“I could never figure out how the mining and elevator companies were making so much money, and then I subscribed to the Solari Report. I listened to your discussions on the secret space program and the underground bases. Now I know how the mining and elevator companies are making some of their profits. The world makes sense again.” ~ European investor speaking with Catherine in 2016
By Catherine Austin Fitts
The Space Economy
Wikipedia defines “space industry” and “space-based economy” as follows:
“Space industry refers to economic activities related to manufacturing components that go into Earth’s orbit or beyond. Owing to the prominence of the satellite-related activities, some sources use the term satellite industry interchangeably with the term space industry.”
“This definition does not exclude certain activities, such as space tourism. Thus, more broadly, the space industry can be described as the companies involved in the space economy and providing goods and services related to space. Space economy has been defined as ‘all public and private actors involved in developing and providing space-enabled products and services. It comprises a long value-added chaining, starting with R&D actors and manufacturers of space hardware and ending with the providers of space-enabled products and services to final users.”
“The space-based economy is economic activity in outer space, including asteroid mining, space manufacturing, space trade, construction performed in space such as the building of space stations, space burial, and space advertising. Space-based industrial efforts are presently in their infancy. Most such concepts would require a considerable long-term human presence in space and relatively low-cost access to space. The majority of proposals would also require technological or engineering developments in areas such as robotics, solar energy, and life support systems.”
This discussion in our 1st Quarter 2018 Wrap Up addresses the economics of space. This include activities that occur in space or on Earth. This includes activities funded by government, the military or private investors and corporations. This includes activities that relate to the opportunities or risks presented by activities in space or what is happening around us in space.
I am an investment portfolio strategist in search of a breakdown of — or at least a reasonable conceptual overview of — the “GNP of all space related activities.” Let’s call it the “gross space product” or GSP.
Consider this discussion an initial attempt to conceptually integrate the covert and overt aspects of what is happening around us in space. This is an essential step before estimating a GSP.
Evolving a Framework for the Space Economy
I organize my learning around frameworks. A framework is a basic conceptual structure. I need a framework for a topic before I dive in deeply. I don’t like to study a leaf unless I know it is on a tree, what kind of tree it is, which forest the tree is in, and I appreciate why I care about studying this particular tree and its leaf.
A framework is an intellectual skeleton that allows me to ingest and organize a body of knowledge effortlessly.
When evolving a framework for any area of the economy, it is essential to have an accurate pricing function that can express relative values. The tire industry is X% of the auto parts industry. The GNP of China is $Y and is surpassing the GNP of the U.S. which is $.99Y. If the GNP of the human race is 100%, what percent comes from space related activities?
Relative values are essential to understanding the role and economic importance of any activity or player on an integrated basis. Ten items look very different when one item represents the vast majority of the economic value versus when the relative value of the items are evenly split.
Two things can make creating an economic framework difficult. The first is secrecy (including its dear old pal mind control). It is hard to include or estimate activities if you don’t know they exist or cannot access or estimate data about them. The second is a lack of integrity in the pricing mechanism, or no pricing mechanism at all. Free markets will tell you that Henry’s labor is worth half of what Mary’s labor is worth, because the markets will generate reliable prices from millions of transactions that explain that mathematically. When markets are rigged, backed up by central banks that can print money and invisible force systems that make it all go, prices can lose a great deal of their utility in filling in an honest map of reality. The absence of a sound pricing mechanism leaves you with that “Orwellian feeling.”
There is no greater secrecy on Earth today that the secrecy surrounding the U.S. and the related NATO and Five Eyes National Security State. This secrecy has made it impossible to figure out what the human race is doing in space and why. Centrally managed economies have further diluted the value of our pricing mechanisms.
This means evolving a framework for the economics of space leads us into a puzzle palace of unanswered questions. These questions are plagued with disinformation that is effective at making it difficult to separate fact from fiction. As a result, uncertainty and confusion make it difficult to determine relative values.
