Part 3: 2720-2740-The Wheel of Industry Grinds Slow and SureThe Wheel of Industry Grinds Slow and Sure
With Mars in reach, Humanity is eager to continue to support the party that has given them space. The Conservatives continue to dominate the Great Senate, and their industrial policies continue unabated. In 2721, a refinement in freighter design for greater redundancy and survivability against accidents is unveiled by Republican Atlantic Aerospace, Incorporated.
Most fields of technology only permit you to discover one application in them before moving to the next level. By researching Reinforced Hull, we have denied ourselves access to Anti-Missile Rockets or Fighter Bays. This can occasionally make the choices involved... painful.
A last surge of investment in 2723 leads to the Mars colony finally becoming an economically stable and self-supporting population. Nearly one billion workers begin a program of mining and refining, exporting raw materials from Mars and the asteroid belt to Earth in exchange for agricultural produce and various finished goods. By 2729, Earth has grown to ten billion population, the world secure, stable, and well-integrated under the United Republic. The hardships of the Last War have grown more distant, even in the last portions of the globe to come under the banner of the Republic.
Money can be spent to complete the construction of whatever is currently being built, as in many 4xs. Colonies can be set to produce 'trade goods', converting every two units of industrial production into one BC. The Mars colony is set to do this.
Meanwhile, the surge of investment into shipbuilding and engineering encourages the development of expert aerospace engineering teams. Although it takes some years to fully develop their expertise, by the mid 2730s a permanent pool of crack aerospace engineering talent has been developed.
Occasionally, leaders randomly arrive for hire. Given that we are a pre-warp culture, and everybody else should be so at this point, I find it a great deal easier to gloss them as development of native Human talent rather than wandering aliens. Sparky is notable for being one of several leaders who brings knowledge of a specific technology with him- in this case, Advanced Damage Control, which completely repairs any damage to our warships between battles without need of returning to an orbital facility.
By 2739, advanced, modern manufacturing methods have become standard amongst the industrial corporations of Earth, and, by 2740, the modernisation of Earth's industrial base is complete, after intensive investment. Mars begins a similar process of modernisation, but lags behind Earth to some extent. News is made when a young agitator claiming himself to be a Communist attempts to rally Martian factory workers to seize the factories they work in by force in 2740, resulting in the agitator's severe beating. After the last Communist government to fall on Earth, led by Abelardo Luz, 'the Butcher of Brazil', cost over twenty million lives due to famine, massacre, and war, Communism has the same bad reputation amongst the general population as Fascism or Absolutism.
Supporting any form of autocracy makes you look bad in front of the voters. A vote for Communists, Nazis, Kings, or Theocrats will lead to the vote being ignored in the future. All votes were counted this time, but no more crying Lenins, if you please.
The United Republic in 2740
Earth stands at over 10 and a half billion persons, with the improved industrial base fueling a rising standard of living. Industrial output is high enough, in fact, that waste disposal has started to become big business, and an accepted cost of doing business by major industrial concerns.
Industrial production above a certain level, depending on planet size, begins to produce pollution. It is presumed that pollution is safely disposed of, but this bleeds off a fraction of the industrial output of the colony, thus serving as a diminishing returns mechanic on industry on a planet. The one unit of industry lost to pollution on Earth is very minor, and nothing that makes the returns diminish below what we want to endure.
The pressure on Earth's agricultural output from supporting the Mars colony has started to cause an increase in food prices, although, as of yet, the situation is far from critical and largely offset by the drop in prices for durable goods. The agricultural sector has grown accordingly to meet demand.
Mars is rougher and less developed, but has started to embark on its own process of industrial modernisation. The average resident of Mars views themselves as a rugged pioneer pushing new frontiers, and establishing themselves in a place where they will be certain to collect great wealth once the colony's success is complete.
The dimmed ear of corn in the report of resources produced indicates that Mars must import one unit of food to feed itself. Thankfully, as Earth produces a surplus of two food, Mars can be fed.
The economy of the Republic as a whole is generally healthy, capable of supporting all its endeavors. New industrial engineering teams have helped drive more innovation in the economy.
The 2740 elections are at hand, and the electorate must now vote.
The Conservatives and Social Democrats both propose the establishment of a new central investigative police force, rather than leaving enforcement to local police departments. The fact that a Communist agitator even appeared on Mars is troubling, given the historic tactics of the Communists. This one tried to agitate, but the next might take more violent action. The Liberals point out that the agitator got himself handily dealt with, and establishing a new centralised police service will be both expensive and, in the absence of a real, credible threat, pointless.
The Conservatives furthermore wish to push for research into metallurgy and power sources to help construct ships that can make FTL jumps and support large civilian populations for the years needed in transit to establish new colonies beyond Earth. If nothing more promising turns up, they believe that Mercury can always be colonised.
The Social Democrats want to shift subsidies from aerospace research into the development of larger sealed arcologies for construction on both Earth and Mars, while instituting their population bounties on Earth and, once the local industrial infrastructure is in place, Mars. Once their preferred projects have been developed, then it should be time to spread beyond our own system and establish new colonies.
The Liberals want to see the programs of subsidies cut, letting demand address economic issues starting to grow at home. Both the agricultural and computer sectors have had possible funding drained from them by 40 years of Conservative projects, and a more balanced economy should help to boost standards of living on Earth and Mars even further. Further exploration and colonisation can come when the economy can more easily support it.