Scott Aaronson "summarizes" his opinions by saying that the Apollo program really was faked (it just included the landing of the people on the Moon) and it was "economically insane". The moonlanding pictures are a testimony of a bygone era in which the civilization was way more cohesive than today – right – and the number of the moonlanding deniers will probably increase, he opines. Well, it probably will. It's even more likely that the far left stinky "elite" will ban any talk about that achievement of the white males altogether.
OK, I don't understand what he means by saying that the moonlanding was "faked" – except that he is a conspiracy theorist by himself. But I understand what he means by saying that it was "economically insane". A majority of Americans used to say the same thing. They were wrong. Do you know what Moondoggle was? It was the forgotten opposition to the space program. In 1979, only 47% of Americans said that it was "worth" to pay for the moonlanding. That percentage increased to 77% by 1989. As you can see, the decision of JFK etc. to go to the Moon was undemocratic in the narrow sense but democratic in the long run. The critics of the program were on the wrong side of the history and are forgotten by now.
Let's think about the numbers in the rest of this text. In 2020, the world GDP will be $100 trillion 2020 U.S. dollars – which may be divided to 7.5 billion people. That's some $13,000 GDP per capita. (It might sometimes be better to consider just 1 billion of people in the "rich Western world" where the average GDP is over $50,000 per capita but many of the conclusions will remain the same.) The U.S. GDP will be some $20 trillion. The U.S. government budget will get $4 trillion in revenues and will spend $5 trillion – the difference is adding to the deficit which will be safe up to the point when it won't be.
During the peak year (1966), the U.S. has spent 4.5% of the budget for the space program ($5.9 billion out of $813 billion is some 0.72% of the GDP) and 100,000 people were involved with it (the integrated number of people who got ever involved was some 400,000).
In 13 years in total, the JFK program has cost $28 billion old dollars which translates to some $300 billion 2020 U.S. dollars – by including the inflation rate. Because we will talk about the distant history, we should distinguish the inflation rate from the nominal GDP growth rate and other rates – the results may be very different. Well, there are lots of issues connected with the comparison of the inflation baskets in totally different epochs but economists have chosen some conventions so at least we know what tasks we're referring to.
The default translation of the dollars from one era to another is by adding the inflation.
OK, $300 billion is just 1.5% of the 2020 U.S. GDP! (Or 0.3% of the world GDP.) Are you willing to say that mankind should be poorer by the moonlanding – so that the only benefit is 1.5% of the single annual America's GDP that is used for something else? Such a statement says much more about the speaker than about the merit and – even though I consider the human spaceflight to be much less important than e.g. pure science – I consider those who would move the 1.5% of GDP elsewhere to be savages.
The real problem is that the likes of Aaronson say that spending 5% of the old GDP for the space program was "economically insane" and what they want the adjective to mean is that it is "economically impossible" or "very harmful to the society". Except that it clearly isn't. 5% is much less than 100% so the society can clearly afford it mathematically – no mathematical laws are being violated – and as we know from the history, America could indeed afford it and the space program hasn't led to any famines or other catastrophes. Very far from it. NASA spinoff technologies include LASIK, artificial limbs, vacuum packaging of food, invisible braces, promotion of teflon, 3D foods printing, Intel (created from Fairchild Semiconductor when the demand for motherboards got big), and athletic shoes that recoil.
Even the music videos by Rammstein and Britney Spears above – while their technical quality still looks up-to-date in 2019 – seem like coming from a different epoch, a less politically correct one, with greater dreams and ambitions. While phones and tablets have jumped a big time, the evolution of mankind in recent 20 years had a clear negative sign.
Everyone who says that the U.S. couldn't afford the space program – or that it cannot afford a particle accelerator for mere tens of billions of dollars – is simply lying. She or he is absolutely full of šit. Everyone who reads this stuff is a cretin. The Western societies clearly could and still can afford these things. The only question is whether they will. Incidentally, one incomplete proof showing that the moonlanding conspiracy theorists are wrong involves the fact that it's still cheaper to land the real men on the Moon than to fool 100,000 professionals around the project that they have landed if they haven't.
Even the maximal 4.5% of the U.S. GDP was 19 times smaller than the remaining 95%, you know, and much of the 95% was spent for some... clear garbage. Much of the increase went to higher pensions. Pensioners were buying more cigarettes or cigarettes with more colorful pictures of camels – the packages are thrown into the trash can within a day, and so on. People bought hundreds of millions of dildos that could penetrate deeper to the rectum. I could go through the things that people normally do with these $100 trillion a year. You would be shocked to see what kind of primitive wasteful stinky animals most people are.
And do you want to tell me that these typical things that happen with the $100 trillion are less wise expenses than the moonlanding or even the particle colliders? Given me a break, stinky chimp, and return to the cage.
