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Social structure on Mars and/or the Moon

Mars One's ambitious project to colonize Mars in 20xx is an exciting one, but I was a little unsatisfied by their answer in terms of social structure - which you can find here: https://www.mars-one.com/faq/mission-to-mars/what-governmental-system-and-social-structure-will-be-implemented-on-mars

So, assuming we started the colonization of Mars or the Moon or both tomorrow, what kind of social structure do you think would work best? For instance, will they use money? And would it be socially sustainable to reward some settlers with greater access to scarce resources than others? These are the kind of questions I ask myself thinking about this, how about you?

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    Lejan .

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    Apr 10 2014: As much as I can see, there is no reason why we wouldn't make the same mistakes in social structures on Mars and Moon as we do on earth right now...
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      Apr 10 2014: Rather pessimistic viewpoint in my opinion. Technological, biological, social and cultural evolution will get us there eventually, hopefully..
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        Apr 10 2014: The reason why you hope for social evolution rather than knowing that it will take place may well have the same source and origin of observations than those my first comment was based on ...

        Honestly I don't see any reason for optimism even by linear extrapolation in the future, coming from our past and I am always very skeptic about exponential change in something that persistently static as human nature turns out and proved itself to be ...
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          Apr 11 2014: It is the cavemen survival insticts in human nature and bounded brains, that limit us. Everntually the human race will take control of its evolution, or become extinct if you want to persist. I bet on the first one. We shall see who is right, maybe even in this century. The majority of the people see this problem of 'primitive' and static human nature, at least in some topics, such as governance and the financial system.

          When the problem is seen, human ingenuity will do the rest eventually.
          Or again we die, there is no better evolutionary incentive :)
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        Apr 11 2014: I am not pessimistic about the capacity of the human brain but about its application. Therefore genetic engineering of our species would not help but produce even more unused intellect.

        I am also not certain if emotions such as 'greed', 'envy' and 'thirst for power' could be eradicated from our genes, and if so, who comes to decide about what else and how much of it shall be defined as the 'new gene pool' for our species, out of which 'better' generations shall arise.

        Would you turn your unborn child into a single data set within the learning curve of such an genetic, human experiment?

        Who's on the panel to define the human 2.0? And what do we do with those who get created on the way to get there, but didn't turn out right? And all the 1.0 versions, such as us? Are we not allowed to reproduce anymore then? Because if we were, the new genetic optimum would be highly endangered in its purity...

        As a German, the given history of my nation taught me not only skepticism about ideas to create 'superior races' but also strongest aversions against it, because no matter how a new concept will be named and/or framed, its essence will be fascistic and racist in its core.

        No, the brain capacity to do better than we do is already there, since thousands of years, so the reason why we keep failing is to be find elsewhere than in the theoretical rational abilities of our heads.

        Which would lead us to emotions by which I wonder if you suggest to genetically control them?

        Is there a strong 'empathy' gene on which we could emphasize on, and if so, how is it connected, interwoven with our very individual complexity of our characters?

        As much as I am aware of right now, a protected, loving and enriching childhood is very likely to nourish a healthy character of an growing individual. Yet may I asked you how much of 'parenting' have you ever learned in school? I haven't had a single class, a single lesson on this at all. Not that it would guarantee for better parents ...
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        Apr 11 2014: ... but it would contain a chance for it.

        So as it seems that our societies ignore even the most obvious and trains its people rather for the workforce than for a whole life, genetic engineering is likely to have its main focus also there.

        Why not outsmart China by some genetic tricks on our children if we can not beat them in numbers ...

        But also this would be only temporary, as it is likely that large fractions of such as project would be outsourced where some bucks could be saved ... :o)

        Human ingenuity has already cooked up all recipes needed to make this earth a better place than it actually is, yet we are not using them! The problems are in plain sight since and still.

        So forgive my openness to say, that when the 'human race will take control of its evolution' it will eventually solve its problems is quite naive to think, yet reflects beautifully the wide spread faith in uninvented and not existing yet salutary technology.

        We have invented water purification centuries ago, so there is actually no need for hundreds of children a day to die of diarrhoea.

        So is it really necessary to manipulate our genes to start acting morally responsible?

