Instead, it created a memorable celebration from the makeshift turn one junkyard as he emerged from the top of the roll cage to high-five his roommate and third-place finisher Jason McDougal who stacked his ride alongside that of Thomas. On a passenger ship the hotel staff will vastly outnumber the rest of the crew by some 30 to 1. Empire will have battlecruisers in the fleet. This requires a working knowledge of both the legal process for the community in regards to fines, assessments, liens and the State Statutes regarding due process. Also, a contest was established to determine which of the six areas had the highest participation rate. The awards program is based on one hour of pay per pay period. Ryan Patrick 23 Patrick , 6.
Community Association Management
Orlanda Casey Atkin born on the 18th June This birth seemed very normal, but then I suppose when you're doing something for the third time it does feel more normal. I'm sure having three children as opposed to two will throw up some challenges for me and my wife as they grow up, but needless to say we feel very blessed with our family. Online poker has been up and down this year, or I should say down and up.
But I sort of re-set myself on the first of April a fool-proof plan. I vowed to exercise before each session I played, made some study-based goals as I had been getting lazy at studying this tends to happen when running bad for a while, but it is the most important time to study , and essentially forget the first three months of the year really happened.
Fortunately, since then things have been going much better so I have put the McDonald's application form away for the time being. I haven't dabbled in the live poker arena much this year. I travelled down-under for the Aussie Millions for the third consecutive year. It's been rather a long time since I posted on the blog, almost 18 months, and in truth I haven't really been active for about 3 years. I don't have an especially good reason for the absence except that I'm a fairly busy person, and the time I don't spend either playing poker or studying poker I try and spend with my wife and two children.
On the other hand, half an hour here or there isn't exactly a huge commitment! Given the amount of hits the blog still gets I surpassed one million hits earlier in the year, having hit half a milly in July it would be a shame to just let it die. I must have had the old design for about 5 years, and a lick of fresh paint seems like a nice motivator to post a bit more often. So my last update was my Aussie Millions report from I've managed to go on a few other poker trips since then.
I went to Vegas last year, in which I got my first two WSOP event cashes, but unfortunately my th and th place finishes didn't exactly set my world ablaze. I attended the Aussie Millions for a second consecutive year in January this year having won another satellite on PokerStars. Unfortunately I bust the Main Event pretty quickly, and I think I set a record for least time spent in Australia as I left 3 days after arriving!
Yes, this meant I was in the air nearly as long as I was on the ground! This might seem kind of silly to many of you, but I was on my own, had already done a bunch of stuff the year before and wanted to get home to my kids. I'll actually be returning for a 3rd time next January, so hopefully next years exploits warrant a longer trip! Me on the Melbourne Star, Jan I've also been on two poker trips this year with my old friend Dan Carter, who I actually met on a final table back in , and another mate of ours JP.
We went over to Marbella for a few days for the Estellas Poker Tour event there in June which was very nice. He even got a novelty cheque helping him transport this home was a fairly comical scene, featuring a random lady on the tram asking to take his picture with the cheque because her son liked poker, lolz!
It was a somewhat disappointing result as I began the table chip leader but lost all my important showdowns. This was for nearly half the chips in play and would have put me in a great spot to win, but alas he got there.
However I could easily have finished 6th at this point so laddering up to 3rd wasn't a bad result in the end, and of course I had run well at times earlier in the tournement to make it to the final table.
Online poker has been ticking along for me. Lately I've been reducing my table count to around the mark which I'm finding quite enjoyable. I'm also playing a few less turbos these days.
It is unquestionable that poker is gradually getting tougher, so it is imperative to stay ahead of the curve. So I'm trying my best to make sure I can still earn money from this game which I've been playing professionally for about 10 years now!
Right off the bat in I had some rather odd fortune. Except, it didn't get cancelled. I won that too. But now I have to go to Australia at the beginning of February. Now that sounds pretty awesome, but it was a bitter-sweet feeling for me as I'd be leaving my 2 young children behind for the first time, with my wife having to cope with the little monkeys.
My compromise was to only go for a few days. I actually only ended up being there for 6 days, which is a bloody long way to travel for such a short time! Actually, though, I didn't find the journey too painful. When you have two kids you never really get the time to just sit down and do nothing. So I was actually pretty happy getting to sit, chill, do some reading and watch a film or two that weren't made by Disney for a change!
I was regged up for 1C the day after I got there but fired away at 1B on the day I arrived instead, which was a bold move but I slept really well on the flights and felt like it would be fine.
