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Did the MBS corner the market on trade?

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Re: Did the MBS corner the market on trade?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:16 pm

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tlb wrote:We know that even before the alliance with Manticore that the economy functioned well enough that Grayson was not at subsistence level. Water purification is a problem that has been solved, no more difficult than making fresh water from seawater for us. Once you have fresh water, then hydroponics can provide ample vegetables and aquaculture can provide fish that the people can eat.

And raised bed greenhouses, just with atmospheric seals and filtering (like Grayson houses had) could cover a lot of garden level food production. (And at least with that level of atmospheric seals and filtering you should have less issues with insects, wildlife, or weeds attacking your gardens)


Before Sky Domes they didn't have the ability to dome over and decontaminate entire large farms and cities but more sanely scaled greenhouses and hydroponics were well within their technological capabilities at landing. (And probably remained so throughout the deepest part of their technological regression). But I suspect that for much of their history a lot of their meat came from smaller animals like chickens, rabbits, or guinie pigs; maybe goats - things that can be raised on far less, are more varied, food that grain eating animals like cows. (And goat milk or cheese also requires a lot less food input than dairy cows -- though possibly not on a per gallon basis)

Note that the thing Honor watched in the orbital farms was a herd of cattle graze across a knee-high meadow. The kind of acreage you'd need for large grazing animals would have been about the hardest thing to keep decontaminated given the scale required. I would speculate that beef was probably an expensive luxury, if not simply lost entirely, until they gained the ability to build those orbital ranches for them.


And yet Honor assumes that even when she arrived there would be some agricultural fields the "Lighter patches, with suspiciously neat and regular boundaries" centered around cities and towns, that would apparently be outside and face a unremitting struggle to keep reasonably decontaminated (due to heavy metal dust blown or being brought down during rain). To some extent they probably just did what they could and accepted higher levels of heavy metals in their food that anywhere else would have considered acceptable.
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Re: Did the MBS corner the market on trade?
Post by cthia   » Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:21 pm

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Interesting posts guys. Actually, I applaud Grayson's ingenuity, because there has to be a lot of technical stuff going on behind the scenes connected to the domes. I'm thinking about things like air quality. Does the air ever get stale? What is the point of doming your city if it is going to be exposed to outside air. So, the technology to keep the air clean of heavy metals for an entire city has to be a herculean task. The atmosphere within the dome has to be comfortable. Oxygen and humidity levels has to be correct. They must have an incredible automated system to do so much. As a civil engineer, I'd love a tour!

I would imagine that ALL industry is in space, like factories and the like which would pollute the atmosphere even more. The remaining businesses are most likely built inside the domes as well to prevent exposure to the elements when commuting. I suppose that mostly the only thing found outside of the domes is the beauty of nature. And to see that, one takes a long Sunday drive.

As far as the domes, they simply made the engineering of doming large areas cheaper and easier. I don't recall they actually eased the problem of contamination any at all.

I am also curious about what one sees when looking up at "the sky." I suppose the domes allow unrestricted views of the heavens because Abigail saw Honor fighting the Peeps. But it would have to be filtered light that somehow prevents the greenhouse effect. And, how high above the city is the dome? And, can you imagine the feat of keeping the dome clean for unobstructed views.

Didn't Oyster Bay spare the farms? What about the civilian infrastructure?

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Did the MBS corner the market on trade?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:29 pm

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cthia wrote:Interesting posts guys. Actually, I applaud Grayson's ingenuity, because there has to be a lot of technical stuff going on behind the scenes connected to the domes. I'm thinking about things like air quality. Does the air ever get stale? What is the point of doming your city if it is going to be exposed to outside air. So, the technology to keep the air clean of heavy metals for an entire city has to be a herculean task. The atmosphere within the dome has to be comfortable. Oxygen and humidity levels has to be correct. They must have an incredible automated system to do so much. As a civil engineer, I'd love a tour!

