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Re: Re: starship-design: scoops and sails and something to push against

KellySt@aol.com writes:
 > No, we might come to understand more details about the mechanisms that drive
 > them, but as for discovering a fundemental new "society, culture, psychology,
 > or economics" that would seem pretty unlikely.  At this point that would be
 > like finding gravity didn't work the same on the 4th thursday of every
 > century, or you really could lose money on every item you sold, but make it up
 > in volume.

Considering that you don't even demonstrate a basic understanding
of other cultures, Kelly, claiming that we know everything there
is to know about sociology is pretty arrogant.  There can easily
be fundamentally new societies, cultures, psychologies, and
economics because we can barely model any of these things well,
and the models all have some very basic assumptions that will be
valid only in an Earthly environment.  We don't have anything
as powerfully predictive of society as Newton's laws are
predictive of mechanics.

 > In a message dated 10/12/98 6:56:40 AM, ajcrowlx2@ozemail.com.au wrote:
 > >Besides saying they won't find anything new is the same as saying that
 > science
 > >is
 > >dead, and that's a proposition we're all implicitly assuming is incorrect by
 > >trying to limit our designs to what we can reasonably imagine now. We seem to
 > >agree that we can't predict what might be possible by 2050, and I'd say the
 > same
 > >applies to all the sciences.
 > Not at all.  There a difference between expecting science to never learn
 > anything new, and expecting to find everything known before was wrong.
 > Neutons laws of gravity still work fine.

There are some implicit assumptions behind life on Earth that
won't be true in space.

For example, on the surface of the Earth the materials needed to
support life (oxygen, water, food) are basically laying around
ready for anyone to take and use.  A self-sustaining biosphere
exists more or less independently of humans to renew these things 
(although humans have been interfering more and more with that

In space, you have to bring or make everything you'll need for
life support -- air, water, and food.  Any self-sustaining living
environment will require labor to make or import these
essentials; there won't be a self-sustaining environment that
makes these things for the people who live in it without lots of
work from them.

On Earth, no one really questions anyone's right to breathe,
because air is everywhere and nobody has to do any work to
maintain it (although environmentally we are increasingly having
to do work to keep from destroying it).  When people have to make
all the air everyone will need to breathe, won't this produce
some very different economic, and hence social, pressures on that 
society?  Exactly what existing human society do you think models 
that situation, and why?  Why are you sure that this won't
produce a social organization different than what has existed in