Lit Economy, Pollution, Energy, Disease, Education, & Culture in the GFFA

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Ghost, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    How much about how the GFFA works do we really know?





    1. The economy...

    We've seen droid factories and moisture farms, so usually just matters of war or the poor in the outer rim, but how does the economy work for most people in the galaxy? We've had the occasional hint, like when a character is surprised they're not eating synthetic food. Are food, and most other consumer products, easily replicated for most people in the galaxy? And only special items are actually bought with credits, that can't be easily replicated, like real estate and starships and weapons and information?

    We know the Rakata created the darkside-powered Star Forge, which had access to nearly-unlimited matter and energy, and was used to create a basically-unlimited supply of war machines. But perhaps the Republic, or important Core Worlds, created more peaceful versions of the Star Forge to create a basically-unlimited supply of products that help their citizens in everyday life and create a very high standard of living?

    Also, in a galaxy with plenty of droids, how do the average people (especially in the Core Worlds) make a living? What kind of jobs do they have? Is there high unemployment? Or are most of these worlds basically luxury worlds, where they don't even need to work and money is meaningless (aside from those special items mentioned above), thanks to droids and plentiful resources?
    (And if they do have jobs and make money, does the Republic/Empire/GA tax them and provide something like social security for them?)

    And is there pretty much free movement between worlds in the same government?


    2. Pollution...

    Is waste a big problem in the GFFA? We know some worlds were ruined in ancient times by industrialization, like Duro and Nal Hutta. But are pollution, garbage, and other environmental problems actually big issues for most worlds in the galaxy? They can probably just shoot all the garbage that gets collected into the nearest star or black hole, and droids could probably be used by the richer worlds to keep the air and water clean. With how quickly Coruscant was restored after the Yuuzhan Vong occupation, it's probably at least possible and really only an issue of willpower, right?


    3. Energy...

    What is the main source of energy that powers the electricity for most buildings, factories, houses, cities, worlds, droids, starships, space stations, etc.? Has it ever really been said? Fusion power? Antimatter? Synthetic fuels?


    4. Disease...

    Is disease a problem in the GFFA? There seems to be an outbreak of some plague or pandemic every few hundred years to few thousand years, and when they break out they are very deadly... as well as usually unnatural (designed by the Sith, or rebelling slaves, or terrorists, or something similar). But when there isn't a huge, new, devastating plague that hardly anyone has any resistance to... there's hardly any cases of a person getting sick. Or dying from a disease. How is medicine and healthcare in the galaxy? Is disease really a problem anymore? How do most people in the GFFA die, when it's not related to war/crime?


    5. Education...

    We hardly ever see "normal" people who aren't Jedi/Sith, or on the run. But is it right to presume that most people in the galaxy go to school when they're kids? Or are they mostly home-schooled... if not by their parents, maybe by a rental teacher droid or a hologram projection?


    6. Culture...

    What kind of music, television, movies, plays, sports, fashion, dance, etc. are normal people in the galaxy into? I know we get little bits of it, and most of the time is spent with characters who are Jedi and probably abstain from most of the stuff... but you'd think more of the galaxy's culture would be apparent by now.

    Also, we've seen that the Je'Daii, the Sith, and the Arkanians have gotten into genetic engineering and twisting life. And that warriors, such as Anakin and Luke and Grievous, sometimes get cybernetic replacements. But I wonder... do well-off "normal" people in the GFFA get cybernetic implants/replacements, as a cultural thing, trying to make their minds and bodies superior? Do they mess around with genetic engineering on themselves? Do they have designer babies, or designer pets? Do we have some rich, but nonviolent, people with big egos that try to make themselves more and better than "human" (or Zabrak/Twilek/etc.)?
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Jan 18, 2013
  2. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    The only time I can recall offhand that the economy was touched upon was in the TCW episode Pursuit of Peace. This much-maligned episode discussed how the Clone Wars was affecting the common man, depicted in part by one of Padmé's handmaidens. That handmaiden's family had to conserve water and money was tight, due to the economy favoring the war and overlooking the common folk. This was a rare glimpse into how war can affect a community financially, and I would like to see that explored more.

