Chapter 16: Business, commerce and industry on Korendor
25 July 1963 0100 hours EDT
"Kalo, Bob. Your contact tonight will be with Damon-Rel on Korendor. He is the Business Advisor of the Korendian Control Division. Over now. "
"Alen, bren. Tonight I will talk briefly on the nature of business on our world.
"First, I must state that all business throughout the Alliance is based on the Universal Economic System, or UEC, which I have been told is quite similar to your New World Economics system.
"As a result of this system, there are no poor, unhappy or hungry people. From birth, all people are entitled to food, clothing and shelter, and this is provided free of any cost.
"Transportation, communication and power are all controlled by the planet's government, since they are considered vital necessities rather than luxury. And, as far as I know, nobody has raised the cry of 'Communism'.
"Transportation refers to public services such as monorail, pneumotubes [Note: these work like the message-carriers used in stores and factories], and the various city-to-city or planet-to-planet passenger crafts. Such things as personal crafts are options or luxuries, and are purchased by the individual rather than provided by the planet.
"By communications I refer to visophon systems, which, in case you're not familiar with them, are the planet-wide videophone networks based on the shirt pocket transceivers issued every person at birth. It provides his link with every other point in the Alliance, and is completely private due to high-security encryption circuits designed to encode the signal to keep out anyone not directly involved in the conversation. The number of different encryption codes is for all practical purposes unlimited.
"Power refers to the electrical power networks used in most homes for lighting, heating, entertainment, etc. It is not necessary to use this, since many of the luxury homes are equipped with independent power sources. This will be discussed in a separate chapter or power generation and distribution, for the benefit of those of your people so inclined. [Note: never presented.]
"Food and clothing are provided free according to the standards set up by boards for this purpose. Essentially, the basic foods, as milk, bread, vegetables and the synthetic meats. We no longer butcher animals for this purpose, since it is wasteful, and the meat is not 1/10 as nutritional as the synthetics. Also, the synthetics are free of harmful elements, and can be stored indefinitely without refrigeration. Also included are flour, sugar and various common seasonings. However, I'm not the nutritionist here, and therefore let's get back to business, literally.
"As with the NWE (New World Economics), the UES is based upon service to mankind. The work one does is rewarded by plenty, and what he earns is his forever. No one can take it from him, no matter.
"But we waste time explaining. You can got the system we use explained fully to you by studying New World Economics (note to Gabriel: put whatever plug ideally suits you in here - it's a golden opportunity).
"Industrially, Korendor is fourth in the entire Galaxy in output of spacecrafts, visophons, automation equiment, and entertainment products such as telescreens, radios and sound systems.
"Our factories, designed in keeping with the rest of the architecture on Korendor, are long, spacious, sweeping buildings, made as functional as possible without detracting from appearance.
"For the vast majority of factory jobs, automatic equipment controlled by computers have replaced manual labor. All parts are made by automation, each part is checked at all stages by automation, and every deviation from the standard is automatically registered and nearly always automatically compensated for by the computers.
"For example, in our construction of resistors which is done in one quick operation. each one is checked for resistance and tolerance before the machine is allowed to make another. If any out-of-specs variation is noted, such as resistance, the computer very quickly analyzes the causes and corrects them.
"The only people really involved in industry at the present time are the technicians and engineers required to keep the equipment in top condition. Maintenance of the actual machinery is by robots designed the purpose, and all machines are is turn designed for ease of maintenance.
"The original factories are built almost entirely by robots under the control of computers programed for that purpose.
"Raw materials are mined, smelted, purified and shipped by automation. Nowadays, we are working on a method to escape mining by synthesis of the necessary elements from the elements carbon and silicon, which are available in practically inexhaustible quantities, being the greater part of almost every planet in or out of the Alliance. While this has been done in very limited quantities, it will take considerably more development to build practical converters large enough to provide the quantities necessary for industry. By the way, converting lead to gold is chicken feed, and they're worth about the same, but your alchemists can take their long-deserved vacation with this knowledge.
"In commerce, the selling of these products is done both by visophon and in stores, the latter being the more common, since things usually are better chosen in person, such as automobiles - for lack of a better word; actually, they are magnetically-driven vehicles suspended over the roadways by magnetic repulsion and driven the same way, but we deviate again - or luxury dwellings other than the planet-owned free housing areas, which in themselves would compare to a fifty thousand dollar home on your world.
"The method of purchasing is the same as in NWE, except on a grander scale, since all purchases are registered for everyone in the entire Alliance, individual, group or corporation, in the data banks of the Universal Economic System headquarters on the planet Andamian-III. Other than by magnitude, there is little difference between New World Economics and Universal Economics System purchases.
"Stores and factories are usually owned by corporations or by private enterprise by individuals. None are controlled by the government, except indeed when someone gets a bit unruly and gets either a monopoly or a price-fixing scheme going. In such cases the government sees to it that such conditions are corrected.
"The working day for the average Korendian is six units out of the twenty that compose a day. His working period is three days working and two off. All have ten days paid vacation every cendrol, which is accumulative up to 60 days in average jobs, and either less or more depending on the nature of the job and the availability of substitutes during the vacation.
"The workers are given jobs of their choice whenever possible, and in the few cases where this is not practical, they are put in as nearly a like job as possible, provided the qualifications are met in any case. These will be discussed under education. We have never received any complaints of malcontentment among our working force.
"While this only scratches the surface of our business affairs here on Korendor, I hope it has shed some light on our living conditions and financial climate. So, for now, va i luce eno nol si unir."
"Our next communication will be on education. Va i luce, Bob. Lin-Erri off. "
© 2008 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved