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In My 2300 Universe Discussion of non-canon ideas for use in your 2300 Universe

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Old May 31st, 2008, 02:04 AM
rfmcdpei rfmcdpei is offline
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Default Type A versus Type B colonial economy

First, I have to say that I'm indebted to Jonathan Pearson's work. Over at the Joi Sourcebook, Pearson's excellent (if non-canon) essay on the origins and structure of the Élyséen economy argues that there are two types of colonization efforts, Type A and Type B. In his words:

Quote:
At one end of the spectrum lies the wholesale importation of the technology and infrastructure of the core with massive support (in terms of material, financial and intellectual resources) from the founding nation (which we will call Type A). At the opposite end is the simple transportation of men, women, livestock, seed and basic tools to a new world where they are left to fend for themselves (Type B). The Type A approach aims to recreate the economy of the core worlds within a relatively short period while the Type B assumes that the colonists will simply survive in a low tech agrarian economy. Type A colonisation is the most expensive, both financially and in material terms, while type B is the cheapest. Both of course require that the founding nation have access to interstellar transportation. All colonisation takes place on the Continuum between theses two extremes.
The French colonization of Tirane is set as the prototype of a Type A colonization effort, while the Manchurian colonization of Kwantung is set as the prototype of a Type B colonization effort. Pearson argues that Élysée was as close to an example of a Type B colonization effort as France is likely to get, with government and NGO planning creating a sustainable local economy drawing on local natural resources and actively avoiding imports of machinery and other similar objects through local production. This created an inefficient economy, but it also created an economy that was capable of supporting an independent Elysia despite less than forty years of peaceful economic development.

France and presumably its ESA partners, along with most of the other Tier 2 and Tier 3 countries, seem to comform fairly closely to Type A modes. Manchuria began with Type B models, although its colony on Haifeng suggest it's also capable of Type A colonization. The various Texan and Incan colonies and maybe even Heidelsheimat might also follow Type B models--the continued existence of those colonies faced from overstretched parent nations is noteworthy. Ellis might be an example of Type B colonization. As for the French Arm, what was once a fairly homogeneous zone of Type A colonization seems to be in the process of breaking down, as the failure of colonial economies in the face of the diversion of Core investment to military ends and the creation of new nations like Adlerhorst might make some people think twice about the Élyséen model.

The viability of Type B models of colonization and colonial economics has been proven by Élysée's survival for nearly three decades. For colonies faced with current or impending isolation from their colonizers, an inefficient and protectionist but self-sustaining economic model might look pretty good to the colonists. The fact that Type B models of colonization are also associated with colonial radicalism probably make them unpopular with colonizers, especially in unstable areas like the French Arm. The competition between the two models will be fiercest on the French Arm, as relatively sustainable Type B colonial economies come into direct competition with severely wounded Type A colonial economies. Who knows? if things don't change, the Type Bs might even win.

What does this mean for gamers? A few things. Will the Élyséens manage to convince the colonists to reject neglectful colonizers and try to throw themselves on their own resources? Will colonizers get over their neglect and try to make things up (or suppress the incipient revolt regardless)? What will the military, intelligence agencies, news media, fixers, politicians do with this basic dispute over the direction of different colonies? Will this dispute be just a major background issue?

Thoughts?

Last edited by rfmcdpei; May 31st, 2008 at 02:10 AM..
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