But, can anyone sell us extraterrestrial land?
Owning the Moon
Rules of Ownership
According to two Columbia law professors, six rules of ownership explain why we believe we own a good, a service, or even the moon. In MINE! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives, they tell us that attachment and physical possession determine ownership. Also, being first to claim something and inputting your labor can be crucial. Lastly, they say anything that comes from our body or from our relatives is ours.
This is where the moon enters the picture. In 1963, the U.S. and other countries affirmed that outer space is the “common heritage of humankind.” Since then, though, we’ve abandoned this shared ownership approach. Furthermore, we don’t agree about where outer space begins or whether the 1963 U.N. resolution applies to private entities. Meanwhile, technology, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson are racing ahead with the ownership implications of exploration, resource exploitation, and tourism.
Our Bottom Line: The Market
In a market economy, supply and demand depend on ownership incentives. On the supply side, to optimize profits, producers need to own their land, labor, and capital. Correspondingly, on the demand side, we buy goods and services because we believe that the purchase transfers ownership.
As one of the first individuals to claim extraterrestrial ownership, the founder of Lunar Land said he could sell land on the moon. Still, we can ask if owning the moon is possible. Will the six hidden rules or regulatory fiat determine our extraterrestrial ownership decisions?
My sources and more: I recommend listening to The Indicator for the full story of Lunar Land. Next, Mine, a good read, is the perfect complement. And finally, for more history and international law, this paper injected the academic perspective.