Thread: Non OTU: Galactic economics
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Old June 28th, 2018, 02:43 PM
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Default Galactic economics

How does this really work?

I'm envisioning an ATU with NAFAL expansion to Earth-like planets around Sol. Once the planet is reached via NAFAL means, a sungate is installed and instantaneous sun-to-sun travel is possible.

Let's say those sungates cost $1 billion to make and $100 billion to send to a nearby star.

Why do people do it? I mean, after the first few stars, does the sheen of "because it's there" wear off?

What is the economic drive?

Population pressure

My first thought is population pressure. Given declining world population growth (it's a little over 1% now but is getting smaller), we're looking at population doubling every 70-100 years. If that stays constant, that doesn't really beg for rapid colonization of other planets.

If cloning and life extension and other factors increase the effective population growth to 5% (a really high number), that's a double in population every 14 years. Maybe that's enough pressure to expand. I'm not sure mankind can keep that up for a century, though.

Raw materials

Increased population means increased demand for stuff. The asteroid belts and outer planets contain a billion times the material that's on Earth. I figure that would keep Earth busy for a long time.

Why go to Proxima Centauri for platinum if your back yard is full of it?

Organic materials

But what if all these nearby exoplanets turn out to not only be Earthlike, but also fully populated with non-sentient life (flora and fauna)? This is a giant unexplored ecosystem full of new opportunities for scientific discovery in the way the Amazon jungle is. New organic compounds and such, creating a New Organic Renaissance for the pharma and chemicals industries. Maybe there are trillions of dollars of opportunities here.

But what about demand?

This is all supply. It sounds like a future with cheap material, cheap production, high supply, and low prices. Who is going to buy all of this stuff?

I see initial deflation, initial jaunts into "post-scarcity" economic territory. What does that do to society? When does exponential population growth surpass material and energy supply?

Will companies stockpile stuff and create artificial scarcity, the way it's done in, say, the diamond industry (or even in the gas and oil industry)?
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