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Deneb Library Data: Economics

by Pete Gray

Adamantium LRC: The Regency's second largest corporation. Adamantium, along with LSP and Morning-STR, is one of the Regency's three "universal" products manufacturers, and a member of the so called Big Five. It primarily concentrates in transportation equipment, starships, power generation equipment, and an array of automation and industrial technologies. The company was founded on Mora in 1133 by industrialist Hoseki Eikawa, who bought up the scattered Denebian divisions of now defunct Imperial megacorps, and cobbled together a fully functioning company. Like its bombastic founder, Adamantium is an aggressive company, and a constant thorn to the older LSP. Adamantium is one of the largest R&D underwriters in the Regency.

The company's ships, robots and transportation equipment is well built and of very good reputation. It has shipyards at Rhylanor/Rhylanor, Mire/Daryen, Karin/Five Sisters, Maitz and Mora/Mora, Ara Pacis and Magash/Sabine (flagship yard), Starn/Inar (Plant 62), Vincennes and Dekha/Vincennes, Tobia/Tobia (Plant 88), and Lintl/Vestus.

AI Race: Competition between Regency government and private consortiums to be the first to develop a man-made Artificial Intelligence. The contest has existed since 1152, and massive sums of money and time have been spent by interested parties to accomplish this nebulous goal. But the payoff is quite serious, the creation of machine intelligences that are not associated with Virus, and are resistant if not immune to viral infection. A prize of ten million credits, plus royalties of ten percent was posted by the Regency government as an incentive. In recent years the contest has come down to a three way struggle between small firms/public research teams on Mora, Dekha and Vincennes. Allegations of sabotage, bribery and shady dealings with the Flame of Purity movement have plagued the projects and their associated personnel for years, and they have gotten worse as the finish line has come into sight. Current estimates say that a full functioning AI will be achieved by 1218.

The Big Five: The five largest Regency corporations: Adamantium, General Products, Grand Design, Ling Stanard, and Morning-STR. All of these companies are generally concerned with the design, development, manufacture and distribution of the material goods that connect and comfort Regency society.

Deneb Sector Shipping Companies: In addition to Transstar, several relatively smaller companies also ply Deneb's busy trade lines. These include (in diminishing size):

  • 1. Aster Nova LRC: The Regency's second largest shipper. The company is also a larger passenger carrier than Transstar, an inexplicable anomaly.

  • 2. Lodestar LRC: Large passenger hauler and bulk carrier. The company used to be quite active in Trojan Reach and parts of the Marches, until it was busted by MoJ for repeated violations of the Quarantine codes.

  • 3. Ohtori LRC: Private spinoff of Transstar. In recent years the company has taken over many of TS's less profitable lines. In the last year it has quietly taken over several of Transstar's more profitable regions and facilities in several interior regions, as TS ships have disappeared from active commercial service. Ohtori is Japanese for "Phoenix."

  • 4. Sovereign Lines LRC: Transport subsidiary of McClellan Factors.

  • 5. Sky River LRC: Formerly part of Ginga Transport of the Marches, which was forced by it shareholders to divest itself of its Deneb Sector holdings after several major scandals threatened to undermine its profitability.

  • 6. Wonderworkers LRC: See description below.

    Geek: Modern term for a person who spends an inordinate period of time working or mastering a field of study, hobby or artform. As opposed to a workaholic, geeks are perpetually concerned with actual accomplishments. There is no industry in the Regency today that does not trace its existence to the tireless efforts of technicians and researchers toiling in windowless labs and basements.

    Heartland: Theory of geographic development. First proposed after Terra's Second World War by a Solomani writer named Mackinder. The theory purports that a nations economic wealth is concentrated in its interior, and therefore development will pattern itself away around areas of mineral and biological wealth. Subsequent research has shown that this is only true of a small number of nations and regions producing primary goods, that in industrial and post-industrial societies development follows the Rimland pattern.

    Invisible Hand: Misinterpreted reference in Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations", the authoritative book on the existence and importance of free markets. The Invisible Hand only appears once in a later chapter towards the end of that venerable text, and its refers not to the limitless perfection of an unfettered market, but to a perfected human morality minus greed, cruelty and license and other market impediments. As with so many Enlightenment thinkers, Smith is simply arguing a preference, in this case for free markets, but is implying pessimism about its doctrinal realisation. Yet, as with many parts of Karl Marx's Das Capital, this statement has been repeated countless times in history by pundits and polemicists who ignore or forget the original context.

