Economic Development of the French Colony of Elysia, Joi, 61 Ursae Majoris
Table of Contents
All colonial development requires that people be transported to the new colony and that they make a life for themselves once there. Beyond this most basic definition lies an almost infinite combination of technology, infrastructure, support and resources. At one end of the spectrum lies the wholesale importation of the technology and infrastructure of the core with massive support (in terms of material, financial and intellectual resources) from the founding nation (which we will call Type A). At the opposite end is the simple transportation of men, women, livestock, seed and basic tools to a new world where they are left to fend for themselves (Type B). The Type A approach aims to recreate the economy of the core worlds within a relatively short period while the Type B assumes that the colonists will simply survive in a low tech agrarian economy. Type A colonisation is the most expensive, both financially and in material terms, while type B is the cheapest. Both of course require that the founding nation have access to interstellar transportation. All colonisation takes place on the Continuum between theses two extremes.
Most of the Twenty Third Century's colonial efforts fall somewhere between the two extremes. Richer countries tend towards the Type A end of the spectrum while their poorer (albeit still interstellar) counterparts tend towards the Type B. The Type A method is typified by the French efforts on Tirane while the Type B approach was most closely approached by the initial stages of the Manchurian colonisation of Kwantung. Of course other factors affect the colonial approach - distance from Earth being an obvious difference between the Tirane and Kwantung example above.
Colonisation of Joi, 61 Ursae Majoris
The colonisation of the planet Joi in the 61 Ursae Majoris system makes a good case in point. On Joi the British colony of New Cornwall exemplified the Type A approach with an extensive investment in infrastructure and provision of substantial support services prior to any large scale colonisation. The adjoining Azanian colony of Lubumbashi (taking full advantage of the British investments) was much closer to the Type B ideal. In the exception that proves the rule the French colony of Elysia initially broke with the normal French Type A colonial practices although it later reverted to type in the decade prior to the War of Independence.
French Colonisation of Joi
At the point at which the French government was considering the colonisation of Joi its resources were becoming increasingly stretched. The colony on Beta Canum was only one generation old, Kimanjano had been colonised just six years before and plans were already well advanced for settlements on both Alderhorst and Aurore. The colony on Nous Voila had already been relinquished to private (albeit still French) development. The problem was not so much the costs, the supply of shipping or the availability of hardware but the lack of the relevant experts required to found a colony and sufficient numbers of willing colonists. While the available personnel could be spread more thinly this ran the risk of a disastrous failure in the event of any unforeseen problems. Also distributing an unchanged number of colonists between more worlds would reduce the development rate of all the colonies (and therefore increase the time before they reached profitability) and decrease the efficiency of transportation arrangements.
The deficiencies in French resources were however met by an informal agreement with the Order of St. Theodora (a Catholic Religious Order with a large multi-faith following and interests in many of the scientific specialism required for colonisation). The Order was able to provide both the needed experts and a previously untapped source of potential colonists. As a consequence the first phase of development was heavily influenced by the Stewardship ethos (that Mankind is the steward of all creation and not its master) of many of its key participants and the involvement of the Order in promoting development compatible with its ethics.
The later stages of Elysian development followed more normal French policies but were increasingly influenced by growing unrest within the colony (partly due to the changes in development policy). In the later years of French rule development was almost exclusively an extension of the pacification programme employed by the government.
Economic Development 2248 to 2277 : Colonisation by Stewardship
For the first thirty years the development of the French colony on Elysia followed, at least as far as possible in the founding of a colony on an alien world, the course plotted for it by the original planners. The period came to an end, and policies reverted to those more typical of French colonisation, with the appointment of governor Margarite AlLaham in 2277.
Many, indeed the majority, of the professionals involved in the initial planning of the French colony were either Lay or Religious members of the Order of St. Theodora or followers of the Stewardship ethos espoused by the order. It is clear that they viewed the colony on the island continent of Elysia as a chance to demonstrate the principles of Stewardship in practice. Despite this bias the planning had to be carried out within the bounds of normal French colonial practice and was subject to the approval of the French Colonial Office as Elysia was a French colony and not a colony of the Order.
The planners, according to later historical accounts by the participants (many of whom later emigrated to Elysia themselves), set out with the following aims in mind.
None of the principles listed above were ever an official part of French colonial policy however they did inform that policy as it was applied to Elysia. The three guiding principles led to several significant decisions on the nature of the colony.
There was also considerable cooperation with the German colony (at that time the Hanoverian colony) of Halbinsel. Rather than duplicate facilities the French struck trade agreements to allow the more efficient utilisation of existing production and instead constructed complementary facilities.
