A very good friend of mine recently suggested that we as a society are currently suffering from a crisis of responsibility, and ever since then I have been finding it a remarkably insightful lens through which to analyze current events, perspectives, and opinions that I observe being promulgated.
Space Debris Economics
Why should a private company make a business out of space debris removal? Alternatively, can space debris removal be made into a viable business model? This is one of those complicated questions that I recently saw reduced to a gross oversimplification in a news article. There were a lot of issues with the article, and I don’t want to dwell on it, but I think the biggest problem was its underlying, unstated assumption that the only viable business case for space debris removal as a commercial service was if the government was the customer, or regulated private space industry into becoming customers. The underlying argument of the article, therefore, is that there is no viable business model based on space debris removal.
There is a concept that gets thrown around in economics classes called opportunity cost. In that context, opportunity cost is simply the fact of life that if you invest in one thing, you are necessarily no longer able to use those resources to invest in another. If you put ten thousand dollars into buying a car, that’s ten thousand dollars that you can’t use for the down payment on a house. If you invest 30% of your salary each month in your retirement accounts, that’s 30% that you can’t use now to go on vacation. A fairly simple concept, really, and it rarely is discussed outside of economics classrooms.
As I was writing several of the scenes in the later episodes of Blood Magic's first season, I was struggling to describe what, exactly, Prime Wezzix and Borivat do all day. Specifically, I had a discussion in episode eight about Merolate's budget. As I was writing it, I was trying to make it realistic, but I found myself wondering what a budget for a nation-state at a level roughly comparable to Italy in the thirteenth or fourteenth century might reasonably include.
A Splendid Exchange Review
Or, as I wanted to title this post: A Splendid Review. Unfortunately, I wouldn't go so far as to call this a splendid book. You might be starting to think that I'm just biased against nonfiction, considering that I think the majority of the nonfiction books I've reviewed on the site have all been described as something along the lines of "mediocre," but I promise there are some that I would call excellent. Chernow's biographies of Washington and Hamilton, for instance, or another splendid biography on Lincoln, or several books on theoretical astrophysics...unfortunately, I read those before I started doing book reviews on the site, and it just so happens that the nonfiction books that I've read since I started have been somewhat disappointing.