I would imagine that ALL industry is in space, like factories and the like which would pollute the atmosphere even more. The remaining businesses are most likely built inside the domes as well to prevent exposure to the elements when commuting. I suppose that mostly the only thing found outside of the domes is the beauty of nature. And to see that, one takes a long Sunday drive.

As far as the domes, they simply made the engineering of doming large areas cheaper and easier. I don't recall they actually eased the problem of contamination any at all.

I am also curious about what one sees when looking up at "the sky." I suppose the domes allow unrestricted views of the heavens because Abigail saw Honor fighting the Peeps. But it would have to be filtered light that somehow prevents the greenhouse effect. And, how high above the city is the dome? And, can you imagine the feat of keeping the dome clean for unobstructed views.

Didn't Oyster Bay spare the farms? What about the civilian infrastructure?
The sky domes don't make it any easier to decontaminate the soil. So first you've got to build the dome to keep new atmospheric dust out, as well as contaminated water - then you'd need to filter anything coming in. And only then could could decontaminate the existing soil within it. But Gerrick's original Sky Domes six-thousand-hectare demonstration project included "original soil decontamination cost, and we'd have to work out a lot of hardware for the pilot project, too. Not just the air cleaners, but water distillation, irrigation systems, contamination monitors. . . . " [FoD - Ch.18]


There were already small domes over specific buildings, and air filtration and overpressure systems were a routine part of Grayson building codes [FoD - Ch.18] - And presumably those had their soil decontaminated as well.

Plus there are mentions of the difficulties that planetside farms (presumably undomed) had with ongoing contamination (which implies they'd been originally decontaminated at some point).

But while it seems Grayson has well established methods for soil decontamination there's nothing about the domes that seems to make that part of the process any cheaper. The ongoing filtering etc. should be cheaper in one large dome than in a bunch of little domes that add up to the same square footage -- since 1 larger filtration plant should be cheaper than a bunch of smaller ones. (And of course domes do a vastly better job of keeping out contamination than a non-domed field would).

Still, it's a lot more expensive way to farm than on a more habitable planet. It's only cheaper than building actual space stations to put those farms in. (But it's more or less a space station sitting on the ground -- just with less need for radiation and micrometeorite shielding)



As for those orbital farms and civilian infrastructure -- if I seem to recall that all the industry out around Blackbird was trashed; but that Oyster Bay didn't have the force to spare to hit anything in Grayson orbit. So while IIRC their newest orbital industrial nodes were mostly out by Blackbird and would have gotten trashed; their slightly older civilian orbital industry would have been in orbit around Grayson and should be fine.
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Re: Did the MBS corner the market on trade?
Post by Daryl   » Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:45 pm

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Considering that the original Grayson colony was settled by slow boat, they probably didn't have anti-gravity technology.
So how did they make orbital farms work? Using rotating wheels or cylinders, or upside down domes tethered by cables from the surface? Otherwise the cow jumped over the moon nursery rhyme would be apt.
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Re: Did the MBS corner the market on trade?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:29 pm

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Daryl wrote:Considering that the original Grayson colony was settled by slow boat, they probably didn't have anti-gravity technology.
So how did they make orbital farms work? Using rotating wheels or cylinders, or upside down domes tethered by cables from the surface? Otherwise the cow jumped over the moon nursery rhyme would be apt.
Tangent on timeline:
House of Steel's section of Grayson's history says "By the end of the 13th Century PD, Grayson had reestablished a substantial space presence [...] and ambitious plans were afoot to construct orbital farms to produce not simply sufficient food to support the extra-atmospheric population, but also significant quantities of foodstuffs free of the omnipresent heavy metals contamination which had such destructive effects for Grayson’s planetary citizens." which implies that there were no such farms prior to that point. (That's about 300 years after landing) And in fact it specifically mentions that their original access to space was lost in 1065 PD when the last of the slow-boat's original shuttles failed (77 years after landing).

Then they didn't start meaningfully reestablishing a space presence until 1250 PD or later - so about a 2 century gap.

