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Re: [OT]-Interstellar Trade

From: "Laserlight" <laserlight@q...>
Date: Sun, 7 May 2000 11:25:50 -0400
Subject: Re: [OT]-Interstellar Trade

> so I started an new one.  Anyway, from what read the problem
> is ground to orbit cost and interstellar transport cost.  If
you have the
> tech to make both cheap enough for a reasonable return on your
> you have the tech to make trading redundant, except for
specialty items.

You may have the knowledge, but that doesn't mean you have the
trained manpower and/or physical plant.  Some of our listers
know how to build a computer chip starting from stone knives and
bearskins, but it's more economical to buy it elsewhere.
Similarly, the colonists in various places may find it a better
investment to put most of their labor into terraforming, and
import their exotic plastics and their microsurgical instruments
and their tanks from someone else.

Or they may not have the tech.	It's not like companies
typically give away industrial secrets on a regular basis, after
all; the price to buy the tech may be more than they want to

There may also be other incentives.  You may want antimatter,
but the political cost of setting up a production facility in
the same system with 6 billion (technologically-illiterate
eco-terrorist Green party) citizens may outweigh the purely
monetary benefits, so you import from someone who set up shop in
a M-star system (like Forward Power Systems).

Or cost -to-orbit may be relatively cheap.  Setting up a
beanstalk on a low-gravity world shouldn't be all that
expensive; perhaps that would drive development colonies.

In short, economics isn't about that is _possible_, it's about
making choices for the use of limited resources.

Besides, if interstellar travel and trade isn't feasible, then
having starship battles is kind of tough to justify.

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