stock exchange
Image from Bernd Helfert

Economics is the study of the production and distribution of goods and services among groups and individuals.

Various fields and subheadings include market forces, microeconomics, macroeconomics, historical economics, manufacturing, investment, transportation, retailing, supply and demand, government or ai regulation, price theory, business cycles, chaos theory applications, interstellar economics, distributed economics, economic trends, post-scarcity economics, megacorp studies, memetics, advertising and madverts, new or unusual technology, fads and trends, a sudden shortage of raw materials or a flood of cheap clarketech.

Compared to habitat- and planetary-limited societies, interstellar civilizations and polities face unique challenges in managing trade, investment, business, and taxation. These are solved in various ways, and there are always new opportunities, as well as recurring new (and age-old) problems.

  • Advertising  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A way of increasing demand by aggressively bringing the product to the attention of consumers.
  • AI Growth, Education, and Employment  - Text by Todd Drashner, with comments by Steve Bowers
    While some minds are built for a particular task from the start, very often AIs are produced much like humans and other bionts with no set task or future in mind.
  • Animarec  - Text by Michael Beck
    Recordings of a person's general personality type, their madnesses, and sanities, and all those tiny little neuroses that make up who we are interacting to determine what we do. They can only be made thanks to the power of neural-recording nanotech, and in some cultures and polities they are a standard part of any marriage agreement or hiring somebody.
  • Ares Heavy Lifting  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Ares Heavy Lifting Inc. was one of the big corporate conglomerates to develop on Mars during the Interplanetary Age.
  • Attention Economics  - Text by David Jackson
    The study of economics as it relates to the intellectual resources of individual sophonts, particularly as they operate within a shared computational resource-space.
  • Attractor - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An archetype or state that is characterization of the long-term behaviour of a dissipative dynamic system. Over long periods of time, the state space of some dynamical systems will contract toward this region. The Archailects are said to be dynamic systems that characterize particular attractors. Likewise, certain biological forms, certain memes, certain technological solutions, and so on, are known to have emerged independently on completely different planets or among different alien races.
  • Business Minds  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A collective mind or group mind emerging from fast and broad business transactions.
  • Closed Economy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An economy which does not engage in interpolity trade. Some religious, utopian, and hider polities, and many Caretaker Protectorates are closed economies.
  • Command Economy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The state allocates resources, and sets production targets and growth rates according to its own view of people's wants. The state allocates resources, and sets production targets and growth rates according to its own view of people's wants.
  • Commerce   - Text by Chris Shaeffer
    Trade and commerce across the civilized galaxy and beyond.
  • Communism  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Sociopolitical system based on centralized command economy and equality of citizens.
  • Competition - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An interaction between or among two or more individuals, species, clades, corporations, nanecologies, polities, or empires, in which exploitation of resources by one affects any others negatively. A driving principle of evolution and of galactic society.
  • Contelligence  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Clade of aioid business beings, descended from the first federation era New Mars think tank Contelligence.
  • Corporate Dirty Data  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Confidential financial information about a megacorporation that can be sold on the black market.
  • Damage Waiver  - Text by John B
    A part of doing business with any sophont within the NoCoZo, damage waivers indicate that the product or service in question is deemed 'safe' for a specific type or types of sophonts when used in one or more specific manner(s).
  • Digital Money  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Archaic term for cryptographic currency.
  • Discounting  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    From a profit perspective, the value of a future risk is the amount of money (this includes loss of revenue through badwill, loss of customers, legal fees and support to competitors) you lose times the likelihood you are caught, discounted by how far in the future the crime will likely be found.
  • Doubleclaiming  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Later Early to Middle/early-late Interplanetary Age practice organized by criminal gangs and shady dealers, usually operating out of fly-by-night virchsites, data havens, and hastily rented and abandoned office modules.
  • Economics in Transapient Societies  - Text by Al Firebrand