The financing of the Elysian colony followed the usual French practice of government provision of services (medical, police, education, xenobiology, agricultural development etc.) and subsidised transport to Elysia. In addition low interest loans were provided to colonists to enable them to finance businesses.
Where Elysia differed from the other French colonies was the lack of loans to French industry to set up facilities on the colony, due to the policy of non industrialisation. Additional finances were also provided by the Order of St. Theodora however these were rather unusual in nature.
As part of its agreement with the French government the Order also set up an investment fund for Elysian colonists. Access to the fund was free to all colonists whether they were followers of the Order's precepts or not. Any loans from the Elysian Fund (as it was known) however did come with a number of caveats.
As the final condition of the loan effectively made it free to the applicant, albeit with the Fund retaining some influence at the end of the loan period, it was (needless to say) a very popular source of finance for the colonists. It was through this form of indirect influence, rather than official policy or planning laws, that the Order had the most effect on the early development of the colony.
Every arriving colonist and every child in Elysia (on reaching their majority) received a land grant from the French Government. This consisted of three parcels of land.
Colonists were allowed to express preferences for the location of the various lots however distribution was determined by maximising the preferences of all colonists on their date of arrival. Land grants were not transferable (apart from by inheritance) and lapsed, on a parcel by parcel basis, if the original grant was not "improved" within three years and "maintained" thereafter on an annual basis.
Although colonists could not sell their grants they were encouraged to lease them. Thus a colonist wanting to be a farmer would lease his city and town lots to colonists wanting to be factory workers and shop keepers who in turn would lease their country lots to farmers. A thriving lease exchange market operated in Esperance facilitating such deals.
The intention of this rather complex grant scheme was to ensure that all colonists had equal access to, and stakes in, the whole body of the colony (city, town and countryside). Lots were granted to allow sufficient scope for the first generation of children to be given grants adjacent to their parents if they so wished.
The agrarian nature of Elysia and the type of subsidies and land grants on offer did not encourage corporate investment in the colony. As a consequence the overwhelming majority of capital was ultimately owned by individual colonists. While many small businesses and farms were directly owned by individuals or families most of the colony's larger enterprises were cooperatives - jointly owned by their workers, suppliers and customers.
The cooperatives were also encouraged by the cargo allowances granted to each colonist. While an individual, or even a family, might not have sufficient allowance to transport all the necessary capital equipment to Joi, in addition to their personal possessions, by pooling their allowances (and funds) groups of colonists could obtain sufficient cargo space without having to pay commercial shipping rates. Initially the cooperatives were formed by farmers importing the necessary equipment to process their produce or groups of workers setting up manufacturing facilities. As the colony grew the cooperative simply became the normal way of doing business and the natural tendency of cooperatives to work together and provide mutual assistance also made them surprisingly resistant to any change in ownership (either by individuals or corporate entities).
The colonial survey team had identified and developed a number of local plants suitable for cultivation for both human and terrestrial animal consumption. These, in combination with terrestrial crops and livestock, formed the basis of Joian foodstuff agriculture. No Elysian fauna however proved to be amenable to domestication and the decision was taken not to import other, more suitable, Joian species from other continents.
The land grant and loan policies adopted for the colony meant that the majority of farms were cooperatives based around a central village where local services (vehicle maintenance, supply outlets, health care and education) were based. Farms were initially mainly mixed production although as time and experience (and transport infrastructure) progressed regions began to specialise.
Another aspect of the Elysian agricultural sector were the industrial and medicinal crops required for manufacturing and medicine. These were introduced to allow the Elysian economy access to raw materials that would otherwise require whole industrial sectors. For instance genetically modified crops capable of producing a limited number of plastics and fibres were grown. These, combined with a small flexible processing plant, avoided the need for either a local chemical industry or the expensive importation of raw materials or finished products. Similarly crops capable of producing a number of basic medicines (standard pain killers, antibiotics etc.) again reduced the need for imports.
With a continent the size of Earth's Australia at its disposal, limited industrial development, little or no transportation infrastructure and cheap, reliable LTA transportation resource extraction in Elysia developed very differently to that on the core worlds.
Core world resource extraction can be likened to pre-historic farming - it involves communities tied to a specific area of land by the presence of the resources they are utilising. In Elysia however resource extraction was more on the hunter/gatherer model. Access to detailed satellite survey information (low orbit visual, radar and spectroscopic analysis) allows easy location of animal, vegetable and mineral resources in real time. When this information is coupled with easy access to all locations via LTA transportation and modern communication systems then resources can be "hunted" down and then "gathered" in rather than "farmed".
Some resources, such as bauxite mining for aluminium production, still required the more traditional methods of extraction. Some examples of the hunter/gatherer method of resource extraction are detailed below.
