While I agree that Paypal Galactic has me scratching my head a little. My first gut reaction was to dismiss it as just a way-over-the-tinfoil-hat-line publicity stunt. However, I’m keeping my mind and eyes open because honestly I don’t know enough about it to be dismissive – I suspect that the people at PayPal know a lot more about unconventional digital currency than I do.
The actual announcement of PayPal Galactic is not so much on my mind as this reaction, specifically the quote at the end:
“The problem with this particular millennial vision is that private firms do not open new frontiers. States do. Private firms profit from frontiers after they have been opened by states.”
It sets me in dilophosaurus mode while wearing any of my historian, classical liberal OR space exploration advocate hats!
Historian Hat: Throughout history there are tons of counterexamples – many charter companies (North America) fur traders and trappers (Western United States) Shackleton et al. (Antartica.)
Classical Liberal Hat: States would certainly like you to believe that they are the only entities with the ability to open frontiers. That belief further consolidates their monopoly powers and the idea that humanity can only advance through dependence on the state.
Space Exploration Advocate Hat: Regardless of whether you believe that States or private enterprises are better at space exploration, by adopting the stance that only states can open up new frontiers effectively cuts off a huge amount of possibility space, from which solutions might emerge. It’s like giving up before you’ve even tried – which just means willfully accepting a 100% failure rate.
I hate failure, so why not give crazy private ideas like Paypal Galactic a shot?