    King Jupiter: Regency's largest retail chain and warehousing firm. Founded in 1141 by Huang Mu-Xing, who named the company after a pun on his own name. King Jupiter started as a department store on Beaxon/Gulf, and was renowned for its low discount prices, ample product lines and ease of shopping and ordering. But the company really took off through aggressive marketing and expansion into grocery (Huang's Club) and small retail (Olympic) fields in Deneb and Reft Sectors during the 1150s and 60s. The company has begun experimenting with producing its own "nanofacturing" technology, whereby its retail store and much of its inventory can be reproduced by a single small unit that can be leased or rented out to interested consumers for their own whim or disposal, and the company would make a profit off of sells of data packages and refills of material tanks. The company's cartoonish logo of Jupiter king of the gods is almost as familiar in Deneb and Reft as Astroburgers silver 'A' on an Imperial sunburst, a trend accelerated by a crossmarketing alliance between the two companies. KJ is given to outrageous marketing stunts, a habit encouraged by the self-promoting antics of its famous founder.

    Labor Shortage, Regency: The increasing division of services and labor along lines of comparative advantage has dramatically altered the economic power of so called "unskilled" laborers. The segmentation of the Regency economy has diminished the available labor pools at the same time that increasing specialised technology requires hard working and dedicated professionals. Across a major section of service industries, from food service to child care, it has become increasingly difficult in recent years to fill these positions with existing labor markets. This trend has accelerated the buying power and wage increases of these markets, though not prosperity, to the level of a decent living wage. The opening of the Frontier is expected to intensify this situation, as the higher returns of colonial development attracts many younger workers out of the Regency Safe.

    Lensman LRC: Small shipbuilding company based upon Deneb/Usani. Lensman had been an antebellum specialty builder of yachts and high performance racing craft, but the advent of the Civil War forced it to expand into military and paramilitary markets. Lacking expertise in manufacturing large military starships, it tried its luck at building SDBs and fighters. But the company really found its niche at the beginning of the Collapse, when it began building cheap conversion kits for constructing planetoid SDBs and Monitors. The company has nearly exclusive control over the innermost belt of nearby Eshamlil/Usani (Deneb 1826), from which it culls suitable rocks, which are then outfitted with parts manufactured on Deneb. Or the company just ships the conversion kit to a frontier system, which slaps it on a planetoid obtained locally. The construction of these planetoid fleets were a timely and affordable addition to local defense forces during the early years of the Collapse, and remain an important part of Frontier defense fleets.

    Ling Standard Products LRC: Former Imperial Megacorp. In antebellum times the company produced everything short of the kitchen sink. Compared to most of its Imperial era brethren, LSP was quiet and modest, and it success had less to do with chicanery and scheming than with solid corporate policies and management. But the desolation of the Imperial environment has given way to the extremely fluid and competitive markets of the Regency, and LSP has had to struggle to maintain its dominance in the face of new corporate competition. That it is still the largest company in the Regency is testament to its management and corporate vision, and it remains the benchmark by which all corporate activity is compared.

    LSP is still a primarily general manufacturer, though its starships and vehicles are the most noticeable of its massive product line. It maintains its headquarters at Lunion/Lunion, and regional headquarters at Tobia/Tobia and Dekha/Vincennes. It has shipyards at Rhylanor/Rhylanor, Lunion and Strouden/Lunion (both the largest private yards in the Marches), Pallique and Mora/Mora, Ffudn and Glisten/Glisten, Edenelt/Trin's Shroud, Tobia, Seleen/Sabine, Starn/Inar (largest private yard in the Regency), Isurkun/Star Lane, Dekha (Plant 12) and HRD/Vincennes, Qevar/Gulf and Pikha/Zeng.

    LRC: Abbreviation for Limited Regency Corporation. Replaces the older LIC and AG suffixes. All Regency corporations that are held over from the Third Imperium were required to undergo rechartering and licensing in the 1130s, and no Imperial-era license is currently honored by the Corporate Licensing Board.

    Morning-STR LRC: The Regency's third largest company, and one of the so called Big Five. Morning-STR is headquartered and intimately linked with the fortunes with Vincennes. The company was founded in 1079 by Albana Morning, a female industrialist/scientist prominent in the local electronic industry. For most of the antebellum period, the company was a fair sized manufacturing firm that produced many of the goods marketed by Vincennes famous "G" corporation. Because of the limited markets for its high-tech products, the company was confined to Vincennes and its immediate vicinity. But the Post-Collapse need for TL-16 technicians and scientists to assist the Regency government and military permitted the company to finally escape the bounds of its homeworld, and it has grown mainly through contracts in assisting the construction of the Regency's emerging TL-16 research and development infrastructure.

    The company "backpedaled" many of its TL-16 products to lower tech levels, and aggressively marketed them to other worlds and on the general market to obtain a market share in anticipation of the lifting of the TL-15 cap. Like LSP and Adamantium, Morning-STR is a general manufacturer, though its product line is a full quantum leap ahead of its rivals in many cases. The company makes nearly as much money assisting other worlds in working their own way to the TL-15/16 boundary, and it is thought that when the cap is lifted, the company will probably overshoot its rivals into markets where it holds an overwhelming technical and industrial lead. The company is not content to rest on its laurels in the face of intensifying competition, and it is a dangerous rival to any would be TL-16 manufacturer.

