Planet Labs: Capitalism at it’s Finest

It isn’t even debatable that American Capitalism is the best economic system in the history of humankind.  In less than 200 years we as Americans have done more to improve the quality of life for people all around the world than any other nation.  American Capitalism has brought things to market such as the automobile, and the light bulb.  We have developed resources like aluminum and the uranium.  We lead the way in the medical field by creating new treatments like chemotherapy and developing vaccines that have all but snuffed out diseases like polio.  Through the natural progression of building off of prior inventions, humanity’s quality of life is spiraling upward.  Space is no different.

The United States has always led the way in the exploration of space… and now capitalism is revolutionizing how we explore – and yes, ultimately settle – space.

A perfect example of this is Planet Labs of Silicon Valley.  Be inspired and watch this short video on how Planet Labs came to be and what they do.

Planet Labs has developed the Dove Satellite and to date has deployed 28 “Doves” using another American company, NanoRacks.  The Dove simply looks at earth and takes a photograph everyday.  Not just one photograph of the earth, but every inch on earth.  This is amazing.  Think of the implications of this new technology when it comes to water, food, and the study of climate change.  Now I want you think about what it would cost the US government to develop such a system.

Consider this, there are 13 other agencies studying climate change (including NASA), with a budget in the billions.  Sure the government can do this but would the data be open to “commoners” like you and I?  The answer is no it is not.  We simply have to believe what is reported in the studies from “the data”.  Now you and I will be able to see photographs of how our earth is changing day by day – and at a fraction of the cost.  Don’t think there is a water problem in California?  Look at the photos on a day by day basis and find out.  Are the polar caps really melting?  We will find out.

Photo of Dove Satellites being deployed on the International Space Station via NanoRacks.  Photo credit: Planet Labs.

Photo of Dove Satellites being deployed on the International Space Station via NanoRacks. Photo credit: Planet Labs.

This is all due to American Capitalism.

…and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a Planet Labs right here in McHenry County?  Think about that for a minute too.  How do we inspire our kids graduating from Cary-Grove, Jacobs, Crystal Lake Central, and the rest of the county high schools along with MCC to develop space based companies?  What if we had a business incubator zone to develop the dreams and ideas of our kids?  We could do this in McHenry… but will we?  Will we dare to unlock the shackles around the feet and wrists of small businesses in McHenry County?  Will we dare to empower the job creators and the entrepreneurs who call McHenry County home?

Simply put, taxes are way too high in McHenry County and with the political climate in Illinois, it makes our job that much more difficult.  You cannot tax and spend your way into prosperity.  You cannot spend other people’s money whether its local, state, or federal without paying for it later.  It is not “free money”.

The story of Planet Labs should inspire us all.  We should have the story taught in our schools.  We should be continuing to preach that the American Dream is not dead.  We can do more, we can do better, but it cannot be through taxation.  And I am not speaking specifically to the McHenry County Board.

Clean rooms side by sideAll of us, whether elected or appointed officials, need to lower property taxes in McHenry County.  School districts, park districts, villages and cities all need to focus on lowering their levies.  The McHenry County Board has held its levy flat but you as taxpayers would never know.  How could you when one body of government holds the line but the other seven taxing bodies on your bill tax to the max… but more on that in the future.

What we can learn from Planet Labs is that capitalism works and is alive and well in America.  Our American space program is alive and well.  It may not be like the space program we had back in 1969 (and thank God).  We cannot live on the coattails of history with our space program.  What we can also re-learn is that space is damn cool and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work in space.