I actually took what I consider to be the worst beat of my poker career. Maybe not equity wise as it was still early on in the tournament. However, this was the biggest buy-in tournament I'd ever played, I just traveled 24 hours solely to play it and just a few hours after landing I get this beauty: Tim Slater a British reg of all people opens from early position in Level 5.
Tim bets, I peel, BTN peels. Turn is a Jack. Don't you dare light up at Las Vegas' new cannabis museum. Caesars, like other Vegas resort operators, begins saying goodbye to single-use plastic straws. Las Vegas' Lucky Dragon hotel closing its doors. Um, it's not Los Angeles — not even close. Hawaii's rich history and mock battles are on display in new lagoon show at Polynesian Cultural Center.
Hurricane Florence and tropical storms Isaac and Olivia prompt airlines to suspend ticket change fees. Redone Waikiki hotel adopts a 'nature meets neon' vibe. Aloha spirit soars during free monthlong Aloha Festivals in Honolulu. Travel Get close to whale sharks and whales on safari-style tour of Baja, Mexico. Have a close encounter with gray whales in a lagoon in Baja, Mexico. Dance at 9 party stages on the Groove Cruise to Mexico. Explore ancient Maya culture on tour of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Hurricane Bud disrupts itinerary of Long Beach cruise headed for Mexico. Visit towns and cities where Mexican textiles are still woven by hand. Travel Road trip ideas and tips for your travel May 21, From baseball to date shakes, these four California road trips are made for families. A road trip in the Pacific Northwest is better with a little help from our friends.
Detours worth taking on your next road trip. A SloCal road trip gives you a geographic, climatological super sampler. In a village, local craftsmen also found it difficult to compete with the Merchant guilds, which lead to the rise of Craft guilds in self-defense.
Eventually the merchant guild members delegated all the actual traveling and trading jobs in their profession to employees, and instead sat comfortably at home while their factors did all the hard work. In Andre Norton's novels the "Free Traders" are independent interstellar merchants owning little more than their starship. Often they are victimized by the megacorporation trading companies, who are too big for an individual free trader to fight. In the novel Moon Of Three Rings apparently the free traders have formed a Merchant guild called the "Legion", which collectively is powerful enough to defend the members from the megacorps.
A trading post or "factory" is where a merchant or the merchant's factor carries on the merchant's business on a foreign planet. The trading post exchanges imported trade items for valuable local goods. In some cases a trading post and a couple of warehouses can grow into an actual colony. The trading post merchant or factor is responsible for the local goods logistics proper storage and shipping , assesing and packaging for spacecraft transport.
The factor is the representative for the merchant in all matters, reporting everything to the merchant headquarters. The longer the communication time delay between trading post and headquarters, the more trustworthy the factor has to be. Factors may work with native contract suppliers, called a comprador.
Also interesting is how the rise of the 17th century Dutch seaborne empire was due in part to their superior utilization of wind energy in the form of their breakthrough cargo transport, the Fluyt ship. Unlike other cargo ships of the time, the Fluyt was not designed to be easily converted into a warship. It was pure merchant vessel. This means it was cheaper to build, carried twice the cargo, and needed a smaller crew. It could also operate in much shallower water than a conventional ship, allowing it to get cargo in and out of ports other ships could not reach.
The only trade route Fluyts could not be used on were long haul voyages to the East Indies and the New World, because Fluyts were unarmed. If you are a science fiction writer or game creator, these ideas should start the wheels turning in your mind. It may be instructive to read a couple of history textbooks on the topic of Merchant Guilds, and look over the Nicholas van Rijn stories of Poul Anderson.
While a trading post can be on a remote planet at the frontier of a long space route, a Transport Nexus will probably be more centrally located. A trading post planet might be the only source of some valuable luxury good exotic gem stones, unique liquor, native artworks so it can be located on Planet Sticks in the Boondocks Cluster.
By way of contrast, transport nexuses are centers of commerce and will be "strategically" located. Its path roughly described a bent and swollen, meandering, broken ellipse along the edge of the rift and then out and across it and back again. A closer examination might reveal that the trail of the convoy was actually a series of lesser arcs tracing through the spiral arm, then turning reluctantly out into the darkness of The Deep Rift, with one scheduled stopover at the forlorn worlds of Marathon, Ghastly, and George, then across The Great Leap and into the lips of the ghostly streamer known as The Purse on the opposite side, then around The Outbeyond, down toward The Silver Horn, and finally turning home again, leaping across at The Narrows and then down through The Valley of Death to The Heart of Darkness, then a sudden dogleg up to a place of desperate joy known as Last Chance, before finally sliding into The Long Ride Home and a golden world called Glory.
