One of the biggest threats to national security every nation on the planet faces now is this: How are we, as a species, going to figure out an equitable plan of allocation for what will always be limited through any given time frame?
I say always limited because, at the very least, your ability to do throughput, no matter how much of a thing might be out there to be had, is going to be restrained by a number of interconnected factors, which, from start to finish, of course, involves not only immediate logistical considerations, but a lot of other factors as well. As in how much knowledge you have to apply in getting the thing in the first place. How much people power you can apply to all aspects of that getting. The physical constraints necessitated in observing what getting that thing does to other important things; both in terms of their ongoing availability, as well as to the sustainability issues of a host of other necessary processes, to name but a few
The whole point of holistic thinking now revolves around essentially the same kind of integrated thinking in ones approach to a good number of endeavors. It has become a great deal more critical now that we not only see quite directly what happens around us if this approach isn't used, but also because our ability to reach the low hanging fruit of essential natural resources is coming up against the growing probability of the end of the relatively easy stuff. And so tensions grow, as you would expect, in such situations, but that is only the beginning. Things are made far worse because of our reliance throughout history on first come first serve; the essence of which is simply: you stake the first claim, you own it. Which then also necessitates the force of arms to keep it because, as a species, we have hardly ever played fair in that competition, any more than we've played very fairly in other economic competitions.
This is where the interplay of money, greed and power comes into the equation, because all of these factors are dependant, in one form or another, on the resource base your system of discovery, and exploitation, sits on; And that, in turn, thrives or fails in direct proportion to reliable access to same.
That we are now also on the brink of stepping up to a much larger, though far more challenging, field of operations, might be the source of optimism as far as resources go, and certainly there is ample potential for such optimism, but it is by no means a certainty. This is so precisely because, as things stand now, we are likely to take this same "first come, first serve" mentality with us, and with it all of the same kinds of ugly competition that we've already seen throughout history.
Capitalism by no means started "first come first serve", but it has taken it up with a fervor, and ferocity, all its own. I think of Capitalism more in terms of its being a cost based form of economic organization, as opposed to an effort base model, because it turned all aspects of civil life into the segmented aspects of specialized labor, abstracted production, and the ultimate abstraction of money as a universal translator; the means to turn one person's singular set of repetitions in the factory into another person's. From, perhaps, our civil war on, however, it has not mattered what form of government you opted for, whether it be democracy, monarchy, theocracy or outright dictatorship; any more than what term you used to describe your economic model, be it free market, socialism, or East European Communism, you were still using a cost based form of organization. The only difference was in how you set up the management, and ownership of production, even as you also relied on the specialization of labor, and a currency of one sort or another, to facilitate exchange of each speciality's output.
In any case, though, the further competition that Capitalism engenders, on the output side of production to sell that output, only serves to amplify the supply side competition, while at the same time creating a whole new arena (markets) where we are again ready to fight and die for. What we are left with then is this inevitable conclusion: Even if Capitalism had not been made obsolete by the new technology of electrified information retrieval (thus making human labor as a commodity an absurdity), we would still need to rid ourselves of it. This is so because humanity can no longer survive with so much competition at both the front, and back, ends of the production of necessities. We simply cannot form lasting forms of cooperation if such competitions are allowed to continue. And just to be clear, even though getting rid of it won't eliminate resource competition, it will go a very long way to make that competition manageable.
This is why we need to start thinking about a framework of cooperation without the hinderance of a cost based form of economy; either in terms of its unnecessary amplification of competition, or its modes of thought that constrict one's imagination of what can be done assuming that there is a will to do it at all. If you start considering things in terms of how do we organize ourselves so that we can apply all of what we know to do what we have the will to do, rather than limit our thinking to who's going to pay for the various aspects of all of that, there really isn't anything we can't do.
The first step, however, is to recognize that short term cooperation now will require sharing a great deal of effort; most of which must be centered to getting beyond the restrictions of a crowded planet. This means setting up not only universally accessible orbital capabilities, but near earth production facilities as well, so that every nation has the capability to take their rightful place in our journey to the stars. To do that will require, at the very least, unified action for a unified approach to energy on the planet (which I have always thought could be filled by sea based production of liquid hydrogen via Tornado Turbines). That in itself would relieve a temendous amount of competitive pressure, but we can't stop there.
We must also start thinking about how we will arrange an equitable approach to space exploration beyond the planet. After all, not all nations are ready yet to begin that journey. Some of them might not even want to, but that should not preclude their getting their share of the benefits; especially if they participate in the short term cooperation that will get us started. And in that must we see a kind of key stone.
There is so much hatred and mistrust swirling about this planet now one wonders how we don't all choke outright from it; not being able to breath either spiritually, or in any practical sense. We've got to form a new starting point that will enable us to lay the key stone to further cooperation. And in that I'm not talking about some idealized, utopian vision of brotherhood. I'm talking about a cooperation that accepts the fact that there will always be fundamental aspects to how we see things differently. Fundamental aspects where core beliefs will be at odds for many centuries to come, if not thousands of centuries.
No, what I am talking about is a way to put up with, and tolerate, each other long enough so that we all have the opportunity to go our separate ways into the stars, and in that vastness, live as we see fit within our own conceptions of what is right and wrong. And we can do that if, after first succeeding in the near term cooperation, we can set up a way to guarantee perpetual fair shares of our galaxy, starting from the Sol system. Perhaps something like creating degrees of arc, both horizontally, and vertically, from the sun, from which each cone then projected creates an equal reach of space to launch out from. Then using a lottery to allocate them. It certainly wouldn't be perfect, and there would just as certainly be disputes, but at least it gives us a common ground to start sharing from. Something for which those engaging in the initial cooperation could hold on to to make the risk worth taking.
Everybody's going to need to have a say in this, of course, and its going to take a lot of discussions, and even more arguing, to fill in the details, but at least its a place to start. A place to start where sacrifice will be demanded those who have most of the power now in direct proportion to that power, but where those with a lot less power are going to have start trusting at some point as well; a sacrifice in its own right.
Let us also be clear on the need to reiterate what we are talking about: whether we, as a species, will survive or not. In the end it will not matter at all whether the West is the Great Satin or not, Or whether those in the Middle east are all Terrorists or not. A dead planet will not care one way or the other. It will simply wait until life can come up with another experiment in Sentience that will earn the right to take the next real steps of maturity; leaving the sacred garden of origination and going forth to see what the entirety is really all about.
This next link is for some balance, and perspective, to the wonderful monologue delivered above by Ned Beatty. When I hear this song, however, I like to replace the words "I, my, mine " with "We. our, ours."
I also like to remember that it was the Trek universe where we really popularized the notion of a society that grew out of the need for money.