    Going by that, the economy would be a wreck during times of war. And seeing has how war occurs every other Tuesday in the GFFA, lots of people would be falling on hard times.

    As for healthcare in the galaxy... It seems to depend on where you live. I know at least that the mental health system could use some polishing, as shock therapy is used improperly or as torture, there are a number of untreated mentally-ill individuals running around, the psychiatric hospitals seem few and far between, with some people ending up in prison, and only those affiliated with the NJO seem to have access to healers. Sparse mentions of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other such healthcare professionals, and I can't even recall any mention of outpatient drug therapy.

    There are a fair amount of homeless and squatters, so the social welfare system could also use some work.
  3. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Unlikely as there is a huge agriculture economy on many worlds or if not there tend to be agri worlds that supply them, plus I would not call it "replicated" just because it is synthetic as it is more likely that synthetic stuff is just lab/vat grown and just doesn't occur naturally.

    They don’t actually, the only people that have Star Trek eqe replicators are the Gree and those are apparently insanely ineffective because they require a lot more raw materials to replicate the target product than would be naturally required. SW industry is similar to earth in that regard, as you have the classic raw mat -> manufacturing -> target good cycle.

    Most worlds apparently specialize to archive insane economies of scale, with a large part of the world’s people active in that industry, but in general employment opportunities look to be pretty diverse, with especially the people of Core worlds being very active in the service sector.

    Seems unlikely unless the whole local economy collapses because the local specialization didn’t work out.

    Some worlds might have tried such experiments, but since even nobility on insanely rich worlds are given task/work it seems unlikely.

    Many Core worlds have social security and public healthcare (mentioned in Far Orbit) and yes people get taxed, usually by the local government which than has to give a certain part of the tax to the Republic/Empire. Under the Empire if you don’t actually contribute to the Empire in some way you get send to a labor camp to make your contribution.

    Free movement seems to be generally permitted, though there are apparently some planets that discourage immigration or emigration.

    Yes and no. Some industry will apparently ruin a planet insanely fast (mining of certain hyper drive construction metals for example), whilst general population can apparently be cleaned up if there is funding and will. On Coruscant there is the will, on other worlds like Xa Fel there wasn't.

    Hü? Nal Hutta is a Hutt resort world, they like swamps and if some parts of the planet are unhealthy, well that’s just were the other species get to live. :p

    Vong tech helped in case of Coruscant, as it kept the planet life able on its own.

    It will vary by planet, Fusion seems popular as is geothermal and solar. Hypermatter is used for some ships, just happens to be insanely dangerous.


    Properly not on a huge scale, bio weapons and huge pandemics aside.


    Properly Accidents and old age .

    Most major settlements seem to have doctors with access to Bacta, depending on the world it may even be publicly funded.

    There are public schools on many worlds (Compnor was rather fond of adjusting curriculums) or apparently instructional holodiscs followed by standardizes tests ( the way Luke was schooled).

    Really all kinds of stuff, just check Wookieepedia for sports for example.

    Cyborg replacements are viewed as unnatural and somewhat revolting by large swaths of the population. Genetic engineering is sometimes mentioned but seems to be insanely expensive and rather distrusted outside of government use.Exotic makeup and disguises (even as completely different races) though seem to be somewhat common.
  4. General Immodet Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2012
    star 4
    Vulpter was very much polluted! ;)
  5. MercenaryAce Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2005
    star 5
    Actually, the pollution thing has been bugging me for a while. I remember at least one comic that had technology as inevitably destructive to the environment (which was the reason the main character argued against his planet joining the republic, despite being a jedi), but that struck me as flying in the face of what the rest of the universe showed. Alderaan and Chandrilla were said to be very high tech and had pristine environments. Ithor even more so - they enjoyed their technology specifically because it allowed them to live comfortably without taking from the environment.

    Since most cases of environmental degradation are at the hands of the Empire, the CIS, or unscrupulous business groups, I am going to assume that Star Wars technology is usually pretty clean, but it is cheaper to pollute.