Still, the plans for the original orbital farms were being drawn up pre-civil war and something like 500 years before contact with the outer worlds were reestablished. Also grav plates were a new high tech thing in Manticore (admittedly a bit of a tech backwater at the time) when A Call to Duty, the first Travis Long novel, occurs in the 1530s. /tangent

So Grayson definitely didn't bring artifical gravity tech with them on their colony boat; and I don't believe had it until after 1793 PD when recontact happened. Though by the time Honor shows up there in the early 1900s the one orbital far we see her observing, the one with cattle grazing in the meadow, does have artificial gravity.


Given that there's no mention of Grayson having space elevators it seems unlikely there would be tethered farms. A space elevator would be obsolete by the time Honor shows up, about a century after contact was reestablished -- but if they'd had them almost certainly at least one would have been preserved as a critical part of their history (and therefore mentioned at some point). So we probably have to assume they didn't have the material science to build the tether you'd need for one of those. (As if they could build one it would have been a real boost to their space industry)

That implies that the pre-contact orbital farms were either zero-g or else used rotational pseudo-gravity.
(Though those early ones may have been crops only; no livestock -- we've no info one way or the other)
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Re: Did the MBS corner the market on trade?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:37 am

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cthia wrote:What the heck is the cost of a loaf of bread? Especially on Grayson, where there is so much contaminated land. What am I talking about, ALL of Grayson's land is contaminated. Graysons are never going to seek out products with the label "locally grown and locally sourced."


There is uncontaminated land. Whether it's used for farming or for other uses, like habitation, I can't be sure.

Everything is grown in space. I can not imagine the absolute cost of getting a loaf of bread on the table on Grayson. The cost of the "farmers," the pilots, the crew, the Stevedores, taxes, fuel, insurance, the harvester, etc.


We can't imagine the cost, but that means we can't tell either whether it's more expensive or not. There's no reason why it has to be more expensive than stuff grown on land. The difficulty for us today of space economy is that everything we need up there needs to be taken off the Earth, at a cost of thousands of dollars per kilo or more.

But once you have a space infrastructure and you source your resources from space, then the cost can be much smaller. The cost of getting stuff down the gravity well is small; the cost of energy is negligible since you're in space and you can place your orbital farms in permanent sunlight. The biggest difficulty here is the organic material and other trace components that the food will need: unless you bring the garbage out of the gravity well, you need to get it from space. You'll need to lasso some CHON asteroids for those materials and break them up.

In other words, space farming can be cheaper than land farming. Especially if you have counter-grav and the cost of clearing the land of contaminants is prohibitive.

If a loaf of bread today followed the same path of an HV loaf of bread, it would cost what? Hundreds? Thousands?


The economics of the HV don't make physical sense. Counter-grav implies that it's somehow cheap to get stuff out of a gravity well, which makes little sense. Shipping raw stuff across systems also makes little sense.

We suspend disbelief.

Assuming those activities and other similar ones are indeed cheap, there's no reason why a loaf of bread would cost more than what it does today for us.

Maybe the effect of the SEM and the Andermani branching out into the Verge is the availability of some never before seen products. Or rarely seen. Products that are delicacies on some planets. Myths on others.


That is explicitly said. Think of Montana beef.

Did Grayson know what milk and eggs were before the Star Kingdom wandered into their system? Are animals raised on space stations? How does a permanent life in space affect livestock?


I don't remember those details. I don't remember them being mentioned.

There's no reason why livestock would have a problem with living in orbit, so long as there's artificial gravity (which can be simply centrifugal one) and probably a day/night cycle. Ditto for plant life and plants may be able to thrive with no night.

They may not have need for livestock, though. We're almost at having printed protein foodstuffs today, so I'd expect that any colony ships launched from Earth would carry that technology.

The problem for Grayson is not technology, though. It might have been seed material: given the difficulty in living in the first couple of generations, they may have lost all their crops of a given type.

