Is Trump Trying to Sell the Moon?

The US executive order to mine the Moon proves that the collective good seems to be less important than neoliberal ideas of “value”.

According to David Bollier “the real estate developer who improbably became US President legally declared that he sees the Moon in far less elevated terms”, reports Al Jazeera.

President Trump signed the executive order which makes the private commercial uses of the Moon, Mars and meteors authorized. This means that Off-Earth bodies are now starting to be observed as a means to gain profit.

The so-called space business was the topic of the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ request to the US government.  He called the government to support this kind of business, and to reduce regulations and coordinating government aid, especially due to the competitive threats by China and Russia. He also emphasized the idea of the space tourism and using ice on the Moon’s dark side for the creation of hydrogen and oxygen. The latter two could be then used for rockets for Mars, according to Ross. On the top of that, he has the idea of “turning the Moon into a kind of gas station for outer space.”

Property rights’ for Americans on the Moon, by 2020 as well as the large-scale economic development of space are being further explored by Trump’s administration.

Ross is enlightened by the whole idea, so he compared it to A Space Odyssey, a film from 2001. Further, he has no doubt that it will happen. “IT is coming closer to reality sooner than you may have ever thought possible”, stated Ross.

The question which arises is: Who really owns the Moon?

Things like the space, oceans, and atmosphere are usually referred to as global commons by politicians and economists. It implies that these notions in fact belong to everybody and that they should be used for the collective good. The fact many nations have signed series of treaties in order to keep the space in the zone of the collective and global, proves that it does belong to all of us.

In 1959, seven states agreed that Antarctica should be non-militarized by signing a treaty in order to establish a scientific research commons there.

In 1967, USA together with more than 100 states, signed the Outer Space Treaty, which guarantees that the research done in space will be for the benefit of the humankind.

A Moon Agreement from 1979 is considered to be the international law. The US did not sign it, but it is still considered to be valuable. According to this agreement the Moon is not a private property, which means that it cannot be colonized, owned or militarized.

It seems that it is hard to get rid of the imperialism, though. Trump’s executive order proves that the states do not observe things as the collective good, but rather as the free resources in order to gain profit.