54 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2016
Date Written: December 17, 2015
If and when the first human settlement arrives on Mars, it may be with the intention of staying on permanently. Progress and the spirit of adventure being what they are, the first group of settlers may be joined some time thereafter by a second. In anticipation of two groups of settlers on Mars who may compete over scarce suitable landscapes for sustaining the basic human needs of oxygen, energy, water, shelter and food, a framework of private property rights is necessary. In crafting possible frameworks, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty’s (OST) governing provisions regarding property law must be considered. Existing scholarship has largely failed to properly account for the application of common law precepts to realistic property disputes governed by OST provisions, to fully acknowledge the non-appropriation and common use commands of the OST, which sound, arguably, in quasi-Marxist tones, and to explicate the types of unique property demands of permanent extraterrestrial human settlements. This article maps out two basic common law frameworks for two anticipated varieties of property disputes which adhere to the general and more specific principles contained within the OST while encouraging economically efficient decision-making and sustainable uses of the planet surface.
Keywords: Outer Space Treaty, Common Law, Property
JEL Classification: K11, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Simmons, Thomas E., Deploying the Common Law to Quasi-Marxist Property on Mars (December 17, 2015). Gonzaga Law Review, Vol. 51, No. 1, 2015/16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2751452