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Old 08-15-2009, 12:43 PM   #144
MrId's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Default Re: Sectors of an Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech economy

I should probably preface this by saying that I'm not familiar with the setting or with economics to a great degree, but the discussion of what they ship from planet to planet made me wonder about how they ship it and who makes those particular widgets.

Does the Empire's control over the manufacturing of spacecraft extend to Surface-to-Orbit craft or non-starships? If so, then I would think that the non-starship spacecraft manufacturing could be a specialization of one of the Suite worlds. Actually, if the demand was high enough, one world could specialize in things like spaceplanes and another in spacecraft that operate in the absence of an atmosphere. And Tau Ceti could manufacture the arrays for laser launch facilities, if that's a feature of the setting. Along with the lasers for laser-ignition fusion, if that's something they use in the setting.

The other thing that I noticed in the list of planets in the Flat Black Wiki was quite a few of them seem to be below TL 6. If these planets participate in the economy through the production of agricultural goods, they would probably need to import vehicles to move goods from the production areas to the spaceport -- although the image of a three masted sailing ship pulling up to a laser launch spaceport has a certain appeal. Of course, this might be an export market for planets of lower TLs, too.

Also, there's the people that run all of these machines. I assume they will have to be trained in how to fly a spaceplane, run a giant laser, and so forth, and so they'll have to head to whatever planet provides the TL10 vocational training. While the travel times are long for tourist trips in the current sense, a few months travel, a few years training, and a few months travel back home (or to a new planet) could turn into a sizable income for that particular person. Unless these are all run by AI, in which case, theres probably a lot of people programming those AIs.

And then there's spare parts. I wondered if, with all these planets separated so far, imported goods that break down will need to have parts replaced, but rather than ships a container of spare widgets, not knowing which ones will be needed, one planet could specialize in the production of various types of mini-factories. Then the spaceport has an array of mini-facs, purchases licenses for whatever spare parts they need, and just imports the mini-fac version of inkjet cartridges. So, one sector to specialize in could be the manufacturing of, um, manufacturing devices.

I'm not sure if any of this helps, but I hope it does. I have a feeling some of it is radically incompatible with the setting assumptions.
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