        I have my doubts ...
      • Apr 16 2014: As much as we know now, the humans' psychology didn't change for the past 35,000 years. Irrespective of the technological evolution. I keep hearing about "a new man". And hearing this I can't forget about fascism and communism/socialism as being the only two existing (so far) cases in history when it was really tried on a large scale (different religion's monasteries just being lab scale research). None of them being very attractive. As in Dante, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And of course I expect that everybody to know that "morality" is just an ad hoc social agreement based on current conditions and not the result of some universal standard norms. Exception being the Tablets of Moises received directly from God.
        Now, assuming that any group of humans will be able to decide on "the best social structure" of another group of humans living in another and different conditions environment is in my eyes not only presumptuous but quite dangerous. Because, as during the religious wars, a group of people will consider themselves as the owners of the real truth or "morale" and having a divine role to impose this morale over other people. It is to reflect on if a current social and political system is good to be exported to different other environments.
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          Apr 16 2014: Learn from history, live in the present, prepare for the future!

          Those who are only frozen by fear for the past, repeating itself in the future, will never accomplish anything.
          It fits in our overprotected society, were only zero risk is the norm.

          "Because, as during the religious wars, a group of people will consider themselves as the owners of the real truth or "morale" and having a divine role to impose this morale over other people. It is to reflect on if a current social and political system is good to be exported to different other environments."
          Right and that is why we must also evolve socially, maybe even first, together!
          Like as the hugging guru in India, what is she called...

          Together to action for a wiser and better world! :)
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        Apr 16 2014: The most complex system I know of on this planet is also the most efficient system I know of on this planet, which creates abundance while keeping its resources in closed and total recycling loops.

        Based on the principle of dynamic equilibrium, it also controls the numbers of each individual components it consists of, which we call species and the system itself, nature.

        Given that fact, that almost all of man-made systems and technologies are in itself not sustainable, and, even worse, not based on any form of controlled equilibrium at all, yet located on a finite planet, which by definition is incapable to support infinite growth, there is a natural limit up of which an increasing human population will inevitably collapse.

        Humans haven't even managed to install a reliable, stable and for all individuals supportive economical system, nor does this system synchronizes to any degree to nature on which it is 100% reliable of, so let me ask you, what is your understanding of 'efficiency' in the context you sketched in you last comment?
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          Apr 16 2014: Humans are flawed, which is why we can't make 'reliable', 'stable' supportive economical systems. We have to comprimize and when normal citizens are not pushed badly enough to let everything fall and call out, we are fine with it.

          Point is, we have to evolve in the way we think, work and communicate in order to be able to do better.

          My understanding is that of a (bio)chemist, by catalyzing and redesigning processes, you get more work done with lower input (activation) energies.
          See the corn, wheat and rice agriculture and the 'bio-based economy'.

          You want to change something? Get mad:
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        Apr 16 2014: 'Humans are flawed, which is why we don't can't make 'reliable', 'stable' supportive economical systems.'

        Is this an intended double negation in 'don't can't make' or unintended?

        'Point is, we have to evolve in the way we think, work and communicate in order to be able to do better.'

        To do better in what? Economically, environmentally, socially, etc.? What exactly do you mean?

        Although we are flawed, on which I agree, who is going to define flawlessness as THE new genetically engineered goal, and based on what measure?

        Efficiency? Defined as 'In general, efficiency is a measurable concept, quantitatively determined by the ratio of output to input.' (Wikipedia)

        So what 'measurable concept' would you like to incorporate in the human gene?

        PPM = Parts per minute? IWPM = Intelligent words per minute? RPY = Riots/Revolutions per year?

        What is this measurable flawlessness you seem to aim for in our species?

        And what would you do with those people who would not like to have them or their children manipulated? Would you ostracize them? And if so, why?

        Under the current economic mantra, efficiency keeps pressing more and more people each year into mental and physical exhaustion, even depression, to increase the measurable value of profits for only a view. Is this intelligent or even flawless? Or would one genetic manipulation aim at making humans more reliable under stressful working conditions? Really?

        To 'get more work done with lower input' is the source cause of increasing numbers of employees suffering from burnout syndromes.

