All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day
[This is a fantasy short-story I wrote some time ago, during the end of the Reagan years. I decided to dump it into the Rat Rants because I didn't know what else to do with it.]
The Russians and the Americans decide, in a fit of teamwork, to "utilize the resources of our two great nations" and split the cost of a manned space station and giant radio telescope. The Star Wars program is scrapped as part of the deal. Since the government never gives up funds it has managed to tax out of the public, the funds are spent on the space station. The space station gets finished and the two nations have more tax money to spend. They spend it on a space manufacturing facility. The two nations' research and development industries have been working a lot on space and a little on consumer/industrial products. They are working smarter and at an elevated technical base after closing their mil-industrial facilities and moving the really valuable engineers to more productive tasks.
The Russians and the Americans are once again the world leaders in technology. They move all polluting manufacturing tasks off-planet.
The Japanese want part of the economic pie. The Americans and Russians are wealthy enough to buy great toys and the Japanese want to build great toys. The Japanese are not afraid of the Russians and not controlled by American regulations. The Japanese begin SALT XIII negotiations with the Chinese and Koreans. With Japan in the lead (barely), the Eastern block begins work on a space bridge, with facilities in the center of the span for zero gravity manufacturing. The bridge is complete in 6 years. The bridge is profitable in 10. The Eastern block makes great toys for the Americans and Russians.
The American consumer market is very wealthy and can afford to share the wealth. The Russian consumer market is about as profitable as the American market was during the 1960's. Many developing countries test the new Russian market for consumer products. The Russians and Americans have perfected space habitats and are considering terraforming experiments on a twin planet in Alpha Centauri.
The West Germans and East Germans get united because the Russians have their eyes on the sky and don't pay attention to terrestrial boarder shifts. The Germans collaborate with the Swiss to "keep technology in the hands of artisans who are concerned with workmanship." They make tremendous gains in superconductor and particle force theory and develop a superconductor-based generator that powers a drive that harnesses the anti-mass characteristics of the atom. They are commercially competing with the Eastern block for the 50 year East/West reunion.
The Eastern block has made ownership of space habitats a cost-effective, consumer product. Thousands of families move into the asteroid belt to work and live in the non-national manufacturing facilities.
The "Keep Terra Clean" movement restores natural balance to the earth's environment and life forms. Thousands of acres of rain forest are re-planted. The atmosphere of the earth becomes controlled and the ozone is re-designed to be 100.000000001% efficient. The oxygen generated by the system is sold to the space colonies. The rare gases, metals, minerals, and chemical combinations are sparingly parceled out to the colonies. This trade finances a cottage industry based, high-technology, back to nature life-style economy throughout the earth.
The Americans and Russians are somewhere out there.
You want to know why all the space junk is floating around the planet? That's why we did it!