#ContactForm1 { display: none ! important; }

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where's the Money?

Maybe I shouldn't listen to news radio while I plan posts for sustainable living. Whatever the impetuous, I found myself thinking about the flooding in Pakistan, the current global economic situation, and what my characters would do if they were stuck in a similar situation.

Other than swim for help, most would put a request for help in to a bigger planet. That makes sense, right? The little planet asks the big planet for help.

Rather naturally this led to the math. How long would it take for help to arrive? How much help could reasonably be sent? And what would be the point of sustaining a world that can't handle natural disasters by itself?

Abandoning a colony to the ravages of natural disaster is a fairly major trope in science fiction writing. Colonies abound.

The goal of any write is to make these situation believable.

What isn't believable is that green skin aliens will rush to Asia and help out the flood victims. Earth just isn't a major port of call for any larger planet. What is believable is that the Pakistani government will appeal for international aid. They will ask for food, water, and ... money?


Every self-sufficient society needs a means to exchange work for goods. Some use barter, some use money, some future society will probably use something more exotic. Whatever the case, when you're world-building, you need a way for your colony to make money.

Here are some current favorites:

- Tourism! Because it's great to live on someone else's dime.
- Export of luxury goods! Admit it, you want an iPad.
- Export of base goods! Everyone needs food!
- Export of priority knowledge or science! The intellectual side of luxury goods.

Or, as a fallback for any despotic regime, colonies can be used for placement of people you don't want to keep at home. This worked well for Australia( Canada, USA, Mexico... everywhere but Europe really).

No export needed, just vast quantities of available space, natives that could be easily subdued by superior weapons, and an Empire desperate to get rid of all those nasty poor people who keep stealing the food.

A means to make money is the foundation of a growing society. Without some way to jump start the economy you have nothing to build with.

(shameless plug ahead)

Which brings us to the idea of donating to charities. Far off from sustainable living, there are some people currently without high-speed internet because their houses are under water. :o(

Google will recommend a dozen or more charities that are contributing to flood relief in Asia. World in Need (where writer Hilary Mackelden volunteers) has a description of the current situation along with a list of charities currently doing relief in the area.

Consider committing a random act of kindness today and donating something to a good cause. :o)


  1. Poppin in to say I like your blog. Just started mine up a month ago. "See" ya on CC :)

  2. Hehe, I'd love an iPad, but I'm not too sure I want to EAT it... :P :D

  3. Mysti - I'll swing by soon!

    Amy- Whoops! I meant goods, not foods. This is what you get when I try to blog on a deadline! Sorry :o(

  4. Good post, Liana! I love following the money, and the economics of a system. ;-)