    As to healthcare - well, my first instinct would be to say no because the Star Wars galaxy doesn't seem very centralized - planets come off as sovereign entities in many cases. On the other hand, we have seen high tech hospitals even in the more out of the way and poorly populated reaches of the galaxy. Bacta seems fairly common despite coming from one planet. So maybe healthcare is one area where the government is active in star wars.
  6. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Or that tech per se is not really that clean but many worlds make the extra effort to clean up the pollution. Eriadu for example had major manufacturing and was slowly ruining the planet with it (though they didn’t care that much as most of the population were Slaves) until the New Republic forced them to free the Slaves and use more environmentally friendly methods which send the planet into a economic slump.
    Planets being sovereign would somehow strike me as making public health care actually more common, as they are hopefully taking better care of their own people than a centralized government far away would. ;)
  7. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Culture? Why, let's ask the Art group of the Coalition for Progress!


    ...bloody jackbooted philistine thugs.

    (more on this later!)
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  8. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    1. The Economy

    We don't know a whole lot about the Star Wars economy, but we do know some things. One overriding feature is that is it features astonishing levels of inequality, such that they make anything we see on Earth look utterly communitarian in constrast. There are several factors that drive this but they seem to be based in a combination of highly uneven natural resource distribution, extremely high capital costs for advanced industrial production that produce incredible economies of scale, and a whole lot of outright corruption, extortion, and manipulation (with a nice dose of speciesism thrown in across much of galactic history).

    Essentially the Star Wars economy is resource-limited, not energy-limited like most Earth economies. If you dumped a limitless amount of kilowatts into any Earth economy production would soar until you hit labor limits, Star Wars bypasses those through droids and expansive primitive populations available for recruitment, growth is instead limited by the abundance of critical resources to actually make physical objects. We can see this most clearly on Tatooine, the planet doesn't have enough water, but Owen Lars has no touble powering all his droids, vaporators, and other equipment.

    The economy is also controlled by the distribution limits inherent in space travel. The Star Wars galaxy has nothing resembling today's optimized supply chains (at least not outside of well connected Core Worlds and spare-no-expense military operations). Instead it much more closely resembles a nineteenth century model - hardscrabble prospectors seek out natural resources in largely unsettled areas (the Rim), once they are found there are temporary extraction booms but all the wealth ultimately gets transported back to the industrial centers (the Core) and mostly benefits the people there because the cost of transporting finished goods back into the wilderness is too high. The fate of the residents of the Rim largely resembles that of nineteeth century native americans and homesteaders in the American west.

    The key question we cannot answer though, is how this distribution of wealth is spread across society. How much of the galaxy's population enjoys the fruits of wealth in the prosperous Core, Colonies and Inner Rim (and a few highly developed Mid and Outer Rim outposts), and how much languishes in poverty or a pre-industrial state. This question is difficult to answer, but it is suggestive that a solid majority of the Galactic populace actually lives quite well. This doesn't make sense given the economic setup - an overwhelming amount of physical real estate is providing for a high life in a much smaller portion, but the gap can be bridged by droids.

    Driod labor is cheap. Canon establishes this. You can buy 10 ASP labor droids for the price of 1 landspeeder. Owen Lars, suppossedly barely getting by, employed numerous droids. Most outer rim citizens probably have somewhat similar circumstances. The lower end jobs involve supervising and maintaining some number of droids. That's the Star Wars blue-collar life. Many white collar jobs presumably remain and a large number of organic sentients are employed in them.

    As to travel, it is rather clear that is it relatively expensive. Look at the numbers Han quotes Luke and Ben in ANH. Sure, he's gouging them, and by a lot, but even if he's gouging by 500% when he quotes them ten thousand, space travel is expensive. 2,000 credits is still a lot (comparing credit numbers across sources is risky in the EU, but numerous qualitiative statements back this premise).

    2. Pollution

    This is pretty simple, actually. Star Wars has the technological capability to mitigate all but the most egregious conditions (like Quesh) were pollution is a source of harm. However, like anything that requires high end technology on a large scale, this is very expensive. Responsible corporate governance is generally not a feature of the Star Wars galaxy, indeed most corporations seem to be engaged in a race to the bottom to eliminate externalities (not surprising given major economic ventures backed by species that are by human standards completely unscroupulous as competition), so a lot of pollution happens in pursuit of the almighty credit. Again a nineteenth century viewpoint is instructive - the Star Wars galaxy is vast and still very much unexplored. There's little sense that the galaxy is filling up and while pollution may have horrific local consequences (with 'local' stretching to the scale of whole planets) the decision making elites can always just move somewhere else, leaving the poor to suffer.

