Thursday, April 6, 2017

Loot

One staple in story telling is the notion of loot or treasure.  I've sat on panels at science fiction cons and argued that a lot of the valuables in science fiction stories jut aren't that valuable.  For instance, take the Ferengi on Star Trek and their obsession with gold pressed latinum.  Here the latinum, which  is a liquid pressed into gold is supposed to be valuable.  Other episodes of Star Trek in its various renditions have featured mining and the same problem exists there. The problem, the replicator.  They turn any material they want into any material they want.  This would mean that nothing would be overly valuable in such a society.  A pile of lead can instantly become gold.  And, since we know replicators use the same technology as transporters, and since they regularly transport latinum, therefore they could replicate all they want.  Any commodity based wealth system would be obsolete in this environment.

I can punch similar holes in other cultures economic system if it's one I've heard of.  A number of places Dr. Who visits have equally dubious systems for controlling wealth.  Yet my real criticism with sci fi economics is the lack of banking, taxation and economics in future worlds. They just kind if dance around it and ignore the topic altogether.

And this brings me to my novel Bonded Agent, which features an insurance adjuster who lives on Mars. Sarah Meadows starts out selling insurance and then is selected for a special program that is a glorified insurance adjuster, but dealing with very large accounts for things like pirated cargo. Oh yeah, pirates, they like them in sci fi.  But how often  do you hear about the insurance company that made it economically feasible for the cargo to be transported through the perils of outer space? The answer, practically never.  

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