The Silk Road Convoy was the oldest of all the caravans on the route. It was not the largest fleet on the route, but it was definitely the richest and most prestigious.
The convoy followed the path of an ancient exploration vessel. Colonies had followed the vessel. Traders had followed the colonies. The trade had evolved over the centuries into a trade route called The Silk Road. Eventually, due to the twists and vagaries of luck and history and fate, it became one of the most profitable routes known in the Alliance. At any given moment there might be as many as thirty different caravans scattered along its great curving length—but only the original Silk Road Convoy was entitled to bear the name of the trade route.
This was because the partnership which had grown up with the original Silk Road Convoy also owned or controlled most of the directorships of the Silk Road Authority. The Silk Road Authority was larger than most governments. It held three seats in the Alliance and controlled almost all of the trade, both legal and otherwise, within the ellipse of its influence.
The Authority had major offices on every planet within thirty light-years of the primary route. Every merchant ship in the arm paid a license fee for the privilege of traveling the route and booking passengers and cargo through the offices of the Authority.
Some ships, like the notorious freebooter Eye of Argon, preferred to travel alone. Others paid for the privilege of traveling with a caravan. The caravans were near-permanent institutions. Imagine a chain of vessels nearly three light-days long, islands of light strung through the darkness. The caravans provided service and safety—and safety had lately become a primary consideration for star travelers.
Because of its name, because of its age and its prestige, the Silk Road Convoy was considered the safest of all. Too often in history a mercenary force has disappeared a moment before the battle; switched sides for a well-timed bribe; or even conquered its employer and brought about the very disasters it was hired to prevent.
Mercenaries, for their part, face the chances common to every soldier of being killed by the enemy. In addition, however, they must reckon with the possibility of being bilked of their pay or massacred to avoid its payment; of being used as cannon fodder by an employer whose distaste for "money-grubbing aliens" may exceed the enemy's; or of being abandoned far from home when defeat or political change erases their employer or his good will.
A solution to both sets of special problems was made possible by the complexity of galactic commerce. The recorded beginnings came early in the twenty-seventh century when several planets caught up in the Confederation Wars used the Terran firm of Felchow und Sohn as an escrow agent for their mercenaries' pay. Felchow was a commercial banking house which had retained its preeminence even after Terran industry had been in some measure supplanted by that of newer worlds.
Neither Felchow nor Terra herself had any personal stake in the chaotic rise and fall of the Barnard Confederation; thus the house was the perfect neutral to hold the pay of the condottieri being hired by all parties. Payment was scrupulously made to mercenaries who performed according to their contracts.
This included the survivors of the Dalhousie debacle who were able to buy passage off that ravaged world, despite the fact that less than ten percent of the populace which had hired them was still alive.
Conversely, the pay of Wrangel's Legion, which had refused to assault the Confederation drop zone on Montauk, was forfeited to the Montauk government. Felchow und Sohn had performed to the satisfaction of all honest parties when first used as an intermediary.
Over the next three decades the house was similarly involved in other conflicts, a passive escrow agent and paymaster. It was only after the Ariete Incident of that the concept coalesced into the one stable feature of a galaxy at war. The Ariete, a division recruited mostly from among the militias of the Aldoni System, was hired by the rebels on Paley.
Their pay was banked with Felchow, since the rebels very reasonably doubted that anyone would take on the well-trained troops of the Republic of Paley if they had already been handed the carrot. But the Ariete fought very well indeed, losing an estimated thirty percent of its effectives before surrendering in the final collapse of the rebellion.
The combat losses have to be estimated because the Republican forces, in defiance of the "Laws of War" and their own promises before the surrender, butchered all their fifteen or so thousand mercenary prisoners. Felchow und Sohn, seeing an excuse for an action which would raise it to incredible power, reduced Paley to Stone Age savagery.
An industrialized world as Paley was is an interlocking whole. Off-planet trade may amount to no more than five percent of its GDP; but when that trade is suddenly cut off, the remainder of the economy resembles a car lacking two pistons.
It may make whirring sounds for a time, but it isn't going anywhere. Huge as Felchow was, a single banking house could not have cut Paley off from the rest of the galaxy. When Felchow, however, offered other commercial banks membership in a cartel and a share of the lucrative escrow business, the others joined gladly and without exception.
No one would underwrite cargoes to or from Paley; and Paley, already wracked by a war and its aftermath, shuddered down into the slag heap of history.