In any case, a proper colony expedition should set up orbital farms and industry before landing people and running the risk of pathogens or predators or contaminants ruining everyone's day. In fact, they should do that before waking most of the colonists up from stasis. But that's not what the HV seems to do...

What is the equivalent of minimum wage to what it is on Earth now? And what is the difference of minimum wage throughout the galaxy?


That's probably like comparing minimum wage in a Scandinavian country to minimum wage in a warn-torn sub-Saharan African country. I don't think there's any way we can talk about this.

The only one we even have an inkling of was the Basic Living Stipend in the PRH, though that's not minimum wage because it was not compensation for work. It was a State-funded allotment per citizen simply for being alive. We know that people on the dole didn't live comfortably, but it doesn't look like they starved either.

What is the cost of a good criminal lawyer? His costs must be astronomical having to chase down leads and evidence all over the galaxy. Matlock must cost a million dollars a case in the HV.


There were very few multi-system legal systems prior to the later books. The Andermani Empire and Haven were two examples; whether such gatherings as the Jewish League applied we have no clue. It definitely did not apply to the Solarian League: each system had its own legal system.

Just how poor is poor in the Verge? Has the average citizen ever left the planet, let alone the system? ...


They have not. In fact, the average and the 90th-percentile citizen has never left their home planets, period. There's simply not enough shipping to do that.

Take Manticore. With a population of 1.5 billion, with a pre-prolong average life span of 100 years, you'd need to lift 15 million people a year, not counting repeats, for everyone to have left the planet at least once. That's 41100 people per day. Assuming a shuttle carries 200 passengers, you need 210 shuttles operating around the clock to achieve that.

A system like Manticore can probably manage this. I can easily see Manticore having an active fleet of a thousand shuttles or even more. But Manticore is also Top 0.1% of the richest planets in the Settled Galaxy, so it's by no means representative.

Manticore of Travis' time might have been more representative of the average settled planet. I don't recall any population numbers, but you can easily see how the vast majority of the population then would not be able to go into orbit. And with one freighter a month, there would be little opportunity for immigration or emigration.
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Re: Did the MBS corner the market on trade?
Post by cthia   » Fri Sep 24, 2021 10:25 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:There is uncontaminated land. Whether it's used for farming or for other uses, like habitation, I can't be sure.

Of course there is uncontaminated land, all areas under the dome.

Now that I think about it, Steadings would probably own most of the land available for farming. What remains would be owned by the city for parks and/or businesses. Steadings would probably allow each resident a parcel of land to farm, or would have some sort of communal plots. But I can't see space based infrastructure surviving only catering to the rich and powerful. The general population has to be their main business if they are going to survive. But food isn't the only thing manufactured in space, everything is. So the general cost of products and goods puzzles me.

One thing to keep in mind is that the galaxy at large may determine the prices of some commodities. And the cost of fuel is one area I would imagine is important to the economy of most systems. The cost of fuel would have to be passed on to the consumer. If fuel is delivered to a system from some place in the galaxy, the cost of that fuel would be governed by the galaxy. We had a long exhaustive discussion about the cost of fuel in another thread. Systems like the MBS and Sol may be able to deliver fuel at a reasonable cost because they may manufacture it at home. But poor systems?

At any rate, the cost of fuel to move goods to and from space should be offset by anti-grav. Although, I can't see anti-grav being able to handle the massive amount of goods manufactured in space. It seems there would be a backlog in deliveries. How fast can anti-grav transports complete a round trip? But then, in poorer systems there may not be any space based industry. They wouldn't be able to afford it. (Or need it.) Especially since they wouldn't be able to replace this industry if lost to wars.

Which is why the author most likely spared Grayson's orbital industry. How would Grayson have recovered from that. In fact, I can't understand why war doesn't plunge most economies into a great depression.

