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77

Firstly, shipping is generally more efficient for bulk cargoes - such as coal, lumber, ore, etc. (assuming you are using a similar technology to power both the ships and trains - i.e. both steam, or both diesel). Secondly, unless your super-continent is more or less circular the distance across the water may be significantly shorter. For example, take ...


62

Gold would then be completely unsuitable for use as the basis of any currency. It would just be another material with certain physical properties. Assuming the world society survived the screaming madness that occur in the years following the discovery that all their money is, well, not money... The good: Gold is a very inert metal. It does not rust, it ...


43

Will the railroad kill ocean shipping? No, it won't We have a real-world ready-made example showing that ocean shipping and rail shipping can coexist and complement each other. As it happens, we do have a rather large supercontinent on Earth, called Eurasia. On this supercontinent we have, in the east, the People's Republic, which manufactures just about ...


17

Airplanes can fly over the desert, and they are fast. They'll be viable for passenger transport and express freight, e.g. airmail. But they'll probably be the most expensive mode of travel, but also the fastest. Ships beat trains in terms of cost/ton. they'll be used for bulk cargo. Coal, ores, lumber, stone, sand, oil, grain and so on. Trains will be faster ...


17

Because 'Oil Rigs' are just the beginning Wikipedia's Asteroid Mining article states that in the next 50 to 60 years, we will run out of phosphorus, antimony, zinc, tin, lead, indium, silver, gold, and copper. A lot of that is available in various asteroids in space, so that's where we'll begin. And sure, asteroid mining will start as a thoroughly unpleasant ...


11

For a start it stops being valuable. If we fast forward past the initial few generations (such that thanks to his descendants gold is now ubiquitous) & the economic upheaval of crashing the worlds gold economy & destroying its value as a medium of exchange you will simply find yourself with a world where it's used for everything lead was, non toxic ...


10

Issues limiting the train's ability to take over: It's easier to move objects over water than over land. Your ships will have more flexibility than your train, not having to worry about schedules of other ships. Much depends on how much the train charges. It may not be able to drive the ships without operating at a loss, and possibly not even then.


10

Ships have a number of advantages here. One is simply cost per ton to be moved. It's cheaper to move freight by water than by land. Second, you have much more flexibility. Your trains are limited by the number of tracks. Boats don't really have this problem, or at least not to the degree that trains do. Even if a relatively narrow band of the water is ...


10

It could be like OPEC? If this actually happened, the people with the "golden touch" would not be idiots... obviously if you make too much, as everyone has mentioned the price of gold would simply plummet. But. Assume for a moment that every single person with the gold touch, keeps together in a tight, tightly controlled clique with NO splitters....


8

A FEW THOUGHTS: I can think of a few reasons people would want to move into space if they had the resources to do it. ESCAPING THE RIFF-RAFF: Rich folks who want to lord it over mere normal people can't get more OVER than moving to space. No one is going to sneak up on your house to rob you when the world can watch the thief sneak up on you. Rioting ...


7

Seas don't require maintenance Depending on the economics of materials / labor to maintain the rail routes which includes dealing with earthquakes, landslides, plain old accidents like derailments/hitting road vehicles at level-crossings/ road vehicles hitting rail bridges, shipping is much more reliable and cheaper in the long run. Accidents on a rail line (...


7

Where minting was done by hammering bullion to a plate of a certain thickness first, then cutting it in circles, and then hammering these circles with the stamp. As far as I know, it did not exactly work it that way. The minting was done with a piece of metal of the requisite weight, put into a "coin anvil" maybe one inch deep. The anvil was often ...


6

Gold would lose it's value completely. Or not. If this family keeps its act together, they will hoard all of the gold they produce, releasing it slowly to control the supply to match the demand. The De Beers group has done this admirably with diamonds. These gems are really very plentiful. More than enough to go around. They are minded in huge operations. ...


6

I think you are grossly underestimating the amount of gold on Earth. According to this source Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest investors, says the total amount of gold in the world - the gold above ground, that is - could fit into a cube with sides of just 20m (67ft) But not everyone agrees with the GFMS figures. Estimates range from 155,244 ...


4

Total freight capacity will still favor ships. The total freight capacity of a railway is limited by the rail itself. You can only have a certain number of train carriages pass one point on the rail per hour, no matter how you optimize the system. To increase past this point, you need to build another railway line. This requires you to purchase a lot of ...


