Friday, November 1, 2013

Interstellar trade, Paul Krugman, Caleb Scharf

There's a hoary old trope in space opera - the great galactic merchant family. Their treasure ships sail from world to world, laden with water, oxygen, precious ores and gems. It's a setting that's always bugged me. Let's face it, if you want water, you'll find it in your own star system a thousand times more cheaply than important across light years from somewhere else. Ditto for gold, gems, rare earths, uranium, plutonium, thorium, platinum, etc. etc. etc.

So what would be worth transporting? And how would that be affected by different transport technologies? Well, Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman and astronomer Caleb Scharf have both considered this very SF problem. Check them out.

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