What kind of government will exist on Mars?

The lessons we've learned here on Earth will affect how we govern a new world.

  • The colonization of Mars is a real possibility for the not-too-distant future. A big question that author Michael Shermer and others are considering is how what we know about government on Earth will shape the politics of a new planet.
  • Favored by Elon Musk, Shermer shoots down the suggestion of a direct democracy because he says that historically it does not work. Direct democracy can lead to a "mob mentality" where hysterics overtake logic, leading to witch hunts and other bad consequences.
  • Shermer explains why he thinks the government on Mars will, in many ways, mirror what we know as a representative democracy. There will be constitutional republic and a Bill of Rights that determines what people can and can't do.

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Restoring a healthy economy will require a local focus. Here’s why.

How will the current challenges to the global economy pressure it to change?

  • Life is different everywhere—it is determined by the context of a unique culture and a unique geography. The same goes for economies. Local economies are unique to their contexts, says John Fullerton, founder and president of Capital Institute.
  • "[I]magine if you thought about human economic development from a place-based perspective," says Fullerton. "You would have, instead of a global corporation like Apple, thought of as a single thing, you would have Apple's manufacturing plant in China as part of the Chinese bioregional economy."
  • The pressure on the current global economy will cause it to shift and evolve into a healthier state of community-based economic development.
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How did Africa get its name?

These maps show surprising juxtapositions of ancient and modern toponyms of the Mother Continent.

Image: Hansueli Krapf, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • "Africa" is just one of the ancient names that competed to define the entire continent.
  • Geographical terms like Sudan, Maghreb, and Guinea have remarkably wide and changeable areas of application.
  • Newly independent African nations sometimes adopted names of former kingdoms – even faraway ones.
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Ethnic chauvinism: Why the whole world shouldn’t look like America

We are constantly trying to force the world to look like us — we need to move on.

  • When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Americans jumped for joy. At the time, some believed there weren't going to be any more political disagreements anywhere in the world. They thought American democracy had won the "war of ideas."
  • American exceptionalism has sought to create a world order that's really a mirror image of ourselves — a liberal world order founded on the DNA of American thinking. To many abroad this looks like ethnic chauvinism.
  • We need to move on from this way of thinking, and consider that sometimes "problem-solving," in global affairs, means the world makes us look like how it wants to be.
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Is Juche the state religion of North Korea?

Is Juche an ideology, a scam, or a very strange religion?

KIM WON JIN/AFP/Getty Images
  • North Koreans are known for fanatical dedication to their tyrannical rulers.
  • Some have argued that this is because the ideology of Juche is less an ideology than it is a religion.
  • Several elements of Juche were clearly influenced not by Marx, but by Confucius.
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