Hopefully the industry of most planets in the Verge is planet based. Or the "Man must not live by bread alone" will have a whole new meaning. Maybe there just aren't any "long loafs" of bread. :D

cthia wrote:Everything is grown in space. I can not imagine the absolute cost of getting a loaf of bread on the table on Grayson. The cost of the "farmers," the pilots, the crew, the Stevedores, taxes, fuel, insurance, the harvester, etc.


ThinksMarkedly wrote:We can't imagine the cost, but that means we can't tell either whether it's more expensive or not. There's no reason why it has to be more expensive than stuff grown on land. The difficulty for us today of space economy is that everything we need up there needs to be taken off the Earth, at a cost of thousands of dollars per kilo or more.

That's not the only problems. There is safety, regulations, insurance and Unions. Workers in space have to be paid much higher wages. And the cost per worker is higher for the company because of insurance. Then there is the equipment needed for work in space. Things like space suits, and tools. Medical facilities, etc.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:But once you have a space infrastructure and you source your resources from space, then the cost can be much smaller. The cost of getting stuff down the gravity well is small; the cost of energy is negligible since you're in space and you can place your orbital farms in permanent sunlight. The biggest difficulty here is the organic material and other trace components that the food will need: unless you bring the garbage out of the gravity well, you need to get it from space. You'll need to lasso some CHON asteroids for those materials and break them up.

In other words, space farming can be cheaper than land farming. Especially if you have counter-grav and the cost of clearing the land of contaminants is prohibitive.

I'm not so certain of that. You ever been to the Midwest USA? Farm country? Farm equipment tends to cost a million dollars for one piece of machinery. I can't imagine it being any cheaper in the HV. But what should be at a premium in space is, well, space. Land. To feed lots of people you need lots of land. HV agriculture probably has found a way to grow products much more densely, increasing yields several fold. But enough to offset the thousands of acres of a Midwestern farmland with orbital farms? Just how big are these farms?

If a loaf of bread today followed the same path of an HV loaf of bread, it would cost what? Hundreds? Thousands?


ThinksMarkedly wrote:The economics of the HV don't make physical sense. Counter-grav implies that it's somehow cheap to get stuff out of a gravity well, which makes little sense. Shipping raw stuff across systems also makes little sense.

We suspend disbelief.

We suspend belief, and our order for bread. Perhaps many simply bake their own bread.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:Assuming those activities and other similar ones are indeed cheap, there's no reason why a loaf of bread would cost more than what it does today for us.

Unless it does. But hopefully you are right.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:There's no reason why livestock would have a problem with living in orbit, so long as there's artificial gravity.

-snipped-

You're probably right, after many generations. Although I would suspect problems if the livestock is taken off of a planet and transported into space. Animals have a connection to the earth. They'll know if they are off planet. Cows may not give milk and your chickens may not lay. Cows only produce milk after birth. If they don't mate. No milk.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:They may not have need for livestock, though. We're almost at having printed protein foodstuffs today, so I'd expect that any colony ships launched from Earth would carry that technology.

I long for the days of a good ole cold glass of milk. Gives a new meaning to lactose intolerant.

cthia wrote:What is the cost of a good criminal lawyer? His costs must be astronomical having to chase down leads and evidence all over the galaxy. Matlock must cost a million dollars a case in the HV.


ThinksMarkedly wrote:There were very few multi-system legal systems prior to the later books. The Andermani Empire and Haven were two examples; whether such gatherings as the Jewish League applied we have no clue. It definitely did not apply to the Solarian League: each system had its own legal system.

I wonder if there are extradition laws in the HV. Can a criminal simply flee the system and be safe? Or do your navy have to show up with an armada demanding Mandarin blood.

cthia wrote:Just how poor is poor in the Verge? Has the average citizen ever left the planet, let alone the system? ...


ThinksMarkedly wrote:They have not. In fact, the average and the 90th-percentile citizen has never left their home planets, period. There's simply not enough shipping to do that.

Take Manticore. With a population of 1.5 billion, with a pre-prolong average life span of 100 years, you'd need to lift 15 million people a year, not counting repeats, for everyone to have left the planet at least once. That's 41100 people per day. Assuming a shuttle carries 200 passengers, you need 210 shuttles operating around the clock to achieve that.