The Space Economy: The Unanswered Questions
The unanswered questions related to the space economy are so significant that I have not yet created a conceptual framework for GSP. I have spent years trying to sort through these questions – space is not a phenomenon that lends itself to the mathematics of earthbound time and money.
It was not until I found a limited number of trusted sources that I could work out the critical unanswered questions. That is the first step to begin to build a framework for the economics. This is one reason why I chose this topic for the 1st Quarter 2018 Wrap Up. It is time to start engaging with the Solari network and allies to evolve a useful framework together.
Here is my list of unanswered questions that impact the economics of space.
- Is Our Economy Open or Closed? Do aliens exist, whether on our planet, on other planets, or in other dimensions, including time travel? Are there human civilizations on space ships or other planets? Can we control their access to our planetary air space? Do we trade with them? Do we permit them to buy securities, make investments, own assets or perpetrate slavery against humans? (More about my concerns with slavery here and slave labors camps here.) Are we required to generate a dividend, pay tribute, or honor secret treaty obligations to one or more planets or breakaway civilizations? In short, is our planetary economy open or closed? If open, what are the rules of engagement? If we price out the reliable UFO sightings, we are talking about trillions of dollars in advanced technology and hardware or very expensive hologram technology, or a combination of both. No matter who built, financed, or owned those ships, they are part of space economics. These questions raise more questions. What are the underground bases and transportation systems on Earth? What is happening on the moon? Larger questions such as who controls, owns, or lives on it returns us to the age-old question: How does the governance system on Earth really work?
From Jupiter Ascending: “Earth is a very small part of a very large industry.”
- Flow vs. Control: We know that as more communication, trade and transactions can be managed by digital means, satellite lanes are becoming the sea lanes of the 21st Century. However, how much of what adds economic value is really surveillance and control? Control of weather, control of disasters, control of information from earth observation or data flowing through digital systems, and, through these mechanisms, control of trade. How much is really control of what happens as opposed to facilitating what happens on Earth? Elana Freeland describes what is being built in space as the Space Fence (see Book Review here), converting Earth into a highly controlled environment. This is a sobering vision as it means significantly greater centralization of political and economic power.
- Military vs. Civilian: Clearly, most of the space economy to date has been funded and built by taxpayers and taxpayer supported credit through government and military funding. The primary commercial business of space has been the satellite industry. Some of the growth we are now seeing results from significant decreases in the cost of building and launching satellites. Is the greatest economic growth in space coming from a new vision of “Fortress America”; one in which America extends the life of the U.S. dollar as reserve currency by projecting power globally through cyber space, space weapons, and satellites managing robotic fleets, drones and armies? Russia, China and the BRICS nations race to compete so they cannot be controlled accordingly. How powerful is the space weaponry behind the U.S. dollar? How powerful is it expected to be in the future? Was space or related weaponry involved in various tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes? Was it involved in 9/11 or various unnatural fires in the United States and southern Europe in the last few years?
- Reinvestment of Financial Coup d‘État Proceeds: Of the $21 trillion missing from the U.S. government since fiscal 1998 and over $20 trillion from financial crisis bailouts, how much has been reinvested in space and related technology and weaponry, and related underground bases and transportation systems on Earth.
- Geophysical Risks & Space Weather: What are our risks, really? Is our planet dying and, if so, over what time period? What kind of protection do we require from asteroids hitting earth, space dust, solar flares, and changes on our planet and/or nearby planets?
- The Real State of Our Technology: We anticipate that rapid changes in material science and a wide range of technologies will make a space-based economy viable. However, a great deal of technology is hidden behind the national security state. If we have ships flying around the planet with powerful anti-gravity propulsion, why are we spending so much money on developing reusable yet old fashioned, chemical rocketry? Why is the primary source of our energy still fossil fuels? Why are dramatic drops in launch costs using rockets so important to current growth?
