It’s pretty easy to get carried away by abstractions, but as they say “the devil is in the details.” We’re probably 50 years away from being able to assemble the necessary funds, technical expertise, and (most importantly of all) overwhelming market need for any undertaking as complex and risk-prone and enormously expensive as dredging for minerals on the Moon. All Earth exploration has been trivial compared to attempting any serious commercial activity 400,000 kilometers away using unproven technologies in an ultra-hostile environment. And as we live at the bottom of a gravity well, even allowing for a precipitous drop in launch costs and even assuming much in-situ manufacturing on the lunar surface, the time, expense, and likely mean failure rate will remain significant deterrents for decades to come.

And that’s only if in the meantime our propensity for electing infantile morons doesn’t result in wars and economic collapses that remove any possibility of indulging in longer-term endeavors. Frankly my bet is firmly on the morons and the coming wars, alas.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.