My letter to the editor of “New Scientist” magazine

They probably won’t publish this, so I’ll put it here:


To the Editors:

The premise of your special on growth in the 15 October 2008 issue is just plain wrong, and the wrongness starts in your lead editorial.

You state that “we live on a planet with finite resources.” But we also live in a solar system with eight planets, fifty moons, a million asteroids, a billion comets, and a thermonuclear generator we call the Sun.*

Starting with near-term goals like beaming limitless clean solar power to Earth, and continuing on to longer-term goals such as mining the asteroids, all the resources we need to create wealth for every one of the seven billion people on Earth are right above our heads. Free for the taking.

It doesn’t take new technology; those problems were solved forty years ago. It takes leadership and nerve. Both of which appear to be lacking in the Western democracies. Luckily for mankind, other nations on Earth will reject your “no growth” prescription and will develop the untold riches of the solar system. It’s a shame that the working language of space will not be English.**


* Hat tip to Jerry Pournelle.

** Hat tip to Robert Heinlein.


  1. Fred Nixon says:

    You have hit the nail on the head. How can we counter all the “Fire Bad, Fire Very Bad” thinking, of which the New Scientist is but one example?