Stars Edge Redux
The old economy is essentially the same sort of industrial consumer capitalism that has been in place since the late 19th century, a system centered on manufacturers who create material goods and sell them to consumers. Modern manufacturers now make their goods in cornucopia machines instead of factories, but the essential pattern is the same one that has existed for over two hundred years. Due to the high level of inefficiency and unfairness in this economic system, poverty is relatively common. The poorest individuals often face hunger, homelessness, lack of medical care, and similarly dire problems.
Ordinary members of this society never have direct access to cornucopia machines. Instead, they purchase their goods from corporations, governments, or wealthy individuals who control them. Some old economy societies have planned economies, where the corporations or the state determine what options the citizens may choose or occasionally what goods they must have. Others claim to have a free market, where citizens have more options, but the residents must still pay to obtain goods that are essentially free for the corporations or government to produce.
Old economy societies are unique in that money is the society’s only acceptable means of exchange. While reputation networks exist, they are informal and serve as an unsanctioned means of exchanging favors.