        Funny in the given context of 'evolve in the way we think, work and communicate' is the video link you added, as for any efficient communicative standard, this 'visually expressive nonsense' and recent trend to turn spoken words into a 'LOOK! This is what I can do with Adobe AfterEffects' presentation, actually indicates that its the color of the book consumers get conditioned for, and NOT its intellectual content or message.
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          Apr 17 2014: It is an artistic message and can inspire, however in this case, I did mean to provoke a bit ;)
          RPY - Revolutions per year, made me laugh, thanks, going to remember that one :)
          Good discussions are very important, but at some time you just have to start acting in a way that you would like to see the world. Always starting with yourself.

          And thanks for the critics, made me search my own little internet of bookmarks and found this 'jewel',
          which gives yet another perspective and is a better elaboration then my own on the problems of humanity:

          PS: Besides getting mad to get things done, also don't forget to smile once in a while :)
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        Lejan .

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        Apr 17 2014: I am a huge fan and supporter of visualization, yet not for its own sake. Thats why I am waiting for someone to make an RSA Animate about the topic why RSA Animates are pointless and distract focus on what is said more than it can visualize for them.

        Yet since Apple started the hype of 'simplification', which swashed in almost any aspect of modern human interactions, we have to sit it out, I assume. Today its the 'tablet-fication' we can observe in user Internet interface design, of which most of it appears only advantageous to bridge the disadvantage of infinitely thicker fingers compared to practical mouse-pointers ...

        Anyway, and as you brought this up, I do not smile. Never! By definition, I can't. Never even tried. Can't even get the point of it, its purpose, other than to keep certain facial muscles busy in hope to be of any use to make people understand whats inside of me. The grin on my TED picture is a photo-shop fake.

        And though smiling on Mars and/or the Moon may take less effort than it is on earth, I think also there humans will slowly get rid of it, once they streamlined their genes into an superior something, to be of more use for some others but for themselves to something+ measurable degrees.


        Nevertheless you elegantly avoided to answer any of my questions!

        • Apr 18 2014: Real Marshall McLuhan person I get ! But somehow I think Gutenberg era is something lost today and this is a pity. However, I think that both genetic engineering an social engineering when done on rationale beings are damnable and a horrible to think about. Individual freedom to decide is a true cornerstone of human society. And I know from history that the attempts to create a "new man" or a "new society" tried by communist and fascists ends always in blood and suffering. We can't decide what is good for "humans" or "for the future". Lets allow God or Nature, whatever you prefer, to continue to influence the human path forward. I also think that political correctness and all other sorts of imposed equality (sexual, gender, racial, etc) are dangerous as them may ferment future troubles. The step by step changing in the morale of a society is a far better way to achieve these goals. In most of the world gender equality and racial equality are norms and not talked much about. (Personally, as an European, I am quite amazed about the dimension of racial issues in US). We still have the sexual and religious matters on display.
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      Apr 29 2014: Hello dear Lejan. Just want to express my wish in an addition to your comments:

      how wonderfully smart would be to arrange millions and billions of people to leave the earth for space, and pioneer some living out-there - no matter what sort of social or cultural structures they would prefer ... As any new emigration in the past it will be a horrific mixture. Cheers!
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        Lejan .

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        Apr 29 2014: Most likely. ;o) But I like it here and there needs to stay at least one idiot to clean up the mess ... me and wall-e, which actually makes two, anyone else? :o)
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          Apr 29 2014: ..please include me, one more idiot to stay..
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        Apr 29 2014: Ok, great! ... are you going to rename this planet then? ;o)
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          Apr 29 2014: Will be re-naming it every day.
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        Apr 29 2014: aha ... oh dear ... can I at least keep mine? I am not very good with names... :o)


        I was just thinking what the chances were to ever meet if we were the only leftovers on this globe... probably zero, as I can't even sail and would probably die learning, or find the real India instead or whatnot ... :o)
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          Apr 29 2014: Charming contemplation.. I believe that we can somehow do rather well learning whatever needs to be learned to Survive - I'm surprised sometimes looking back at myself - I was capable to somehow peacefully manage when no one around me could not.. well, if we could have had a little more space, unmanipulated by others... it's impossible!
          Try to learn to fly a jet, in case if we are only leftovers, Lejan :)
  • Apr 23 2014: If we ever indulge in such an adventure, Mar's gravity will change human to some unforeseeable species that will have very little resemblance to humans. Gravity, plants spin, sunlight and other physical factors changes nature of life.
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      Apr 29 2014: Excellent point, Raj.
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    Apr 9 2014: A social structure that allows only the best of humans to show each day.
    And an environment that allows freedom in creativity, even if it is only in music (making) or painting.
    Information technology could be used to take care of all dull things.
    If the people stay happy, they can work together and for free.
    Socially wise, well raised, non-dominant, non arrogant people with a history would be a pre even over intellect, I suppose.

