouldn't be a monoculture but one could easily see there being a single power of consequence on each continent with a few secondary powers staying somewhat independent.

Toss in space and those colonists possibly renouncing their Earthly citizenship and I think you could easily see a very strong us versus them divide which could unify Earth's culture to an even greater extent.

Now I'm not saying this is a near-term possibility, but we could see an even greater concentration of power into continent-spanning states within another hundred to two-hundred years. We could also see it all fall apart and nations breaking down into small units as seems to be something of a trend as well. I'd guess that there will be lots of smaller bodies under larger federations in the future.

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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by JI_Joe84 » 2018-09-27 09:39pm

I think having all of humanities activities in space under one ruling body would actually be a necessity in order to protect the home planet's security.
This becomes vital if we find space faring neighbors out there.
Example: what if one nation sends a asteroid mining operation into space that the afor mentioned aliens we as their territory or see it as some thing that should be protected? Will they discriminate between the offending earth nation and the rest of us? Or declare war or other more measured responses on the whole? A la "kill em all and let god sort em out"?
We kind of have the one ruling body to over see every ones space affairs and treatys stating any attacks on space assets are an extreme provocation on the level of using atomic weapons, say maybe just a single atomic weapon would not be tolerated and total retaliation would fallow in order to prevent the careless use of atomic weapons.

On the organization of great trading spheres capable of moving in lock step, how else are the world's nations going to have a hope of competing or pushing back against my own nation the USA? We are a supper power, its a fact and a responsibility, it can not be denied.
Europe figured this out and Brazil is on its way to doing the same with South America, maybe even Latin America if they get ambitious.
I don't see a problem with it, in fact I think it will stabilize the free world and make it a better place.
We USA have virtually ignored the suffering in Latin America and concentrated our nation building in far away hot spots namely the middle east and the Western Pacific.
We should have been paying attention to the people in our back yard, we didn't and that is our fault.

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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Jub » 2018-09-28 05:03am

JI_Joe84 wrote:
2018-09-27 09:39pm
I think having all of humanities activities in space under one ruling body would actually be a necessity in order to protect the home planet's security.
This becomes vital if we find space faring neighbors out there.
Example: what if one nation sends a asteroid mining operation into space that the afor mentioned aliens we as their territory or see it as some thing that should be protected? Will they discriminate between the offending earth nation and the rest of us? Or declare war or other more measured responses on the whole? A la "kill em all and let god sort em out"?
We kind of have the one ruling body to over see every ones space affairs and treatys stating any attacks on space assets are an extreme provocation on the level of using atomic weapons, say maybe just a single atomic weapon would not be tolerated and total retaliation would fallow in order to prevent the careless use of atomic weapons.

On the organization of great trading spheres capable of moving in lock step, how else are the world's nations going to have a hope of competing or pushing back against my own nation the USA? We are a supper power, its a fact and a responsibility, it can not be denied.
Europe figured this out and Brazil is on its way to doing the same with South America, maybe even Latin America if they get ambitious.
I don't see a problem with it, in fact I think it will stabilize the free world and make it a better place.
We USA have virtually ignored the suffering in Latin America and concentrated our nation building in far away hot spots namely the middle east and the Western Pacific.
We should have been paying attention to the people in our back yard, we didn't and that is our fault.
It'll be next to impossible to actually rule over our space colonies from Earth especially anything outside of our own solar system but even past the asteroid belt might be difficult just given our response times. Unless you have military ships posted near every colony and give them a lot of free reign to act before official orders can reach them due to light speed lag which requires more trust than what we give to nuclear weapons carrying carriers and submarines they're sitting ducks for any forces closer to their home base just because those forces will receive orders faster.

Not to mention that any human colonies in space always have the high ground over a planet-bound populace. Outside of the first hundred or so years when our colonies are still going Earth might end up the poor laughing stock of the solar system strapped for resources, worried about pollution and climate change, stuck at the bottom of a gravity well. Those guys living in O-neil cylinders out in the asteroid belt might pity us or just laugh when we think we're in charge.

Plus, what are the odds we find intelligent life within even a hundred light year bubble around our solar system? If we did, how the fuck are we going to police some colony 50 LY out that took a colony ship 200 odd years to arrive at? Once we reach space in a real way it gets next to impossible to have any centralized control just due to the time and distances involved.

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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by JI_Joe84 » 2018-09-30 12:05am

Jub wrote:
2018-09-28 05:03am
JI_Joe84 wrote:
2018-09-27 09:39pm
I think having all of humanities activities in space under one ruling body would actually be a necessity in order to protect the home planet's security.
This becomes vital if we find space faring neighbors out there.
Example: what if one nation sends a asteroid mining operation into space that the afor mentioned aliens we as their territory or see it as some thing that should be protected? Will they discriminate between the offending earth nation and the rest of us? Or declare war or other more measured responses on the whole? A la "kill em all and let god sort em out"?
We kind of have the one ruling body to over see every ones space affairs and treatys stating any attacks on space assets are an extreme provocation on the level of using atomic weapons, say maybe just a single atomic weapon would not be tolerated and total retaliation would fallow in order to prevent the careless use of atomic weapons.

