A strategy for raising continental expectations and circularizing regional achievements.
In “America is the name of a whole Continent” I boarded the critical need for a new reinterpretation of belonging, coherence, responsibility and leadership within our geographical area as fundamental condition for extending, intensifying and consolidating the vitality of western democracies and improving the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of humans while reducing the chances of socioeconomic, cultural and political collapse.
It is a very easy game to imagine a better world if we ignore the mechanisms and dynamics that need to be observed, respected and eventually adjusted in order to actualize the shared aspiration of an improved planetary collective experience. We can dream all we want of a paradisiac re-rendering of reality if our dreams are not bounded to the economic, political and technological constrains that presently mediate human activity.
Strict attachment to, and factual acceptance of the features of our civilization is an elemental cornerstone in the fabrication of radically superior (while still compatible) alternatives to the current geopolitical reality… yet, in order to maximize the space for the betterment in any domain, a framework of “reverse engineering of ideal scenarios” is a substantially better strategy than a simple linear progression of incremental improvements of current parameters of a certain state; even if that approach implies an increased systemic stress due to the added demand for innovation, it has proved many times to be a catalyzer for novelty.
The astronautical, aeronautical, military and automotive industries have used this approach of “specification of the features” first, and “development and implementation of the design” later to push the boundaries of what was considered technologically, and even physically possible. Those seemingly arbitrary design specification demands have given rise to advancements in chemistry, physics, engineering, organizational development and computer and material science thought to be unattainable many times in history.
So why are our political, economic and social demands not being expanded with the same forward-thinking, ambition and rigor as our engineering ?
Is it possible that the challenge that lies in increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of our national and international political organizations is bigger than that of achieving the status of a multiplanetary specie ?
Are we going to get to Mars just to bring all of our human distress to a new planet or are we already planning, designing and exploring implementation opportunities for new forms of collective functioning that are in par with our scientific prowess ?
Why are our humanistic and cultural expectations so dull compared to the blinding brightness of our technological capabilities ?
Is this a product of faults in our thinking and behavior, in the design of our institutions and/or lack of ambition in the specification of our goals ?
Most likely, the insufficient institutional efficacy and the unacceptable separation between “ what is expected” and “what is achieved”, at least by the formal institutions that have been deployed in our geographical area, are a product not only of all the factors mentioned above, but also, and mainly, of corruption, lack of accountability, commitment, financial dependence, bureaucracy, cowardice and very simply… plain ignorance.
The United States have been systematically bled out by expensive and parasitical regional bureaucratic organisms that have very little practical results to stand for, and practically no impact in the current trajectory of historical events in our hemisphere… hence the robustness of the organized crime that reigns in Latin America and most of the Caribbean.
Up and Forward or… Ascend and Circularize.
There are many useful and clarifying analogies and heuristics that can be brought to economic and social analysis from the most basic rocket science, but astronautics are much more than a linguistic and conceptual repository for advancing the understanding of societal issues…
Space hardware manufacturing is a sufficiently profitable industry from where to jump start a whole new level of economic activity in the Latin American continent which would substantially lower the costs of the US space program, contribute to securing the highly strategic American dominance in space, while also propelling education, entrepreneurship, innovation and cooperation in our region.
If no technical or meteorological inconveniences arise, tomorrow, May 27th of 2020… should be the historic day in which American astronauts are launched from North American soil in American rockets after almost 10 years of having to rely on Russian hardware to transport humans to the international space station.
The policy of commercializing space access has given rise to an exuberant flourishing of high-tech entrepreneurship and a substantial reduction of costs and development times which in turn has resulted in a dynamic and prosperous ecosystem of research and development, innovative design, and traditional and additive manufacturing companies that can not only use lots of the affordable labor and mineral resources that Latin America (and specially a Democratic Cuba) has to offer, but that could also benefit from capitalizing on parallel and fully complimentary uses of their technology, intellectual property and fabrication methods like in the Autonomous Agricultural Equipment Production, Electric Transportation, Clean Energy Generation and Storage sectors, and many other earth-based applications with substantial short, medium, and long term financial, logistical and political benefits.
It is virtually impossible not to bring to this analysis the current hyper-fragility of the supply chains, the unacceptable dependence on China for the most basic access to raw materials and vital tier 2 components; both dependencies are no longer economic inconveniences, but critical national security vulnerabilities that must be corrected immediately if the USA does not want to continue exposing itself to these unnecessary and avoidable existential risks and potential attack vectors.
One of the most common practices in Astronautics is that of launching rockets vertically to minimize the amount of energy that the vehicles have to spend fighting against a higher drag of a denser atmosphere that is present at lower altitudes, the trajectory is gradually modified to maximize horizontal velocity once the spacecrafts have reached sufficiently thin air with less friction; this results in a substantial reduction in total energy expenditure and the corresponding savings in fuel and cost.
In the same style of an efficient rocket launch, the approach to advance regional economics should be that of initially investing considerable amounts of energy in vertical separation from the baseline with minimal short term returns in horizontal speed, but with an increasingly gradual translation to the horizontal plane, the investment of energy is less ephemeral and longer lasting; and considering that it is only the horizontal component of movement that which allows for the posterior, effortless conservation of altitude, it makes complete sense to focus on an strategy that overcomes most of the resistance in the first stages of its course and progressively optimize for downrange and long term gratifications with progressively decreasing bleed offs.
As Peter Thiel would put it: Most of the difficulty is in going from 0 to 1… then it will be much easy to go forward.
Or in astronautical terms: Once we overcome the initial high drag and reach orbital velocity, it is simply a question of how high we set our apogee, and if stability and resiliency are our economic objectives… then it’s just a matter of dedicating some energy to circularize our ideal trajectory to keep everything going smoothly.
So… after all, the astral analogies are not just a poetical resource to embellish this discourse, but quite a literal scaffolding that should support a global endeavor for technological, educational, cultural, economic, scientific and radical human improvement, led and powered by the USA.
It is either that…
…or relinquishing the usage rights of this planet to virus-spreading, science-sequestering, truth-hating, communists parties.