Stars Edge Redux
Slightly less than forty percent of the human population lives under some version of what social scientists refer to as the new economy. In the outer system, alternative economies are becoming increasingly rare. New economies are much better than old or transitional economies at supporting a decentralized populace, which has led to more than half of all habitats and settlements adopting this model.
In new economy societies, individuals can freely manufacture and use almost anything they want, assuming they can acquire the correct templates and raw materials. As a result, the residents’ need for food, clothing, medical care, information access, and other basic needs are all easily met. However, there are still items of value that individuals work very hard to obtain. Though these are commonly described as “post scarcity” societies, some types of scarcity remain very real.
In most new economy habitats, common goods are freely available to all residents—or at least to all residents who meet certain criteria. These criteria usually take one of two forms: citizenship or public works. In wealthy and prestigious habitats, free access to all common goods is offered to residents who have of cial citizenship. Citizenship can be earned in a variety of ways, but the most common involves either being considered a strategic asset due to some singular expertise, performing an exceedingly valuable service to the habitat, or working for the habitat for some period of time. Once an individual is a citizen, the energy, living space, and raw materials they use in the course of their daily lives are all freely available.
In many collectivized habitats, residents are expected to pull their weight by contributing to ongoing public works in the habitat, typically requiring between four and eight hours every week. Depending on the nature of the colony, this work may be selected by the government, the collective syndicates that oversee the management of resources, or by a high rep individual who controls access to large amounts of energy and raw materials. Unless someone has especially valuable skills, this labor is often dull but safe work that can be done more easily by humans than AIs, such as checking the habitat for flaws and performing maintenance tasks.
Assuming an individual has acquired citizenship or put in their share of work for the collective wellbeing of the station, they will have access to a supply of energy and raw materials that allows them to use their cornucopia machines to manufacture what they need. Visitors are generally also allowed access, though anyone staying long is expected to contribute to the habitat if they don’t want to see their reputation slashed.