On the organization of great trading spheres capable of moving in lock step, how else are the world's nations going to have a hope of competing or pushing back against my own nation the USA? We are a supper power, its a fact and a responsibility, it can not be denied.
Europe figured this out and Brazil is on its way to doing the same with South America, maybe even Latin America if they get ambitious.
I don't see a problem with it, in fact I think it will stabilize the free world and make it a better place.
We USA have virtually ignored the suffering in Latin America and concentrated our nation building in far away hot spots namely the middle east and the Western Pacific.
We should have been paying attention to the people in our back yard, we didn't and that is our fault.
It'll be next to impossible to actually rule over our space colonies from Earth especially anything outside of our own solar system but even past the asteroid belt might be difficult just given our response times. Unless you have military ships posted near every colony and give them a lot of free reign to act before official orders can reach them due to light speed lag which requires more trust than what we give to nuclear weapons carrying carriers and submarines they're sitting ducks for any forces closer to their home base just because those forces will receive orders faster.

Not to mention that any human colonies in space always have the high ground over a planet-bound populace. Outside of the first hundred or so years when our colonies are still going Earth might end up the poor laughing stock of the solar system strapped for resources, worried about pollution and climate change, stuck at the bottom of a gravity well. Those guys living in O-neil cylinders out in the asteroid belt might pity us or just laugh when we think we're in charge.

Plus, what are the odds we find intelligent life within even a hundred light year bubble around our solar system? If we did, how the fuck are we going to police some colony 50 LY out that took a colony ship 200 odd years to arrive at? Once we reach space in a real way it gets next to impossible to have any centralized control just due to the time and distances involved.
Well unless the colony is over run with terrorist why have a constant military presence? Policing is for civi staffed police organizations. Maybe have a ship stop by to show the flag once a while, other wise why bother the military?
I agree Terra Firma will probably become just as you say but only if we do not embrace recycling and renewable energy. If we do then the Earth will have a lot of advantages over space station life.
Energy is in short supply in space. In the inner solar system there is solar panels but they are weak and easily damaged.
That means they must be fueled by some thing and considering the weight penalties nuclear is the only real option until fusion becomes viable.
The Earth is incredibly energy dense by comparison.
Getting out of our gravity well would be a lot easier if we would concentrate on build things we need instead of being glass guzzling idiots, such as space elevators and sky hooks while working on fusion and warp drive.

As for the odds, well that's really hard as we have just begun to survey our local galactic neaghborhood.
We have found many planet's and even a few "earth analogs" and that is just the stuff really near to our solar system. The galactic arm obscures our view of what ever is beyond that and to the other side is the "hub" which houses a supper massive black hole and a maelstrom of massive stars(of a type and size not found else where in the galaxie) and of course dust.
So our ability to look for Alien civilizations is extremely limited in the visual spectrum. Radio is better but not much because the lag is from years to 100's of years, so not likely any alien would try to actually communicate with us. Maybe we could get lucky and notice a civilization near by but communicate not really.
I meant that once we have some kind of FTL then we can really talk about colonies. Colony ships are just not going to happen I think, but with FTL? Then yeah I think people will sign up.
Policing them would be no harder than dealing with an unruly space station in our own system. I would assume if we can send a ship FTL then we could send information wirelessly FTL. If the colony got so bad that they just hung up and decided "fuck it, lets just do what ever we want. Who need those downer earth people any more any way?" Then we could send a ship. I wouldn't send a military ship right off the bat. Maybe send a diplomat with a military escort just because its so far away.
A space faring alien civilization finding us is probably the worst thing that could happen and if we all are not on the same page as to what is ok and what is off limits in space exploration then we all could end up being exterminated by the add fore mentioned aliens because of some thing only one of us did.
I just do not think aliens will discriminate between say Americans and Russian's just because that's what we all would do.

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Jub
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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Jub » 2018-09-30 07:59am

JI_Joe84 wrote:
2018-09-30 12:05am
Well unless the colony is over run with terrorist why have a constant military presence?
Unless a nation is overrun by terrorists why have a military at all?

