Anglic Union

“However, there are a couple of positive features that aren’t income for us yet. We have offered the use of our facilities to the Space Guard, at a reasonable rate, in order to retrain people from the China Yards to American standards. For doing this, we get a set of hard-working, technically skilled maintenance people.  Their employer pays their salary. We have to be scrupulous that the work these people are doing actually qualifies as training, but that turns out to be quite simple, or so Elaine Bell tells me.  In addition, we have a large area holding many of our manufacturing facilities that are not currently in use, which is also covered by an old-growth eucalyptus grove. Several local firms are now engaged in clearing that grove, paying us at a respectable rate for the wood they’re getting.  The Space Guard wants to buy a considerable number of different larger parts that we will be able to make once the coarse focus units and other manufacturing facilities are up and running. Finally, once we are ready to make our own rare-earth components, we can straightforwardly set up an assembly line to make additional civilian-grade low-field fusactors for Bulger Power Systems.  These will be exact copies of our current operating units, which are not covered by Stellar Republic patents.”

“Dear me,” Margaret Evans said, “as we would say at Georgia Benevolent Trust, bless their sweet little hearts, the cartel has given us enormous economic opportunities, without intending to.”

“Victor?” Rose Cohen asked. She was wearing traditional New New York women’s business dress, complete with enormously puffed sleeves, high collar, the whole in multiple shades of bright pink. “I’m sure this can be sold readily to the minor noteholders, but there is a question. If the cartel stops being able to haul metallics from Proserpine, that will disrupt Union industry. All sorts of litigation, including antique antitrust laws, may then be invoked.”

“An excellent issue,” Victor answered. “Those are antique laws. The cartel could refuse to sell us those ships of theirs. However, in that case we’d advertise what we were offering for them, how much each stockholder would get, and if they refuse to sell I would expect there would be stockholder litigation. We are not in pre-interregnum times. Stockholder litigation is an extremely blunt, but effective, instrument. They would also be subject to the taxes on inactive spaceships. One of the amusing schemes the Social Democrats had for raising money, over a century ago, was a special tax to motivate people to make use of whatever technical resources they had. The tax on an unused spaceship is enormous.  Those tax bills get very large very quickly. I would anticipate that management in each of these cases, realizing that they had painted themselves into a corner, would take as much money as possible and run.”

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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