Rocketman on April 25, 2009, 12:29:34 pm
Terry: I agree with Sandy.  You are a sharp individual who does make some good points, but lets look at this another way.  I think that your right in that the belters are likely to come up with some unique innovations (heat seeking missiles that lock onto a rockets exhaust anyone?) that the UW doesn't come up with and there is a long distance to cover before the UW can even engage the belters but the primary problem for the belters is that they will be fighting a defensive war (which is always easier to fight) instead of an offensive one.  Depending on just how severe the UW economic situation is they (the UW) may be able to hold out for years.  I'm sure that the UW propaganda branch (better known in this country as the news media) are going to broadcast all kinds of lurid and fake details of how surrendering UW soldiers were thrown out airlocks without suits on, female soldiers were gang raped and so on to stir up the UW population in order to get more military recruits.  New taxes will be added to increase the size of the military and new research will be implemented to create space carriers and so on.  Remember that the old Soviet Union had the same kind of situation as the UW does and although a lot of Soviets back then hated "Uncle Joe's" gutts when their country was attacked they rallied and fought the Nazi invaders.  In fact if the UW is smart that will send a small asteroid into a outlying UW city and claim that the belters had sent several dozen and they had stopped all but that one.  Also remember that the UW is likely the biggest importer of Belter goods and the GDP of the belters is likely to take a nose dive during the length of this conflict.  In a nutshell almost never is any conflict cut and dried to one side or the other and is almost never a quick a victory as the side who started it expects it to be.  Long term, if the UW doesn't collapse economically, I expect that the war will go to the UW although as soon as it's finished it may be a pyrrhic victory for them.

SandySandfort on April 25, 2009, 02:36:39 pm
... I know, I know, I know, I should be rooting for the good guys because they are RIGHT, and cheered by the fact the baddies are being beaten because they are WRONG and that should be enough...  and usually it is, as long as I stay at the character level.  I like Reg,  I like Guy, hell, I might even like Fia when we really get to know her, and Harris is certainly enough of an unlikeable d-bag for any three characters and as long as I focus on that, I can keep my feet.  People I'm pretty steady with... its just when I let myself wander into the land of ideas I get lost...

There is no "right" way to enjoy a story. A story is its grammar, its use of the language, its characters, its plot, its ideology and its ideas. Individual humans all enjoy these elements, but they enjoy them in different proportions. Most of us can mentally "edit out" the silly, simplistic Star Trek social system, the dubious science of Star Wars, the total impossibility of all zombie movies, etc. We enjoy the parts we like and mostly ignore the parts we don't. Some of our readers will go for the culture, others for the characters and, of course, everybody wants to see Fiorella with her clothes off.  :o

You like the characters, DaD? We got your characters, right here.

Sean Roach on April 25, 2009, 02:44:39 pm
Rocketman, you make some good points.  One thing to consider is it's already been established that Ceres has very strong economic ties to Mars, which is why Ceres uses the Martian decimal day.  Yes, Ceres won't be exporting to earth during the crisis, but they will be exporting.  Also, I doubt Ceres exported much to UW but raw materials in the first place.  They have factories making everything from clothing to guns to sophisticated electronics, but I suspect all for local consumption.

This is why I said Ceres needs time.  UW is fighting two battles, and started this fight trying to end, (or at least prolong), the other one.  If Ceres can outlast the UW, Ceres wins.  The UW has a limited number of ships, and although they undoubtedly have the capacity to make more, they are likely to have limited resources to make them with.

Ceres needs time to starve the UW, while the UW needs to finish Ceres before it can develop a war footing.

Additionally, I agree with the comparison with the American Revolutionary War over the Second World War.  UW is GB, the financial difficulties are India, and Ceres is the thirteen (or so) colonies.

Further, if the UW has been based on the USA, then there is historical evidence that Ceres can simply outlast the man on the streets tolerance of a war that isn't effecting him directly except through cost of living.  I'm thinking of both Vietnam and Iraq here, and the latter had the benefit of including an actual attack on home soil, (even if the attackers weren't Iraqi).

Quite frankly, UW might even make a mistake.  They may not NEED to "win" against Ceres, in the short run.  Just FIGHTING Ceres gives them a new excuse to exploit their subjects.  They might even divert some of that critical war capital, (critical if they want to win, that is) to shore up other financial difficulties and programs.


