Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Interstellar Travel and the Endurance of Religion

Bouncing around the blogosphere last week: DARPA is looking for information on how to design a 100-year spaceship. Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution observes that the cultural "operating system" required for such an endeavor would seem to bear a remarkable similarity to religion, comparing against famously long-lived corporations like the Hudson Bay Company (which still was much shorter-lived than the church).

An obvious objection to his assumption that religions are the best-preserved organizations over long periods is that religions do change dramatically over time; is Catholicism today meaningfully the same thing that it was in A.D. 400? Or is it just brand recognition with a different organization backing it?

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