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Old July 7 2014, 02:48 PM   #49
Crazy Eddie
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Re: how would you build a colony?

varek wrote: View Post
Santaman wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
Well, nothing makes it profitable to haul ore in modern times. Which is why nobody does it, not over oceanic distances. (It's only hauled a very short distance to a refinery where it ceases to be ore and becomes, say, iron.)
Eh... ore hauling is VERY profitable and done all over the place and over very long distances, take Japan for example, most of their resources has to be brought by ship and in very large quantities.

Australia hauls iron ore by the megatons to asia for example, while sitting on a huge pile of ore they don't have much foundry capability at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulk_carrier
in 2005 bulk hauling of ores, coal, bauxite was already at 1.7 billion metric tons.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulk_carrier

A lot of the largest vessels afloat at the moment are bulk carriers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Vale_Brasil
You bring up some interesting questions. Is it more profitable to ship out raw materials or to process them yourself, into useful products, and export those?
That's not really a valid question. The ability to manufacture finished products FROM those raw materials requires substantial investment of labor and money in the first place. If you don't have the time or the money to build up that kind of infrastructure, then exporting raw materials is simply the most feasible option whether or not in-situ manufacturing would be THEORETICALLY cheaper. Add to that the fact that not all manufacturing facilities are created equal; you might take the time to invest in a dilithium refinery, but if your output isn't up to the same quantity and/or quality of, say, Delta Vega or Alpha Pavonis, the return on that investment might be unacceptably small. In some of those situations you're simply better off shipping bulk ore to other manufacturers who are better positioned to use it, rather than trying to use it yourself at drastically reduced efficiency.

It seems most advanced countries prefer to manufacture products, while those nations who only export raw materials often seem to be less affluent. What will happen to them, when their supplies of raw materials run out?
Then they switch to a knowledge economy and try to force most of their workforce into the service sector. Of course, recent history has shown that doesn't work nearly as well as it's commonly expected to, so the more likely result is an exodus of those workers from resource-poor planets/colonies to resource-rich ones.
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