    3. Energy

    Numerous energy sources have been mentioned, ranging from fusion to hypermatter to plasma and more. Whatever the source energy is rather abundant across the galaxy as a whole (there may be local shortages due to distribution issues of course). Energy requirements are rarely an issue. The building of the Death Star, to take one rather extreme example, was governed by the need to construct the physical engineering devices of great size, and all the raw materials necessary. Powering the thing was never a huge issue - it was quite possibly the most energetically wasteful weapons system ever concieved.

    4. Disease

    Disease is actually a huge issue that gets very little press. There are numerous references to massive pandemics of super-plagues (Candorian Plague, Blue Shadow virus, etc.) that wipe out the populations of whole planets and perhaps clear sector sized regions of almost all sentient life. However, disease is not a thematic emphasis point of Star Wars (which makes sense, it works better in more science heavy settings) so it doesn't get talked about much.

    Generally though medical technoloy is available to adapt to almost anything given time and money, but the latter is, again, a real limiting factor. Wampa Rat fever may be totally curable, but it still kills lots of people every year.

    5. Education

    There really isn't a good answer to this. Some people are apparently schooled in a setting 21st century westerners would recognize. Some learn primarily from family members and holotapes. Allana is tutored by a droid. There are likely several other methods. There's really no way of knowing whether there is a particular standard, or what that standard is. The universe does present the idea that it does not represent 21st century western education aspirations. Luke, and just about everyone he knew, wasn't playing to go to college at age eighteen, or indeed ever. Advanced learning seems to be rather rare.

    6. Culture

    Star Wars cultures are clearly vast and varied. As to cybernetic and genetic modification, we do see a consistent stigma towards it among members of the dominant galactic cosmopolitan mix - the humans and the other commonly seen species. However, there are species where cybernetics (Aruzans) or genetic manipulation (Lurrians) were basically universal.
    thesevegetables likes this.
  9. Dr. Steve Brule Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 4
    Won't somebody please help save those poor Whaladons?
    The_Phantom_Calamari likes this.
  10. darthscott3457 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2007
    star 3
    Food synthesizers do exist, and the Death Star novel actually makes use the phase food "replicators". Though with the existence of agri-worlds I am sure it is not quite as efficient as the replicators in Star Trek. Though they may be supplying whats needs to go into the synthesizer and not just regular food. For Coruscant being a city planet for so long, I am pretty sure they have a very efficient system when it comes to food distribution, many light years ahead of us ;)

    Interesting. What was the context? More of a throw away line or were details given? I wouldn't be surprised with the health care part since I would assume technology has advanced so far that it has made it really inexpensive, at least for general care. Though those Polis Massans didn't do a very good job with Padme:)


    I would say its very diverse in terms of energy sources. I would think nuclear, anti-matter, and hypermatter reactors would be the heavy hitters. Hypermatter is used in many starships, anti-matter has been mentioned as a fuel and as being used in weaponry, and then nuclear has been mentioned a lot as well. One of the last Darth Maul comics mentioned mining uranium in order to power many worlds around the galaxy. Like the food supply and health care, the advanced technology available should have greatly improved the efficiency of energy production well beyond our present day standards.
  11. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5

    Though he still needs to conserve power, as he actually mentions in Ep 4 when he tells Luke he is shutting everything down for the night, which would actually kind of hint at him making use of solar power.

    They did first have to find all kinds of innovation in Hypermatter tech for the Superlaser (which got further refined as time went on), so they do seem to have faced clear limits in making it work, so much so that the shield on the first one dident actually work.

    Biggs went to the Academy, Luke was planning to and there are tons of Universities mentioned with all kinds of specialization fields.
  12. MercenaryAce Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2005
    star 5
    geothermal is a another big power source. There is one lava planet whose geothermal activities were supposedly able to power most of the core worlds.
  13. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Still a strange to use the term replicator, as the SW food synthesizer basically just uses provided raw materials to create an (apparently rather limited) selection of eatable materials and doesn’t really copy something. I am actually more curious on how they preserve food, as keeping it fresh during hyperspace transit and on planet storage must be a nightmare. Though Bounty Hunter afaik did hint at carbonite freezing of meat.

