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Old 09-07-2017, 12:50 PM   #19
Michael Thayne
 
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Join Date: May 2010
Default Re: How hard is it to acquire raw materials for 3D printing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
THS has an inherent conflict between the fluff text (radical) and the specified future history (less radical). Given that THS does not have exponential wealth increases, 3D printers must have some inherent limits to what they can produce, and the easiest one is feedstock.

As far as electronics go, I assume that 3D printers are not capable of producing electronics directly -- rather, feedstock includes microelectronics that can be combined to form larger systems (this implies that THS electronics are massively parallel systems -- the electronics in feedstock are the equivalent of programmable neurons. Given the rest of THS technology, this is fairly believable).
I agree there's a conflict here, but I think you're looking for it in the wrong place. AFAICT in the real world the big limiting factor on economic growth is the labor supply. (Both headcount and education.) Bioroids and strong AI ought to solve that. On the other hand, most nations in THS have strong legal restrictions on them, mitigating the issue somewhat.

There are a couple holes in this, though. One is the possibility of, say, the TSA engaging in rapid "catch-up growth" to Fifth Wave status, which would greatly upset the balance of power in the setting. An interesting possibility is to stipulate that this will happen, but at a fraction of the rate it could, because most minifacturing capacity is being use for military purposes and other short-term needs. Indonesia is promising a minifac in every village by 2015, perhaps if they threw the whole weight of their industrial capacity behind the plan they could do it in just a few years.

The other hole is what radical transhumanist enclaves do. There, I'm honestly stumped, though maybe if I studied relevant sourcebooks more carefully there would be an answer. The Axon Group's budding base on Triton might suffer from having 0 minifacs to start out with. Not sure about the habitats in lunar orbit.
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