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Wealth, what is it. A TOaST Thread.

PostPosted: Tue 31 Dec 2019 19:36
by voidstalker[woe]
Happy soon to be new year folks!

First off, I have to apologise for not being around much this fall and early winter, health is not what it once was. :? :(

Anyway, reading up on a recent thread, it sparked some thoughts I've been having about what a civilization might be taking for wealth, from it's dawn as primitive hunter/gatherers, through when it is mastering it's home worlds mineral wealth, and on to taking the riches of space...

Right now, we on Earth are mainly taking our resources from a tiny portion of the Earth, namely the Crust. Here is a link to an article that mentions some of the limits of what our civilization faces in challenges going deeper down into the Earth, as opposed to going up, up, and away into Near Earth space, and taking resources that are readily available to those that get there first.

The article is just a tiny bit interesting, and really just a backdrop for the covesation I'm hoping to start in this thread, where we look at what a starting off space faring civilization is going to be looking to for 'wealth-in-space'.

Re: Wealth, what is it. A TOaST Thread.

PostPosted: Fri 03 Jan 2020 01:06
by voidstalker[woe]
Ok, so specifically in this thread I want to focus on what 'wealth' is, both in game and in real life. This is some of the needed groundwork that I have to do before I can start writing fiction, as I have a need for things to make sense to me so I can then tell the tale, so to speak.

Referencing back to the thread I started back before Halloween (where in the world does the time go?!?! :shock: ) I'm looking at starting a discussion on point 8 here, and points 2,3 & 6 will get just the barest of nods, as I want to cover them separately.

Ok, in the hopes that folks took the small amount of time to go check out the link in the OP, let me put things in context, in the form of a questionnaire type interaction, and I'll dress it up in quasi game terms. Look at this post as something like a test of historical knowledge, that is being administered to some young folks in the far future, where things we can only dream of are long established (and perhaps, only vaguely remembered by the posited future present) facts.

Question #1. Back in the days of Pre-Space levels of civilization, where all of mankind was confined to most of the habitable land masses of Terra, where did all the many resources needed to fuel their primitive industry, technology, and civilization come from?

A) The total volume of the Earth, all the way down to the inner core?
B) All but the inner core, as our Pre-Space ancestors lacked deep core minning technologies.
C) Only just the Mantle & Crust, as even the Molten outer core was inaccable at those levels of science and technologies.
D) The Crust was the only part of the Earth that could be mined/harvested with the means of the day.

Post your answers if you feel like playing along...

Question #2. What were some of the first benchmarks of a civilization in transition from totally planetbound, to Pre-Space levels of civilization?

A) Establishing population centers on all the terrestrial planets, all of the moons of the Gas and Ice Giants, Free orbital habitats, and mining missions throughout the entire solar system.
B) Establishing population centers on all the inner planets, and mining operations outward from there?
C) Establishing a token presence in space, in the form of a pitiful handful of tiny artificial satellites in stable orbit around Terra/Luna.

Question #3. List in order of historical precedents, using your own words, the following:
First satellites in stable orbits, that could provide real time communications with the majority of the populated portions of the Earth's surface.
First temporary manned structures in orbit (Include at least three examples for full credit).
First Permanent manned structures in orbit.
First efforts to harvest 'the wealth of space', in terms of decade and type of 'wealth' extracted/harvested.
First established facilities for long term mining activities, include the decade, and whether the facilities were orbital, moon based, or what have you.
Explain the differences between orbital and surface mineral extraction. Be ready to discuss the pros and cons of orbital mining vs impact mining, and when and where such are more attractive.
Explain, in general terms, what is meant by 'Harvester' types of mineral extraction, and why that is both different from traditional mineral attractions, where it would be employed, and why it is so important.

So, if folks like this kinda post, I'll try to include more along these lines in future.

What I'm trying to do here, is get across the concept of just how little of the Earth's volume is actually in use by humanity at present, and then posit some things about the future mineral minings both on earth and in space, and how such things might play out, IRL and in game.

