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Dr. Edythe Weeks, Tuesday, 11-20-12 November 21, 2012

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Dr. Edythe Weeks, Tuesday, 11-20-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1897-BWB-2012-11-20.mp3

Guest:  Dr Edythe (Edy) Weeks.  Topics: We discussed her book, various commercial space development models, benefit sharing & more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. We welcomed Dr. Edythe (Edy) Weeks to the program to discuss her book, “Outer Space Development, International Relations and Space Law: A Method for Elucidating Seeds.” You can buy her book on Amazon & if you use the following URL, Amazon will contribute to The Space Show/OGLF: www.amazon.com/Outer-Space-Development-International-Relations/dp/1443839655/ref=onegiantlea20.  During our first segment of this 2.5 hour discussion, Dr. Weeks introduced us to her book and the need to understand space development from an international relations perspective.  We talked about how the industry has evolved over the last 20+ years, innovations such as citizen science suborbital missions, new commercial players, & innovative business ideas such as asteroid mining.  Dr. Weeks talked extensively about the need for an ideological shift toward space throughout the non-space population & within our global educational systems.  When Todd from San Diego emailed Edy as to how to create the ideological shift, that opened a discussion on how such shifts are created.  It was very interesting that one of the major examples cited by our guest included the growth & popularity of tattoos.  This sparked quite a conversation, some of it laced with humor, lots of fun, but also relevant points to our discussion.  As our segment was ending, our guest talked about the need to include other perspectives in the space benefits, those coming from outside the STEM fields.
     In our second & very long segment, I opened up asking Edy about the ideas in her book in support of benefit sharing & the Common Heritage of Mankind concepts found in some of the U.N. space treaties.  This discussion prevailed for the balance of our program as our guest is looking for new and different business & social models for space to be more inclusive which she believes will lead to more space commerce.  I took a challenging & argumentative position throughout most of the discussion in explaining why most in the NewSpace and commercial space industries do not support benefit sharing and why. We talked about the need for property rights & why such rights would facilitate commercial development.  Dr. Weeks was not supportive of the property rights positions, looking more for space development to accomplish much needed social change and reform around the world. Also, she made the case that property rights were not needed nor supported by the treaties & their working papers. Dr. Weeks did clarify her position regarding capitalism, the U.S., commercial space companies & benefit sharing ideas so don’t miss her clarification. Let us know your thoughts on our blog. Tax revenues were discussed but as you will hear, our guest focuses on actual benefit sharing beyond tax payments to help create wealth for everyone, including those that would be the recipient of the benefit sharing programs & the commercial space business.  We talked about voluntary charitable giving as compared to mandatory or government required giving through benefit sharing.  I cited Microsoft & Google models for why private sector giving with the pursuit of business unfettered by government induced benefit sharing is better.  Tim called in to express his very strong views in support of the private sector & his opposition to reallocation of resources regardless of how it is termed by either government or the UN.  Edy referenced the OST & the Moon Treaty in making her points, making the case that outer space resources belong to everyone, not just the developer.  While we did use an outrageously successful multi-trillion dollar model for our discussion of the space mining example, the idea was made that the company could easily afford to “give” a percentage to the benefit sharing process, over & above taxes, assuming the company was profitable, even at more realistic levels.  Our guest was very articulate in presenting her views & ideas, plus her book does a very good job of comprehensively dealing with what we just barely had time to scratch during our program.  For more information, check out Edy’s blog and YouTube video:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=okyVWJglxow & http://blogs.webster.edu/globalthinking/blog/2012/07/16/outer-space-development-is-subject-of-new-book-by-hpirs-edythe-weeks/#more-2802.
     Please post all comments/questions about this discussion on The Space Show blog.  I will bring all comments to the attention of Dr. Weeks on a regular basis.
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Comments»

1. The Space Show - November 25, 2012

Jerry, I am not an attorney let alone a space attorney so I cannot really address your concerns about possible acquiescence. However, having talked with and interviewed dozens of space attorneys about the treaties, property rights, and the Moon Treaty, I seriously doubt this is a significant issue. I also bet that if we talked with five space attorneys about this issue, we would get seven opinions. That said, the coming Tuesday evening show is a space law review program for 2012 with space attorney Michael Listner. Michael also has particular views regarding risks with the Moon Treaty and I do believe he may be onto something with his perspectives. I would urge you to listen to Michael on Tuesday night, Nov. 27, 7 PM PST and ask him your questions per your comments above. That said, if you asked the same questions to our recent guest, space attorney Wayne White, I suspect you would have a totally different response.

Happy holidays and thanks for your comments.

David

2. Jerry Volland - November 24, 2012

I see no distinction between David’s example of off-the-top royalities paid on mineral rights and the resource sharing provision of the Moon Treaty. In the latter case the mineral rights are administered by a body which represents all of Humanity, rather than the fraction which live within a specific country. By extension, can fees also be levyed upon ISRU resources, based upon their designated market value? Do mineral rights have to be paid for, even if the product is used by the mining company itself?

A deeper issue pertaining to Space Law is the question of acquiescence. There are two ways by which an international treaty can become binding, relative to a specific member state. The treaty can be ratified. This entails legislation which is enacted by a legislative body and then subsequently signed into law by the Chief Executive. The other method is acquiescence. This occurs when a member state voluntarily complies with the treaty’s provisions. This issue of acquiescence is tricky. It might be argued that Russia has voluntarily complied with the technology transfer provision of the Moon Treaty by publicly describing the operation of the mechanical thrust motor they’re planing to instal on the ISS, for changing its orbit. The question is, does this one act of acquiescence, if such it is, bring Russia under the purveyance of the entire treaty?

Another question involves the actions of private companies and individuals within a member state. Do private space related activities also provide an oportunity for acquiescence? For instance, if a private company were to voluntarily donate a percentage of their profit to an international charity, NGO, or other body, for the purpose of helping the developing nations, would this action have the effect of bringing their country under the jurisdiction of the Moon Treaty? If so, it seems this would affect all subsequent space related activities of that country, both public and private.

If theses examples of possible acquiescence are, in fact, just that, it may turn out that the Moon Treaty has been more widely adopted than previously thought.


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