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Embedded below the fold. I would dub this podcast an updated summary of what I in 2005 called the new colonial movement.
We are at the dawn of a new colonial age. The growing space competition between nations is in many ways very reminiscent of the 19th century competition between the European powers to colonize Africa and the South Pacific. In the 1800s, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom aggressively competed to carve up the undeveloped world. The result was foreign-run colonies controlling most of the Third World, for both good and ill, for almost a century.
Today, a new list of nations – India, China, Japan, Russia, Europe and the United States — are throwing their resources at space exploration in much the same way. Their goal, unstated but indisputable, is similar to the colonial powers of the 19th century: to obtain future domination over unclaimed territories in space.
This quest will, like the previous colonial efforts, be a long, complex and difficult historical process. Just as the colonial movement dominated much of 19th century politics and history, the growing desire by nations today to settle and control the solar system is also likely to dominate human history for centuries to come. The significant difference, however, is there are no aborigine peoples in space. The colonization of the solar system offers the hope of oppressing no one while bringing benefits to everyone who does it.