Resolved: The appropriation of outer space by private entities is unjust (Bibliography)


NASA Is Soliciting Bids to Bring Capitalism to the Moon (2020). This article is critical of capitalist exploitation of space but argues it will support moon and Mars colonization and development.

Aff  — General

Billionaire space race: the ultimate symbol of capitalism’s flawed obsession with growth (2021). This is an excellent first read that argues that capitalist-led space exploration supports a growth mindset at the expense of humanity and living on earth, claiming it is something we do to avoid our fear of death. Interesting, it was written by a former debater.

Lost in Space (2017). This is an excellent article that explains how the logics of private space exploration are grounded in the logics of capitalism and colonialism.

American Capitalism Is Suffocating the Endless Possibilities of Space (2020). This article argues that even if trillions of people make it to space that they will not benefit.

Why do we love to hate Jeff Bezos? (2018). This article argues that billionaires are sacrificing the interests and needs of the poor to go to outer space.

Space, billionaires, and how capitalism is killing the planet (2021)

Leave the billionaires in space (2021)

Aff– Capitalism Bad Links

One giant leap for capitalistkind: private enterprise in outer space (2019). Outer space is becoming a space for capitalism. We are entering a new era of the commercialization of space, geared towards generating profits from satellite launches, space tourism, asteroid mining, and related ventures. This era, driven by private corporations such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origins, has been labeled by industry insiders as ‘NewSpace’—in contrast to ‘Old Space’, a Cold War-era mode of space relations when (allegedly) slow-moving, sluggish states dominated outer space. NewSpace marks the arrival of capitalism in space. While challenging the libertarian rhetoric of its proponents—space enterprises remain enmeshed in the state, relying on funding, physical infrastructure, technology transfers, regulatory frameworks, and symbolic support—NewSpace nevertheless heralds a novel form of human activity in space. Despite its humanistic, universalizing pretensions, however, NewSpace does not benefit humankind as such but rather a specific set of wealthy entrepreneurs, many of them originating in Silicon Valley, who strategically deploy humanist tropes to engender enthusiasm for their activities. We describe this complex as ‘capitalistkind’. Moreover, the arrival of capitalism in space is fueled by the expansionary logic of capital accumulation. Outer space serves as a spatial fix, allowing capital to transcend its inherent terrestrial limitations. In this way, the ultimate spatial fix is perhaps (outer) space itself.


Yes to Space Exploration. No to Space Capitalism. (2021)

Aff — International Space Station Privatization Fails

The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture, NASA document shows (2018)

Aff – War/Conflict

The dark side of space: how capitalism poses a threat beyond Earth (2014). This article argues that private space development will occur without the constraints that states have agreed to risking conflict.

Aff — Worker Exploitation

Earth’s robber-barons are salivating over bringing authoritarian capitalism to space (2019)

Aff — Space Junk

Why space capitalism will eat itself (2018)

Aff — Asteroid Mining Fails

Asteroids contain metals worth quintillions of dollars — but mining them won’t necessarily make your richer than Bezos or Musk (2021).  The article argues that asteroid mining will produce a lot of materials which will drive down the value of those materials.

Does asteroid mining have a future? (2019)

How the asteroid mining buble burst (2019). Gated


Capitalists in Space (2009). Gated

Asteroid mining and capitalism in space. This article talks about the pros and cons of capitalists in space and makes the argument that capitalists in space want to mine asteroids.

The asteroid trillionaires (2018). This article discusses the role of private industry in asteroid development and identifies some of the opportunities and barriers to asteroid exploitation.

Resource Wars

Who Owns the Moon?: Capitalism in Outer Space (2020). This article argues that capitalist exploitation of space will produce resource conflicts.


Need Government-Private Sector Cooperation

Outer space capitalism: The legal and technical challenges facing the private space industry (2019). This article argues that the private sector alone cannot make space development work.

How to build a space economy that avoids the mistakes of terrestrial capitalism (2019). This article argues that the government and the private sector must work together to develop space.

General Space Exploration

Private Companies, Not Governments, Are Shaping the Future of Space Exploration (2017).  This article argues that private sector companies are in the lead in space exploration but that public-private cooperation is best.

Space: The Next Frontier of Capitalism (2018). This article argues the private sector is critical because governments are no longer interested.

Opinion: SpaceX’s success is one small step for man, one giant leap for capitalism (2020). This article argues the private sector is better at space exploration and development.

Who Gets to Own Outer Space? (2017). This article argues that private companies are critical to space exploration and development.

Making humans an interplanetary species (2017). This article is gated but it makes the argument that private companies in space support space colonization.

Asteroid Mining/Resources

Mining in Space is Coming (2021). This article discusses the various potential (and occuring) mining activities in space.

Riches in Space: Asteroids Could Pay for Much of Space Exploration (2021). This article makes the argument that asteroid mining is needed for space colinization and a post-scarcity world.

Asteroids: How Love, Fear, and Greed Will Determine Our Future in Space (2021) Book

Asteroid mining, space tourism and the new space race (2021). This discusses the role of the private sector in resource development and space exploration.

The first trillionaires will make their fortunes in space (2011)


Space Flights Now Boarding, Thanks to Capitalism (2021)

Space Capitalism: How Humans will Colonize Planets, Moons, and Asteroids (2018).

  • Contextualises space travel and colonisation within historical economic thought applied to earth, including Adam Smith’s thoughts on traditional forms of property and governance
  • Offers an academic perspective on current private projects in space travel and technological breakthroughts such as Virgin Galactic and Skreemr
  • Explains how public/private partnerships fail
  • Explores how and why states destroy the promise of space exploration
  • Explains how a laissez faire view enhances the promise of space travel and colonization — 

Capitalism in Space (2017)

It is essential for any nation that wishes to thrive and compete on the world stage to have a successful and flourishing aerospace industry, centered on the capability of putting humans and payloads into space affordably and frequently. This is a bipartisan position held by elected officials from both American political parties since the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957.

The reasons for this are straightforward:

It is essential for any nation that wishes to thrive and compete on the world stage to have a successful and flourishing aerospace industry, centered on the capability of putting humans and payloads into space affordably and frequently. This is a bipartisan position held by elected officials from both American political parties since the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957.

The reasons for this are straightforward:

Military strength: For strategic reasons, the military must have the capability of launching satellites into orbit for the purpose of surveillance and reconnaissance. In addition, the country’s missile technology must be state-of-the-art to make this data gathering as effective as possible. A healthy aerospace industry is the only way to achieve both.

Natural resources: The resources in space – raw materials from asteroids and the planets as well as energy from the Sun – are there for the taking. Other nations are striving to obtain those resources and the wealth those assets will provide for their citizens. Without direct access to those resources, American society will have less opportunity for growth and prosperity, and the country will eventually fall behind as a major power.

Economic growth: A thriving aerospace industry helps fuel the U.S. economy. It develops cutting-edge technology in fields such as computer design, materials research, and miniaturization that drives innovation and invention in every other field.

National prestige: Even if the previous three reasons did not exist, the prestige of the United States requires that we remain competitive in the increasingly global race to explore and settle the solar system. If the United States doesn’t compete in this effort, future generations of Americans will be left behind as China, Russia, Europe, India, and an increasing number of other nations establish operations in space and permanent colonies on the Moon, Mars, and the asteroids.