Cozy Futurism – False Choices Without Substance

There is a new meme called “Cozy Futurism” which is pretending that there a choice between colonizing Mars and fixing Earth-based poverty, inequality and homelessness.

I think they are basing this on the historical example of the European countries that did not colonize the Americas from 1500-1800 and solved inequality, poverty and homelessness. Oh that’s right, that never happened, they made up a false choice of colonize Mars or fix homelessness.

Colonization Benefited the Colonizing Countries

The British Empire and colonialism provided economic benefits to British citizens. Most of the benefits went to shareholders in the colonizing companies. The colonized did not benefit but the home countries got some gains that slightly reduced the tax burden of all citizens. There are no native Martians or Moon People to exploit. Those who did the colonizing (aka future Americans or Canadians) ended up benefiting. There is the historical precedent that future Mars, Moon or space colonists will benefit or their descendants will benefit. Those doing the colonizing would presumably be making a personal choice.

Mixed Up Mess

One of the proponents of “Cozy Futurism” categorizes projects and concepts against other technology and/or problems. Somehow he thinks lazy and meaningless categorization is useful and insightful.

This is mixing projects and problems without putting in the effort to understand the problems, challenges or having any specific plans or budgets. Jose believes he is adding to an informed discussion by mixing project titles for future project concepts with what environmentalists have defined as futures that they fear and want to avoid.

Do You Make Purchasing Decisions Without Asking the Price? How About Finding Out What You Might Buy?

Should you buy a business or donate to charity? Make this decision without looking at any financial or project plan. You could invest in a bad business and lose all of your money in a year or less and obligates you to a lot of wasted time or you could invest in a good charity that achieves some useful goals and gives you a 40% tax deduction. This makes the charity a better choice. You could invest in a great business that gives a payoff of a hundred times your initial investment within four years or you could invest in a bad charity that is a scam that wastes your money. This time the business is a better choice. You can see how having a few numbers and some specifics are important instead of choosing blindly between labeled black boxes.

Jose wrote a short article describing more about his concepts. You will notice there is no history, context, plans or numbers.

IEEE Spectrum then had an article that picked up Cozy Futures and contrasts a strawman choice between a Jetson Future and a sustainable future. Again there are few numbers or specifics. The writer applauds Jeff Bezos for creating a US $10 billion fund to make investments in organizations fighting climate change. The $10 billion fund has yet to be fully deployed and has yielded minimal results and CO2 levels are still increasing. CO2 levels are not heading down rapidly toward zero, they are still going up. Bezos has put over $5 billion into Blue Origin and just got a suborbital human flight out of it. Bezos has not proven to be effective at getting to space or fixing the climate. Bezos has been good at online commerce and cloud computing business.

IEEE Spectrum used to be about engineering and technological details and rigor. The Jetsons Future vs Sustainable Future is pretending that the imagined morality and conjured empathy and twitter polls need to guide all choices.

Which Climate Change Proposal?

Various proposals are to spend tens of trillions every year to fight climate change. The most cost-efficient climate change proposals are in the $1 per ton of CO2 reduction. The Green New Deal was talking about spending tens fo trillions to fix the US portion of the annual emissions. This would not fix or reverse an extra 2 trillion tons of CO2 to get to the pre-industrial age but just stop adding 5 billion tons of CO2 each year from the US. The Green New Deal is looking at $1000 per ton of CO2 reduction.

The global agricultural sector emits around six billion tonnes of GHGs in 2011 or about 13% of total global emissions.

Regular plastic greenhouses can reduce some of those emissions, but a lot more is reduced with reuse of waste water, locating greenhouses closer to consumers and having more energy efficiency.

China is spending about $50 billion to build greenhouses over the next five years that will bring half of its crop production indoors. This would make crops for 700 million people about ten times more water-efficient and mostly immune to temperature variation.

You Do Realize Trillions Are Spent in the Name of Cozy Future Goals

If there is a debate about spending and choices about spending then it is about which specific source of money or funds? Trillions have been spent on reducing inequality and all of the cozy futurism goals. This spending has been ineffective and sometime counter productive.

In the US taxes, were lowered for the poorest Americans and transfer payments were increased.

During the pandemic, the US spent $4.55 trillion on stimulus to businesses, individuals and various government programs.

There was about $30 billion spent by the government on Operation Warp Speed to develop the mRNA vaccines. Pfizer and other companies and Venture capitalists and investors spent a few tens of billions on vaccines and drug treatments.

The spending on the successful development of vaccines has changed the course of the Pandemic. This was a good spending of $30 billion and hundreds of times more effective than the trillions on enhancing unemployment to partially offset lockdown policies.

Here is a comparison of what the US did for unemployment during COVID compared to other developed countries.

NASA has a $23 billion per year budget. NASA has budget that goes toward monitoring climate change.

SpaceX has gotten $6.6 billion in investor funding and has a valuation of $74 billion. SpaceX has made about $2-3 billion per year from launch contracts and now Starlink services. SpaceX got a few NASA contracts. There was a $3.1 contract to develop the Commercial Crew program (Dragon capsule and launch system) to get American rockets launching astronauts into space again.

The Space Shuttle program cost $206 billion for 132 successful launches and 2 fatal missions. This program and the $200 billion on the ISS did not meaningfully advance toward the goal of space colonization or toward a real future in space.

SpaceX is far more efficiently developing fully reusable rockets which will take us to the equivalent of the 747 age of passenger aircraft for rockets instead of the Hindenburg (one trip and done) age of flight. The Space Launch System and Space Shuttle were the billion to $2 billion per flight age of space travel. The Space Launch System has used $30 billion and is struggling to have a first test flight.

Senator Bernie Sanders wants to raid money from all corporations, individuals to put a tsunami of money at the insatiable problems and bad solutions he has created for them.

So does Bernie want to kill a private company just because it is successfully fulfilling private contracts? Does Bernie just want to take all of the wealth of successful businessmen? Does Bernie want to cancel 100% of NASA and put the money into a 2% larger social program?

The answer is yes, Bernie wants all those things. The Russian and China historical examples of national wealth redistribution failed. China did not start to become wealthy until it adopted capitalism.

SOURCES – Wikipedia, IEEE Spectrum,
Written by Brian Wang,