Bezos and Boeing to build business park in space – Slog

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I know why Jeff Bezos has a big plan with Boeing to build and manage a business park in space: the project, named Orbital Reef, will be completed by the middle of the current century, and it will likely make Bezos more money than this galaxy has ever made of stars.

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But we can also be sure of it: “seasoned space agencies, high-tech consortia, sovereign nations without space programs, media and travel companies, sponsored entrepreneurs and sponsored inventors, and investment-oriented investors. future “that Bezos expects a piece of Orbital Reef to want won’t materialize, and the place will be as empty as a WeWork. What will Bezos and Boeing do at this point? The answer, of course, is to build another business park in space.

Looks like I’m pissing on this project, but I’m not. I am very serious. There are two things the space park will do for the billionaire and his class: one is to provide a non-state space solution for the massive absorption of a huge amount of excess capital. This is why the dominant part of the billionaire class is so committed to the privatization of space programs.

Thrillist.com:

“More than one client has told us that if Elon Musk becomes the first trillionaire… it wouldn’t be because of Tesla,” analyst Adam Jones said, according to The Guardian. “Others have said that SpaceX could possibly be the world’s most successful company, in any industry.”

Although SpaceX is privately held and will remain so until the Mars Colonial Transporter regularly carries passengers to and from the planet, it is currently estimated to be worth around $ 200 billion.

The state cannot be separated from capitalism. There is no universal measure of accumulation without it. We call it “universality money”. But the state has other important functions for a capitalist economy, one of which gave it a lot of power in the second half of the 20th century. This function is to provide massive means of withdrawing capital from the system of capital accumulation. In the United States, the Interstate Highway System provided this service for excess capital in the 1950s. NASA did the same in the 1960s, and the military continues to do so to this day.

Although capitalism cannot function without this service of eliminating capital – just as a city cannot survive without the utility of waste management – capitalists have always hated its classic provider, the state, an institution which, for its own survival, cannot afford to ignore class conflicts – or, in other words, politics.

Dealing in the political realm means that the elimination of capital can just as easily go to space or to weapons of mass destruction or to areas of society that reduce class conflicts, such as the elimination of debt. student, universal health care, social housing and the like. But the privatization of space removes a considerable part of the policy of eliminating capital, and the class character of the economy of endless accumulation can be intensified without democratic control.

But the space park will surely flop. Bezos knows it. Boeing too. So, is this project simply a matter of sending excess capital into space on the depoliticized terms of the capitalists? Yes. But it’s also about making more capital from the capital spent. How it will work in 2050 is easy to understand. When the Orbital Reef has no activity, it will do business with it by building another Orbital Reef in space.

The great 20th economist Michal Kalecki explained this logic:

Suppose, as often happens in the United States, that two competing railway lines run between two cities. Traffic on both lines is light. How to deal with this situation? Paradoxically, it would be necessary to build a third railway line, because then the first two lines will transport the materials and the labor to build the third line. What to do when building the third railway line? Then we should build a fourth and a fifth. This is paradoxical because it would probably be better to undertake other investments near the first two rail lines rather than build a third. But it perfectly illustrates the laws of development of the capitalist economy as a whole.

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