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*Spoilers* The economics of the Terran Empire.

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*Spoilers* The economics of the Terran Empire.
Post by edgeworthy   » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:07 pm

edgeworthy
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One thing I have noticed is that the economic model of Earth is very different than is normally found in in DW's work.
(And military science fiction in general)

*Heavy Spoilers*
The Central Government controls the primary means of production, a distinctly atypical, and very non-American, position.
(Not to mention the comprehensive welfare support)
It verges on genuine Socialism. Has His Celeryness made any comments on this?
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Re: *Spoilers* The economics of the Terran Empire.
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:26 am

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edgeworthy wrote:One thing I have noticed is that the economic model of Earth is very different than is normally found in in DW's work.
(And military science fiction in general)

*Heavy Spoilers*
The Central Government controls the primary means of production, a distinctly atypical, and very non-American, position.
(Not to mention the comprehensive welfare support)
It verges on genuine Socialism. Has His Celeryness made any comments on this?


It's a system half-way to post-scarcity. Economy is going to be very different when we reach there.

Humanity hasn't yet. We can basically build anything, but it doesn't look like the asteroids are free. They are the property of the government, like natural resources are today. You can't simply start mining somewhere and even if you do and strike gold (literally), it isn't yours. So the government will probably offer concessions or sell rocks to be exploited.

Also note that there are private printers, so not all means of production are in the hands of the government. But clearly most are, which makes for a very different economic system.

Note too that the added value doesn't come from the printing. That's simply a time-consuming task and one that requires logistics planning to accommodate future needs and to avoid glut of resources (idle printers). Instead, the added value comes from the designs that are sold/licensed by private enterprises, not an OKB. Those in turn employ people and pay them salaries.

So it looks to me like the primary and secondary sectors of the economy aggregate so little value and are so automated anyway that they've become public goods. But the tertiary sector is thriving.
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Re: *Spoilers* The economics of the Terran Empire.
Post by Fireflair   » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:04 pm

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I've thought about this a few times. What would motivate people in a post scarcity society? What keeps them from being VR couch potatoes with a basic living stipend that really does cover everything a person needs to live on in basic comfort?

The MWW does touch on his plan for how society would function but what motivates people? And how do you keep from falling into idle society with happiness over the status quo?
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Re: *Spoilers* The economics of the Terran Empire.
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:50 pm

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An outside threat of course. The GH is excellent as that threat.

Also, the government production is basic and boring. The incentive for the private sector to provide exciting variations is pretty high. Also, personal services are not something government can provide. Bottom line is that the private sector is well versed in enticing a consumer from his money.

Fireflair wrote:I've thought about this a few times. What would motivate people in a post scarcity society? What keeps them from being VR couch potatoes with a basic living stipend that really does cover everything a person needs to live on in basic comfort?

The MWW does touch on his plan for how society would function but what motivates people? And how do you keep from falling into idle society with happiness over the status quo?
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Re: *Spoilers* The economics of the Terran Empire.
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:19 pm

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Fireflair wrote:I've thought about this a few times. What would motivate people in a post scarcity society? What keeps them from being VR couch potatoes with a basic living stipend that really does cover everything a person needs to live on in basic comfort?

The MWW does touch on his plan for how society would function but what motivates people? And how do you keep from falling into idle society with happiness over the status quo?


That's a common theme in Sci-Fi. Civilisations evolve so far that their population dies of apathy. It's also the reason behind the fall of the original Spacer colonies in Asimov's Robot novels. And it's the secondary plot of Disney's Wall-E :)

But there's plenty of Sci-Fi talking about healthy post-scarcity societies. Most of it is actually pretty artificial and the motivations that drive people are far-fetched. You have to suspend disbelief to read those works. For a better work, see David's own Gordian novels. The last book even introduced a system of reward that has nothing to do with money. Jacob Holo has said here in the forum that the next couple of books will focus on the SysGov universe and we should see how the two authors see this going.

I can also recommend Isaac Arthur's videos on post scarcity. See the YouTube Playlist for loads of fun exploring the subject, but TL;DR is that there will be plenty of things to do even if (or especially if) you don't have to worry about the lower layers of Maslow's Pyramid.
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Re: *Spoilers* The economics of the Terran Empire.
Post by PeterZ   » Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:30 pm

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I am curious how RFC will handle societal development in a post scarcity environment. The biggest issue at least initially will be how the government will handle checks and balances.

If government has complete control of of the means of production as well as a monopoly on the use of force, then there is a huge incentive for power hungry pols to move that government into a totalitarian state. Even in a democratic republic the government controls wealth and force, so how those that disagree with government persuade others to their PoV without resources? How does the population create a counter weight to any possible groupthink embraced by government?

So far RFC and Chris Kennedy has descried the development of a private sector that controls other means of production. As that part of the economy grows, the government owned printers represents a smaller percentage of the total economic output. Also, as the private sector develops, more and more designers will come from the private sector as the incentives for the truly gifted designers grow beyond what government can provide. Eventually, the printers and nanite production become much like the printing press; a generic tool that depends on people's ideas to create anything special.

Can't wait to see how this goes and where RFC and Chris takes the story.
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