P.S.
Slightly off the topic, I think this battle is over.
I suspect Harris will present new moral challenges to the people of Ceres.  He's a murderer, but not currently a threat.  Is it okay to kill him?
I suspect several of his crew will immigrate, and this will be used to further show that thinking people would prefer to live in a free society.
(And, yes, the opposite would be true.  Unthinking people would prefer someone else give them orders, making them miserable in a truly free society.  They'd have to find a patron, or boss, to preserve their own happiness.)
I suspect we'll then see a series of broadcasts from Earth, painting the Cererean victory as a cowardly act by a disreputable lot, and calling for both increased war funding (and taxes,) and conscription.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 02:56:50 pm by Sean Roach »

quadibloc on April 25, 2009, 05:20:42 pm
I would tend to assume that there are a lot of people on Earth, while the number of Belters is still limited. Otherwise (i.e., with an Earth population of 100 billion, and a Solar System population of 10 trillion, largely fed from the Kuiper Belt), the UW would not be engaging in this foolishness.

Where did Admiral Harris' flotilla get built?

I suppose it could have been launched from Earth, given that the UW was able to send Guy and Fiorella to Ceres fairly casually at the start of the story. But a big spaceship is more likely to have been built in space.

It would be reasonable to suppose that it might have been built largely from Lunar materials in Lunar orbit, with Luna firmly under UW control, unlike far-away Ceres. If that's the case, then if this battle does continue on into a war, the Belters have a fight they can win, since Earth's relevant industrial capacity is not on Earth. It's not even as if the Lunarians would need all that much persuasion to switch sides.

SandySandfort on April 25, 2009, 05:50:43 pm
... One thing to consider is it's already been established that Ceres has very strong economic ties to Mars, which is why Ceres uses the Martian decimal day.  Yes, Ceres won't be exporting to earth during the crisis, but they will be exporting....

Sean, your grasp of the culture and economy are very good, as is your analysis. However, you have fallen into a common intellectual trap. Ceres is not an "it." It is not a monolith. Ceres does not have economic ties nor does it use the Martian decimal day. Cerereans have economic times and Cerereans use the Martian decimal day. It is almost certain that some Cerereans will be doing business with Terra. Certainly, space junk removal and NEO diversion services will go on unabated. Some Cerereans may choose to sell raw materials to Terrans and other may not. It's a personal choice.

Additionally, I agree with the comparison with the American Revolutionary War over the Second World War.  UW is GB, the financial difficulties are India, and Ceres is the thirteen (or so) colonies.

There is no perfect fit, but I agree that the American Revolution is a better analogy.

... They [the UW] may not NEED to "win" against Ceres, in the short run.  Just FIGHTING Ceres gives them a new excuse to exploit their subjects....

Gee, that sounds familiar...

SandySandfort on April 25, 2009, 06:14:16 pm
Where did Admiral Harris' flotilla get built?

The ships were built in Earth orbit. Most of the raw materials were derived from Near Earth Objects and the Belt.


Rocketman on April 25, 2009, 09:46:43 pm
So much to cover since my last post I hardly know where to begin.  First of all i was making some assumptions concerning the populations of humans living on Earth, Earth's moon, Mars and the Belters figuring that the populations of the first two vastly outnumber the latter two by at the very least a hundred to one.  One of the reason that I thought was that the UW education system has probably largely drained out the unconventionally minded, the risk takers, the dare I say it, libertarian minded among them so that if someone who was willing to work harder and smarter than the common person that he or she had pretty much have to leave the stifiling UW and move to either Mars or the Belt.  Generally in an atmosphere like that where government takes care of basic wants and needs but is at best a poorly guarded prison maybe one in a thousand understand that and leave it.  Most just go along and get along.  Quadibloc, until Sandy says different we'll go with the numbers that you have.  At least on a percentage basis they're probably somewhere near right.
  I would guess that in most respects there is actually less manufacturing going on in the belt than you would think.  The belt is primarily about raw materials and while I'm sure that they make what they need to get by it maybe entirely possible to ship finished goods from the UW or Luna than it is to make it.  Read an interesting article last week that said that one type of fusion is very close to being perfected that had to do with the shape of the combustion container.  Knowledgeable people think that the breakthrough may be only five years or so away.  Meaning a fusion reactor superheating steam for spaceship propulsion may only be a few decades away.
 ;D Oh and one last thing Sandy.  I do want to see Fi with her clothes off  :o  :o  :o
« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 09:55:58 pm by Rocketman »

terry_freeman on April 26, 2009, 12:49:03 am
So, I'm mulling over the previous posts, and I start asking: why did the UW attack Ceres? They were already obtaining the benefits of raw materials, mostly metals, I'd guess. Presumably they seek tax revenues. If the prospective revenues are big enough to justify going to war, Ceres must have a respectable economy. One question comes to mind: are they big enough to justify a prolonged war? Was the UW hoping for a quick victory?

