In this article in the Space Review, political scientist John Hickman argues that space exploration has been seriously impeded by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which prevents the establishment of national sovereignty and private property rights in space. As a result, he claims, we have created a tragedy of the anti-commons which undercuts the incentive to engage in beneficial exploration and exploitation of space. Many of Hickman’s claims seem plausible. However, his argument that that competition between different national space legal systems in space would be harmful seems to contradict his main thesis that independent national sovereignties in space are desirable. Whether or not greatly expanded space exploration is technically feasible and commercially viable is an issue beyond my expertise. But I certainly agree that national sovereignty and private property rights are likely to provide a better framework for any exploration that is feasible than the current dysfunctional legal regime.
I discussed some related issues in this post, which made the case for establishing private property rights in space.