    Morning-STR has shipyards on, Efate/Regina (Plant 60) Mora and Fornice/Mora, Magash/Sabine, Askigaak(the military's Plant 30), Norg and Imone/Star Lane, Preslin and Beaxon/Gulf (Plant 33; these are military only facilities and therefore not reflected in UPP), Vincennes, Taburi Nen and Dekha/Vincennes, Lilad, Depot Beta and Pikha/Zeng, Neumann/Gazulin, and Tobia/Tobia. Morning-STR produces mostly TL-15 ships, and a growing TL-16 product line for government and large commercial buyers.

    Multiworld Cartels: Large Imperial era companies that operated on more than one world in a variety of developing industries. These companies are a residue of the expansion driven nature of the antebellum Imperial economy. As befits its name, the Third Imperium was an empire, and it followed an imperial pattern of economic development. The multiworld cartels would spearhead a drive into a previously underdeveloped region of the Imperium, generally through primary industries. Because of the wealth to be gained through untapped natural resources, competition was fierce, which made the acquisition and processing of these resources more efficient. Eventually the construction of industrial base would occur, and the megacorps would dry up the the local markets and push out the smaller cartels into some other area of the Frontier to repeat the the process.

    Since the Collapse many cartels have had to adjust to closed markets and a different pattern of development. Most now dominate the less well developed regions and worlds of the Regency's frontiers through diversified services like transport and manufacturing, or run profitable businesses in areas prohibitive in cost and expense for the larger Big Five companies or their contemporaries. Rather than being the first wave of imperial pillage, multiworlds are now concerned with development of remote backwater worlds for their eventual integration into the emerging TL-15 to 16 mainstream. In many cases, however, cartels seem to have a fairly liberal interpretation of the term development, and some are little better than their antebellum ancestors. With the opening of the Frontier, signs exist that they might revert back into Imperial habits, a development that might be unavoidable for the next few years:

    Multiworld Cartel Companies:
    Blackhawk Barracai Technum
    Diaspora GaE
    Interglobal JAX/TCP
    McClellan Factors SpinDev/Ventureprise

    National Industries: Public industries owned or maintained by communal, planetary or local governments for the benefit of the entire population. With the increasingly network nature of Regency corporations, and intensifying competition between urban centers, national cartels are the primary means of economic exchange between larger government and economic entities, and local communities.

    National companies generally are the main providers of labor, supporting infrastructure and power for the industrial operations provided by the Regency government, and the Big Five, Residual or Multiworld companies. About ninety percent of all workers in the Regency that work for the bodies listed above actually draw their pay and benefits from their local governments or contractor. Contrary to what might be expected, these bodies do not supplant or remove labor agitation, and Regency laws strike a reasonable balance between workers and employers.

    Post-Affluence: Term in reference to the emergence of the Regency middle class. The accumulation of equity and property by a broad spectrum of the population tends to encourage attitudes of pragmatism rather than polemical and divisive ideological politics. While the middle class is prosperous, that prosperity depends in large part upon overriding communal trends such as economic efficiency, public peace, maintainment of public education and other civil amenities that can only be maintained by government action. The term "middle" class can therefore refer to both its mid position between extremes of wealth and poverty, and between the traditional liberal and conservative opposition.

    Primary: Adjective referring to industries or markets that are organised around the search, harvest and processing of natural resources such as ores, farmland, lumber, animal products, petrochemicals, raw fossil or solar energy, and precious metals and gems.

    Rimland: Theory of Geographic development. In opposition to Heartland theory, Rimland proposes that a nations economic development will advance from primary to secondary and tertiary goods, which requires the convenient location of urban centers and production facilities to facilitate cheap and timely transportation, and the shortest possible distance between all sources of materials and markets. Consequently most urban development will occur along the margins of a large country, such as coastlines or national boundaries.

    The Third Imperium showed a mixed structure between both Rimland and Heartland development, as many interior sectors like Diaspora and Core were lightly populated compared to Vland and Solomani Rim; but at the same time inefficient development policies and unrealisable expectations encouraged growth in regions like Massilia and Ilelish.