    Economics of star systems which are controlled by transapient entities.
  • Ecophagy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The rampant destruction of an ecosystem by a biological or nonbiological agent.
  • Envirocapitalism - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhumanist Terminology
    The use of free markets to protect the environment. Widely applied, Information Age to present.
  • Exa Energy  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Interplanetary Era energy corporation.
  • Factor Cost - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The value of output measured in terms of the cost of the factors of production used to produce it. In most nano-industrialized star systems and polities the factor cost is very small.
  • Financial Institutions - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Institutions which provide a range of services including lending,accepting deposits, providing advice.
  • Financial Intermediaries - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Institutions that channel funds from sentients and institutions wishing to lend to those wishing to borrow.
  • Financials - Text by John B
    Financials and financial effects vary greatly throughout the galaxy. There is a decent amount of indebtedness and something approaching debt peonage or indenture amongst the NoCoZo. There are also moderate to high levels of corporate intrigue. The Solarian league only deal in Solarian credits, or will only deal with other financial tokens at steep discounts. Keterists have an information or computronium standard - so many cycles at so many petahertz with such and such bandwidth and storage capabilities. And so on...
  • Flow, The  - Text by Rhea 47 and Ryan B
    A unique symbiosis-based economic/spiritual system that is unique to the Biopolity; a network that links Biopolity citizens together in an ultra-holistic eco-economic harmony.
  • Free Goods - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A good in unlimited supply at zero price; this applies to many basic consumables in nanotech industrialized systems.
  • Freeport - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Areas close to spaceports and stargate terminals into which imports are allowed without paying tariffs on the condition that they are exported.
  • Grapeship Ownership  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Anders Sandberg and Steve Bowers
    Grapeship ownership varies according to polity, situation, and local laws and regulations. There are big transport and passenger corporations, as well as ships run by clades and their organisations. Private ships fill in the gaps and run the odd errands and tourist lines.
  • Gross Clade Product (GCP) - Text by John B
    A common numerical economic measure of the productivity of a specific clade. The acronym can also represent the Gross Civilization Product when referring to larger organizations of multiple clades.
  • Homo Economicus  - Text by Extherian, updated 2020
    NoCoZo cyborg clade specialised towards business.
  • Income-Leisure Trade-Off - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In primitive (medium tech) worlds, the choice labor makes between working more hours or taking more leisure. In advanced worlds, there is a minimum of labor requirement, and most labor is equivalent with leisure in any case.
  • Industrialization - Text by Stephen Inniss, after the original by M. Alan Kazlev
    The development of a manufacturing sector in a region's socioeconomy. The actual effects of industrialization vary dramatically according to the level and the type of the technologies employed and according to the local culture's prior experience with managing those technologies.
  • Interstellar Econometrics  - Text by Anders Sandberg, with some material by HÃ¥kan Andersson
    Trade between distant worlds is made difficult by distance and the cost of interstellar transport.
  • Jurassic Enterprises - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Interplanetary Age biotech corporation specialising in the lazurogenics and sale of extinct organisms.
  • Labour - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generally, any sentient or sophont that through work contributes to the manufacture or production of commodities for the community; a sophont in employment. Most labour is undertaken by specialized aioids (expert systems, dormbots, dedicated ai, etc.). However, in some endeavors, such as provolution or terraforming, ordinary nearbaselines are often voluntarily employed; an occupation that may take many years or decades to realize.
  • Lee Interorbital  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Interplanetary Age corporation.
  • Market Chronology Protection Theorem of Lua - Text by Anders Sandberg
    An economic corollary of the chronology protection theorems and the hypereconomic stability axioms, first stated by Ombitti Lua 5543. Agents employing accurate information about the future to manipulate the market cannot earn more than the absolute value of the market volatility operator, and as the number of such agents increase the volatility decreases towards zero.
  • Market Speeders  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Beings earning a living on trading in fluctuating market speeds, usually virtual rather than physical entities.
  • Nannies, The  - Text by Anders Sandberg, from Big Ideas Grand Vision