Extraction operations were regulated by issuing management licences for a given resource in a particular area. These permitted the holder to extract the specified resource in the specified area for a fixed period in return for a percentage of the revenue. The licence required that the resource, where practicable, be managed in a sustainable manner. As with land grants failure to exploit a licence resulted in it lapsing and returning to the colonial government.
On the core worlds roads are created through the planted forest and whole areas of trees felled and transported to a saw mill. The mill then dispatches timbers of the required dimensions as they are ordered. The size of tree to be felled can easily be determined by the planting date and an appropriate felling area selected.
In the Elysian model the location requiring the timber is matched with the nearest source (in the natural woodlands) of the required type and size of tree located via satellite survey. Logging is then carried out by LTA (avoiding the need to drive roads through difficult terrain) with the resultant timber being transported by the same means. Sawing is then carried out at a permanent saw mill or an LTA transported mobile facility. The cut timber is then delivered either by conventional transport (if mill and customer are connected) or once again by LTA. By managing the logging of the natural woodlands the range of available raw materials is maintained (i.e. not all the largest trees in any one area are felled) without the need to expend resources "farming" the forests and providing transport infrastructure.
Wherever possible construction materials were obtained locally, leading to a wide variety of regional building styles. Extraction equipment (brick kilns, quarrying machinery etc.) was typically flown in to the site by LTA (or transported by river if convenient) when settlement commenced to meet the high initial demand. Once the main construction phase was completed, and local stocks had been built up, the equipment would then move on to the next settlement requiring its services. After the initial settlement those areas where extraction and transportation were particularly favourable would construct permanent facilities from which the lower volumes of materials could then be exported to less well provided for areas.
Meat is "extracted" (hunted is the conventional term) rather than farmed in Elysia as the majority of meat (i.e. all meat obtained from native fauna) is obtained from wild herd animals rather than domesticated livestock. Domestication of an animal species can take many generations and none of the native Elysian species had the correct combination of characteristics to make the effort worthwhile. Instead the wild herds are monitored (via satellite, remote LTAs, tracking collars etc) and hunted during the appropriate seasons. The herds are managed year round to ensure their continued health and viability.
Initial meat processing is carried out (using LTA transportable facilities) locally to the hunting areas and only the useful products are transported back to the main colony. Much of the meat obtained is frozen, or otherwise treated (salted, smoked, dried etc.), to allow consumption out of season.
One of the aims of the limited French industrial policy was to provide as much support for primary agricultural effort as practicable. Due to the lack of planetary resources (mainly the heavier metallic elements) to support a normal industrial base this required a lateral approach rather than the simple importation of core world technologies.
Normal French policy was to import standard core world products and then to import spares from the core until such time as the colony had grown sufficiently to support its own indigenous manufacturing. French industrial groups then usually received preferential loans to set up facilities on the planet and in this manner a core world economy was replicated.
On Joi however an alternative policy was required. Rather than attempting to replicate a core world economy one that could be sustained primarily by local resources was planned. The planners selected a subset of core world materials and technologies, that although they might not be the ideal for any given application, were both adaptable and adequate. This policy reduced the imports required and, although initial capital and unit cost were higher, the overall medium and long term costs, including transportation, were considerably lower.
Primary production is the conversion of raw materials, such as ores, into processed materials, such as metal, capable of being manufactured into a final product, such as a car. On Joi primary production was severely limited due to the availability of raw materials. In Elysia primary production was further restricted to a few carefully chosen materials.
Any other materials (usually of a specialist nature) had to be imported from the Core.
Secondary production is the conversion of primary materials into finished goods. The secondary production requirements of Elysia were small consequently manufacturing facilities could be relatively low capacity but had to be extremely flexible.
The Elysia Fund invested in designs, manufacturing plant and equipment based upon the chosen technological subset which were then sold, leased and given to the colonists. By utilising mature technologies where the vast majority of patents had expired (e.g. the LTA construction was based upon 2210 Brazilian models with structural composites mainly replaced by aluminium alloys) but using modern design methodology the costs were kept to a minimum.
The fund initially constructed facilities on Earth to produce start-up stocks of equipment and to perfect the manufacturing processes where technical resources were quickly and cheaply available. Once the stockpile had been accumulated the facilities were dismantled (or replicated) and transported to Elysia to begin local production.
Again the policy of local production was not imposed on colonists but the logic was inescapable. Why buy a Renoen 7 tonne Tractor in France for 15,000 Lv ship it to Joi for 25,000 Lv and have to ship in spares from Earth (two months journey time away) when you could buy a Voiture d'Elysia (VdE) Tractor for 30,000 Lv in Elysia with 99% of the spare parts just a few hours away?