- Governance: Global Law vs. Outside the Law: The value of any asset is deeply impacted by the law, regulation, and enforcement that defines and governs its creation, existence, ownership, and management. We believe that the legal issues involving space are important to understand the economics, as stated in our special report in 2015 on the legal aspects of space which we have republished here. (See Special Report here) What we know is that numerous sovereign governments and likely related corporate parties are acting outside existing treaties and laws. Will space have a cooperative government system, or will it be ruled by weaponry? With increased efforts to privatize space, such as envisioned by the Space Act of 2015, will space become the ultimate corporate offshore haven? Will satellite users access blockchain and digital currencies to create the ultimate tax evasion scheme? National security law also raises numerous legal issues involving secrecy, not the least of which is the ability to waive SEC compliance for corporations. How do we know what companies are really making money in space?
- CERN & Antarctica: What do CERN (and other particle accelerators) have to do with what is happening in space? What are the facilities and activities in Antarctica, and how do they relate to what is happening in space?
The answers to these questions could drive tremendous variability in the resulting framework and potential and actual economics. This is one of the reasons why the cost of secrecy has reached astronomical levels.
OECD: The Space Economy
One of the best sources of public information available regarding global economics, including space activities and economics is the website for the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) headquartered in Paris. OECD has a space forum dedicated to providing statistical information on space activities and economics.
- OECD Space Forum
In 2012, they published a handbook for measuring the space economy.
In 2014, they published their third edition of The Space Economy at a Glance which I recommend as the best single overview of the publicly disclosed space economy:
Then in 2016, OECD followed up with:
If you want to review the publicly available statistics on the space economy, I highly recommend the OECD publications.
Renewed Interest in Space
Popular interest in space has grown over the last two decades as numerous billionaires have announced their investments in space.
One of the drivers of demand for satellite capacity has been the explosive growth of the Internet and the desire to reach the entire population for mobile and Internet services.
However, as described in our 2015 Annual Wrap Up: Space Here We Go!, I believe that the decision to re-balance the global economy starting in the 1990’s was the result of a decision to become a multi-planetary civilization. Hence, there is a chicken and egg question here. Did our decision to re-balance the global economy necessitate our having a global enforcement network through our “eyes in the sky”?
Another possibility is that globalization reflected a strategic decision that we needed the Asian population and their savings, engineering and manufacturing resources to improve the speed and economics of the global push into space? Asian per capita is expected to converge with G-7 per capita incomes – along with a significant commercial push into space, this is one of the most powerful investment trends of our time.
Whatever the answer, we globalized to push into space or we used space to globalize, the last decade has seen a concerted effort to interest the global population in space through movies, fashion and media.
The Solari Report continues to track movies about space because so many unanswered questions are explored through the movies. Movies provide a steam valve to release the pressure building from the oppressive secrecy of the national security state. Consequently, we have provided a new and improved Space in the Movies for this 1st Quarter 2018 Wrap Up. You can access it here.
Consider the push to promote space by media and entertainment as part of an effort to recruit more students into an expanding number of STEM and space related engineering degree programs.
And Now a Word From Wall Street
Wall Street and the investment community have been relatively quiet about space for decades. Among other reasons, it paid to be quiet if space activities were financed by government and the military, including through the black budget.
Consequently, the average citizen does not understand the extraordinary amount of money they and their pension funds are contributing to the effort. This is one of the reasons that we have focused our cartoons on the invisibility of this flow of funds into space related investment.
For several years, starting with our 2015 Annual Wrap Up: Space Here We Go!, the Solari Report team has maintained a list of U.S. and European companies that are involved in space and have publicly traded stock. Typically, those companies have significant involvement in the defense and aerospace industries. I have back tested several versions of that portfolio over the last three years. Consistently, I found it significantly outperforming the U.S. and global stock market indices. I believe that may say as much or more about the defense industry in recent years than about space.
