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To End in Fire

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Re: To End in Fire
Post by PeterZ   » Mon May 17, 2021 8:51 am

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Loren Pechtel wrote:It occurs to me that the SL faces another economic problem:

Their model has been based on exploitation and that exploitation suddenly ended. How big a hole did that punch in their economy?
Robert_A_Woodward wrote:
Considering the size of the Solarian League proper, I suspect that the exploitation of the Protectorates is a rounding error in the Solarian League economy. It is the Solarian League government whose revenue stream was dependent on the exploitation of the Protectorates.

Given the size of the SLN and the scope of OFS, I doubt the federal budget was a rounding error in relation to the SL GDP. Certainly less than 10% of GDP and very likely 5% or less. I suspect that revenue was greater than 1% of SL GDP, like between 2%-5%.

That revenue was dependant on trade member systems engaged in as well as exploitation of non-member systems. I don't recall the split of federal revenue coming from fees on trade and fees generated by OFS. I recall interstellar trade was on the order of 12%+/-2%. I doubt the fees on trade was greater than 5% of any cargo. At 2%-3% of traded cargo, total federal revenue from fees on trade amounts to 0.2%-0.5% of solarian GDP. That implies OFS fees are Likely in excess of 1% of SL GDP.
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Re: To End in Fire
Post by Theemile   » Mon May 17, 2021 9:35 am

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Loren Pechtel wrote:It occurs to me that the SL faces another economic problem:

Their model has been based on exploitation and that exploitation suddenly ended. How big a hole did that punch in their economy?
Robert_A_Woodward wrote:
Considering the size of the Solarian League proper, I suspect that the exploitation of the Protectorates is a rounding error in the Solarian League economy. It is the Solarian League government whose revenue stream was dependent on the exploitation of the Protectorates.
PeterZ wrote:Given the size of the SLN and the scope of OFS, I doubt the federal budget was a rounding error in relation to the SL GDP. Certainly less than 10% of GDP and very likely 5% or less. I suspect that revenue was greater than 1% of SL GDP, like between 2%-5%.

That revenue was dependant on trade member systems engaged in as well as exploitation of non-member systems. I don't recall the split of federal revenue coming from fees on trade and fees generated by OFS. I recall interstellar trade was on the order of 12%+/-2%. I doubt the fees on trade was greater than 5% of any cargo. At 2%-3% of traded cargo, total federal revenue from fees on trade amounts to 0.2%-0.5% of solarian GDP. That implies OFS fees are Likely in excess of 1% of SL GDP.


Actually, I think a better question is how much will losing the Protectorates effect the SL Government's budget. Since it cannot tax the Membor worlds or their population directly, the majority of their funding has come from fees on trade and fees on Protectorate worlds. remove the protectorates, and the SL Government will feel the sting heartily - though the members probably will not notice anything.
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Re: To End in Fire
Post by Michael Everett   » Mon May 17, 2021 5:24 pm

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Theemile wrote:Actually, I think a better question is how much will losing the Protectorates effect the SL Government's budget. Since it cannot tax the Membor worlds or their population directly, the majority of their funding has come from fees on trade and fees on Protectorate worlds. remove the protectorates, and the SL Government will feel the sting heartily - though the members probably will not notice anything.
Bolding mine.

Actually, the Mandarins managed to get through a Direct Tax law just before the Battle of Sol, but then they got arrested and the Assembly were told to get their act together and re-write their rules so that they made sense or they'd get spanked until they did.
Pre BoS, they could briefly do direct tax. We have no idea what the new setup will be like because the Mad Wizard Weber has yet to supply us with said details.
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Re: To End in Fire
Post by munroburton   » Mon May 17, 2021 7:14 pm

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Michael Everett wrote:
Theemile wrote:Actually, I think a better question is how much will losing the Protectorates effect the SL Government's budget. Since it cannot tax the Membor worlds or their population directly, the majority of their funding has come from fees on trade and fees on Protectorate worlds. remove the protectorates, and the SL Government will feel the sting heartily - though the members probably will not notice anything.
Bolding mine.

