The lunar economy?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

When man finally colonized the moon, and find water, oil and natural minerals there, do you think this can created an economy there and many other people will go there to establish themselves, just like the Americas in the past?

Mass colonization of the Americas has not happened until affordable intercontinental transportation was developed. Similarly, mass colonization of the Moon will not happen until we have affordable interplanetary transportation.

However, you seem to make a very important mistake in your reasoning; you assume that an economy can only exist because of natural resources. In reality, the economy exists only because of people; in the average developed economy of today, 70% of what is produced and consumed is services, and the percentage will go further up in the future. Get together enough people, and there will be an economy…

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