Exit Strategy: Profit, Cosmology, and the Future of Humans in Space

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Commercial New Space industries are increasingly significant players in outer space. The temptation is to see New Space as merely the next step in neo liberal capitalism's search for new profits and markets. However, finance capitalism's emphasis on short-term investor "exit strategies" is actually hostile to both the cosmological vision and entrepreneurial practice of New Spacers, who seek a different "exit strategy": to escape Earth's gravity and establish space settlements which they see as essential to long-term human survival and evolution. At the same time, critical theorists are hostile to, or ignore, the idea of space as a site for human sociality. I argue that the context of outer space-and what it promises-challenges a progressive perspective on human futures to take seriously the cosmological visions of powerful social actors whose goals naturalize capitalist relations, even as these goals are re-imagined in reference to powerful cultural and economic historical tropes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1045-1067
Number of pages24
JournalAnthropological Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Cosmology
  • Future
  • Markets
  • Neoliberalism
  • Outer space


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