[ExI] libertarian (asteroid) defense

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Mon Feb 28 21:39:34 UTC 2011

On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 10:29:42PM -0700, Kelly Anderson wrote:

> > I recently ran into an extreme case of this:
> > http://volokh.com/2011/02/15/asteroid-defense-and-libertarianism/

> If private insurance companies sold asteroid insurance, which they
> should, then there would be a significant desire to avoid payout. That

Why should they?  Can they make money off of it?  Why aren't they
selling asteroid insurance right now?  Who would buy end of the world
insurance -- who would make or receive payments?

Unsubsidized insurers go for little disasters that happen a lot and are
spread out in a statistically averagable manner.  They avoid things that
strike lots of people at once, like floods, earthquakes, and fission
plant accidents.

> would lead to the spending of money to avoid the disaster in the first
> place. Of all potential mega disasters we could face, asteroid hits
> are the most easily preventable... (compared to such things as super
> volcanos, subduction earthquakes and tsunamis and the like, where we

Actually I imagine volcanoes might pretty tameable.  Drill down and
release gases/magma in a controlled manner, rather than letting them
blow all at once.  Though the BP oil spill highlights the safety
concerns of drilling into a pressure chamber.  Would want to practice on
the small volcanoes first.

Alternately, being able to trigger a volcano or earthquake at a specific
time would be helpful, rather than having them strike at once.

> Additionally, in a libertarian society, someone might set up a non
> profit organization to search for and disable near earth objects. If
> everyone in America donated 25 cents to such an organization, it would
> be funded well over current funding levels.

Someone might?  Why don't they do so now?  Why would everyone donating
25 cents be more likely then than it is now?

In a libertarian society, you get to specify less government, that's
all.  You don't get to specify magically more altruistic people than we
have now.  And anything not actively banned by government is perfectly
doable today, so if people aren't doing it now, that bodes ill for doing
it in libertarian world.

-xx- Damien X-) 

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