As an example, here is a chart of the stock performance of Lockheed Martin, the largest U.S. defense contractor and weapons manufacturer, relative to the NASDAQ and S&P since 1996.
It is still early to tell how space will perform as an investment sector. One warning is the historical fact that flight has captured our imaginations more than it has rewarded our savings. I suspect that this is one reason that so much of the initial investment had to be funded by money disappeared from the federal coffers without the public approval by Congress.
In 2017, Wall Street emerged from its silence regarding space. Three firms published significant reports or comments about the growing space economy.
Goldman Sachs published a comment on space in May 2017, The Next Investment Frontier. It underscored the dramatic drop in launch costs and the shift of private capital into space enterprises. It made a case for the economics of asteroid mining and the opportunity to do manufacturing in space. One emphasis was the extent to which our dependence on space based services is invisible to us. “So much of your everyday life runs through space without you even thinking about it: automatic toll booths, your credit card authorization, when you use an ATM machine, or obviously if you use a satellite radio, TV and GPS.”
The big Wall Street study— Space: Investment Implications of the Final Frontier — was produced in November 2017 by the Morgan Stanley Space Team, an inter-disciplinary team of 12 analysts.
Morgan Stanley’s team anticipates that the demand for satellites and related communication services will grow strongly while the cost of building and launching satellites will continue to drop dramatically.
(CAF Note: The combination means potential traffic jams in orbital platform in space. The companies that are successful at cheaply solving the space debris problem will no doubt be among the winners.)
The Morgan Stanley team predicts that by 2040 the global space economy will grow from its current $350 billion to $0.62 trillion (bear case) — $1.75 trillion (bull case). Their prediction is that the killer app that will generate the most profits in the orbital platform will shift from broadcasting TV to the Internet of Things (IOT). The greatest data demand coming from – are you ready for this – driverless cars.
Commercial space economics is first and foremost about internet bandwidth. SpaceX is leading the effort to lower launch costs with reusable rockets. It is not surprising that the founder also owns an electric car company.
Reading the Morgan Stanley study, I was reminded of a story that a reporter told me long ago, describing the censorship related to Operation Tailwind. She explained to me that the Pentagon threatened the network’s satellite feed and speed. Without good working satellite communication, they would be out of business. The story was censored and the reporter fired.
Space means growing centralization of control. Media networks need the fastest satellite feeds. Wall Street depends on high speed trading. Telecommunication companies depend on reliable telecommunications. Transportation industries depend on satellite GPS navigation systems.
Bearing in mind the potential importance of driverless cars, note the recent comment by The Economist about the risks of consolidating our auto transportation into centralized control.
“”If people no longer drive cars, one consequence may be new forms of segregation,’ notes Ms. [Chenoe] Hart [an architectural designer at the University of California – Berkeley.] Access to some places may be restricted to certain riders or robotaxi networks, just as some online services are ‘walled gardens’ or cannot be accessed on all devices. She thinks there may be a need for a physical equivalent of network neutrality rules, to ensure that all locations are equally accessible to all AVs. In authoritarian societies, AVs could be a powerful tool of social control.” ~ Special Report: A different world — Self-driving cars will profoundly change the way people live — Foreseen and unforeseen consequences
Another report was published by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in October 2017. The Merrill team also estimated the current size of the space economy at around $350 billion. They were much more bullish than the Morgan Stanley Space Team; predicting that the space industry would grow to $2.7 trillion by 2045, more than double the size estimated by Morgan Stanley. “We are entering an exciting era in space, where we expect more advances in the next few decades than throughout human history.”
One other report worth looking at from the investment community is a promotional Space Investment Quarterly (4th Quarter 2017) from Space Angels, a venture firm focused on investment in space related enterprises. They begin their introduction as follows:
The Entrepreneurial Space Age has crossed yet another inflection point
and shows no signs of slowing down. 2017 was a record year for the
Space industry on multiple fronts including amount of investment,
number of venture capital investors, and number of new privately-funded
companies. In fact, 2017 saw a record $3.9B of non-government, equity
investment flow into commercial space companies.
