It's generally cheaper to make it at home, but when we can reach another star, what non-magical pressure would make that not true for humanity? There exist small niche markets in wine and some lumbers on earth, where the resource requires a very long time to be produced. An example is the eucalyptus boon in the early 20th century, when American entrepreneurs hoped for cheap lumber by growing eucalyptus. They discovered that the wood is completely useless from a tree under 150 years old.
My story begins with our human society (on earth), near future. There exists something in another system that cannot be cheaply produced in our solar system (because many things the universe makes simply can't be replicated in a lab, or not in bulk). Because of this and advancements in antimatter propulsion, trade with an interstellar civilization became economically favorable. We have instantaneous communication with their civilization however mass still obeys relativistic laws. We trade at 0.1c by unmanned barges back and forth, three barges per year each way. The supply route takes 200 years between stars.
We can fill our own demand for what this system has
Given that we have affordable access to another star system as described here, what socioeconomic pressure would cause humanity to commoditize an interstellar resource?
Their commodity is a resource which can not be made in volume AND is either:
- Required for human society to continue it's standard of living
- Required for the continued health of humanity
- Required for the continued habitability of earth's environment
- Required for the economic health of human society
- Required to maintain a cultural addiction in human society
Note: This world has no hypothetical technologies beyond what is described here or in my world links. No bio-engineering, no FTL, no warp technology, no fusion drives. All known science is as it is in reality with few exceptions. Fictional science is limited to the following:
- The predictions in PT (Parity-Time) Symmetric theory of quantum mechanics are true, and the the no-signaling principle in quantum mechanics is unnecessary and invalid.
- Non-carbon based life evolved on another world
- Antimatter containment in large scale is possible with Minimum Magnetic Field Traps