Robert Heinlein’s Future History Series
Book Two: The Man Who Sold the Moon
(con’t from the last post)
In the last post I explained how I think that Heinlein, while being a libertarian, believed that the public interest should be protected, and that large corporations, when being obligated to their shareholders to bring in profits above all else, will not necessarily protect the public interest.
The namesake story of the four in the book, The Man Who Sold the Moon, illustrates briefly how large corporations can manipulate non-profit organizations for their own benefit, i.e. funneling money.
One man wants to “own the moon”, create a city, and sell parcels of moon land for development. It might sound ridiculous but, if a powerful nation can land on an island or continent that is already inhabited and say “I own this”, what’s stopping someone from doing the same thing on the moon where no one lives? (My statement, not his, but Columbus is mentioned at this point in the story and I think the author intended this line of thought.)
Here is a quote from the ones who are conniving to sell the moon, needing to build up capital to get there:
“’I want an angle to squeeze dimes out of the school kids too. Forty million school kids at a dime a head is four million dollars! We can use that.’
‘Why stop at a dime? …If you get a kid really interested he’ll scrape together a dollar.’
‘Yes, but what do we offer him for it, aside from the honor of taking part in a noble venture and so forth?’
‘Hmmm… suppose we go after both the dimes and dollars? For a dime he gets a card saying that he’s a member of the Moon Beam Club!’
‘No, the Junior Spacemen! …the Moon Beams will be the girls.’”
And it goes on… pretty funny actually, and not that unrealistic I fear!
More about The Man Who Sold the Moon in the next post…