The Economic Problem with Luxembourg's Space Mining Laws
Have you ever wondered how people began claiming land? I often wonder about this in our country. It seems that land is usually claimed by a strong force, something that can’t be beaten. Or land is claimed because the previous inhabitants just don’t have any more fight in them or there aren’t any inhabitants left. There is a different kind of land battle starting, and that battle moves us out of this Earth completely.
The country of Luxembourg has now been named one of the first countries to draw up legal documents on space mining. This in itself, is an interesting concept. If you buy into the theory of the big boom, then you understand how our current world is constructed and the things it is made out of. There are tons of minerals and other things that are on asteroids for example that can be useful on Earth or even in outer space. The problem lies in the way the space mining laws would have to be written. The current United Nations law suggests that anything outside of this Earth is free and equal to all on Earth. It is written as almost a “what is mine, is yours” scenario. The United States and Luxembourg versions of this makes a little more sense as it basically says that anything that is mined and taken is due to the country that mined it. Economically and lawfully, there is a disconnection in the way this can be conducted once mining in space becomes an everyday occurrence. How do you control ownership for the items not already extracted from space?
This sort of circles back to my opening about how land has been claimed. Think about the United States for a moment. The British settlers came to New England, set up post, and began taking out the native people there. Eventually, the British took over all of it and the Native population became so low that they could no longer compete. Without proper law in place for space mining, we may soon see a time where a power country, maybe one that has become intelligent in the way space mining can be done effectively, take over mining areas that were already visited by another country. Technically, this would be alright by the laws currently written. Right now, the only ownership countries are giving themselves is the ownership of what has already been extracted, not the ownership of a certain piece of mining real estate. Without this proper law, it will become a race to who can acquire the most space mining areas. The economics of it would falter because of the imperialistic nature of one country owning all of the space mining areas.
It is clear that before a race to space mining begins, the laws of space mining need to protect the economic values of the country that is mining. Without the proper laws, we will be in a scenario similar to the imperialistic ways of the British and create a free for all market in space.