The relatively low energy usage envisioned by the original planners could not justify the construction of a Power Satellite. Instead local electricity generation was encouraged (to cut down on the high capital costs of a distribution network) supplemented by a hydrogen supply network.
With the bulk of settlement in either coastal or riverine locations the primary sources of electricity were water powered turbines. The bulk of these were free flow devices (where the turbine is set in a fixed position to be powered by the passing current), avoiding the need to construct dams or barrages. The cyclical nature of power generation was smoothed by combining the turbines with hydrogen electrolysis and storage facilities so that the electricity could be "stored" as hydrogen for later use in fuel cells and MHD turbines.
When the local facilities were outgrown any shortfall could be met by the importation of hydrogen until such time as additional turbine capacity could be installed.
As previously noted construction materials were, where practicable, obtained locally consequently the construction methods used varied depending upon the region. While the materials may have varied the design process used the most modern techniques to produce structures consistent with the Stewardship ethos.
Town and city planning was designed to minimise transport and other civil infrastructure. This was for psychological as well as construction reasons as relatively dense housing with a significant communal aspect was found to reduce the stresses of living on an alien world (see Wrong Green Syndrome).
The main city of Esperance was sited on the coast at the mouth of the Saints River (the largest river system on Elysia). The overwhelming majority of the towns constructed during the period under discussion were sited either on the same stretch of coast or on the banks of the Saints River system or its tributaries. This was done for several reasons.
The towns themselves were generally sited some way away from the ocean or river to provide some protection from flooding with only the dock facilities actually by the waterside.
As previously noted the development plan adopted during the period required very limited amounts of long distance infrastructure. Long distance transport was primarily by water and air, there were no power or hydrogen nets, and all telecommunications were via satellite.
Locally however there was a fairly common set of requirements for infrastructure.
While the location and construction materials of each settlement differed the infrastructure provision was to a more uniform standard. Key equipment would be produced in Esperance and shipped out to the new town. A range of designs for the civil works were then available depending upon the local materials available.
As with infrastructure the set of public buildings in each town were fairly standard.
Again a wide range of standard designs were available, each optimised for a particular mix of construction materials, from which the building styles were selected. It was normal policy, although by no means universally applied, to construct all the public buildings from a small subset of designs in order to maximise the use of common parts to increase the efficiency of both construction and future maintenance. This also had the (intended) effect of giving each town a characteristic construction style.
All colonists were allotted land in Esperance, their local town and in the countryside. Town and city lots were granted as portions of an insula (the block within the grid of pre-planned roads). In Esperance this would be just sufficient for an apartment in a communal building while in a town there would be sufficient space for a family home and small business. In the countryside of course there was adequate space for whatever buildings were required. Of course colonists were not limited to their own land grants as they were at liberty to lease the grants of others to increase the available land.
The vast majority of people during the period tended to live in the towns and the city of Esperance. It was government policy to encourage more communal forms of accommodation rather than individual private dwellings. This was done by making the provision of utilities a higher priority and substantially cheaper for communal properties. A common solution was for a group of colonists to band together to combine all their town (or city) lots to take possession of a complete insula.
The Elysian transport system connected the colonist's original homes on Earth to their new homes on Joi. As such it had components for all four elements (space, air, water and land).
The overwhelming majority of Elysian colonists were transported to Joi by the French government aboard Asterie class colony vessels. Every forty to forty five days (eight or nine times per year) three thousand colonists would arrive at the Orbital Terminal to be gradually ferried down to the surface over the following month (averaging 100 per day). Similarly the colonist's belongings and equipment plus other colonial imports (averaging 30 tonnes per colonist) would also be delivered to the Terminal packed into Vairon re-entry vehicles.
Throughout the French colonial period (with one short delay due to damage to the Orbital Terminal caused by a collision with a Japanese vessel in 2258) 25,000 colonists and 750,000 tonnes of cargo per year were delivered to Elysia.
As the colonists were only transferred to the surface of Joi gradually a relatively limited number of interface vehicles were required to service the colony. Although over the period under discussion a range of vehicles were in use the typical complement consisted of three slew wing space planes (each with a passenger capacity of 100) - one ferrying colonists, one being serviced and the third available for other duties.
As the space planes were only capable of landing at the spaceport outside the capital, and principle city, of Esperance three or four vertical take off and landing Rotons were also available for rough field landings.
