Assume earth today, no sci-fi tech of any kind available.

One day, one corporation gets the power to produce any non-organic object in space, of up to a few kilometers in size, at virtually zero cost.

Given that the corporation with this technology would of course copyright it and have a monopoly.

What would happen to our economy on earth?

Specifically what would happen to each sector (Production, Mining, Farming, Science, Entertainment, Services etc.)

Note on production time:

  • Any amount of objects can be produced at the same time with enough foresight.
  • Bigger objects takes longer time to produce. (ex. Spaceships)
  • More complex objects takes longer time to produce. (ex. Microprocessors)

Other notes

  • Matter is not created from nothing.
  • Fuels are not a manufactured goods and will most likely remain as abundant as present. (Perhaps higher demand due to production costs of cars, planes, spaceships plummeting.)
  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like a plot for the next Bond movie. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jun 9, 2016 at 12:09
  • $\begingroup$ I was wondering whether this power creates matter from nothing or whether it takes one type of matter and shapes it into something else. The relevance is that if it runs on matter then it will need supply and supply chains to keep running and this is not free. And if it creates matter from nothing then it is effectivly adding mass to the earth when it builds things and would therefor in time alter how the earth exists in space. This might kill us. If I had this power and it created matter from nothing, I would use it to only build space ships and space stations. $\endgroup$ Jun 9, 2016 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ @MartineVotvik updated my question $\endgroup$
    – firelynx
    Jun 9, 2016 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ So they could build/get weapons of mass destruction in space? Not sure if this falls into the "fuels" category. $\endgroup$ Jun 9, 2016 at 15:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The OP specifies that "Matter is not created from nothing" so I'm assuming you still need the raw materials. Seems to me that the price of raw materials would skyrocket and everything would be recycled. $\endgroup$
    – Kys
    Jun 9, 2016 at 17:18

4 Answers 4


Let's tune your question a little.

Trying to consider economical results, we have to have correct input data.

  • corporation gets the power to produce any object in space, at current tech level.
    Organic or not organic from materials and resources found in solar system.
    instead of original: One day, one corporation gets the power to produce any non-organic object in space, of up to a few kilometers in size, at virtually zero cost.
  • Given that the corporation with this technology would of course copyright it and have a monopoly.
    Not necessarily the case, because of: Assume earth today, no sci-fi tech of any kind available.
    So it will be a set of technologies, and pretty big one, based on current technologies which are already patented etc. Let's call that problem as P1 in future.

  • Fuels are not a manufactured goods and will most likely remain as abundant as present.
    One of space advantages, and what actually makes such corporation viable, is energy source, in form of solar energy, in quantities exceeding your today dreams, and way much cheaper to collect, if someone may produce in space everything he needs.
    So it's expected to supply earth with energy - because it's easiest thing to transfer from orbit/space to earth, where it can be used.

Big pie, problem P1

There is no way that some corporation will have uncontrolled advantage over that set of technologies. Control over this situation may be easy done in legal field and by any shadow action imaginable if necessary.
Actually legal action allows wide range of how to control that corporation and there is no way how that corporation may act alone and be not ruled by government in a proper way.
Let say as example space is outside border, so why not to use customs duties on imported goods.

Such a corporation can't appear from nothing. It has to begin with something and that all will take time, years, which is long enough to create all law needed, if current set of rules will be not enough.

Before something can be done in space, something has to be deployed in space. And there aren't many countries where it can be done (at the moment). Countries where you may launch something in space. And everything isn't so easy, you have to have bunch of permits, certificates for that.
Closest company, which may emerge that way, is SpaceX. And they already are connected to government, NASA, investors, etc.

Ability to transfer our technologies to space is big deal actually, game changer of game changers like NASA says.

Probably more important there are some advantages for such corporation in collaboration with government, for both of them, win win situation.

It's also important to recall we have not only Government №1, but also 2, 3, 4, etc up 195 of them, and ca 50 of them have noticeably world impact, not necessary economical.


Economically for earth - nothing astonishing actually. Democrats will win, Bernie will burn and shine, some currency will raise some fall, guaranteed income will win, land on equator will rise in price, oil price will fall.

To keep that advantage corporation will have to attract people, because any technological development is done by people, at the moment. And if someone has done something, so may do others, at least first 10 countries are capable.

Mars colonization and O'Neill cylinder will not be a fiction any more.
It will start active development of Space elevator and Launch loop
More automation, less cheap labor, more education, research, programming.
Some people will get internet and 100$ computers - as it was promised. So we will get more accounts in FB from countries we not know at the moment.

Ocean city may become reality.

For producing more fish and fish food, will make working earth Climate model. It helps to illuminate regions in ocean, to faster fish re-population, by growing more algae. So importance of biology model also will be very high. So more travel, more fun with animals, more researches about them.

Corporation is not a beast with own will, but people.

Main impact will be social and politics.
Main general impact for humanity - space will be finally inhabited, and that's is very big deal. Importance of earth will fall in 60 years.
You born in space city.
Aliens will fear us.
We become type II civilization in 100 years and will be on your way to type III in next 2000 years.
Take place in galaxy's council.
Be God.