Lucrative was indeed a mild word for the mercenary business. The escrowed money itself could be put to work, and the escrowing bank was an obvious agent for the other commercial transactions needed to run a war. Mercenaries replaced equipment, recruited men, and shipped themselves by the thousands across the galaxy. With the banks' new power came a new organization. The expanded escrow operations were made the responsibility of a Bonding Authority, still based in Bremen but managed independently of the cartel itself.
The Authority's fees were high. In return, its Contracts Department was expert in preventing expensive misunderstandings from arising, and its investigative staff could neither be bribed nor deluded by a violator. For a ship moving at near light-speed, time dilation requires that in terms of your subjective, shipboard life span, the voyage won't be much more time-consuming than, say, one of Francis Drake's pirate raids.
This brings us to problem number three: Assuming there are adequate ships and places to go, and the crew's lifespans aren't a problem, why would fleets of expensive vessels be launched to go there? That's another way of asking the Big Question, and we'll spend the rest of this essay trying to answer it. But before continuing, let's be sure we're all together. I suspect that the Big Question may have taken some of you by surprise.
After all, there are abundant examples of terrestrial, trans-oceanic trade, which at first glance seem to provide models for interstellar commerce. For example, the Japanese import raw materials to their resource-poor islands, transform the materials into automobiles, send the finished goods across the Pacific, and sell them in the United States—and they make a lot of money doing so.
Couldn't the same kind of thing work among the stars? The times and distances and therefore the costs involved are not analogous—not even close. The distance to the Sun's nearest stellar neighbor is approximately five billion times the distance from Japan to California.
Therefore, the model of transoceanic trade is virtually useless. It's often been assumed that there would be interstellar freighters and ore ships based on the trans-oceanic model, but is this assumption realistic? Consider the importation of raw materials to the Earth. Sure, resources might vanish from the Earth or become unimaginably expensive, although this is doubtful.
Still, we won't be using starships to import raw materials. We can always mine the asteroids, or Jupiter's moons. They're millions of times closer, and therefore far cheaper. So unless there are minerals out there we've never dreamed of, and that we can't synthesize closer to home, we can forget about interstellar ore boats.
It's not raw materials that we'll lack in the solar system, it's cheap labor. But the cost of labor on Earth would have to be incredibly high to justify an interstellar flow of manufactured goods.
It's conceivable, of course. We can easily imagine a future political setup the post office scenario in which all nations on Earth are so bogged down with artificially high labor costs and archaic work rules that the "cheapest" Earth-made automobiles would cost, relatively, what a Rolls Royce costs now. But ask yourself—would even that kind of economic insanity justify an interstellar transportation system, with a or year Earth viewpoint transit time?
The unions would take care if they were clever that terrestrial prices never got so high that the interstellar freetraders would have a competitive advantage.
Even if Earth was devastated by war a common science fiction scenario , we could rebuild our factories faster than we could import finished goods from the stars. So we need to assume a really amazing manufacturing advantage that would make goods from the stars so valuable as to be worth the cost—and years of transit time—of shipping them to Earth.
Some goods are unique—like the products of newly created technologies. Ah, but would new colonies develop such technologies? And even if they did, there's always the risk of industrial espionage; and anyway, by the time the products got to their distant market Earth , would they still be state of the art?
A dozen years of transport time can dull a product's competitive advantage. Besides, absent a new terrestrial dark age another common SF scenario , interstellar shipments are going to be pretty much a one-way street.
Earth will have technologies the new worlds need, at least in the early stages of our interstellar expansion. They the colonies will need goods from Earth, but not vice versa. In marketing terms, they're going to be like the natives of Bangladesh—we know they're out there, and they want what we produce, but what's in it for us?
The problem for an interstellar merchant is finding something Earth can buy from the new worlds. Well, what can the new worlds export?
It'll be a long time until the new worlds are out-inventing Earth. All their technology will be old stuff, made with machines they took with them. But even old technology can be unique if it involves secret processes. Sure, but does Coke's secret formula justify the cost of interstellar freight? What else have they got? Persian rugs are regionally specific, labor-intensive products.
Havana cigars and French wines require special climatic conditions. Extraterrestrial analogs of such items could be traded. But it would take a lot of future Picassos, cases of Coca-Cola, bottles of Chateau Betelgeuse, Oriental carpets, and interstellar stogies to support a galactic merchant fleet.
There's the possibility of Dune-like spice, or Star Trek's dilithium crystals, or some other wonder goods—but we can't count on their existence. For the moment, let's ignore this problem, and arbitrarily assume that something, say automobiles, will be worth shipping from one planetary system to another. This the Toyota scenario is our biggest, wildest assumption so far, but let's play with it for a while, and see how it goes.
