I'm going to expand on a tangent of my last post a bit here.
So, it's 2030 and China, the US, the ESA, India and the Russians all have lunar bases set up as a jumping off point for Mars colonization. That is the current plan, all these countries, starting in 2024, are going to start building permanent lunar bases. How would we go about building the start of a city on Mars? I'm not talking about the feasibility of getting an excavation unit there to hollow out a living space and the exact architecture of the city itself, but rather the foundation for how it will run.
There's a distinct advantage to building a city from the ground up using highly developed technology to traditional cities. It would not be difficult to use solar, wind, nuclear, or supercritical water power. Automating the entire process would also be easy. Then there's agriculture. That's extremely easy to automate. Water and air production wouldn't be hard to automate either. So why not just give the residents what they need to survive? Why is it necessary for one person to be the farmer and another to be the power plant operator? On Earth nothing is free and machines haven't replaced people in easily automateable fields because people need to earn money. On Mars there doesn't need to be a competition based economy.
I thought about that for a while and realized something. That's a similar dynamic to prison today. You are provided living space, food, air and water everyday for free. And just like in prison, people want more. If someone imports the newest Xbox, everyone is going to want it. If there's no currency to trade, that is a problem. So people will make their own currency, just like in prison. In this way, people will still work somehow to earn something to trade for something not otherwise available on Mars.
Then I thought about it more. Part of the purpose of Mars itself may be about mining and manufacturing materials, or even real estate when we run out. If the planet itself were the economy for all its people, who loses? Everyone can have that same Xbox if the people trade X amount of mined materials, or they could trade Y amount of land for Earth currency; to buy an amount of unavailable materials on Mars to make any number of products available.
Now that every country in the world is participating in the bastard form of capitalism we've developed (and I may be tried for treason just for insulting it), it's un-Earthlike to say fuck capitalism for Mars. I think it's appropriate.