Colonizing The Tropics

With the tool of extrapolation, it is obvious to us that someday the large majority of humanity will be located outside the Earth, that the center of human civilization will be there and not here. Yet at the moment, colonizing Antarctica sounds both easier and more profitable than colonizing any part of space. Heck, colonizing our own backyard is what we really ought to be doing. Elon Musk ought to be dedicating his fortune to getting rid of all this NIMBYism.

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Another comparison: space is like parts of the tropics circa 1890. While some regions such as India were very heavily populated, others were lightly populated, most notably Africa, but also Latin America and Southeast Asia east of the Wallace Line, these along with lightly-populated North America.

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In the centuries before, Europeans had expanded into North America, displacing the indigenous population, and it was predicted the same would happen with Africa, which at that time was nearly all divvied up between the various European powers. If they had the same tools of science fiction that we have today, they could have predicted that eventually the European powers would be centered militarily and economically in their tropical colonies, even if the imperial capitals remained in Europe. In one variant the indigenous populations would be mostly displaced, while in another they would fuse culturally with their colonizers.

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