As for reputation - who remembers GM doing this?
Let's be honest though, GM is remembered for a lot of bad things....
Debian changed because there were strong signs that developers were starting to introduce hard dependencies for systemd. While those could be overcome for Jessie, the feeling of the Debian people is that in 2 1/2 years there wouldn't be a choice.
Do you have a citation for this? I've been trying to collect this kind of information.
Actually, this points out another possible explanation -- that distance is the effect of ethical behavior rather than the cause. This is not necessarily because the boss explicitly or intentionally demands unethical behavior from his subordinates. Often it's because bad bosses like to surround themselves with yes-men and toadies.
200 parts per million might be insanely rich, but it also means you have to process over 300 pounds of ore to extract 1 oz of platinum. That's nothing to a terrestrial mining operation which might crush several tons of rock to recover a single ounce of gold, but remember they do that with mass-is-no-object machinery and consuming, from a spacecraft point of view, unthinkable amounts of power. In space operations mass and power matters a great deal.
I'm not saying it won't happen eventually, but it won't be profitable until we're measuring cost per pound to orbit in pennies rather than thousands of dollars.
I used the unpaid example to draw a sharper contrast. A large block of time off is generally unavailable under any terms, except at companies like FB (or apparently everywhere in Europe) that explicitly call out child-rearing.
Since you seem to know of the system: If European democracies have a state system for paying for the leave, did the debate include proposals to allow payments for other avocations?
Europe is a big place and it probably varies to jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but I'd say generally no. I know that here in Norway there are a few other exceptions where the government may step in and pay like if you're giving care to someone seriously ill because you're a de facto replacement for public healthcare but for personal projects you are on your own. It has been suggested though that those who want to be slackers can be employed for a relatively short while, then go on unemployment benefits while making crap applications for jobs they won't get, flunk interviews and in general be unemployable while formally meeting the requirements. For the more serious people though I know some that have gotten 6-12 months unpaid leave to pursue some personal dream in the private sector, in the public sector it's even easier.
I think this very much relates to the use of overtime and wage politics, in Europe you generally have to pay for every hour and to be honest you're usually paying overpaying unskilled/untrained people and underpaying your best people. Which means that if good employees don't get their leave and instead quit thinking their CV is good enough to get re-employed a year later you as an employer lose. They have to deal with similar leaves quite often for the 50% that's female and we also have a shorter paternity leave, so really there's no reason to be a dick about it. I guess it depends on why though, if you're starting a competing business then no.... the one I know who got a 12 month leave sailed around the world. Pretty bold move, but it was also fairly certain he'd be coming back. I think it takes a large company though, the smaller the harder it'll be.
I considered the near Earth object case. Clearly that's the easiest place to return material from; the problem is that it's coals-to-Newcastle. So far as we know the bulk of that material is stuff that's easy to get here on Earth: silicates, sulfides, iron, nickel etc. Judging from meteors found here on Earth there are exotic materials like iridium, but in trace quantities.
While there's no doubt lots of valuable stuff like platinum up there, I think people are picturing it as floating around as nuggets of largely native metal. The platinum deposits in Canada's Sudbury Basin were delivered by a meteor, but that meteor was fifteen km across. It contained a lot of Pt in absolute terms, but in relative terms the Pt was rare compared to silicates or nickel. The liquefaction of the meteor in impact separated the heavy metals into convenient deposits. If we tried to mine that object while it was in space we'd have had to crush and melt a lot of ore to get much Pt.
Need for resources drives expansion. That's been true since the first self replicating molecules evolved.
You are in the hall of the mountain king.