As the world's superpowers and corporations jostle for control in space, A. C. Grayling asks: who really owns our planet?

'Grayling brings satisfying order to daunting subjects.' STEVEN PINKER

Silicon for microchips; manganese for batteries; titanium for missiles.

The moon contains a wealth of natural resources. So, as the Earth’s supplies have begun to dwindle, it is no surprise that the world’s superpowers and wealthiest corporations have turned their eyes to the stars. As this new Space Race begins, A.C. Grayling asks: who, if anyone, owns the moon? Or Mars? Or other bodies in near space? And what do those superpowers and corporations owe to Planet Earth and its inhabitants as a whole?

From feudal common land, through the rules of the sea, to the vast, nationless expanse of Antarctica, Grayling explores the history of the places which no one, and therefore everyone, owns. Examining the many ways this so-called terra nullius has fallen victim to ‘the tragedy of the commons’ – the tendency for communal resources to be exploited by a few individuals for personal gain at the expense of everyone else – Who Owns the Moon? puts forward a compelling argument for a bold new global consensus, one which recognises and defends the rights of everyone who lives on this planet.

About the author(s)

A. C. Grayling is the Founder and Principal of the New College of the Humanities at Northeastern University, London, and its Professor of Philosophy. Among his many books are The God Argument, Democracy and Its Crisis, The History of Philosophy, The Good State and The Frontiers of Knowledge. He has been a regular contributor to The Times, Guardian, Financial Times, Independent on Sunday, Economist, New Statesman, Prospect and New European. He appears frequently on radio and TV, including Newsnight and CNN News. He lives in London.


'There's much we can apply from our terrestrial past to our murky future in space... A useful review of relevant international history and law.' —TLS

‘Perhaps the most intriguing book title to have landed on my desk in the past few weeks.’ —Tablet, Books to Look Forward to in 2024

'Who Owns the Moon? is an important introductory text on the issues and challenges that humanity will have to confront as it ventures to the Moon and beyond.' —Nature

'The discussion illuminates fascinating legal issues surrounding ownership, sovereignty, and areas of common interest... With the combination of humanity’s rapid technological advances and a propensity for greed and competition, it is almost certain that valuable resources will be discovered and argued over. Will this trigger hostilities, a new arms race, even war?' —Booklist

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