Space program

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.13.1130 MST)]

Awaiting Bush's announcement of his space program, I was thinking about the
cost of it, while also sort of getting ready to start discussions of the
Test Bed program. Putting two and two together, I get two -- the space
program won't cost the economy as a whole a darned thing.

What it will do is redirect the transactions that make up the economy. More
people will go to work in space-related industries, so those industries
will need more money with which to pay them, and they will get the money by
selling spaced-related products and services to the government, which will
get the money to pay them from taxes on all industries and consumers. I'm
sure that's a much-simplified analysis, but you get the idea. Except for
outsourcing and other balance of trade stuff that I'm not taking into
account, this is a macroeconomic problem which is largely about shifting
economic activities from one sector to another.

I don't know how this will really work out, but it seems to me that this is
a place where the Test Bed idea could be really useful. It's not easy to
show how the Big Picture would be affected by a multi-trillion-dollar
national project, and the Test Bed can keep track of details that are too
numerous and loopy for the human mind to comprehend. I know we're not ready
to tackle that kind of problem yet, but just looking ahead it seems like
something that is doable.

Best,

Bill P.