Actually, the Mandarins managed to get through a Direct Tax law just before the Battle of Sol, but then they got arrested and the Assembly were told to get their act together and re-write their rules so that they made sense or they'd get spanked until they did.
Pre BoS, they could briefly do direct tax. We have no idea what the new setup will be like because the Mad Wizard Weber has yet to supply us with said details.


Even if a direct tax law to support the Navy survives that rewriting, I suspect there would be an option for member systems to opt-out by spending the "defense tax" on their system defense force instead.

I simply can't see the members allowing the SLN gorilla to rebuild with as centralised a chain of command as they had, answerable only to a government on Sol without a counterweight under their control. No matter how carefully they build balances and checks into the new constitution(a difficult task even without the challenge of producing a functional set-up which passes the GA's approval), the risks of a Sol government ever going rogue again exists.

Add in something about the federal SLN not being permitted to exceed the total combined strength of member SDFs and they should be good to go. The members can acquire their ships from SLN builders or use the same blueprints to maintain equipment compatibility.

With ~1700 member systems, at one point the SLN could have simply given each member four wallers from the Reserve to immediately meet a 3-1, not 1-1, requirement and maintained its active Battle Fleet at full strength! That's no longer possible but they should be able to build back up in this manner if desired.
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Re: To End in Fire
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 pm

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Michael Everett wrote:Actually, the Mandarins managed to get through a Direct Tax law just before the Battle of Sol, but then they got arrested and the Assembly were told to get their act together and re-write their rules so that they made sense or they'd get spanked until they did.
Pre BoS, they could briefly do direct tax. We have no idea what the new setup will be like because the Mad Wizard Weber has yet to supply us with said details.


That was an unconstitutional law. It didn't matter to the mandarins, but if there are no more mandarins to dictate the rules any more, the constitutionality or lack thereof applies.

The new constitution will have to figure out how to properly fund the federal government without resorting to extorting protectorates and also remove the every-member veto that made governing impossible.
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Re: To End in Fire
Post by PeterZ   » Tue May 18, 2021 8:56 am

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I'm thinking that each system's government will contribute to the federal government as a sort of tithe in the SL 2.0. The exact formula will depend on population and the wealth of the system. I sincerely doubt each system will be eager to let the feds directly tax their citizens. By maintaining the mechanisms for taxation and collection local, each system keeps the feds somewhat dependant on local governments. Also, locally controlled tax mechanisms will allow locals to allocate the cost of supporting the feds in ways most suitable for local conditions.

After centuries of independence from direct taxation, member systems would want to maintain as much checks and balance on direct taxation by the feds that the GA will allow. If I am not mistaken, the Quadrant works under a similar taxation system in the SEM. I suspect Haven will as well when they integrate more closely with the SEM.
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Re: To End in Fire
Post by cthia   » Tue May 18, 2021 9:16 am

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PeterZ wrote:I'm thinking that each system's government will contribute to the federal government as a sort of tithe in the SL 2.0. The exact formula will depend on population and the wealth of the system. I sincerely doubt each system will be eager to let the feds directly tax their citizens. By maintaining the mechanisms for taxation and collection local, each system keeps the feds somewhat dependant on local governments. Also, locally controlled tax mechanisms will allow locals to allocate the cost of supporting the feds in ways most suitable for local conditions.

After centuries of independence from direct taxation, member systems would want to maintain as much checks and balance on direct taxation by the feds that the GA will allow. If I am not mistaken, the Quadrant works under a similar taxation system in the SEM. I suspect Haven will as well when they integrate more closely with the SEM.

Good point.

Caveat. The SL is huge, and no matter how the nuts and bolts presently under discussion will actually work, there will always be a clause written in the Constitution that bypasses it all in times of war, present or imminent danger.

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: To End in Fire
Post by PeterZ   » Tue May 18, 2021 9:26 am

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PeterZ wrote:I'm thinking that each system's government will contribute to the federal government as a sort of tithe in the SL 2.0. The exact formula will depend on population and the wealth of the system. I sincerely doubt each system will be eager to let the feds directly tax their citizens. By maintaining the mechanisms for taxation and collection local, each system keeps the feds somewhat dependant on local governments. Also, locally controlled tax mechanisms will allow locals to allocate the cost of supporting the feds in ways most suitable for local conditions.