If you were a star-faring merchant considering the purchase of a shipload of cars from, say, Epsilon Eridani, which is almost 11 light-years away from Earth, how would you know what market conditions were like on Earth? It'll take you 11 years actually By the time you got that reply, the information would be 11 years out of date.
Perhaps Marco Polo could operate like that, but things were somewhat different then. Instead, imagine that Earth is always broadcasting its needs, so you touch down on a manufacturing planet circling Epsilon Eridani which we'll call "EE" and you get the latest info 11 years old from Earth—"Hot market here for cars from EE.
Now you start thinking like a merchant. What kind of mark-up could you expect that would justify buying a starship-load of cars and tying up your capital or paying interest on a loan for the dozen years you would need to get those cars to your destination? I said a dozen years, because your ship will certainly be slower than the communications system. Bear in mind that you'd be making an investment in goods that might very well be obsolete when they finally arrived.
And if Earth is dominated by strong labor unions as they would have to be to make scarce, extraterrestrial labor a bargain they'll have a full range of protectionist legislation to keep out cheap imports. And what kind of import duties would you have to pay in order to clear your cargo through Earth customs?
The only way your venture could work is if you could know, a dozen years in advance of your arrival on Earth, what your sales price and other costs would be. It's possible for that broadcast of Earth's needs to be some kind of continuing offer, containing price and terms, and by acting on it you could be assured of selling your cargo at those prices—even though your cargo would be a dozen years old when your ship arrives on Earth.
That would require an automobile dealer on Earth to commit himself, years in advance, to pay a healthy price for cargo he hoped would be arriving—some day. Maybe his broadcast offer would say, "Irving's Interstellar Imports needs cars, as of the year Will pay 30 Heinleins each, plus all import taxes, if they get here by the year that's 11 years for Irving's offer to get to EE, and 13 more for the goods to be produced and sent from EE to Earth.
This offer guaranteed by irrevocable letter of credit from Bank of Terra. The "offer" would have to be officially registered somewhere at EE, and if you accepted it, that too would be registered, so the next interstellar entrepreneur arriving at EE wouldn't duplicate the order. Irving only wants cars, not million. A message would then be sent to Earth saying that the goods were on the way. Would that do it? Perhaps, if there were strict laws that made that kind of deal a binding contract, if the Bank of Terra were still in business when you arrived, if there were no currency depreciation, and perhaps a thousand other things.
Maybe a local branch of the Bank of Terra on EE would use that broadcast offer as collateral, and make you a loan equal to the cost of your cargo and the cost of the loan, plus some profit. Then you pay for the cars, leave the profit on deposit with interest compounding and you head for Earth to deliver your cargo to Irving. The bank should do quite well, too. The loan is secure it's backed by the Bank of Terra on Earth, and your ship is insured by Interstellar Lloyds.
Your profit deposit is going to sit on EE, waiting about 24 years until you return. With a loan portfolio and a deposit base like that, interstellar banking should be a super-profitable industry. When you arrive on Earth with your cargo in good condition, the Bank of Terra on Earth broadcasts to its branch on EE that everything's fine, and you can withdraw your funds.
We've just described how a "letter of credit" works today in international trade. And observe, future bankers, that it can take decades for funds to clear. That's one hell of a profitable float.
Faster-than-light communications would probably be a banking disaster! Now you dash back to EE, most likely with an outward bound cargo arranged in the same manner. That sounds like it could be workable, but does this Toyota scenario make any sense?
Would an automobile dealer on Earth or any other interstellar destination offer to pay for a shipload of cars or whatever which wouldn't arrive for two dozen years? It's unlikely, but not impossible.
So our terrestrial auto dealer only has to put up a small deposit now with the Bank of Terra to have the payment guaranteed in 24 years. And, if the deposits come from his customers, the auto dealer isn't even investing his own funds. The only risks are structural ones—the bank may fail, the laws may change, the currency may depreciate, there may be war, plague, and so on. But these are risks that could be faced, and gladly—if the lure of huge profits were there.
It makes even more sense if the customer doesn't have to wait 24 years, which is possible. His car is waiting for him, all paid for. Of course it's an old-style car, but that's OK. He's technologically like Rip Van Winkle. Unlike Rip, he's still young, but he's hopelessly out of date, and not trained to use new vehicles. We're assuming rapid technological progress, remember? Interstellar travelers need old-style goods and probably live in behind-the-times communities with their contemporaries so the years of transit time your cargo requires turns out to be a desirable feature.
