Prognostication: How to identify the next super power

In my class I told my students this simple test. With each successive significant change in power structure  of geo-politics there were associated technologies. I like to think about exploitative technologies rather than destructive, but I digress. My test for the next major super power?

Whomever, creates the ability to exploit space by launching, scheduling, and lifting into orbit bus loads of people on a regular basis to work and live in space will be the next super power. The technology exists to do this now, but the political will to accomplish this form of resource exploitation including living and working on the face of another planetary body does not. The expression of national power and will to reliably transport at least 24 people at a time into space is a minimal step based on current capabilities. Creating regular and industrial level transport to space would represent a significant change in the exploitation and commerce of space. Along with those factors would come the regulation and expected ownership of the environment.

So, there you go. Whomever, can regularly launch bus loads of people into space will be the defacto super power.

What if it is a multi-national corporation? There in lies one of the rubs and I suggest you read about the East India Tea Company. Perhaps that is the way we’re leaning? I don’t know the answer. I do know that even the concept of nation state may change upon such a capability being demonstrated and acted upon regularly.

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