Friday, 23 May 2008

Selling The Skies

On the bus yesterday there was an article in the free newspaper, claiming that one of the major tourist operations had bought a plot of land on the Moon and, within 30-40 years hoped to have established the first Moon Hotel.

Immediately I saw this article I thought – “who, precisely, has the right to sell the Moon?” Followed by “How would you go about getting planning permission”, followed by “How much of a cut did the Estate Agent get?”

Since nobody, as far as I am aware, owns the moon – who did the money go to? The moon is in MY sky just as much as it is in theirs, so where’s my cut?

Historically, of course, ownership of something depends on a number of factors:

It’s on my land, therefore it’s mine

One of the problems with the conquest of Mt Everest was that most of the passable routes to the range of mountains are through China and the Chinese were unwilling to allow foreigners in to conquer what they considered to be their mountain. When Edmund Hillary and Tensing did eventually make their assault they did so through a much harder route through Tibet

I was there first, therefore it’s mine

The fact that the local Aborigines had been discovering Uluru on an almost daily basis for thousands of years had little impact on history, as they were not Explorers, and therefore did not count. It took a foreigner to come along and take their country for unwanted prisoners to “discover” it and rename it Ayers Rock

It was given me, therefore it’s mine

For thousands of years people have been fighting over who owns the holy city of Jerusalem, each of them convinced that they have the promise of God that it is theirs by inheritance. Some of the bloodiest wars in history have been fought over a city that is less than 50 sq miles in size – most of which were started by, or in the name of, the Catholic Church

I took it, therefore it is mine

See above – but also the ongoing fight as to who owns all those very profitable oil supplies in the Middle East. Alexander the Great conquered much of the known globe and forged an empire like none that had been seen before, and few that have been since. Although his empire is long gone there are people to this day who would rather die than say a nice word about him.

I paid for it, therefore it is mine.

Though the purchase of a country is rare there are historical precedence, with SeaLand being declared a principality despite existing solely on an old oil rig. Technically speaking the right to purchase a piece of land does rely rather heavily on the other claims of ownership.

So the only thing I can think of is that, as America were there first, the USA Government thinks it owns the moon. Surely this cannot be true??

A more interesting question is how long will it take the Corporate Giants to catch on? How long until there’s a Starbucks on the moon (In some cities and towns in the UK we have already hit the Starbucks Event Horizon – the point at which it becomes economically unviable to open any business other than a Starbucks…or at least it feels that way)? How long before a Tesco?

Call me strange, but in my own lifetime I don’t want to be looking up at the night sky to the moon and seeing the huge words, ‘This is not just a Moon, it’s a Marks & Spencer moon”

The moon belongs to all of us – and it’s time to claim it back!


Honour said...

Fascinating analysis. As I was reading your post, I came to the same conclusion. Is it American cause they got there first? But, what about anyone else who landed there? And what about the Canadian / Japanese / UK / technology that helped them get there? You think that perhaps it is far fetched to think of a hotel on the moon; BUT when reading "Running Man" years ago, I thought it was pretty far fetched to think humans could be so callous to watch people suffer on reality shows. Ahem. Claim the moon back. Write a letter! Let me know how I can put my claim in too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would like to claim the moon back as well.

As far as Alexander the Great, I guess conquerors will always precede their reputations with revolution and anger. Of course, no one likes a conqueror. But when he did conquer countries, didn't he leave them the way he found them? Without tampering with any of the cultures? And how much land did Napoleon conquer? Wasn't it as much or quite near what Alexander did? Or so I thought anyway. I'm most likely mistaken.

You know, the rapper Jay-Z recently purchased and copyrighted a shade of blue and called it "Jay-Z blue". So now, when people use this color in their media, they have to pay or consult him. Corporate people are idiots.

Jenny said...

This is very interesting. I didn't know that the moon belonged to anyone, or that anyone thought it did. xD

Well, because they were there first, I guess they think that it's right of them to claim the moon as theirs. As you say, it has been so before in the history, so why should it be different now then? :( Well well, the other countries which have been there also should have the rights to have a share of the moon as well. Lol. Maybe they'll split the moon between them.

Honestly, we should claim the moon back. The "discover- therefore I own it" doesn't work in our days, cause we know it's not fair.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Original article:
They are everywhere, popping up all over the country offering a decent night's sleep for a reasonable price.

But one budget hotel company has dec­ided to expand into the final frontier – and has bought a plot on the Moon.

Premier Inn claims it will welcome visitors fresh off the shuttle from Earth within 25 years. But first it has to work out how to carry materials for the 4,000 sq m (43,000 sq ft) building into space.

Doesn't say who they bought it from...

Anonymous said...

Probably from the government. They bought the permission to expand their business to the moon.