Assuming that it is a requirement that the construction be done in space, the natural technology involved here would be solar-powered robots that would mine asteroids and convert them into the desired objects. While someone could presumably patent certain innovations, realize that this would be in the context of other patents. Some other companies would be able to force cross-licensing deals on decent terms.

Once you get past the startup phase, construction is essentially free. Engineering and design still cost. It's not clear how much shipping can be done. At current levels of space travel, it causes trivial amounts of global warming. But this would allow for ridiculous amounts of drops from space. That's likely to leave us with some limits on shipping.

Perhaps people who want unlimited consumption may move off-Earth to get around delivery limits. Is this a luxury item as in Elysium? Or is living on Earth the luxury and living in space the inferior item? Note that this may change over time. Initially only the rich go to space, as it is expensive. It gets cheaper, so the poor can go too.

Patents only last about twenty years. So the period of monopoly is going to be relatively short. It will probably be over before we figure out cheap space launches.


My guess is that the corporation uses the technology "internally" at first. By that I mean, the technology is used to produce raw materials needed for the corporation's regular production, i.e the corporation was producing cars before the technology was invented so now it keeps producing cars and uses said technology to get the needed aluminum, plastic and whatever else is needed to manufacture a car. This way, the corporation is able to produce at almost zero cost ( imagine using paper trash to produce aluminum) or at really low cost thus achieving economies of scale ( 1+1=100 for the corporation where 1+1 is its input and 100 is its output) which would further strengthen the corporation's monopoly. At this point, it's simply up to c.e.o of the corporation whether the corporation will expand its "arenas" (the sectors in which the corporation is operating) becoming an absolute monopoly and "killing" every other corporation from Facebook and coca-cola to the local market store.The corporation would simply enter the arena of its desire and with the tactical advantage of low cost production its competitors would be forced to go bankrupt. That would mostly apply to productive sectors like mining, farming, industry, etc. As for the services sector (tourism) the overall prices would go down as well.The general price trend would be : The corporation enters the arena, lowers the prices up to a point where no competitor can have operational profits until the competitor goes bankrupt and then skyrockets the prices producing super-profits. That's the concept, but most of results can't be really seen or calculated at least from ordinary people like myself. For instance, entering the arena of medical services would result to a huge drop at hospitals' demand resulting to the hospital sector to shut down or nearly shut down before the corporation enters it. Pretty much we're talking about corporation monarchy to some extent and even governments and countries wouldn't be able to stand up to a corporation with such a technology. Possibly, the only way to keep it in check would be to apply a rule of "equivalent exchange" to your scenario. For instance, the corporation is able to produce 1 kg of whatever object as long as 1 kg of something else is used for the production. I'm pretty sure I haven't covered the subject 100% but you get the idea what would happen.


First there are only two real ways the company could maintain this monoply. One is that there is a one world government. Governments are the ones that establish patents, corporation status, and everything that is required to create a true monopoly. If this isn't the case then it would have to create the technology in extreme secrecy and then use the technology to create an army that would do what the government would normally do and wipe out its competitors and those close to developing the same technology. If it didn't, there would likely be knockoffs and copiers from countries that don't protect the patents or from countries that want to use the technology themselves.

Now as to the effects of a technology that can produce an unlimited amount of non organic materials.

Scenario 1

Due to an over abundance of resources we would quickly see the law of supply and demand kick in. Prices for non organic goods would plummet because they would be so easy to produce. It would be like going to a dollar store, but for electronics, cars, and the like. We would however, also see a rise in unemployment with people being unable to afford even these rock bottom prices.

This monoply would continue to become larger and larger as it drove every other company and business into the ground. The company would also likely turn to automated processes that further increase unemployment driving millions to poverty. The only jobs that would be available would be those not automated by the monopoly or in food production. If I were the owner though, I would have likely targeted agriculture early on and tried to implement automated verticle farming and geneticly modified foods to out produce them and drive the cost lower than the farmers could afford.

At this point I think we would likely see one of two things occur. Either the owner of the company would essentially rule the earth and implement socialist or communist reforms or the owner would follow the path of brutal capitalism and let billions starve to death since they can't afford anything. So either a utopia or a dystopia. I imagine the latter would be quite boring however. I doubt that very few people, even the greediest of Capitalists would kill off everyone just to procure all of the world's wealth. And i doubt that such a person could make it to the head of a company in the first place. Plus it be much more fun to rule over living people than smelly and rotting dead ones.

If they choose to rule we may also see rapid technological advancement since engineers and scientists would have near unlimited resources at their disposal. Advancements in AI, robotics, Cybernetic Enhancements, space travel, etc... are all things we could see. We could even see a transhumanist utopia come about where we replace most of or all of out bodies with mechanical substitutes.

Scenario 2

The company would do what pharmaceutical and medical companies are often accused of doing and create artifical scarcity. Instead of creating resources out of its butt, like the Federal Reserve does with money, the company would limit how much it produces so as not to cause big waves or crash the market. It would likely still produce at elevated levels to grow it's business and aquire more money, but wouldn't overproduce or flood the market. It would end up being more of an everlasting company that survives by no longer trying to innovate and discouraging other companies from doing the same.


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