A colony will likely want its own defense at some point and already being outside of the gravity well they may find them easier to build. They also have the high ground so even a simple rotating habitat with access to the means to refine ore and cast simple shapes could send rods from god down to Earth while we'd have issues getting anything out to them from deep within our gravity well.
Policing is for civi staffed police organizations. Maybe have a ship stop by to show the flag once a while, other wise why bother the military?
That's not how it went with real colonies. They often needed military forces to keep the locals in line and even then nearly every colony eventually broke away or was granted independence. The same would go for any self-suficient space colony.
Energy is in short supply in space. In the inner solar system there is solar panels but they are weak and easily damaged.
That's pretty false. There are hydrocarbon deposits on Titan, plenty of hydrogen for hydrogen and oxygen for fuel cells, solar isn't too bad even relatively far from the sun, and fissile materials should exist in decent quantity Solar panels aren't exactly weak either, at least not any weaker than most near future spacecraft would be.
Getting out of our gravity well would be a lot easier if we would concentrate on build things we need instead of being glass guzzling idiots, such as space elevators and sky hooks while working on fusion and warp drive.
We don't have the material science needed for space elevators or skyhooks so until a breakthrough in nanomaterial fabrication comes about those are off the table. Fusion is a work in progress that could be right around the corner or hundreds of years away and while funding could shave some time off we may simply lack some needed knowledge to make it viable in the near term. Warp drive sounds cool, but high fraction of C space flight is a pipe dream until we get orbital manufacturing and fueling infrastructure built.

Realistically we should be focused on orbital solar collectors to beam power to Earth as well as to space stations, larger and more livable space habitats rather than something designed only for research like the ISS, and laying the ground work for a space construction test bed.

We have found many planet's and even a few "earth analogs" and that is just the stuff really near to our solar system. The galactic arm obscures our view of what ever is beyond that and to the other side is the "hub" which houses a supper massive black hole and a maelstrom of massive stars(of a type and size not found else where in the galaxie) and of course dust.

So our ability to look for Alien civilizations is extremely limited in the visual spectrum. Radio is better but not much because the lag is from years to 100's of years, so not likely any alien would try to actually communicate with us. Maybe we could get lucky and notice a civilization nearby but communicate not really.
We haven't noticed any megastructures, Dyson shells, or anything that would point to intelligent life near to us. Realistically, unless most other complex life is around our technological level, stuck on their home planet, or dead we'd have seen them by now. Even expanding at 5% C it would only take around 1,000 years to colonize everything within a 100 LY radius from your home system and that's assuming everything came from that single system. More realistically you'd have close to a 150 LY shell around your homeworld and your ships would increase in speed from that 5% range up towards 10% or more over that span.

If life is out there it's not colonizing at the expected rate and we don't yet know why.
I meant that once we have some kind of FTL then we can really talk about colonies. Colony ships are just not going to happen I think, but with FTL? Then yeah I think people will sign up.
FTL may be impossible but even with the speed of light being an unbreakable limit we'll still expand. It may take generation ships, seeding system we want to explore with drones in advance of our arrival, or even uploading our minds into more stable electronic homes but we'll get there. People used to explore the ocean for fortune, fame, and glory back in the days when you could expect over 50% casualities on a voyage across the Atlantic and you think a little time and distance in a nice safe spaceship will stop us?

I cut the rest because it's clear you're uneducated on this topic and your post read like it was hastily bashed out on a smartphone while you were coming down from a three-day bender. Do some reading on the topic of realistic space colonization and then get back to me if you want to talk.

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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Q99 » 2018-10-11 05:07pm

Jub wrote:
2018-09-30 07:59am
FTL may be impossible but even with the speed of light being an unbreakable limit we'll still expand. It may take generation ships, seeding system we want to explore with drones in advance of our arrival, or even uploading our minds into more stable electronic homes but we'll get there. People used to explore the ocean for fortune, fame, and glory back in the days when you could expect over 50% casualities on a voyage across the Atlantic and you think a little time and distance in a nice safe spaceship will stop us?
It could be we don't do any inter-system long stuff for a super long time, in favor of heavily developing our own solar system in artificial habitats, which could handle all kinds of expansion.

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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Jub » 2018-10-11 05:36pm

Q99 wrote:
2018-10-11 05:07pm
Jub wrote:
2018-09-30 07:59am
FTL may be impossible but even with the speed of light being an unbreakable limit we'll still expand. It may take generation ships, seeding system we want to explore with drones in advance of our arrival, or even uploading our minds into more stable electronic homes but we'll get there. People used to explore the ocean for fortune, fame, and glory back in the days when you could expect over 50% casualities on a voyage across the Atlantic and you think a little time and distance in a nice safe spaceship will stop us?
It could be we don't do any inter-system long stuff for a super long time, in favor of heavily developing our own solar system in artificial habitats, which could handle all kinds of expansion.
Of course, our own solar system could hold trillions of people if properly settled, mined, and explored. I was more responding to what JI_Joe84 was saying directly rather than going into things in full detail.

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Re: World governments are boring?

Post by Korto » 2018-10-13 08:29am

I don't believe we'll get a "One World Government" without significant outside pressure, the existence of some outsiders strong enough to make us feel like we need to band together for mutual protection.

In which case, I would put my money on it being some UN-like structure at first (even possibly the UN, assuming it still exists), with treaties and agreements binding the countries together increasingly tightly, more powers being delegated to the UN, until a federation-style government comes into being. Given the large amount of automony I would expect the countries to still cling to, it would be more US-like than, say, France.
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