OK, the whole Apollo program was just $300 billion 2020 U.S. dollars i.e. 1.5% of the annual U.S. GDP. From the long-term viewpoint, it was clearly a negligible item in the budget. An LHC-like collider is $10-$20 billion, a factor of 15-30 less than the Apollo program, so such facilities are clearly even more negligible.
What is a big item in the budgets of the 1940s we can compare these things with? Yes, there was a war somewhere. The place where the war took place is called the world and it was the Second World War. The total cost of the Second World War was $4 trillion 2020 U.S. dollars for the United States and $14 trillion for the whole world. In the last 12 months of the war, the U.S. defense spending comprised about 40% of the U.S. GDP. The Manhattan Project only cost $2 billion old or $20 billion in current dollars, however. Still a lot for two technologically improved and upsized grenades thrown onto Japan.
The Millenials brainwashed by the global warming and similar pseudoscientific fairy-tales don't understand much. For example, Sabina wrote:
Nasi planete je jen 2019 let a už jsme stihli ji tolik znicit 😢— Sabina (@anibaslhzd) 14. července 2019
"The planet is just 2019 years old and people have already ruined it so much!" Klaus Jr, the chairman of the new Tricolor Party that I am a registered supporter of, has correctly predicted that she will be a top Czech candidate for the President of the European Commission because she represents everything that the EU is looking for!
It's hard to explain what 40% is to the likes of Sabina. But imagine that in 1945, a baker created 5 loafs of bread and 2 of them were actually grenades! ;-) The fighting in the war devoured almost one-half of the people's work. The First World War was much cheaper for the U.S. – $300 billion 2020 U.S. dollars. But the human losses were immense – in some perspective, the human lives were more wasted in the First World War than the Second World War.
Now compare the Second World War to the Apollo program. Their timing differed by one generation. The U.S. fathers had to spend $4 trillion 2020 dollars for the Second World War... and their sons? They didn't have any war and they were wealthier. Why wouldn't they spend $300 billion 2020 dollars for a big item such as the Apollo program? It was still more than one order of magnitude smaller than the spending in the war. As I mentioned, the biggest collider is another order of magnitude smaller than the Apollo program.
How many orders of magnitude would you need to subtract for the haters of big projects to admit that the project has become cheap? Probably infinitely many orders of magnitude. Some people just hate the space program and science and even if those things cost a penny, they would still prefer to throw the penny to themselves, stinky pensioners who will buy more wasteful cigarettes or more penetrating dildos.
OK, the percentages: These days, nations spend some 1-2% of the GDP for the scientific research. The maximum U.S. spending for the space program was 4.5% of the U.S. budget in a year, still much less than the war spending that peaked at 40% during the last 12 months of the war. If you go much deeper to the history, what was their spending for the "clearly unnecessary" big items?
Let's go to the years 1100-1200 AD. What did they pay for? Yes, the Gothic cathedrals. Ask a simple question to Google: How much did the Gothic churches cost? Helpfully enough, you will find a very relevant thesis by Amy Denning. The PDF file contains long tables with the population, GDP, and cost of the churches in France.
There were about 400 million people in the world in 1200 AD. She dealt with the Paris basin only – the population was between 7 and 10 million over there. The inflation-adjusted GDP per capita was some $700 of 2011 U.S. dollars (or $400 of 1990 dollars) which could translate to $800 of 2020 dollars. Contemporary Americans' GDP per capita is more than 50 times higher than around 1200 AD.
The total GDP of those Paris basin folks – 8.5 million people in average – was some $7 billion 2020 U.S. dollars. What about the cost of the churches? Among the hundreds of churches whose cost she estimated, two have made it above $0.5 billion of 2011 U.S. dollars: Chartres and Amiens. The Chartres cathedral looks like a grey version of the St Vitus Cathedral inside the Prague Castle – an ordinary central European cathedral. On the other hand, the church in Amiens looks like Notre-Dame because it actually is a Notre-Dame, a more expensive one than one in Paris. The Amiens Notre-Dame cathedral looks damaged – it was damaged in the First World War.
OK, you can see cathedrals worth over $0.5 billion of 2011 U.S. dollars – some $0.7 billion of 2020 U.S. dollars per the most expensive cathedral (twice). Along with the cheaper cathedrals (hundreds of), the total price to build this stuff was $22 billion of 2011 U.S. dollars. But again, note that the world population was 20 times lower around 1200 AD than it is today and the GDP per capita in the Paris basin was 100 times lower than the French GDP per capita today – or 50 times lower than the global one.
Taking the global coefficients of 20 and 50, we may say that the relevant real world GDP was a shocking 1,000 times lower in 1200 AD than it is today. Still, the people could afford $0.5 billion cathedrals – that would be equivalent to $500 billion for a single project. As you can see, the relative cost of the Chartres cathedral (in units of mankind's GDP) was higher than the relative cost of the whole Apollo program!
