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Government in Space

Government in Space

Governments are organized for the purpose of common defense and the well being of the group. In a nomadic tribe, there is little to defend in the way of territory, structures or possessions, so the form of government is usually minimal and often casual. The tribe can simply pick up and move on to escape most threats. Leadership offers counsel in where to move and how to move.

In a city based culture, standing to fight and defend the territory and buildings and crops and possessions requires more rigid government based on defense and more organization of social structure to ensure stability and continuity.

As cities grow and merge into states and nations, the needs for defense and common infrastructure grow and become more complex. Historically, the normal progression has been that as state-nations grow in size, they tend to decide to sacrifice freedoms on the local level and cede some power to a central government in order to meet their needs.

In space (not considering planetary surfaces) the situation may be more like the nomadic tribes or even dealing with governmental issues in a maritime arena. Space habitats will be constantly changing their orbits relative to each other, greatly minimizing the classical basis for territorial boundaries.

There will be a tremendous need for local security in a space habitat, but that need can be supplied by local government, with a clear relationship between the sacrifice of searches for banned materials and the need to maintain hull integrity. Beyond the limit of the hull, there won’t normally be major concerns and little need to make close associations with other groups that might require sacrifice of individual liberty.

Migration into space will be driven by both a sense of freedom and opportunity. Freedom from oppressive groups/organizations/governments on Earth and seemingly unlimited opportunities for financial growth and individuality. Without any unusual need (such as war), space populations will be reluctant to hand over authority in any form to groups beyond their local grasp.

Examples from the history of Greek city-states, the evolution of Swiss cantons into a federation and the Iroquois Confederacy will offer suggestions for a new form of limited government.

Commerce in Space

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