Expensive Foods

A better, but longer title, for this post would be,

“The Interstellar Division of Labour;
Or, How to Make a $1500 Sandwich in Only 6 Months”

At least the investigator of this video lives on a garden world, where you can actually make or find all of the above ingredients on just one planet – and a good chunk of those ingredients were free/near-free! (I.e. salt, critical bacterial cultures, metals…)

Of course, the goal of a colonial settlement is to build a sufficiently complex economy that the local population can at least feed itself relatively easy, without dependence on single-point-of-failure fracture points, like high-tech hardware (i3D food printers, fusion generators, etc).

After the colony can finally feed itself, it may well likely develop into a complex, technologically dependent, high-division of labour society in the quest for wealth. Fair enough: but at least (hopefully) that world will retain the low-tech know-how to insure some survivors, should the high-tech equipment break down.

(The Imperium is famous for retaining a nuclear weapons monopoly for itself. I think that the most terrifying weapons are not the hydrogen warheads, but the Gigaton EMP weapons. Powerful enough to set off a 90% die-off on most TL9+ worlds, and yet leaves the environment intact for the pro-Imperial, secretly genocidal Vilani re-settlement groups to put back to good work.)

Finally… I am certain that somewhere in Charted Space, a good chicken sandwich really does cost $1500 dollars (or 400 Credits, if one Credit = one 1977 US dollar, the year Traveller was first published). Certainly this can be true on the edges of Charted Space, but probably in Hiver space as well.

In the Two Thousand Worlds of the K’kree, a chicken sandwich can easily cost you your life, but in the Vargr systems, well-prepared chicken (hold the bread and the vegetables!) can easily be cheaper than in the Imperium. In the Aslan Hierate, I’d tag a chicken sandwich as a strange off-world delicacy, found only in select restaurants near human space. Not a 400 Cr sandwich… maybe more like a 100 Cr gourmet meal ($375 of today’s dollars).


The above was inspired by a survivalist article on Lew.

BTW, I’m confident that there aren’t any survivalist subcultures among the Vilani or Vilani-influenced cultures: it’s too deviant, too non-conformist, and therefore obviously criminal activity. But it is possible for a Vilani survivalist culture to exist, say, on worlds that border lean-and-hungry Vargr systems. By the nature of the conformist Vilani, everyone would be a survivalist to some degree or other, and the survivalism would be oriented to the survival of the group, and not so much of the individual per se.

The Solomani, with their apocalyptic religions, disordered societies, unpredictable  society-wide collapses and genuine military weakness vis-a-vis the Imperium, take survivalism a good deal more seriously than the Vilani, as a rule of thumb. This is especially true of individuals & small groups, which have a greater freedom to strike out on their own than would ever be tolerated of their Vilani counterparts.

This suggests that, when the AI Virus was released in 1130, a good deal more Solomani and Solomani-based cultures were prepared to survive the Collapse than Vilani cultures. On the other hand the few Vilani cultures that were prepared saved greater numbers of people, and preserved more knowledge, wealth, and know-how than the thinly scattered and relatively poorer Solomani groups. Hmmm…

About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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