  • May 6 2014: Initial colonization will be by hand-picked text-book examples of professions deemed needed, led by a single Captain who will have complete power. Their goal will be to create some form of industry which both supports the colonists and provides an export to Earth. Without a viable export any 'colonization' will instead be a research base only. Bases do not require a new social system as they will be established along military lines, with a specific goal in mind, and are not intended to form a new society at all.

    After setting up a economically viable system, based on exports or tourism, you will begin to see individuals who do not have a defined 'role' in the society. That is when you first need to consider a social system other than military rule.

    I have no hope that colonizing a new planet would result in some grand elevation of the human condition to a Utopia. Rather I expect it to be raw, bloodthirsty, exploitative and unforgiving. Since Mars is not exactly the Garden of Eden, there will be a production quota that really (and I mean REALLY) has to be met just to survive. Anyone failing to meet that quota will become an unbearable burden on the new society and will not be tolerated. Expect banishment similar to leaving the deformed on the hills of Rome to die.

    Once past this 'successful colony' stage new individuals can begin developing non-critical skills to flesh out the rest of society and begin its own path. Original colonists will become feudal landlords/corporations with new arrivals as serfs who must work off a debt, or come with a large entry fee. Permanent residents will expect huge riches. Look at the New World colonization for models.

    I fail to see how removing the human from this planet would make human nature go away. Idyllic dreams of Utopias are not real. Instead expect to see religious fanatics, brutal capitalists, cult of personality dictatorships, slavery...
    You know... the stuff Humans usually do.
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    May 6 2014: I find it funny that Mars or any other human 'colony' is expected to be better than earth.
    It's like expecting someone with a track record of driving profitable multinationals to bankrupcy to change to a creative mogul in another planet.

    You are who you are; whether on earth or somewhere else.
  • May 4 2014: The major problem as I see it is that the Moon and Mars are not the Earth witch means that humans who attempt to live on these planets will no longer be human.
    Humanity is inextricably linked to an Earth environment and quite apart from these the influences humans would receive would be alien and turn any human into an alien.
    Therefore any culture that lived on another planet would be alien and nothing resembling any Earth culture, so any attempt to intellectually peculate about such a culture is just that speculation.
  • May 3 2014: I think the best case scenario would be to cherry-pick the most successful social ideas that are being used today on Earth. The benefit of a Mars / Moon colony scenario is they would have the opportunity to 'start fresh' and try the best ideas of their time without all the baggage, similar to the origins of the United States. 250 years later, it's easy to see all the mistakes we made, but we made something better than what existed in the 17th and 18th century elsewhere. Mars / Moon colonies could do the same.
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    R H