Re: Wealth, what is it. A TOaST Thread.

PostPosted: Fri 03 Jan 2020 22:38
by Cralis
Wealth is a very simple concept: it is the value of your possessions.

In terms of Starfire, wealth is counted only as MCr that has not been spent. Since MCr represents goods and materials, and not pure money, then it is literal wealth.

However, I would point out that if you asked an accountant to calculate the wealth of your empire; he would include every unit, every facility, every PTU, everything. In terms of it's MCr value. But the game intentionally has a simplified financial model so there is no point to doing that unless you are trying to calculate a victory condition...

Re: Wealth, what is it. A TOaST Thread.

PostPosted: Tue 07 Jan 2020 22:40
by voidstalker[woe]
I probably need to wait at least a week, to let folks take a look at the linked article and respond, but I'm just to dang inpatient with my health lately, and so I'm going to start slowly asking questions and making prognostications about things to come in our near future.

Cralis wrote:Wealth is a very simple concept: it is the value of your possessions.

Ok, fair enough.

Cralis wrote:In terms of Starfire, wealth is counted only as MCr that has not been spent. Since MCr represents goods and materials, and not pure money, then it is literal wealth.
I (Kinda/sorta) get that, but don't quote me on that, lol. What I am looking for in this thread is to take a look at what a Pre-Space Civilization looks like in the real world (Earth/today) and what it will have to change in order to advance to another level. I have to admit to having surrendered in my attempts to master Solar, and that all my previous Starfire is limited to the Cole/Webber versions, then made my own house rules based very loosely around that, and then a bit of stuff from a boxed set.

But with my limited background, I'm still trying to make sense of the rules I (Kinda/sorta) know, and figure out where we as a technological civilization are as far as resource extraction & harvesting goes, and then look at our (hopefully) near term prospects in the real world to go forth and start extracting & harvesting the wealth of space, and how to relate that in game terms.

So the article I linked to was a way to show that with all of our vaunted technology of today, we are really just using a tiny portion of the resources located within the Earth's very thin, very tiny Crust, and that we are just now about to reach the Mantle, but not on anything like an industrial extraction, everyday life kind of thing, but rather, as a demonstrator of 'proof of concept' experimental process.

It is at this point that I want to take a look at 'the wealth of space' and what that means in real terms.

In some ways, we have already technically started to harvest, or collect, some forms of wealth from space. No, I don't mean collecting and using meteorites and their composition, because while that technically is 'wealth from space', our civilization didn't go out into space to get them, but rather had them fall down our gravity well, and land in our laps. 8-) What I am referring too then, is the entirely insignificant harvesting of solar power in near Earth space, as well as for our various probes and satellites.

For me, all our past/present solar power collections are of no real merritt, at least when measured against even a modest sized cities power consumptions needs in today's world. When we can start building a solar power station in orbit that harnesses enough power to run that proverbial 'small city' we will have reached an important benchmark on the path of becoming a space age civilization. Likely, that first of an ever growing number orbital power plants will be sending that energy down into the Earth, to feed the need of ground based population/industry. However, when we then start industrialization of near earth space, and start needing that power 'up there', we will be entering a (hopefully) brief period where spaced based and ground based populations and industries are competing for those resources. Earth inhabited volume is tiny, and space is VAST, so if things go well, there will be an ever smaller percentage of the Human population living upon/within the Earth, as opposed to those that move into space.

So, perhaps now my thoughts are starting to come together, and it is starting to make sense to have the 'thoughts of some things' thread series, to explore ideas, and take a look at making reality the basis for our in game stuff. Right now, even the lowest tech level is waaayyyyyy more advanced than our present level of technology, and so game mechanics are taking precedence over scientific reality, which isn't a bad thing in and of itself, but my goal is to get at least to the point where we are aware of the vast gulf and disparity, and at the very least, get some game related fiction written that covers the interval from where we are today, to where we will need to be when we reach tevl level one.

Now, as a very long term project, my 'toast' threads are aimed at getting a level of understanding of what is, what will be, and how we get there.

