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Published:February 2001
Origin:Speech to the 4th Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Forecasting Conference, Arlington, Virginia

It is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to address this conference, which has established itself as a key venue for those with an interest in the future of the space industry. It is unfortunate that economists' comments are not always welcome at space industry conferences - because we tend to ask rather pointed questions like "Is this activity worth doing?" But it is important for someone to 'say it like it is' since this can reduce waste, improve policies and thereby contribute to economic growth. And, to put it bluntly, space has a very poor economic record: with very high costs, very low revenues, and taxpayers around the world providing $25 billion every year to cover the endless 'red ink'. I believe we can change this: space can become a booming, popular and profitable area of business - a jewel of the world economy instead of a black hole. But that needs appropriate policies, which are emphatically not being followed today. To find the right model for space policy, a historical perspective is useful.

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