A system like Manticore can probably manage this. I can easily see Manticore having an active fleet of a thousand shuttles or even more. But Manticore is also Top 0.1% of the richest planets in the Settled Galaxy, so it's by no means representative.

Manticore of Travis' time might have been more representative of the average settled planet. I don't recall any population numbers, but you can easily see how the vast majority of the population then would not be able to go into orbit. And with one freighter a month, there would be little opportunity for immigration or emigration.

Guess what the most popular field trip is on a planet for the school kids. (A field trip is why I imagined the "busload" of kids were doing in space when they were killed.) My school organized three field trips in my lifetime. The first to the Battleship NC. The second to the Lincoln Memorial. The third to Niagara Falls.

Besides, the average citizen may not want to visit other systems and planets. Who wants to receive 5000 injections for 5000 different diseases which you may come into contact with.

Oh the horror stories about needles I've heard from men in the armed forces. Hopefully its better in the HV. Long live Star Trek's hypo spray.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Did the MBS corner the market on trade?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Fri Sep 24, 2021 10:57 am

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cthia wrote:Which is why the author most likely spared Grayson's orbital industry. How would Grayson have recovered from that. In fact, I can't understand why war doesn't plunge most economies into a great depression.
It generally does plunge economies into depressions. Now classically war did pay - the winners would be better off economically afterwards thanks to the territory and people they'd conquered. (And land and geography were the primary generators of wealth)

But the industrial revolution started changing that, as did the consequent increase in range and destructive capability of weapons. So in Europe by the late 1800s war was likely a economic loss even for the winner -- too many people lost, too much property destroyed, and the fighting necessary to conquer the enemy territory was too likely to devastate the factories and infrastructure that was the source of that area's productivity. And while you could rebuild that, it would have been cheaper to simply build more industry within your existing territory (even before you count the costs of the actual war)

Now if the balance of force is lopsided enough conquest could still pay especially if there was a natural resource you could seize and then profit from. But that's only because the "war" could be quick enough to take over without widespread destruction and the resources you were grabbing were hard to significantly damage or destroy. We could see Haven's series of take-overs of single system polities as a version of that -- the fighting was so quick that it wasn't hugely expensive to Haven and there was still wealth and productivity to loot afterwards.

(Though if their internal affairs had been in order they almost certainly would have been better off economically, in both short and long term, to have spend some of the money sunk into their navy on further industrialization and trade and getting people back to work. So those wars did pay, short term, but the return on "investment" was almost certainly lower than a return on internal reforms and industrialization would have been)




Note that the US in the 2 world wars was a massive anomaly in how it largely avoided that economic trap.
In the first world war it greatly profited by sitting on the sidelines for the majority of the war selling war materials to anybody that could pay.
Profited so much that afterwards it cheated on the gold standard because it had too much of the world's gold and didn't want the inflation that should have resulted. Inflation that would have allowed the gold to restore some balance by flowing back out of the US thanks to people buying cheaper import from non-inflated countries.

The US literally pretended that something like half the post-war gold reserve didn't exist and so didn't issue currency against it; preventing the oversupply of currency that would have caused inflation. Arguably doing so was one of the body blows against the international gold standard.

And in WWII the US had the dual benefits of having its industry and transport largely untouched by the war, having government spending finally bootstrap it out of its pre-war depression, and then after the war being able to profit further from using that industrial capacity to export to all the countries having to rebuild their war devastated industries.
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Re: Did the MBS corner the market on trade?
Post by cthia   » Fri Sep 24, 2021 4:36 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:
cthia wrote:Which is why the author most likely spared Grayson's orbital industry. How would Grayson have recovered from that. In fact, I can't understand why war doesn't plunge most economies into a great depression.
It generally does plunge economies into depressions. Now classically war did pay - the winners would be better off economically afterwards thanks to the territory and people they'd conquered. (And land and geography were the primary generators of wealth)