    Throwaway line on the standard of living for Core Worlders under the Empire.
    As someone who works in healthcare in a county with an excellent public health care system, I can assure you the more advanced medical technology seems to get the higher the cost of actually providing it per person gets. ;) For example not everyone needs the new cancer ward, but the people that don’t still basically pay for it. Getting Bacta tanks and actually keeping them running and supplied for is also mentioned as very expensive rather often which is given as reason that only major starships, the military and clinics tend to have them.
    Pff, that whole thing was psychological, the actually birth went perfectly fine. :p
  14. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    That could be conservation, it also could be him shutting dow the power so his farmstead doesn't shine like crazy on the infrared in the dark and attrach sand people. It really could go either way frankly.

    Well yes there were innovations, but the shear act of blowing a planet to fragments in a giant hyperspace explosion takes something like hundreds of times the energy necessary to just crack the crust, ingite the atmosphere, cause massive geological perturbations and kill everyone on the world in a few minutes/hours. The fact that they could expend so much energy on what amounts to shear visual intimidation factor doesn't exactly imply scarcity.

    That there are tons of universities does not imply university attendance is common. There were tons of universities in the nineteenth century too, but the number of people who attended them was a fraction of those who do today. Biggs went to a military academy, which was indeed quite common, but how many characters do we actually see attending institutions of higher learning? It's not many. Heck Palpatine had an extremely checkered academic history, but had little impact on his career.


    Looking at it, any explanation of the Star Wars social system really seems to harken back to an earlier point in human history than the present. Nineteenth century america seems like a pretty decent model overall, maybe early gilded age, 1870s or 1880s.There are many ways this makes sense. The nature of travel, and of information communication in Star Wars means that while their raw technology is astonshingly advanced, information technology lags behind. The Star Wars galaxy is actually much less digitally connected than many of Earth's most wired countries at present.
  15. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    The Tusken ought to know were the lives, he apprently killed at least 2 tribes worth by the time Luke had grown up ;)

    Or they just lacked the abilty to really fine tune the hypermatter reaction propely until later and just went for complete overkill when building it.

    Its not in western countries either, just pointing out that the instutes themselves seem rather common, espacely once with specialisations in social fields, so there certainly seems to be a demand for them.

    His knowledge of history, politics and languages have to have come from somewhere, plus it seems to have been a pretty good place to make contacts
  16. Parnesius Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2012
    star 1
    It's not quite 'normal' but The School of Fear showcased the Leadership School on Andara. Very exclusive, prestigious and (save for a very few scholarship students) incredibly expensive, it educated the children of elites from all over the galaxy. A similarly prestigious Alderaanian school is also mentioned. This seems indicative of a degree of galactic connectedness at education's higher end.

    Sarapin. Now, does anyone know how they transmitted that power? It's been bugging me for near a decade.
  17. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Could have sworn it was packaged in giant batteries and those then shipped off world. Just don’t ask me to source that, because for the life of me I can’t remember where I got it from.
  18. blackmyron Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2005
    star 5
    Subspace carrier waves, according to the Essential Atlas.
  19. COMPNOR Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 2
    Andris spice was used as a food preservative, Gorefiend, which also proved very useful during the time of the Empire in keeping the population of the galaxy . . . . well, placated.
  20. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Lets go with that then sound better as well. ;)

    Wasn’t that just initially with sub light ships? And later just added to food to improve flavor and of course to keep the Empires population in line. :p
    Last edited by Gorefiend, Jan 18, 2013
  21. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    The GFFA is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more varied than life on Earth.
    So basically anything you can think of, it's there somewhere.
    Wookieepedia is a good resource.
  22. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Only two of these statements are true.
  23. MercenaryAce Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2005
    star 5
    That's what the wook says, so I think it is either from Force Commander or Galactic battlegrounds.
  24. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    Could you give the source for the latter, please? :)
  25. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    I believe it’s from the radio drama though afaik Shadows of Mindor also mentioned it, along with some courses he would take in Ag School in Mos Eisley.