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    May 2 2014: What an extremely interesting question. assuming the number of colonizers would be determined by a projected sustainability factor, here's some general questions i would have regarding this question: What cultures go? What languages? What are the defined values? What are the vision and mission of the settlement? In other words, i would need to know specifically who was going, why we were going, and how many were going before i could speculate on an organizational structure. With that said, let's assume some entity is sponsoring this event and is providing the resources/funding to complete it - a gov't, a wealthy industrialist, a cohort of contributors, etc.. Why are they doing it? And not the 'publicized' version, but the real version. What is the long-term benefit expected? Now let's assume their motivations are altruistic and they just want to see if a Utopian human community can be developed. Now, more than before, i need my questions answered.
  • Apr 28 2014: Humans survive by cooperating. Social structures change in severe environments. Available resource, (air, water, power), would have to be tightly controlled, as would activities, especially reproductive activities. Basic research would tend to be directed toward finding new resources and expanding colony airspace and power production. Unstable individual behavior could have have catastrophic impact on colony survival. Unproductive and dangerous individuals would be an unacceptable waste of resources. Their biomass might be used as compost. Their genetic diversity would likely be lost to the colony. For colonies that survived and expanded to the point that resources were plentiful, the culture of tight control would likely persist. Functional art might be appreciated, while art for art sake might not. Certain obsessive-compulsive traits might be deemed admirable, while the desire for privacy might be deemed suspicious. Basic medical care might include maintaining "subdued" hormonal states. Eskimo-kibbutz maybe
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    Apr 26 2014: Personally I think they should think of things as a new slate. In other words attempt new social arrangements. I think it would be sad to see people on Mars or the moon to stake claim to certain areas and property, create banks, create a mortgage industry, plunder any resources, etc. Government? "That government is best which governs least." -Thoreau
    Back on earth what will we say of them? "Wow, they're creating a very neat sustainable society" or "Wow, they're fighting, bickering, destroying the planet, etc." Perhaps I'm thinking too utopian, but it'd be nice to see something completely different.
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    Apr 24 2014: The same social structure. It's not about place,it's about "creatures"that colonize it.
  • Apr 23 2014: I'm not interested in the social structure. I think establishing civilization on Mars or the Moon depends on the source of funding whether it is Congress(Federal)government or private citizen. If it funded by any government I would never want to live or visit Mars or the Moon. My reasons are governments voted by the majority of citizens tend to want to expand their control over private-individual citizens. I don't want a repeat of the corrupted U.S. Constitution on individual rights limitation or most of the international governments democratic socialism or dictatorships. In government sponsored programs no one is held accountable should failures occur within the system. If Mars or the Moon were funded exclusively by a private individual's wealth only then I would consider living or visiting Mars or the Moon. My reasons are someone will be responsible for Mars or the Moon should failures occur and would presumably fix it if they could afford to do so. Private individuals usually have goals which include making a profit in seeking their interest they make sure there are benefits to living on Mars or the Moon which as a result attract other private individuals to pay or mutually trade to gain those benefits. For example, compare U.S. Postal service to UPS. Or Department of Motor Vehicles service to Jet Blue Airlines.
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    Apr 23 2014: What I would like to try is a different approach or rather old approach tried again.

    We are currently living in a "to have" society which is based on external signs of wealth as defined in capitalism... why not focus on a "to be" society for a change, where possession is not relevant but a means to an end. So instead of growing against each other and trying to dominated and win... try to grow with each other and alongside...

    This sounds like a mad fantasy? I am not sure if there were to be a lead for this I'd chose a woman... as in my humble experience women tend to be more rational and potentially less domination driven.

    The rest regarding tests etc... sure... however the setting of this society needs to focus on intrinsic growth and equality of skills and capabilities. This is not socialism but respect for the individual skills inherent in any human being.

    Should this be successful... why not.... I would give it a try. Even though I may not be part of this trip. :-)
    • May 1 2014: I like where your heading with this. A woman may be a good choice to lead, but women are definitely not less dominance minded nor more rational, but they are more "environmental" and I do like em! Men and women instinctively know how to appreciate each other, and severe environments will require that we help each other reach our full potentials. There is no more fulfilled life than that; live and die, striving, creating together; works for me. Makes you want to build and dance just thinking about it!
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    Apr 19 2014: Seems on Planet Earth, act of simply observing is neglected.
    Maybe send 4 men, and 4 women to Mars for 3 months. All to different places. No contact with one another until after 3 months.
    Let them find ways to survive and get through the day, while writing about thought processes, exercise, and observations made about themselves, and how they relate to Mars. Return to Earth.
    Meet in a room for a roundtable discussion about what they experienced on Mars. Videotape talk, make available to every human on Planet Earth.
    Publish their writings, make available to every human on Planet Earth.
    Worldwide vote to decide whether or not to proceed to colonize Mars.
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    Apr 16 2014: i agree with Lejan
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    Apr 14 2014: “Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.”

    ― Voltaire
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      Apr 16 2014: Nice and true.
      The new road is here "Imagination": http://vimeo.com/34905402
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        Apr 16 2014: Hi Vincent,

        Thank you for the link, it's good to know that among true idiots, representing our new generation of people, someone may be different, can think, imagine, and even articulate some thoughts!

        In any case, I personally trust that we already live on multiple levels of our realities but cannot observe/calculate them just by looking at our superficial theater of conscious minds. Our outdated sciences still base knowledge and info on those shallow appearances under microscopes or through telescopes.