4

They are quite valuable. 9000 descendants making 3 cubic meters of gold every 5 seconds for a 10-hour shift gets you: $9000 uw \times \frac{3 \frac{m^2}{uw}}{5 s} \times \frac{60 s}{1 min} \times \frac{60 min}{1 hr} \times \frac{10 hr}{day}$ ...which is 194.4 million cubic meters per day, or, in gas mining terms, 6,865 MMSCFD. So this is somewhere around ...


4

As a vast oversimplification, Urban areas are generally richer than Rural areas, coastal areas are generally richer than interior regions, and areas along major rivers (think internationally recognized rivers in size) are generally richer than areas not along rivers. For the most important factor, however, there's the interplanetary port. That province is ...


4

Petroleum Coke They need a lot of oil, but you say they have lots of oil. So they can make coke from petroleum, petcoke. Its just a little harder to do but not prohibitively hard. The process would be available prior to large scale steel production, so no bootstrapping problem. Note it does produce a LOT more co2 than using coal, like half as much more by ...


4

This is called privatization. https://hbr.org/1991/11/does-privatization-serve-the-public-interest This newfound faith in privatization has spread to become the global economic phenomenon of the 1990s. Throughout the world, governments are turning over to private managers control of everything from electrical utilities to prisons, from railroads to ...


3

Option 1: It becomes cheaper to build luxury space habitats than luxury apartments in New York City You want it to make economic sense to build space habitats and for people to get in them, so the first option is that it somehow becomes cheaper to build space habitats than expensive apartments in an expensive city. This is notionally possible because ...


3

Others have pointed out the greater efficiency of ships for bulk cargo. Worth also pointing out the miracle of the container, which translates practically any cargo more durable than shellfish, into a bulk cargo (and reefer containers can help even there) In addition to the vastly greater capacity of a ship (20,000 TEU rather than 100 or so) there are no (...


3

Crucible Steel The main reason for using coal or coke is that it burns in a way that alloys the iron with carbon. Crude oil does not burn but rather, the vapor coming off of it does, this mean you can not just dunk your iron ore into oil and burn it, because the heat would be above the ore. Nor is there a good way to burn oil under iron ore in a way that ...


2

I can't imagine any possible world where ships and ocean-going vessels are not invented before rail. (Not without some draconian restrictions, like people are made of candyfloss and dissolve on water) So no matter what, sea freight will be there first. People are used to it, and rail will be the challenging disruptive technology. The first trains will be ...


1

First, that is such a great question! The answers are preety good already, let me just add that one migh consider Australia as a kind of model for this problem or a "tiny supercontinent". Indeed, you have compeeting Railways, sea cargo and even pipelines over there. However, it seems all transportation methods have their own niche depending on the ...


1

Slavery. 1-100 people living off the toil of 999900 people is currently achieved by arcane trade agreements and property laws - this could be handled much more efficiently by going to space, where you would have complete practical freedom (sure, there is space legislation - but what are they gonna do, tow you?). You also have much less hassle with runaways. ...


1

I don’t think that many space habitat projects are going to be constructed for financial gain at least not initially. They will cost a lot and the people who build them will do so mostly for ideological reasons not economic reasons. As is the case with having a baby, babies eat a lot, cr*p a lot, want a lot and are a general money pits with no economic ...


1

Escaping an apocalypse! The Earth is going to be hit by a giant asteroid. It is so large that it can be seen a hundred years away. Scientists calculate that a concerted effort over those hundred years will allow a maximum of 1 million people to be housed indefinitely in space. When the time comes for evacuation, the world leaders will have the difficult task ...


1

The way that Virgin Galactic, Musk, and Boeing expect to get people into space. Tourism. All-expense-paid vacations to the usual tourist spots are getting so ho-hum. Over-crowded, ridiculously expensive, and poor quality. "Dear, just EVERYBODY has been to that resort. Let's go somewhere the Jones' have not been. They are getting so boring, they just go ...


1

Looking around modern day Earth its pretty clear wealth doesnt correlate with any of the existing answers given so far: We have wealthy countries that don't make or export much, we have poor countries with incredible manufacturing abilities and large exports. We have rich communities far from trade opportunities, and poor communities adjacent to ports. We ...


1

This is to answer this question: how would I go about deciding which provinces of the empire are the richest and which are the poorest? Apart from already mentioned trade, trade routes, and resources, one of the most important factors determining the wealth of regions is the system of governance and associated with it institutions and taxes. 1. level of ...


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