    Nanotech startup companies, early Interplanetary Age.
  • Naso Corporation  - Text by James Ramsey
    Maker and distributor of various nanite based cleansing agents.
  • Non-fungible Goods and Services in Post-scarcity Societies  - Text by Ryan B
    No post-scarcity economy has truly eliminated scarcity; there will always be certain commodities that are scarce, even if copies can be mass produced.
  • Periphery Region - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Astrographic, planetary, orbital, or other areas on the outskirts of key economic activity.
  • Post-scarcity  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Societies and economies in which materials, energy, information, and labour are superabundant and all of the material needs and most of the ordinary material desires of ordinary sapient beings in them are readily available.
  • Post-scarcity Economies: Characteristics and Considerations  - Text by Ryan B
    Post-scarcity economies are common in the Terragen Sphere, especially in the Sephirotic empires. In these societies abundant material resources, energy, information, and automation are available for use by consumers with few restrictions.
  • Postcapitalism - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Hyperturing-regulated high abundance nanotech economies which do not require money or other units of exchange.
  • Sagawa Corporation  - Text by Ryan B (Rynn)
    Among the most diversified of the triple-A Interplanetary Age orbital corporations. The corporation itself did not survive the Technocalypse, but two uploads of Sagawa family members who were running the corporation, and some workers and shareholders, survived.
  • Shopping Festivals - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A common type of corporate sponsored or encouraged festival in many regions. The NoCoZo celebrates the ancient rites of shopping festivals like xmas with gusto.
  • Smart Packaging  - Text by John B
    Containers, wrapping, and other materials designed to show off a given product to its best advantage and minimize wastage in transit.
  • Standard Damage Waiver - Text by John B
    Those waivers approved and sealed by the Standard Damage Waiver Board. They are normally what is meant by a 'damage waiver' and are distinguishable by their seal. The classic example is the standard damage waiver for 1 litre of fluid water in a single-use soft pressure vessel, which runs to approximately 5 quadrillion characters as translated into ancient earth English. This is easily understandable, as it covers all 'safe' uses for that quantity or some smaller amount of liquid water, including weapons-grade uses, heat dissipation, heat absorption, heat transfer, diffusion, solution, lubrication, ice production, biological uses, etc.
  • Standard Damage Waiver Board  - Text by John B
    A service free for purchasers and users which coordinates (at a fee paid by the producers and/or safety corporation(s) involved) the 'standardization' of damage waivers across multiple competing products and producers.
  • Systems of Resource Allocation  - Text by Ryan B
    A by no means exhaustive list of just some of the varied approaches post-scarcity economies take resource allocation.
  • Taxation  - Text by HÃ¥kan Andersson with additions by Anders Sandberg
    Taxation has changed quite a bit the last 10,000 years, and will likely do it again.
  • Transfinity  - Text by Anders Sandberg; amended by Stephen Inniss
    Nanofacturing subsidiary to Vollmark, an Interplanetary Age home microtronics corporation, from 433 to 525 AT (2402-2494 c.e.). Considered by some to have been a major contributor to the Technocalypse through careless design of its products.
  • Trophic Levels in Society  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    As societies and civilisations become more complex, they develop trophic levels, defined by their distance from primary production.
  • Uservere Affair, The  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    MPA megacorp which collapsed, causing a major crisis in the hypereconomy of the Sephirotic Empires.
  • Venture Capital - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Funds available for investment by organizations that have raised pools of capital specifically to invest in companies, primarily new ventures.
  • Vivisystem - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhumanist Terminology
    Systems with lifelike properties (adaptability, complexity, evolvability, resiliency etc.), such as ecosystems, alife, economies and minds.
  • Weak Eigenspace Hunters  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Profession in complexity management.
  • Wealth and Status in the Terragen Sphere  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    In so-called post-scarcity societies there are a number of other measures of wealth an status beyond basic material goods.
  • World-disk Software  - Text by Ernst Stavro Blofeld
    London (Old Earth) -based, Information Age corporation; World-disk Software was one of the first companies to introduce neural-networked file system compression.
  • Zero-Sum Game - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In game theory, a game in which a win for one player results in an equal but opposite loss for the other players.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
from the original by J. Storrs Hall
Initially published on 24 October 2001.

Additional Information