Next question: who needs trade more - Ceres or the UW ? That depends a lot on how self-sufficient Ceres is ( or can be ). What do they import? What must they import? If it's something critical like food, a siege would be effective. Does the UW have alternate supplies for minerals? I don't know celestial mechanics, it would be interesting to find out whether the lack of gravity on Ceres makes up for the greater distance, compared to the moon or other possible sources of minerals. How good is Ceres' manufacturing capability? The American colonies could not manufacture guns, initially; they had to smuggle the flintlock mechanisms, until they developed the requisite skills.

How long has the economy on Ceres been growing? From the presence of children, and numerous cultural differences, I am guessing that it has a few generations of history; it would start with primitive conditions, very dependent on imports; by now, it should be more self-sufficient and quite a bit more prosperous. It may even be exporting finished goods.

Remember the Falklands? A big bad British ship was sunk by a little bitty missile. IIRC, there was some bizarre quirk in the anti-missile defense.



terry_freeman on April 26, 2009, 01:01:15 am
Regarding Sean's post, this war has asymmetrical objectives. The UW wants to defeat Ceres, but Ceres need not defeat the UW; it need only make the process difficult enough for the UW to give up, as the British and the Russians gave up trying to conquer Afghanistan.



Rocketman on April 26, 2009, 10:48:21 am
Terry: Again, all very good questions.  Scientists know from lunar samples that the moon has certain minerals in abundance, namely Titanium and Iron.  Could it possibly be that Copper, Silver and other critical manufacturing minerals are in abundance in the belt there but not anywhere close to Earth, at least not in mineable qualities?  Why did the UW attack Ceres?  That's easy, at least for someone who understands how the bastards think.  In they're mind they are all powerful and all knowing (yes, I know that it's a croc, but follow my reasoning.)  The reply that they belters wanted 80 million continentals was an insult to them.  Not to mention that there was no way they could afford it.  They had a military to keep order among the population that cost them considerable money every year.  This gave them the opportunity that they needed to use that military to cowel the UW population in line.  Sort of like the school bully that every once in a while beats up a geek, or nerd for little or no reason to keep up his standing and let the other ones know that they shouldn't take him for granted.

SandySandfort on April 26, 2009, 11:33:57 am
... i was making some assumptions concerning the populations of humans living on Earth, Earth's moon, Mars and the Belters figuring that the populations of the first two vastly outnumber the latter two by at the very least a hundred to one.

Prepare yourself for a shock. Here are the rough figures we came up with for our backgrounder "bible":

Population 2100

Earth                              15,000,000,000
Venus floating habitats                    1,000
Mercury                                       50,000
Mars                                       1,000,000
Ceres                                            5,000
Vesta                                            1,000
Pallas                                            2,000
Rest of belt                                    1,000
Rest of solar system                          500


These are rough approximations and are subject to change. Most folks are stay-at-homes. There three reasons why the "outies" have not experienced a population explosion. First--unlike all previous pioneers on a new frontier--they are extremely wealthy. Throughout human history, a higher standard of living has resulted in fewer children. Second, for all practical purposes, outies are immortal. There will be more than time enough for kids if they want them. Last, sex and reproduction are totally disconnected. There are no "accidents." People have children only if they make a positive decision to do so.
 