After centuries of independence from direct taxation, member systems would want to maintain as much checks and balance on direct taxation by the feds that the GA will allow. If I am not mistaken, the Quadrant works under a similar taxation system in the SEM. I suspect Haven will as well when they integrate more closely with the SEM.
cthia wrote:Good point.

Caveat. The SL is huge, and no matter how the nuts and bolts presently under discussion will actually work, there will always be a clause written in the Constitution that bypasses it all in times of war, present or imminent danger.

No, cthia, that cannot be assumed. This last war happened because the SL federalies fabricated an emergency and took upon itself emergency powers to escalate an international incident into a shooting War it could NOT win.

Local governments would be eager to place safeguards against similar federal over reach in the future.
Last edited by PeterZ on Tue May 18, 2021 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To End in Fire
Post by Jonathan_S   » Tue May 18, 2021 10:58 am

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munroburton wrote:
Even if a direct tax law to support the Navy survives that rewriting, I suspect there would be an option for member systems to opt-out by spending the "defense tax" on their system defense force instead.

I simply can't see the members allowing the SLN gorilla to rebuild with as centralised a chain of command as they had, answerable only to a government on Sol without a counterweight under their control. No matter how carefully they build balances and checks into the new constitution(a difficult task even without the challenge of producing a functional set-up which passes the GA's approval), the risks of a Sol government ever going rogue again exists.

Add in something about the federal SLN not being permitted to exceed the total combined strength of member SDFs and they should be good to go. The members can acquire their ships from SLN builders or use the same blueprints to maintain equipment compatibility.

With ~1700 member systems, at one point the SLN could have simply given each member four wallers from the Reserve to immediately meet a 3-1, not 1-1, requirement and maintained its active Battle Fleet at full strength! That's no longer possible but they should be able to build back up in this manner if desired.

Though the potential flip side of that is that, if set up correctly, using direct tax revinues to fund the SLN might be a way for the Legislature's planetary representatives to constrain the size of the SLN.

The issue with supporting it via fees is that there was no cap on the amount of income those fees might bring (and it incentivized the League Navy to do some pretty nasty things to increase the income from those fees). And, it seems, that the SLN didn't so much get a budget as they got earmarked a percentage of those fees. So growing the fee income directly grew their bottom line.

But if the League government, including the navy, is funded by direct taxation with tax rate and budgets that can only be passed by the Legislature then they can control the size of the Navy by limited (or expanding) its funding; rather than that funding happening automatically without debate and under the control of the unelected Mandarins.


But yes, there are likely other safeguards being built in. I just wanted to point out that a direct tax as a funding source doesn't mean it's a huge amount of funding, nor does it mean that it has to be out of the control of the elected Assembly.
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Re: To End in Fire
Post by cthia   » Tue Jun 01, 2021 12:06 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
jtg452 wrote:All of those 'deaths by natural causes' the moment that they were arrested sort of screams nanites or some sort of biotech.

In the Honorverse, that means Mesa or Beowulf.

Seeing how Beowulf is so fanatical about their code of ethics when it comes to biotech and nanites, while Mesa routinely flaunts the very same code, they have plenty of very strong suspicions but no way to prove it. It'll be interesting to see how much cooperation there is between the Solly and GA teams.


Strong indicator, but still circumstantial. It's entirely possible that someone else has acquired the technology, either by independent development, industrial espionage, or simply duping the Mesans into making that for them.

So, yeah, I'll be very interested on who from the Ghost Hunters is sent to Mesa and how they interact with the Explosive Duo (Cachat & Zilwicki). I'll also be paying attention as to how the Solarian agent reacts to Plays with Fire (Harahap's treecat) and whether the secret that it was the treecats that managed to identify the moles in the GA governments and military does get revealed to them. I could see a treecat mission to Earth in the near future if it does.

Plays With Fire is not Harahap's Treecat. It is Harahap's Treecat name given to him by his treecat Clean Killer, who is now Fire Watch. That seems more like a typo on your part?

But I agree. It seems a given Harahap and Fire Watch will somehow factor in on the search for the Alignment since Harahap has inside information and previous contacts, and has been converted. However, using Harahap could backfire, if he is recognized by the wrong person. So, extensive biosculpt or some sort of effective disguise may be in order.

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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