Part 5: 2760-2780-Market ForcesMarket Forces
As the Liberals assume power in 2760, they engage in a dramatic series of reforms, slashing subsidies, halting the growth of the RCSPS, cancelling construction of the RES Neil Armstrong, and simplifying the regulatory environment. An explosion of innovation results. In 2762, cold fusion reactors capable of powering ships carrying massive numbers of people are unveiled, confirming the viability of settlement beyond the Solar System.
Meanwhile, the RES Leifr Eriksson and the RES Sir Francis Drake continue their missions of exploration. In 2763 both vessels simultaneous dispatch communication probes indicating remarkable discoveries- each has arrived at a star where a fixed conduit of hyperspace connects a point in the outer system with another distant system. The RES Sir Francis Drake, further, reports the existence of a massive world that, although poor in mineral resources, is host to a complex and hospitable ecosystem to rival that of Earth, although lacking any native sapient life. In 2765 they return through the fixed hyperspace paths and dispatch reports on the systems at the far end (one of which is disappointingly lacking in any solid planets). The Drake then continues to the last system within logistical support range of Sol, finally surveying it and discovering a lonely hostile world amidst a clutter of Oort objects and sparse asteroids.
The Hut system is another major find, easily the best of the systems we have discovered after Weg. Hut I is medium, radiated, rich, 4B maximum population, Hut II large, radiated, abundant, 5B maximum population, Hut III tiny, desert, abundant, low-G, 1B maximum population, Hut IV huge, terran, poor, 20B maximum population, and Hut V medium, toxic, rich, 4B maximum population.
The competition in the computer technology sector remains fierce. In 2765, Objective Infosystems, Incorporated announces that it has miniaturised electronic components to the mathematical limit of efficiency allowed by quantum effects. Nine years later, in 2774, Objective Infosystems and Fujiwara-van der Meer Computing, Limited file patents for different implementations of a suite of high-powered computers, productivity systems, and scientific instruments using optical switching technology within a week of each other, and begin competing fiercely for the business of selling new computer installations to the business world. Within a year, business and government offices and research departments on both Mars and Earth switch over to optical computers, allowing a staggering expansion in the amount of data able to be efficiently handled by administrators and scientists.
The United Republic in 2780
The arcology-cities have been slowly filling; Earth has passed 13 billion persons in 2776. Families have been having fewer children, responding to the increasing scarcity of housing space for new families. Food prices have continued to rise, spurring fierce competition amongst agribusiness to increase outputs- some rumors hold that agricultural geneticists are on the cusp of unveiling a major breakthrough. Compact personal consumer electronics with power comparable to previous household electronics have become ubiquitous, and household optronics have begun to make life more convenient and pleasant in many ways for the average citizen. A slow process of investment in colonisation missions is under way, although this has been slowed by the current focus of the capital markets on agricultural investments. Environmental quality is currently excellent, as the impact of heavy industry has been reduced by the current economic climate.
Mars' population has also been growing, having passed the three billion mark in 2775. With the growth of the RCSPS on hold, the local economy has started to become dominated by technology firms. A steady stream of consumer electronics and consumer and business optronics produced by local light industry flows to the local population or through trade to Earth.
A significant pool of investment capital has developed, waiting for new projects for investment, while the growing population of Mars has tied up more of the bulk transport capacity of the Republic. There are new prospects for colonisation, and innovation has exploded over the past twenty years. The galaxy has been proven to be a stranger place than previously imagined, but Humanity is optimistic about its ability to face the galaxy.
Good lord, our research rate quadrupled.
The elections for 2780 draw close.
The Conservatives want to restore the ship-building and colonisation subsidies immediately, study the data on hyperspace collected by the Republican Exploratory Corps in order to develop better sensors for the Exploratory Corps, and send a colonisation mission to New Greenland, the swampy world in Weg, helping to alleviate food pressures by new farming there and exploiting the rich mining available on New Greenland. They also wish to once again expand the ranks of the RCSPS by recruitment on Mars, before starting construction on a new orbital base over Mars.
The Social Democrats want to retask biological research teams to work on their own holy grail of cloning, while subsidising a colony mission to Nieuw Vlaanderen, the massive Earth-like world discovered around Hut. They also wish to expand the RCPS, and reinstitute a system of population subsidies on Mars once that is completed.
The Liberals promise that they will continue to follow their policies of innovation, ensuring that the problems of food prices will be solved conclusively and soon by breakthroughs in agricultural technology. Market analysts expect capital to flow from agricultural research to industrial investment and colonisation efforts to Nieuw Vlaanderen if such a breakthrough occurs.
A REMINDER: I will be out over the weekend; expect voting to close sometime Sunday afternoon or evening. I hope you all have a pleasant weekend.