We're getting desperate now. We've got ships, we've got places to go. Time and distance are no problem. Compound interest makes long voyages worthwhile, and we've worked out a system of interstellar finance. We can even imagine some kind of commerce going on. But how can we get interstellar colonies organized and self-sufficient?
Where will the funds come from? The Big Question looms as large as ever. Can it be done? Remember the tremendous profits to be made from the banking system, if only we could think of a way to get it started. Surely, with wealth like that waiting to be made, someone will think of a way. Our venturers might not have to wait decades for a return on their investment.
Remember time dilation—a round trip to EE takes about 24 years, Earth time, but only about 3 years, ship's time. Investors could get a much quicker payoff subjectively if they go along for the ride.
Not that they'd have any desire to become settlers. All they want is to stay alive long enough to reap the rewards of their enterprise. A rich man could put part of his portfolio at interest on Earth, invest the rest in an exploration company, and then climb aboard ship.
After 24 years have passed on Earth, he returns only 3 years older, finds a potful of money waiting for him in the bank his left-behind deposit has multiplied five or ten times, depending on interest rates and he also owns the beginning of a thriving business on EE. After another trip or two, he's incredibly rich, still relatively young, and now his investment on EE should be starting to pay off.
This is the scenario of star-traveling investors, who become centuries old by Earth's reckoning, with fortunes and maybe families established on several worlds. It's quite possible that something like this will happen. In fact, this scenario is so tempting that it may be the answer to the Big Question! In the May issue of Analog , in an article titled " The Economics of Interstellar Commerce ," I explained that even if there were no technological barriers to star travel, a species nevertheless needs economic incentives to build ships and go voyaging to other stars.
The investment required for star travel is huge; the payoff is centuries or at best, decades away. Why would any species bother with such a costly activity, except perhaps for the extravagance of a few exploratory ships? The only motivation I could think of to justify the multi-generational expense of establishing extra-solar colonies would be the combined benefits to be derived from time dilation and compound interest. Greatly simplified, my idea was this: What will ultimately lure investors' money into building starships won't be the stars, it'll be superfast compound interest relativistically speaking.
Your Earth-bound bank account, piling up interest over the decades, would make you rich when you returned, still young, after a long interstellar voyage. This is relativity's famous "twin paradox," applied to you and your bank account.
I predicted that it would probably be star-traveling and thus long-lived bankers who found it profitable to invest in starting mankind's interstellar expansion. Only after the passage of centuries might other activities justify the continuing expense of maintaining fleets of starships.
And if I'm right about this, then we may seem to be alone for a very understandable reason—no other species has seeking motivation. SETI is cheap; all it really requires is off-the-shelf radio technology.
Yet in the absence of a profit motive, we can't even keep SETI afloat. You can imagine, therefore, how impossible it would be to raise funds for a fleet of non-profit starships—even if they weren't all that difficult to build.
I don't want to minimize the technological end of things, but interstellar travel really boils down to this: Assuming a species' engineers can do the job, economics is the whole ball of wax. Could economics be the key missing factor in the Drake equation, as well as an explanation for the Great Silence?
Drake himself suspects something like this. Could this explanation apply to every intelligent species in the galaxy? What does it take to develop our particular brand of economic incentives? It requires that a species generate several intellectual concepts, and that they take each of these concepts seriously.
At minimum, they need: Observe that none of these requirements is an engineering development. None is a tangible technological achievement. Each is invisible, intangible, and abstract. Therefore, it seems probable that our from being universal; it could actually be unique to us, and incomprehensibly "alien" to other species in our galaxy.
We have no difficulty assuming that many intelligent aliens will develop technology, because technology depends on observing and rationally responding to the tangible, objective world. Any reasonably bright, land-dwelling, tool-wielding species can eventually do that although in retrospect, it certainly took us long enough.
But what is the likelihood of another species' hitting upon and adopting every single one of the abstract economic ideas listed above? Most of the human cultures in Earth's past and even today would fail such a test. A hive-like species, or a species that lives in communes, or that is always dominated by tyrants, or which consists of solitary individuals, may be scientifically brilliant and extraordinarily curious, but they will probably never develop the essential concepts of banking and interest and commercial finance that make interstellar travel a profitable, affordable activity.
To such aliens, our "mysterious" banks, our profit-seeking corporations, our compound-interest calculations so vital to time-dilated star travelers , and certainly our stock exchanges, might be viewed as exotic manifestations of a bewildering alien religion.
