Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against them)

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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby ChaosChild » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:31 am

I suspect that from the way you phrased that we might be agreeing on a lot in that conversation. :)

The real problem with the SU's approach to solving their problems is that they're doing everything they can to maintain the status quo in the solar system, primarily by moving the problems elsewhere. That's not a viable long term solution, because eventually you will run out of viable planets that are suitable for exploitation (or at least, run out of ones that are within affordable reach of the home system). On the other hand it is a logical extrapolation of the way that most present-day governments do business, where their primary interest is in making sure that the government remains in power.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Soren » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:39 pm

Actually, the problem in the short-to-mid term isn't running out of planets, it's settling more planets than you can develop quickly or exercise effective control over - the status quo isn't just based on the availability of resources, but on the availability of those resources at a certain price level.

Most colonies are underdeveloped in relation to their economic output, which has a lot to do with how they're settled ('easy money for simple work, plenty of living space, breed all you want' and similar sentiments are common Colonization Bureau pitches - it attracts people without a lot of education and/or political malcontents), and with the way the goods they ship back to Earth are priced, which ranges from merely very unfair to outright predatory. It also costs a fair amount just to stand up a new colony to adequate production, and that money doesn't tend to go into domestic luxuries for colonists.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Axhead » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:23 pm

It sounds like the SU really needs a good plague or other form of Holocaust to bring down its population to a manageable size. Any other animal population that got that far out of wack with its environment would have some kind of mechanism to bring it back in line.

It also seems like cutting the supply lines back to the SU core would have the effect of starving out the core rather than the outlying colonies, which is rather the opposite of how supply lines tend to work... Not a complaint just an observation.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Soren » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:04 am

They're recovering from a couple relatively recent (in geological terms, anyway) plagues. Didn't help much, just knocked the problem back to a later generation. Population isn't as much of a problem as you'd think, the errors of Malthus and Ehrlich aside.*

In the long run, Earth needs raw materials from the colonies to survive, yes. In the short run, Earth only needs those raw materials to maintain a 'modern' standard of living, and Earth is where the technical specialists who run all the fiddly systems that keep colonies economically productive and livable come from, and the response to an organized boycott would most likely be 'fine, let's see whose infrastructure collapses first' followed by a reconquest on much less generous terms. They've got stockpiles, after all.

What's more likely to happen is a situation analogous to the 1950 and 60s in the real world**, where colonies begin to cost too much to maintain as formal dominions of another state, largely because a previous conflict (the Second World War and the War of Martian Unification, respectively) delegitimized the means (imperialism by right of conquest and homeworld paternalism) by which the controlling state kept the colony profitably under the yoke.

Colonies cost money, and if the cost of retaining control over a colony is high enough that you're effectively conquering it, it's better to let them be independent - they need your capital and your educational and technical infrastructure, and they haven't got a whole lot besides raw materials to bargain with (you saw to that, if you're smart - sell them finished goods, they're a captive market after all, and vacuum up those raw materials). That's true whether you're talking about a region that was conquered in the 19th century or a planet that was colonized by transit gate. And if you grant them independence instead of making a fight out of it, you might get a price break.

Of course, when you shift this into the real world fuzzy abstractions like prestige and a sense of ownership come into play, and everybody forgets to do the math past the This Could All Be Mine stage.

*To be completely fair, Malthus was writing in good faith - he didn't see the Industrial Revolution coming and neither did anybody else. But Ehrlich deserves every sack-punch he gets.

**People in-universe, usually historians nobody listens to, have drawn this comparison. It has about as much effect as anything else historians say that contradicts the strongly-established economic motivations of large populations - lots of dinner-party angsting by the well-meaning privileged.
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