Mariel Borowitz, assistant professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Institute of Technology, wrote the Space News, August 8, op-ed, “Satellite Data and Cheeseburgers.” The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs is part of the Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.
“If cheeseburgers were declared a global public good because food is necessary for life, and therefore it’s a global public good and cheeseburgers therefore had to be given away to the world for free, how many cheeseburgers would have been available to me at nine o’clock at night on a Sunday when I landed in Washington, D.C.? The answer is zero. Why? Because nobody is going to start producing cheeseburgers for free.”
There are a couple technical issues with this analogy, discussed below, but it captures the key question well: how do we balance support for an exciting, new commercial market with the government’s responsibility to provide data that supports science, protects lives and property, and enables value-added companies in sectors ranging from agriculture to energy?
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