Even after studying us, they may utterly fail to grasp our motivation or would they call it obsession?
The economic explanation tells us why, with the whole shining Universe beckoning to them, no alien species has ever been sufficiently motivated to build and launch ships to the stars.
They're isolated, not by necessity, but by their own lack of imagination. They're not even sending out messages; nor are they listening for ours. The Great Silence, therefore, is the silence of poverty. The galaxy is stagnant, with each alien species tragically isolated from the others. Each is a potential supplier of products and information, each is a potential buyer as well, but there is no interstellar intercourse.
That's because we haven't arrived on the interstellar scene. When we do, we can be the merchant princes of the galaxy. Who cares if the aliens never understand that our traders, engaged in a ten-year subjective voyage, are primarily motivated by a century of compound interest piling up at home? As long as we're willing to build and fly the ships—and reap the profits—let the aliens think we're crazy!
We can do for the stay-at-home aliens what was done for us by the great railroad and canal builders, the merchant sea captains, the leaders of caravans. This is not merely the business opportunity of a lifetime, it's the biggest opportunity of all time! The Great Silence is our clue that the galaxy needs us—it needs us very much. There's a lesson in all of this for those who like to dream up exotic, Utopian visions of mankind's future.
There are those who long for the day when we shall "progress" beyond the need for private property. They imagine that when we achieve that glorious un-propertied state. They never say precisely what's going to happen.
It's supposed to be obvious, and perhaps it is to them, but it certainly isn't obvious to me. Presumably they imagine that when we finally achieve that "lofty" level of existence, we'll automatically start building starships—somehow. But it doesn't stand up to rational scrutiny.
Your savings account and mutual fund shares and insurance policies aren't keeping mankind from the stars. When the Utopian day of socio-economic "liberation" comes, we'll have a society modeled after such "noble" people as the North American Indians—people who, to their everlasting misfortune, had not developed our economic incentives, or even the concept of land ownership—people who therefore causal linkage implied here numbered among their greatest accomplishments such technological wonders as I can hear the knees jerking out there, so let me hasten to add that I'm criticizing an economic system, not a race.
Those "thinkers" who imagine that we shall become an "advanced" star traveling species when we have developed "beyond" such "primitive" concepts as ownership of private property are dreaming of a future that can never be. You can have a society without property, or you can have the stars. You cannot have both. So there it is—the likeliest reason why we seem to be alone—we're the only capitalists in the cosmos. And if that's really true, then even though the Universe is seething with intelligent life and probably has been for hundreds of millions or possibly billions of years, we have absolutely nothing to fear.
Ladies and Gentlemen of Earth, I bring you tidings of great joy: The stars belong to us! In the field of stability, perhaps one of the most useful ideas is the concept of feedback. Feedback is a flow of information that has a reciprocating and moderating influence on organizational behavior. Information generated by the system and presented as output is fed back in as input via a "feedback loop. Sudden stimuli applied randomly to the system and wildly oscillating inputs are quickly "damped" out.
Theoretically a well-designed extraterrestrial governmental organization possessing no time delays in feedback should be capable of instantaneous response to disruptive influences and should exhibit perfect dynamic stability. However, time delays are inherent in all real physical systems, and this problem will be further exacerbated in the case of interstellar systems because of the comparatively large lag times in transportation and communication between the stars.
And whenever delays exist in any system, any variation by one of the quantities moderated by the feedback loop may be perpetuated indefinitely. In other words, without multiple control loops certain disturbances introduced in one corner of a galactic empire could propagate throughout the system, reverberating in continuous oscillations instead of settling down.
According to systems analysts, galactic governments should be designed to be "resilient" with "soft failure modes" nonlethal , When unexpected events occur, a well-designed xenopolitical system will not collapse but rather will degrade gradually.
Tim Quilici of Rockwell International has devised a very simple "systems" model of an interstellar economics system to illustrate the basic concept of feedback see below. Using a single loop mechanism, a socialistic alien government attempts to hold stable the price of some valuable trade commodity — say, "positronic brains" — by controlling supply. The "brains" are manufactured on the Capitol World, a center of industrial development and political control, and are shipped to Outback 10 light-years away.
Demand for "brains" to control the agricultural and mining robots on Outback has remained virtually constant for the last century at units per year. Suddenly, in A. Over a decade it drops to 50 per year, at which point it levels off and holds steady.
What happens to the price of "brains" that Capitol World is trying to control? The government at Capitol wishes to hold the price constant by controlling supply. By halving the number of shipments of positronic brains to Outback, the Capitol World government can force a return to the old price level.