But the industrial revolution started changing that, as did the consequent increase in range and destructive capability of weapons. So in Europe by the late 1800s war was likely a economic loss even for the winner -- too many people lost, too much property destroyed, and the fighting necessary to conquer the enemy territory was too likely to devastate the factories and infrastructure that was the source of that area's productivity. And while you could rebuild that, it would have been cheaper to simply build more industry within your existing territory (even before you count the costs of the actual war)

Now if the balance of force is lopsided enough conquest could still pay especially if there was a natural resource you could seize and then profit from. But that's only because the "war" could be quick enough to take over without widespread destruction and the resources you were grabbing were hard to significantly damage or destroy. We could see Haven's series of take-overs of single system polities as a version of that -- the fighting was so quick that it wasn't hugely expensive to Haven and there was still wealth and productivity to loot afterwards.

-snip-


I do hate snipping this very interesting well thought out post, but in the interest of brevity ...

But, recalling an old thread, attacking systems is mostly always very costly, and oftentimes pays nothing except indirectly - denying the enemy resources, and the psychological effect. In the HV, raids seem to be the rule and conquering systems has become the exception. Even when systems are conquered, there's even more outrageous cost trying to hold it. Oftentimes after enormous investments has been made. Think Trevor's Star.

The part about the US profiting off of wars makes me wonder about the opportunity Oyster Bay made available to other systems. Who profited exporting goods to the MBS? The Andermani must be seeing a boom in its economy.

At any rate, neither Haven nor Manticore seemed to feel any drain on its resources. Manticore had the enormous revenues generated by the WHJ, but still, Project Gram was a huge leak in the lake. Haven seemed to be hurting, but they were hurting before any war. Which is why they went to war in the first place. But a great depression, in my warped brain, means, NO MORE DOLE!

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Did the MBS corner the market on trade?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Fri Sep 24, 2021 8:09 pm

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cthia wrote:One thing to keep in mind is that the galaxy at large may determine the prices of some commodities. And the cost of fuel is one area I would imagine is important to the economy of most systems. The cost of fuel would have to be passed on to the consumer. If fuel is delivered to a system from some place in the galaxy, the cost of that fuel would be governed by the galaxy. We had a long exhaustive discussion about the cost of fuel in another thread. Systems like the MBS and Sol may be able to deliver fuel at a reasonable cost because they may manufacture it at home. But poor systems?


Kind of the definition of commodity. That means that an imported good and the local one are effectively the same. And since there's no substantial difference whether the apple was grown locally or imported half-way across the Galaxy, the price anyone would pay is the lowest that can be obtained. So if the local version is cheaper, that's the price in the local market; if the imported version is cheaper because it can be produced at lower cost elsewhere, then that's the price and the local one will suffer.

Which brings me to fuel: I do not see any reason why current Grayson would import it. In fact, I see most systems, even Verge ones, having a fuel mining facility in one of their gas giants. Hydrogen and Helium are plentiful in the Universe (> 99% by mass and by atom). You have an initial cost of setting up your cloudscoop and refinery, but once it's there, it pays itself off probably within a handful of years. But either way, fuel is going to be a commodity: there's no difference between my deuterium or helium-3 and yours.

At any rate, the cost of fuel to move goods to and from space should be offset by anti-grav. Although, I can't see anti-grav being able to handle the massive amount of goods manufactured in space. It seems there would be a backlog in deliveries. How fast can anti-grav transports complete a round trip? But then, in poorer systems there may not be any space based industry. They wouldn't be able to afford it. (Or need it.) Especially since they wouldn't be able to replace this industry if lost to wars.


I agree, but this is where we have to suspend disbelief. The economics of counter-grav make no sense because the physics of it make no sense. It appears to violate the conservation of energy. And since energy = money, you can also effectively print money.

Please gloss over, we can't explain this. It's Sci-Fi.

