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Higher Public Priorities
The post Apollo Program cutbacks came primarily due to a public perception of competing national and international priorities. The Space Program has never been a real competitor to increased social progress in the world. It simulates the economy, and is actually part of the solution. This is a future that the youth can look forward to.
According to a 1980 Hunger Project newsletter, world hunger could be eliminated within 15 years, for less than 1% of the money the world spends on weapons. With improving agricultural technology, perhaps the time period could be shortened. This is about 1/30th of 1% of the World Gross Domestic Product. An international commitment of 1/2 of 1% of World Gross Domestic Product would be reasonable to vastly improve the human condition worldwide.
In the United States, many social problems could be solved, without high levels of federal funding, through increased public service, stronger extended families that support their own needy, and a public commitment to traditional moral values.
To improve the human condition worldwide, we would need to motivate those in power, throughout the world, to eliminate wars, increase public education opportunities. Couple this with increased economic freedom. Have advancing technology to stimulate economic growth.
Every nation that has strong economic freedom has a strong solid middle class majority of citizens. Where all else fails, reasonable taxation can help. There must also be public dedication to the moral wisdom of the ages: Especially the values shared by the world's great religious traditions. The Golden Rule is one example.
We can have both social progress and space progress at the same time. The highest U.S. space goals will require less than 1% of the federal budget, and it will generate more revenue than it takes through advancing technology. The current space budget could triple without hurting human social progress.