Amy Denning concluded that between 1100 AD and 1250, about 21.5% of the regional French economy went to the construction of the cathedrals.
Just imagine that. Those people were very poor. The nutrition value of their food was lousy. Their homes sucked and so on. The child mortality was off the modern charts. But they still paid 21.5 percent of their damn GDP to the "useless" big items in the budget, namely the cathedrals. These days, France is the most overrated country in Europe and most French are socialist parasites. But the overrating of France and its products didn't occur automatically. The contemporary French people's ancestors had to work hard and invest a huge fraction of that work into things that may be described as wasteful by the opponents of cathedrals, moonlanding, and particle colliders.
In this sense, the pathetic French people of 2019 AD – Macron, the Yellow Vests, and worse – are just living out of the work, dreams, and ambitious planning of their ancestors who lived around 1200 AD. A similar comment applies to the Greeks where it's even more extreme. The contemporary Syriza-like Bolshevik parasites live out of the Northwestern Europeans' work as well as the work of their ancestors from 200 BC or so. A poor population that was smaller by more than one order of magnitude and whose real GDP per capita was lower by almost 2 additional orders of magnitude still managed to secure comfortable living for the tens of millions of contemporary French and Greek freeloaders. It's remarkable but it's true. The ancient Greeks and medieval French turned their nations into extraordinary ones and that's a priceless thing for the descendants, even centuries away.
OK, the French spent 21.5% of the GDP for cathedrals in 1100-1250 AD. Americans spent 40% of their GDP for the war expenses between mid 1944 and mid 1945. The lunar program devoured 0.72% of the U.S. budget during the peak in 1966. All of science amounts to 1-2% of the GDP of Western countries today. The annual global spending for accelerators and their construction – some $2 billion per year in recent decades – is just 0.002% of the world GDP. Compare it with the 21.5% for the cathedrals. Still, you find incredible people who say that 0.002% is way too much.
Do you consider them full-blown human beings? I don't. It's a part of the political correctness that similar petty, parasitic, primitive mammals without any dreams or ambitious plans are supposed to be considered fully human.
What's most shocking about these comparisons is that wealthier societies – and we're clearly wealthier than the people in 1969 AD, 1945 AD, 1200 AD, or 200 BC – should be expected to spend a greater percentage of their GDP for luxurious things (simply because luxury is something that people only pay for once their decent survival is guaranteed) – and the luxurious things clearly do include cathedrals, nuclear bombs, lunar modules, and particle accelerators. Nevertheless, the percentage spent for the big dreams etc. seems to be dramatically decreasing and lots of the pests keep on saying that it's still too much for them. They just want to redistribute everything for the pensioners' dildos – and make sure that 99.999% goes to 99.9999% and higher.
This is not a healthy direction.
Note that this discussion isn't really one about the government redistribution. It's about the priorities of humans on Earth – what they spend their money for, either individually or collectively. Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest man now – his net worth is some $160 billion or whatever it is. His ex-wife just devoured $36 billion in Amazon stocks – that's two fudging FCC colliders or 1/8 of the Apollo program. Two FCC colliders for what? For sleeping with Bezos for some time? Quite an expensive prostitute, indeed. I guess that even though she is an ex-wife, Bezos has some emotional attachment and he doesn't use the model that she is just another head placed on top of a ladies' characteristic organ that just randomly got into his life.
But those of us who see the cold reality have the opportunity to reach the proper conclusion, too. Silly random events may easily divert concentrated amounts of money equal to several huge particle colliders or a significant fraction of the whole Apollo program. The Apollo program wasn't economically insane. No "unique project of the times" is economically insane as long as its cost is still much less than 100% of the GDP for the same period.
And indeed, Bezos knows that, too. So he is spending much of his money on his own space program. Not everyone has these priorities but some people do. Well, Bezos recently revealed that a reason why he has a space program is similar to the explanation by Sabina above: the Earth is only 2019 years old ;-) and we have already ruined it. So he must fly elsewhere. Great. But it's still natural for a substantial fraction of the people to spend a significant percentage of their wealth on similar things.
Gates and Buffett are great and rich men but what do they plan to do with their wealth? Just redistribute almost all of it to charities. This almost complete dissolution of the money is almost equivalent to the burning of the money in the oven. I assure you, Mr Gates and Mr Buffett, that Bezos will do a better work – even from the poorest people's viewpoint – if he spends it for some concentrated items. If you don't find your financially concentrated projects, you will be as forgotten as Moondoggle, as Mr Jean Martin who opposed the construction Notre-Dame, or the anti-particle-physics and anti-string crackpot critics whose names I have already forgotten.