Oh and one last thing Sandy.  I do want to see Fi with her clothes off  :o  :o  :o

Rocketman! What kind of a girl do you think she is? I guess we will just have to wait and see. However, t he Belt changes people...

terry_freeman on April 26, 2009, 11:55:38 am
I have to challenge the belief that a wealthy society would have few children. Where the State provides cradle-to-grave security and takes over much of the "bother" of raising children, people tend to stop having children. In a free country, people are likely to view children as a positive, not a negative. Anti-child views tends to be colored by the prolonged infantilism of society, which was brought about by false views, that there are only so many jobs to go around. Hence, children are forced to sit behind desks for twelve years, and prevented from working productively. Enforced idleness, stultification, and indoctrination is justified in the name of "child welfare", but it's just a misguided make-work program, no more. It is no wonder that adolescents are so disagreeable in a Statist society; they are mature enough to rebel at being treated like prisoners, and child labor laws prevent them from doing anything productive. Where can they turn their boundless energies?

From what we have seen of the children of Ceres, they are not prisoners; they are valued and valuable members of society. That being the case, parents are likely to produce lots more.


SandySandfort on April 26, 2009, 12:06:07 pm
So, I'm mulling over the previous posts, and I start asking: why did the UW attack Ceres? They were already obtaining the benefits of raw materials, mostly metals, I'd guess. Presumably they seek tax revenues. If the prospective revenues are big enough to justify going to war, Ceres must have a respectable economy. One question comes to mind: are they big enough to justify a prolonged war? Was the UW hoping for a quick victory?

Next question: who needs trade more - Ceres or the UW ? That depends a lot on how self-sufficient Ceres is ( or can be ). What do they import? What must they import? If it's something critical like food, a siege would be effective. Does the UW have alternate supplies for minerals? I don't know celestial mechanics, it would be interesting to find out whether the lack of gravity on Ceres makes up for the greater distance, compared to the moon or other possible sources of minerals. How good is Ceres' manufacturing capability? The American colonies could not manufacture guns, initially; they had to smuggle the flintlock mechanisms, until they developed the requisite skills.

How long has the economy on Ceres been growing? From the presence of children, and numerous cultural differences, I am guessing that it has a few generations of history; it would start with primitive conditions, very dependent on imports; by now, it should be more self-sufficient and quite a bit more prosperous. It may even be exporting finished goods.

Remember the Falklands? A big bad British ship was sunk by a little bitty missile. IIRC, there was some bizarre quirk in the anti-missile defense.

Lots of questions, but very few answers. There are backstories for all of your issues. However, we mostly want to reveal this things via exposition in the stories.

SandySandfort on April 26, 2009, 12:42:03 pm
I have to challenge the belief that a wealthy society would have few children.

That's not an opinion on my part, wealthier societies do have fewer children, that is a demonstrable fact in the world today (e.g., India vs Europe, South America vs North America). What you might want to challenge is the idea that this ages˝old fact of life will still obtain in the future. I think it will. You think it won't. Time will tell.

From what we have seen of the children of Ceres, they are not prisoners; they are valued and valuable members of society. That being the case, parents are likely to produce lots more.

I think that is a non sequitur. It does not follow that just because young people can be productive members of society that that should be any inducement for any given individual to bear and rear them. Heck, let the other guy do the heavy lifting and I'll just hire his kid when I need another hand.
 
In any case, you have seen only a half dozen or so children. They are the exceptions. The Roses had three children; they are the extreme exception. Babbette is sort of shared in the G˙zman household. She is the only child of Ernie and Lili (we'll meet her soon enough). Lili mostly lets Ernie be Mr. Mom, while she pursues her profession. And though Bert enjoys being Babbette's "second father," that is more than enough for him. I think that when it is possible to live forever, one becomes one's own child.

quadibloc on April 26, 2009, 01:30:04 pm
So, I'm mulling over the previous posts, and I start asking: why did the UW attack Ceres?

I think we've at least seen some clues to the answer to that question at the beginning of the story.

Guy joined the tax collecting arm of the UW bureaucracy out of idealism, to catch tax evaders who were hurting people by depriving the UW welfare state of the means to do as much as it should for the poor. But he ended up helping to impose an excessive and onerous tax burden on the middle class instead, because the tax evaders were too powerful to pursue.

This leaves me with the impression that the UW is facing a financial crunch. New people to steal from who are outside your core consituency, and, thus, are easier to repress are the obvious solution to that. Thus, while we've seen portions of Earth that are developed and prosperous, despite being heavily taxed and regulated by the UW, presumably there are also poor areas that are dangerously close to the point of a desperate rebellion. Enslave Ceres, and that might be staved off for a decade or so.

The details might be different, or what we've seen from Guy's point of view might not really represent the true motive.