Which is why the author most likely spared Grayson's orbital industry. How would Grayson have recovered from that. In fact, I can't understand why war doesn't plunge most economies into a great depression.


It wouldn't. It would have been world-wide famine and a humanitarian disaster. At that point in time, the MAlign was trying to avoid a specific Eridani Edict violation and this would have been one.

Hopefully the industry of most planets in the Verge is planet based. Or the "Man must not live by bread alone" will have a whole new meaning. Maybe there just aren't any "long loafs" of bread. :D


Don't count on it. In fact, Verge planets under the thumbs of transstellars are probably the opposite: how best to control the industry if you control the access to it?

cthia wrote:That's not the only problems. There is safety, regulations, insurance and Unions. Workers in space have to be paid much higher wages. And the cost per worker is higher for the company because of insurance. Then there is the equipment needed for work in space. Things like space suits, and tools. Medical facilities, etc.


Again, that's a very literally down-to-Earth point of view. In the sense that you're seeing it from the modern perspective of someone ground-based on a planet that has no space infrastructure.

In the HV, the cost of those safety features may be very low, to the point of being standard. When ABS first came about for cars, it was sold only on higher end models (at least where I grew up) because it added to the cost. Now, it's standard. Ditto for rear-view cameras more recently. The technology became cheaper with economies of scale and the same can happen to the HV space-based safety.

Plus, in the specific case of Grayson, farming on the planet may have actually had a higher cost for safety, due to the environmental concerns. And as I said in the previous post, I suspect the price of land on the planet is so high that it would drive the price of food production above the point where it could compete with the space-based food production.

I'm not so certain of that. You ever been to the Midwest USA? Farm country? Farm equipment tends to cost a million dollars for one piece of machinery. I can't imagine it being any cheaper in the HV. But what should be at a premium in space is, well, space. Land. To feed lots of people you need lots of land. HV agriculture probably has found a way to grow products much more densely, increasing yields several fold. But enough to offset the thousands of acres of a Midwestern farmland with orbital farms? Just how big are these farms?


I haven't been there, no. But you should compare to farming in a densely populated area, like close to New York City (not in the city, though). The price of land is so high that it's not worth it. So foodstuffs are grown farther out and transported in, even if it costs more to transport and makes the logistics of it more complex (ensuring food is still fresh when it arrives).

We suspend belief, and our order for bread. Perhaps many simply bake their own bread.


If they're in lockdown, sure, they probably learnt it.

You're probably right, after many generations. Although I would suspect problems if the livestock is taken off of a planet and transported into space. Animals have a connection to the earth. They'll know if they are off planet. Cows may not give milk and your chickens may not lay. Cows only produce milk after birth. If they don't mate. No milk.


And you're basing that assertion on what studies? How would the animals even know?

It's not like we have any experience with animals or plants (or humans, for that matter) living in artificial gravity, at whichever fraction of a full g it is.

This is probably coming in the next 10-15 years. Before we can settle on Mars (1/3 G) or on the Moon (1/6 G), we need to know the answer to that question: what is the minimum amount of gravity for humanity to survive (which includes producing food for itself)? And given it's going to be centrifugal gravity, what is the maximum rotation rate?

I long for the days of a good ole cold glass of milk. Gives a new meaning to lactose intolerant.


There's no reason we can't make virtually indistinguishable milk from the original, given enough technology. That's actually so close it wouldn't strike me as magic today (Clarke's Third Law).

I wonder if there are extradition laws in the HV. Can a criminal simply flee the system and be safe? Or do your navy have to show up with an armada demanding Mandarin blood.


I'd never thought about this, but I would think it's like extradition between countries today. There needs to be a specific agreement between the two parties for it to happen.

Unless indeed the Navy shows up. But which criminals are worth sending the Navy for? Or bothering Mandarins with?


Oh the horror stories about needles I've heard from men in the armed forces. Hopefully its better in the HV. Long live Star Trek's hypo spray.


I'd prefer nanites that automatically prevent and cure me.
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