        Well, this is a lot to discover, all ahead of us.
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    Apr 14 2014: It is very hard to imagine that people would learn something useful in terms of their own nature, including our awareness of our mental limitations on the Moon or Mars or elsewhere. I'm sure that those pioneers will bring the same ignorace everywhere, and will do their best to repeat greatest old mistakes. But the challanges towards survival most likely will bring new, differnt desasters.

    “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”
    ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Collected Works
  • Apr 14 2014: It will be similar to living in Northern Part of Norway, way west of Kiruna(?) Sweden.
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    Apr 11 2014: We only need to look at the training and past history of astronauts that have already been on orbital and space station expeditions or, to a lesser extent, remote research sites in the Artic and Antarctic to understand the requirements for social order.

    First of all, only those with sufficient emotional maturity and intelligence are welcome aboard these vessels. There is zero tolerance for domineering and violence prone personalities and extensive testing is performed to weed out the potentially unstable, malcontents and misanthropes. . The space is just too small to endure them. So only those who are able to endure cramped quarters, an endless lack of privacy, are emotionally and mentally stable, are socially adaptive and who are able to work co-operatively with others are welcome in these cramped environs. .

    Second, while some individuals are responsible for specific duties and tasks, everyone has to be competent at any task since the loss of any "specialist" can be disastrous to the whole of the community. Nor will there be any "leaders" dictating to the others because all residents will have to rotate through the individual responsibilities for maintaining the community's well-being to ensure everyone's competency at those tasks.

    Of course decision making will be a collective effort and, again, only those who are competent enough and mature enough to work and live within such a community will be invited. Only those who want to "get it right" will be welcome while those who simply want to "BE right" will be left behind on earth.

    In other words, there will come a time when all the functional and mature and responsible human beings have left the planet and are headed to the stars while those left on earth will be the petty, the mean-spirited, the bullies and thugs, the criminals, the most arrogant, the most self-righteous and the most dysfunctional.

  • Apr 10 2014: Mats

    After reading your foundation and the replies, I am of the opinion that most are very unaware, purposely perhaps, of the nature of the human animal.
    Your reference (link) points to a collective process of decision making. This alone will create fragmentation and with stronger personalities controlling each fragment. Now we have positioning and alliances to gain power and control."The Lord of the Flies" lends an understanding to that, all to human trait.
    The first settlement will have a commander, as a captain on a ship, an absolute authority. It can be no other way,
    As one of your respondents points out money and modern culture destroyed the purity of the hunter gatherer system, where males, being the stronger were at the head and also the hunter, while the female, the weaker, gathered and tended the children. There seems to be no consideration to the fact that our; 'modern culture' all of it, evolved from hunters and gathers. The reason being the inherent character of the beast.
    We can look to the initial colonization of the Americas to understand how collectives and kingdoms fail to evolve in a positive growth scenario.
    Define freedom, intellectual achievement and you may begin to understand why history repeats. Refer to "The Republic" for Justice.
  • Apr 10 2014: If you study the history of wealth and money, you will find that at the point where a culture uses a wealth system, people turn against people to get more of whatever that culturally defined wealth is.

    Studies of hunter gatherer societies (that existed around the world before they were destroyed by our culture), show that they valued peace and equality. War was unheard of until a wealth-based culture came and kicked them off their land. They didn't use money, yet all studies show that they were far happier than any in our culture.

    We don't need money to survive once we choose to use social bonds as a cultural currency. Think about it. What is money? In our culture, debt is money, and consider how insane that is. There is no way to pay off the debt because the interest that is attached to the debt is never invented into existence by banks who make loans by inventing currency. We all work pretty hard to step on others so that we can get ahead. In a money system, you can't get ahead without harming those you abuse.

    I don't think that our culture will do very spectacular things until we let go of the belief that money and wealth are good things. In fact, they are the cause of all of our social ills.
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    Apr 10 2014: Too many variables. Who are the colonists? Are they scientists or are they Shiites seeking religious freedom? The makeup of the colonial group will determine the social structure that is most effective.
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    Apr 9 2014: Initially there will be only a few people going anyway, so the social structure will develop basically on its own.
    Over time, assuming colonization is successful, a more complex society will develop, but since conditions on Mars will be different in many aspect from those on earth, it will be difficult to predict what social, economical, political etc. structure may eventually develop.