I'm starting to realize that once again I have rambled on, but I'm hoping to get some good amounts of my ideas better organized and presented. What my endgame goal is, is to have my facts straight, and build a fictional world/history, where a planet of many nations, matures from the prespace age, into orbit, and beyond, and write many stories, as time progresses and their civilizations advance towards tech level one, and the things that such a world will do in that process.

I'm hoping that if I can 'get a grip' on my mind, I can do better going forward than I have so far. I plan to have many threads, to discuss and talk about a civilization (like Earth's) going through many wars and expansions into space, but keep in mind that I am not a writer, and my health is not all that it should be, but I am going to make an effort to entertain, and maybe, just maybe, get folks thinking about my issues/ideas.

Re: Wealth, what is it. A TOaST Thread.

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jan 2020 20:59
by PracticalM
Since this is the in the Starfire section, I'm going to keep looking at wealth as the abstraction from the game and resist defining it by in concrete examples.

Weath is the ability to change the state of the actor using it.

No matter what the actual physical form, game wealth is how the player decides to implement their will.
There are games that divide this into wealth that is generated versus wealth that is fixed.
Spaceward Ho! was great because the amount of metal in the game was set at the start and absent systems going nova to generate more metal (which damaged people in neighboring systems) once you used the metal it was gone.
There was tech to reduce the amount of metal used, and bioships that didn't use metal (but were weaker)

Starfire abstracts wealth as really the available amount the government has to spend with the majority of the economy outside the scope and control of the player.

Re: Wealth, what is it. A TOaST Thread.

PostPosted: Thu 27 Feb 2020 06:23
by aramis
Redefining terms with real world stable meanings is not a good technique for discourse. Redefining wealth from it's sum of possessions denotation and connotation subverts any interest I might have had; jargon-addition is usually bad.

Re: Wealth, what is it. A TOaST Thread.

PostPosted: Mon 06 Apr 2020 08:42
by brasidas19004
voidstalker[woe] wrote:What I'm trying to do here, is get across the concept of just how little of the Earth's volume is actually in use by humanity at present, and then posit some things about the future mineral minings both on earth and in space, and how such things might play out, IRL and in game.

It's true - if you are willing to live like someone in Manhatten, the entire population of the planet fits into Texas. If you would be willing to live in space, then you would be willing to live under water, and that is about 70% of the earth's surface.

I've thought about the reasons for humans to be in space, in general, and there really isn't much past hard scientific study at this point. Perhaps there are certain manufacturing types that will work better in zero-G, but anything we need / want in terms of materials is pretty much here. Don't know much about mining deep, but I'd think that technology is going to be making mining more easy all the time.

So it's not a resource issue - probably the best reasons to depart earth would be if it became less habitable or if social persecution motivated a group to depart and live on the moon. This brings to mind the interesting claims of governments v. civilian industry to work in and explore space. So the USA has claims to the light side of the moon, and the Russkies the dark side - but who's going to enforce those claims?

Of course, in the cause of a good story, hand wavium solves all these issues!

Re: Wealth, what is it. A TOaST Thread.

PostPosted: Tue 07 Apr 2020 18:22
by krenshala
The primary reason for off world resource extraction is for off world resource use. Its easier to get metals from an asteroid and use them in space (assuming you have zero-g metal processing) than it is to ship that same metal up a gravity well. Right now, it all has to come from Earth. It won't always be that way.

Re: Wealth, what is it. A TOaST Thread.

PostPosted: Tue 07 Apr 2020 20:58
by brasidas19004
Great point!

But it assumes mankind has colonized [in various forms, probably stations] the solar system, at least. But if we do, yes, getting materials locally is definitely the way to go. The first essential material [element, whatever] would be water, I should think.

But...why would we want to colonize at all? if we want to go somewhere weird but hopefully retrievable and rescue-able, I vote for the bottom of the ocean.

Interesting discussion! Not exactly on topic with bumping into the Khanate Empire, but still...