Above is a block diagram of the proposed systems model of Outback economics. P t is the price of positronic brains on Outback. Q t is the quantity supplied to Outback by the Capitol World government. C t is the consumer demand on Outback for positronic brains.
Demand remains at 50 units for the next century. When demand for positronic brains on Outback falls, so does price. The Capitol World government finds out 10 years later, by microwave communication. By AD, 60 years after the change in demand, price has returned to normal. As we see from the above , the decrease in demand on Outback causes an immediate price reduction there. Suddenly there is a glut on the market. The price remains low as too many new "brains" continue to pour in from Capitol World — which has not yet had time to react to the changed circumstances.
The situation, in this simple model, is not fully remedied for 60 years following the initial disturbance. This suggests some of the difficulties inherent in interstellar commerce and government. Systems theory should allow similar modeling of the dynamic behavior of vastly more complex galactic organizations, provided their modes of operation and multiple feedback loops can be precisely and quantitatively specified.
Miller, pioneer in systems science and president of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, has developed what is probably the most comprehensive and far-reaching general systems theory devised to date. Miller claims that his theory, and the principles which emerge from it, are applicable to all living systems from cellular lifeforms to organic societies.
Xenologists expect that this work may profitably be extended to considerations of xenopolitical systems as well, primarily because of its general and universalistic approach to systems analysis at all scales of organization. In his fascinating page monograph entitled Living Systems , Miller considers living systems at seven different levels of complexity: Cells, organs, organisms, groups, organizations, societies, and supranational systems.
Based on fundamental notions of evolutionary unity, he then derives nearly cross-level hypotheses which he asserts may be general characteristics of any living system.
The following are six of these hypotheses which xenologists believe may have relevance to the problem of stability in xenopolitical systems at all cultural scales:. The greater a threat or stress upon a system, the more components of it are involved in adjusting to it. When no further components with new adjustment processes are available, the system function collapses.
Under equal stress, functions developed later in the phylogenetic history of a given type of system break down before more primitive functions do. After stress, disturbances of subsystem steady states are ordinarily corrected and returned to normal ranges before systemwide steady-state disturbances are. More complex systems, which contain more different components, each of which can adjust against one or more specific environmental stresses and maintain in steady state one or more specific variables not maintained by any other component, if they adequately coordinate the processes in their components, survive longer on the average than less complex systems.
Under threat or stress, a system that survives, in the common good of total system survival, temporarily subordinates conflicts among subsystems or components until the threat or stress is relieved, when internal conflicts recur.
The greater the resources available to a system, the less likely is conflict among its subsystems or components. If a ship completes a voyage with the following officers and crew and the profit consists of 10 kilocreds:.
The Owner would get cr. The remaining cr are divided by Each share in this example is worth cr and distributed according to share rank with each officer getting cr, each full share getting cr, etc. How do great magic items, mystical cloaks, Elven and Dwarven armors, rare reagents, and unusual spell scrolls make their way across enormous distances to shops and ultimately the hands of Murder Hobos?
Slowly and perilously, one laborious step at a time. For example, Elves sell their armor only at the edge of their remote forest. A group of merchants trades rare reagents for the armor. Once bought, they pack the armor into a wagon and carry it over the mountains to a trading hub city.
There, it goes on sale. A second group of traders buys the armor at a markup. The armor flows through four or five different trading hubs on route to Murder Hobos. Each time the armor changes hands, its price increases.
A merchant bought it for gp here and sold for gp there. Once it reaches the local market, the 40 gp worth of Elven time, materials and effort becomes 1, gp in the Magic Item Shoppes a thousand miles away. Overland, long distance trade is dangerous and expensive.
The roads are full of monsters, bandits, and weather-based peril. Routes shift with changing military and political conditions. Even through politically stable areas, preparation for travel requires pricey letters of passage and introduction.
Otherwise local governments are certain to loot rich, foreign caravans for a quick payday. Sea travel is marginally faster, safer and cheaper simply by avoiding politically unstable areas and rapacious local rulers. Any boat might fall prey to murder, piracy and disease — even at the hands of their own captain and crew when they want the cargo more than their payoff for delivery.
Yet, the possible upside profit on a trading venture is so great people keep trying. Despite wars, bandits, piracy, disease, and death, a 1, gp Elven Magic Chain Shirt is still 1, gp. Considering a typical background set-filling peasant makes 1gp through an entire year of backbreaking labor and subsistence living, that gp profit could turn some enterprising Murder Hobo into a Lord — for a single sale of kit. And the wagon holds twenty more where that came from.