    In many ways the Imperial Civil War was a battle of economic expectations versus the realities of the integrated Imperial market; there existed no logical economic reason why Ilelish and other rebellious interior sectors should be as highly developed as rim sectors. And yet previous industrial development, subsidised by the Throne and its megacorp viceroys encouraged the accumulation of primary industries and fleetingly profitable secondary industries in these areas. The breakdown in cultural cohesion and fragmentation of the Imperium was essentially an attempt to regenerate frontiers that would be adavantageous to these leftover regions. In hindsight, however, the loss of the common Imperial market cost these areas more than fragmentation gained, a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Schunaman und Sohn AG (SusAG), LRC: Former Imperial megacorp. SusAG was founded around 500 in the Imperial Core, and made its fortune off of the manufacture and sell of psi-drugs. When these became illegal with the Psi Suppressions, the company branched out into the manufacture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. While highly profitable, and possessing a stellar reputation for product quality, the company was dogged by Imperial authorities over allegations of abuse and corruption on a scale worse than any other Imperial era Megacorp. The surviving Post-Collapse part of SusAG has an equally spectacled past, with run ins with Regency and Spinward Hinter governments over smuggling, production of contraband and illegal materials, and often boorish behavior by its management and private security services. In recent decades the company has been hurt by increasing competition; a failure to adjust to new technology and fund basic R&D has caused its profits and market share to slip, and its dominance has been eclipsed by rivals like General Mechanics and Sternmetal. The company maintains its headquarters at Glisten, and regional headquarters at Pretoria/Pretoria, Pikha/Zeng and Neumann/Gazulin.

    Secondary: Adjective referring to industries or markets that are organised around the conversion of primary energy and materials into manufactured goods.

    Tertiary: Adjective referring to industries or markets that are organised around the provision of services such as sales, bureaucracy, medical and child care, customer service and marketing.

    The Triangle of Enterprise: All societies are suspended to some degree between three different economically productive organisations: the entrepeneurial, the intellectual and the organisational. Each organisation possesses different structures, economic goals, and function. None of these three are dominant, nor contain the absolute truth, but provide together all of the main ideologies and truisms of a functioning and advancing society.

  • 1. Entrepeneurial: Concerned with the creation and fostering of private businesses and their supporting networks. Such worlds are disdainful of the bureaucratic and economic hand-wringing of more comfortable and mature worlds; behind every great fortune is a great effort that requires the dismantlement of older established orders protected by bureaucratic rules slanted more towards protecting the status quo, than in delivering the fair and equitable society that they so often claim. A good example of an entrepeneurial world is Beaxon/Gulf, whose traditionally hidebound bureaucratic government has given up more and more authority to the vibrant business and intellectual community that has destroyed and remade its economy to great success in the last twenty years.

  • 2. Intellectual: Concerned with the creation of a better future. Few human accomplishments are gained through random accident, the majority requires deliberate thought and experimentation. These are worlds dominated by universities, research labs and so called "technosalons." Compared to entrepeneurial worlds, these worlds are less interested in the tangible yet ephemeral requirements of profit, and are can be more experimental and flexible in their political and economic development. Creation is attended by destruction, and messy nature of science and technological development are unsupportable by either the market or the government, and must exist in a temporal and spatial zone of its own, according to its own pace. Examples include Vincennes/Vincennes and Magash/Sabine.

  • 3. Organisational: Concerned with the maintainment of order and public virtue. Despite the disdain of the entrepeneurial, bureaucracy is the third oldest profession for a reason: the abstract world of information requires human attention, and it is ill served by the mood swings of the market, or the creative anarchy of the university. Organisational worlds have highly organised workforces, orderly and safe streets, well maintained infrastructure, and the trains run reasonably on time. Here the concern has less to do with making money or rolling back the frontiers of knowledge than in providing an environment in which the material and spiritual glue of society can be fostered and flourish without undue disruption. Organisation worlds include places like Ashasi/Inar and Deneb/Deneb.

    Turnstile Economy: The complementary market structure of the Stronghold. The offcenter location of that region, abutting the Great Rift, puts it in close proximity to both the Regency Frontier with the Wilds, and the border with the Aslan Hierate. Producers therefore have a choice of two markets, and can either shift production and supply networks depending upon conditions in either, or can specialise to a highly efficient degree. In both cases, the Stronghold is a strong and stable supplier of vital industrial goods required by defense forces in both regions in maintaining the Quarantine, and in the future, any reexpansion into the Wilds.

    Visible Hand: The manifestation, through the governments execution of laws and standards, of the morality of a community in reaction to market forces. Contrary to the doctrine (as opposed to the idea) of a self correcting market, or a market that is benign in its correction, a community and its represenative authority (government) may act pragmatically in compensating or counteracting the impersonal forces of commerce through simple and modest actions. Phrase coined by Solomani social scientist Theodore Lowi.

    Wonderworkers LRC: Surviving remnant of the Gvaenoks interface shipping line, a Vargr company that once served all of Gvurrdon and most of Tuglikki Sectors. The company survived the arrival of Virus and the establishment of the Quarantine, but failed to survive an internal schism that wrent apart the company in 1145. The sole Regency based section of the company went independent, and serves the coreward edge of the Regency, with heavy concentration in Deneb along the frontier. The company employs both Vargr and human workers without discrimination, and retains a fleet of scheduled j-3 traders complimented by roving j-2 free traders.

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