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Given the rates of poverty and despair in even our most "advanced" nations and the onset of global warming, is space exploration prudent?

Is it really important to spend our limited resources on space programs while ecosystems are failing here and those same resources could be used to improve the lives of those we share the globe with? Is the carbon cost of space exploration worth the loss of ecosystems and resources it produces? Should developing nations follow more industrialized nations' examples by forsaking their disadvantaged for the amusement and luxury of their affluent?

Some miscellaneous reference:
http://blog.ted.com/2006/09/28/virgin_galactic/
http://blog.ted.com/2009/02/24/capt_charles_mo/
http://www.ted.com/playlists/67/the_quest_to_end_poverty.html

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    May 23 2013: For those whose information on poverty may be limited, who have 15-60 minutes to spare for a further understanding of the perspective of my question, I suggest a small dose of Moyers & Company: http://billmoyers.com/segment/richard-wolff-on-capitalisms-destructive-power/

    Moyers' discussion with economist Richard Wolff addresses issues of perpetual growth, sustainable economics, poverty and the limitations of industry in a very clear and practical manner. Support materials found on the Moyers site include:
    http://billmoyers.com/2013/05/20/rise-up-or-die/
    and
    http://billmoyers.com/2013/05/15/poverty-and-inequality-in-some-of-the-worlds-richest-countries/

    Contrary to what some of the earlier comments in this thread may purport, you will note that inequality, poverty and social welfare are not addressed as technological issues; but, rather, as social issues more requiring compassion and cooperation than capitalization and competition. When the Moyers information is considered with the TED talks by Larry Brilliant and Janine Benyus that I referenced in the original post the result is a socially conscious, sustainability focused perspective that counters the exuberance of the Jon Nguyen and Elon Musk perspectives that tout spacefaring as a pleasure we can afford and should pursue.

    Obviously, I am interested in learning more that might logically support or denounce the ideas on both sides of the issue as I have stated it in my original question.

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