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Not sure if it's still in scope of the question, but in such post-scarcity economy, most valuable items will certainly not be any material stuff. We already have "unicorn" corporations worth billions purely due to intellectual property and also the purely virtual Bitcoin blockchain technology. On galactic civilization scale, this would amount to gathering ...


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While the most expensive objects are going to be unique "value added goods" original art works and the like, the most expensive stable elements are going to those that are universally rare and useful in building spaceships and habitats etc..., Niobium & Rhenium for high temperature alloys, Tungsten and Titanium for high strength alloys, Indium for touch ...


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Generally, Value Comes from Mass, not Composition Can't transform one material to another in any way that modern chemistry doesn't already know of (any known method to transform one material to another they can do super cheap no matter how expensive it is for us, if we don't currently have a way to make that transformation in our modern world they ...


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Standard, modular drives The drive blocks used by 90% of all small-to-medium spacecraft are all standard, mass-manufactured and cheap. You can find replacement parts or whole drives on every station, no matter how far. People use them in case they break down or melt far away from major civilization, most don't want to risk getting stuck on some asteroid ...


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The bespoke ships aren't as good as mass produced ships Out of Date tech: There was a time when it was fashionable for the rich to have their personally built ships but time and ship tech has passed those by. Now, you might get someone with more money than sense to buy one from you but no one who knows what they are doing would buy it no matter how shiny ...


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Partnership and/or Fractional Ownership Historically, many shipping houses (including ones which only owned one or two ships) operated as partnerships. An owner or owners' representative was aboard, sometimes in command, sometimes as supercargo. Depending on the model used, your ship could be owned (as shares) by the crew, or the crew could be employees.


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We can't build ships, and they wear out. There is trade between the "ordinary" citizens of the galaxy, and (say) an "ancient" or "transcended" civilisation that gained access to and mastery of hyperspatial technology a (cosmologically?) long time ago. They value unique items, especially those that they find surprising. Entities with different thought ...


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There's a factor more important than any specific fabrication or propulsion technique: Ships are intrinsically fast and cheap. Safe ships are terribly expensive, both to buy and to operate. Current intersystem ship licensing requires three layers of hull, triply redundant life support, artificial gravity gyms to maintain bones, and docking at official ...


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Planets are dead-ends. They are deep down a gravity well and filthy, and the people who live down there aren't adapted to space. Strategically they are garbage, being indefensible and a poor place to mount weapon systems. The only people worth bothering with are people already in space. The only goods worth anything are those already in space. Even if ...


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Embrace a duality economic system: "Core Worlds" are effectively post-scarcity and near self supporting economies. They have the facilities and tech to churn out key component parts for dirt cheap, and "Primary trade" is handled by massive corporations with their massive ships that can move massive amounts of goods and materials around between the massive ...


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Don't justify it - because most things on our planet happen without justification. Firstly, let's ignore the fact there will never be a crew as we already have ships and drones and the likes, flying themselves to destinations and back. Robotics companies are already designing robots to transport cargo via drones or carry cargo in the same way humans carry ...


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TBH its all about the running costs and the build costs. eg. Imagine you have a space drive that costs 1 fuel unit to travel FTL. In this scenario, you'd end up with a humungous space freighter that waits for cargo and then hops to point B where it waits to be unloaded by small craft. So your small craft are just ferries, last-mile transports. But if fuel ...


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First off, don't make them bespoke, have them made-to-measure: The initial ship is constructed from a number of mass-produced modules which are connected together. If each ship is constructed from 5 different modules (Cockpit, drive section, crew quarters, and 2 cargo / passenger sections?) and each 'model' of ship offers 5 options for each module, then ...


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Cheap To Build, Expensive To Fly Unless You Cut Corners This is a simple economics question. If your ships have a high variable cost of operation (high "cost per mile") but a low cost of construction and storage, they will naturally be easy to acquire, and will not make anyone exponentially rich, because it still costs real money to transport anything ...


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This is a variation on Willk's answer (I actually cribbed it from the Heechee universe). Ships are, more or less, for free. Both ships and shipyards come from an ancient technology, so advanced it's almost incomprehensible; a "shipyard" is an artificial space monster that can be fed iron asteroids and will produce ships and parts of ships from a built-in ...


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Fab labs AKA rentable workshops. There is a current movement called the maker movement, people who make things themselves instead of buying them, it is a fairly large movement. Part of that is something called fab labs which are rentable spaces containing all the tools need to do some fairly advanced engineering and construction. people use them to build ...


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3D direct metal laser sintering printers that produce finished products and don't need to be put in a furnace. The last time I looked they were half a million dollars, now they're ~300k. But one big enough to make aerospace parts is going to cost you over one million. That's what's changed in your universe (as it will shortly in ours) : one with a bed big ...


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So, A couple of other people have discussed how small ships can work on the technological/individual/maintenance level. I'm going to talk about on a systematic level. Wormholes So, let's talk about two properties predicted for real-life wormholes: first, they're spherical, and second, they have a mass balance. Send too much mass from one side without ...


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When towns in this place and era were being planned, it was in conjunction with the railroad. A "railroad town" was not for railroad workers. They had their own camps for the few months they needed to be nearby, then they moved on. The town started with farmers. The bread and butter (literally!) of the town. The American government designated areas ...


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Short version: Because very few people actually want one and there's a lot of shipyard space that could be used to build quite a few such vessels, and occasional it even is. Long version: Most ships are huge and all ships are one of a kind, this situation only really makes sense where the limits of the drive systems being used are unknown and the economy ...


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Surplus from a prior mass production run (e.g. ex-military) isn't what I'm aiming for, as that would imply greater uniformity of designs and less customisation than is desired. I'm looking for excuses to make shipbuilding relatively cheaper/easier, not selling of already-built ships at a loss/discount for some reason. Would make things cheaper - not just ...


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At first the town would just be a place for railworkers, and the products they consume. So, saloon/hotel, general store, whorehouse. Maybe services related to the construction of track and operation of the trains, like loggers, and people to load and unload cargo. This logistic-based work, including warehouses and goods handling, are likely in the very ...


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Railroad towns could have a lot of various trades going on, depending on different factors, including location. For example: If your railroad is near to a region with good agricultural resources, you'd probably have some farmers settling the outlying areas. These farmers would then depend on the town to ship their produce and supply their needs (medicine, ...


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