Re: [gundam] The economics of the Universal century


-Z- (Z@gundam.com)
Fri, 19 Mar 1999 21:00:16 -0800


At 22:29 3/19/99 +0800, you wrote:
>Anaheim Electronics
> -->MS designs to the highest bidder! Of course they're rich!

More to the point, Anaheim is headquartered in Von Braun City on the Moon,
which is rich in mineral wealth. Most of the rock is anorthosite, but
there's also a lot of "KREEP" (Potassium, Rare Earth Elements and
Phosphorus) and, supposedly, helium-3.

A typical Apollo lunar rock sample contains, by weight, more than 20%
silicon, more than 12% aluminum, 4% iron and 3% magnesium. Many of the
Apollo samples contained more than 6% titanium. Lunar regolith is also
about 40% oxygen and the titanium is bound into a trioxide, so refining the
regolith to get oxygen for breathing produces titanium, aluminum, iron and
magnesium as a by-product. And there's plenty of cheap solar power to
drive the refining process.

Hence, the famous Luna Titanium armor....

>Side 3
> -->Zeon colonies have twice the space of regular Side colonies, which
>imply twice the productive capacity?

The Zeon "closed type" colonies are basically the same dimensions as the
more familiar "open type" colonies, with two exceptions. One, the ends are
flat instead of domed, so you don't waste valuable real estate at the
endcaps on "mountainsides" of limited usefulness. Two, the entire inner
surface is used, rather than wasting half of it on what amount to giant
picture windows. The next result is that the "closed type" colony has more
tha twice the inhabitable area as the "open type" and is therefore deemed
twice as efficient.

Downside: you can double the population, but each inhabitant will have half
the per capita air and water resources. You also lose the psychological
benefit of the "open type" design, as it's much harder to induce or sustain
the illusion of Terrestrial environment. Twice the people means twice the,
ah, waste matter (including CO2) and twice the heat buildup and twice as
many mouths to feed.

Zeon's productivity would depend more on what resources, like asteroids,
they can lay hands on. They cram twice as many people into the same size
cans and the only way that could increase productivity is if everyone is
working on some kind of handicraft or cottage industry.

The whole idea behind the O'Neill design is that the cylinder is
residential only and all of the agriculture and industry takes place
outside, where no one has to worry about pollution or hazardous materials.

This point is lost in the artwork depicting a typical Terrestrial city
rolled up into a tube, factories and all. Those factories, if they existed
in the body of the cylinder at all, would be "underground" -- that is,
outside the hull but with points of entry on the inside, a floor or so
"above" them.

>Side 6
> -->being neutral has its advantages, like not having 70% of your
>population (and your industries) killed off by either Zeon or the Feds.

to know that there's a war on.

It's also the spy capital of the Earth Sphere and I'd assume a black market
of astronomical proportions. A lot of gold changes hands in Side 6 over
the years. Think Switzerland....

>Side 7
> -->nearby Luna II ensures enough industry and resources for
>generations to come.

True, although I'm not sure of the composition of the asteroid Juno, which
was moved into Earth orbit to become Luna II. Mostly nickel-iron and
silica, I'd think, unless Juno's a carbonaceous chondrite.

>Jupiter Energy Fleet
> -->whose economic importance was taken somewhat for granted
>until the Ronahs showed the Federation just where all that money
>was going to (cf. F91).

The JEF and its helium-3 energy transports play a big role in Z Gundam, in
the person of Paptimus Scirocco and his Jupitoris. There was also some
behind the scenes stuff during the One Year War.

>Of course there's a lot I'm not mentioning here. But my point is, from
>what can be inferred from the stories, the Sides are pretty much
>economically isolated from earth and each other (being self-sustaining
>environments as they are).

Not so. Witness the regular passenger runs between colonies, evidence of
an active tourism industry in the form of "theme" colonies like Francheska
(exotic island in space) and Texas (a High Frontier, indeed!) and such a
high level of trade that Barney Wiseman, in the guise of Walter Peterson,
can fly into Side 6 with no advance notice and not raise any eyebrows until
he blows it with the paperwork (or lack of same) for his cargo.

The Ahgama had to have its guns sealed while in port at Side 6, but was not
restricted in any other way. Business as usual during altercations -- but
the business had to have predated the War.

>In Schodt's english translation of Tomino's Gundam novels, he mentions
>that a singel core fighter was "worth its weight in gold."--A metaphor
>of course but even then the losses in One Year War should have driven
>the Federation to the poorhouse--enough incentive for the other Sides to
>bolt and declare independence.

Given the number of gold bullion transactions -- Char to Sayla, Cima to
Kelly, Char to Adenauer Paraya -- maybe it wasn't so metaphorical, after
all....

-Z-

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