At a sector level, 2017 was the year of commercial launch. The Launchers
& Landers sector closed the year with the most investment, accounting for
over 72% of capital deployed. Launchers & Landers also overtook Satellites
as the most-funded segment with nearly $6.6B in equity capital invested
If you look at our presentation of private space companies under Space Enterprise you will see there are a growing number of start ups investing in the space economy.
One question worth thinking about is how much broadband demand may be anticipated from cryptocurrency. For the IOT to reach the entire population, the fees on financial transactions will need to continue to fall. It is possible that Wall Street remains silent on the topic – like so many other aspects of what is happening in space.
Growing private investment and Wall Street research dovetails with the signals from the Trump Administration to encourage private investment in space as well as to emphasize the importance of space to U.S. military strategy. In Story #18 in this Wrap Up’s News Trends & Stories, we covered recent actions of the Administration, including the President’s speech in San Diego this March:
In space, the United States is going to do Colonel [John] Glenn proud. We are finally going to lead again. You see what’s happening.? You see the rockets going up left and right. You haven’t see that for a long time. Very soon we’re going to Mars. You wouldn’t have been going to Mars if my opponent won. You wouldn’t [have] even been thinking about it. A new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a war fighting domain just like the land, air, and sea. We may even have a Space Force — develop another one. Space Force. We have the Air Force, we will have the Space Force. We have the Army, the Navy. You know I was saying it the other day because we’re doing the tremendous amount of work in space. I said maybe we need a new force. We’ll call it the Space Force. And I was not really serious and then I said “What a great idea.” Maybe we will have to do it. That could happen. That could be the big breaking story. Look at all those people back there — ah, that fake news! They know— they understand. Think of that — Space Force. Because we’re spending a lot and we have a lot of private money coming in. Tremendous! You saw what happened the other day – tremendous success. From the very beginning many of our astronauts have been soldiers, or sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines. And our service members will be vital to ensuring America continues to lead the way into the Stars. We’re gonna lead the way in space. We’re way way behind but we’re catching up fast. So fast that no one believes it.
Significant private investment into space is underway.
Thanks to an excellent effort by Jason Worth, our lists of U.S. and European-traded companies and private companies involved in the space economy are expanded and up to date. They have been organized into tables to help you sort them by the listed data fields. We are also building a list of Asian-traded companies.
As you review the growing number of companies involved, you will be surprised to see who’s who in space and how much is going on.
You can access the lists of Space Enterprise here. You can post comments or additions or send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once upon a time, I was a frustrated guest on Coast to Coast AM, trying to interest its radio audience in reinvesting in communities.
It took me many years of listening to their intense interest in space to connect the dots between my personal finances, our local communities, and what is happening in that space place among the stars once reserved to John Glenn and Star Trek.
The communities I loved were being destroyed by drug gangs, who were being managed by “Tony Soprano,” who was protected by “James Bond,” who was making sure that the profits continued to flow into investment in space and secret weaponry.
Seeing the financial flows between housing bubbles, money disappearing from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the financial rape of people and places with the funding of satellites orbiting overhead was quite an intellectual journey. I learned that what is going on around me in space is critical to both the global economy as well as our personal health and finances.
I am often asked what the future is of the US dollar – both its value and role as the global reserve currency. The answer is that it is highly dependent on America’s commercial and military success in space. I am often asked about the future of freedom. Once again, the answer is highly dependent on whether supremacy in space facilitates and supports free markets, open access and democratic process on Earth, or is used to further centralize control, including mind control, “surveillance capitalism,” and Elena Freeland’s “space fence.”
If there is one thing I want you to learn from this 1st Quarter Wrap Up, it is that what is happening in space is important. Whether you know it or not, you have invested a great deal of money in space. You are an investor. You have a right to know.
I invite you to explore this final frontier.