Citizens of Mars Ltd

In Charles S. Cockell (ed.), Human Governance Beyond Earth – Implications for Freedom. Springer. pp. 121-137 (2015)
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Abstract

When the time comes to decide how to govern an extraterrestrial settlement there will be many alternatives to chose from. We will have the opportunity to try new and so far untested theories, but there are also some old forms of government that might be tempting to try again. We might for instance let the company whose activities on the world are the reason for the establishment govern the settlement. This has been tried before on our own planet both because it was seen as convenient and as an incentive for colonisation. In this chapter I will ask what this solution would mean for the civil liberty of the settlers. To answer the question I will look at some historical analogues and have a philosophical discussion. The conclusion is that a settlement governed by a body whose sole reason for existence is to make money for the owners, that is led by a board that answers only to the owners and not to the people, that functions as both government and sole employer, and that has the unlimited power over the life support systems necessary for the survival of the settlers will not be a good basis for civil liberties.

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Erik Persson
Lund University

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