The cargo delivered by the Asterie ships was pre-loaded in Vairon re-entry vehicles. These were fitted with autopilots and maneuvering thrusters in orbit and then de-orbited by an Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV) which would release the Vairons with the minimum relative (to the planetary surface) velocity to reduce re-entry heating. The Vairons would land in the sea just off the coast where Esperance was sited. The Vairons would then be retrieved by tugs and towed into Esperance harbour for unloading and scrapping. The autopilots and thruster units would be returned to orbit by interface vehicle for reuse on the next batch of Vairons.
As a colony world, with very little transport infrastructure outside urban areas, air transport was vital to Elysia.
The majority of air transport was by LTA with a wide variety of Airships, both imported and locally produced, ranging from small scouts to heavy cargo movers. LTAs were also used in a number of more unorthodox roles, for instance in construction in place of cranes and as fire fighting vehicles.
The colonial government maintained a small fleet of imported fixed, tilt and rotary wing aircraft for use where the relatively slow speeds of a LTA were unacceptable (medical emergency, law enforcement, VIP transport, disaster relief etc.). A number of primarily imported light aircraft (ranging from micro-lights to small transports) were also in private hands however their relatively high complexity and maintenance requirements with respect to LTA craft limited their number.
The very limited inter colonial passenger traffic was provided via interface vehicles, either directly on a sub-orbital flight or via one or both orbital termini.
With the majority of settlements being either coastal or close to major rivers water going vehicles provided the bulk of both freight and passenger transport within the colony.
Elysian water craft covered the whole range known to mankind. From canoes and flat bottom river boats to LH2 barges, ocean going tugs, blue water cargo vessels through to hydrofoils, hovercraft and high speed multi-hulls. The power sources of the vessels were also varied including man power, sails (both fabric and rigid), steam engines, gas turbines and fuel cells.
The bulk of river freight transport was carried out with barges and tugs while passengers would usually travel by hydrofoil or high speed catamaran. The more limited coastal transport was mainly the province of conventional cargo vessels (often primarily wind powered where speed was not of the essence) and wave piercing catamarans for more urgent cargo and passengers. Blue water transport (mainly inter colonial trade in specialist products) was the province of a few ocean going freighters which used a combination of MHD Turbines and wind power.
The majority of hulls were constructed locally (once the colony's limited manufacturing base was established) and were then fitted out with a mixture of local and imported equipment. The degree of local content would depend upon the sophistication required, a river barge or tug would be almost entirely local whereas a coastal wave piercing high speed catamaran might have an imported power plant and water jet propulsion units. The technique of utilising mature technologies and adopting a small number of adaptable components was repeated in the marine construction used in Elysia as it was elsewhere.
Land transport in Elysia was perhaps the most limited form in the colony. With readily available and flexible air transport in the form of LTAs and development primarily in coastal or along navigable river systems there was little or no demand for long distance ground transport. Instead ground vehicles were mainly found in construction, local transportation or agriculture.
With the exception of Esperance none of Elysia's urban centers (in the period under discussion) was sufficiently large to require transportation more complex than a pedal bicycle. Indeed town and city planning was designed to minimise transport and other civil infrastructure. Consequently in most towns and villages the only ground transport would be delivery trucks and vans moving goods to and from the local port facilities. In Esperance an automated taxi system was the main form of passenger transport which used a range of vehicle sizes (from two person cars to thirty passenger buses).
The agricultural and construction industries used a standard range of vehicles and accessories similar to those used on other French colonies.
The government sector in Elysia, unlike the rest of the economy, followed the typical French pattern with the provision of a number of state owned and run services.
The colony was initially administered by a Colonial Governor who was responsible for implementing policies set out by the Colonial Office on Earth. Beneath the Governor lay a relatively small bureaucracy primarily involved in the distribution of land to colonists (according to the development plan), and the management of the various government services.
As the colony matured, and Colonial and Local Assemblies came into being, the bureaucracy (at least of domestic issues) became answerable to local politicians.
Information and Communication
One of the first services provided by the colonial government was a universal communications system. This consisted primarily of a constellation of low orbit communications / observations platforms. The platforms were not a global system consequently only sufficient were deployed to cover the island continent of Elysia.
The purpose of these platforms was three-fold :
The system allowed any receiver (known as a Carte de Communication - or Comm Card) on Elysia to communicate with any other with no time delay discernible to humans (unlike the time delays experienced using geosynchronous satellite communications). As a consequence there were virtually no hard wired or line of sight communications used in the colony. The low orbit of the platforms also allowed the Comm Cards to be low power and cheap (albeit requiring imported components). As a result many other devices were fitted with Cards allowing them to be accessed remotely.
The positioning abilities of the Comm Cards (allowing them to locate themselves immediately to within 10cm and with a time delay to within 1cm on the surface of Joi) vastly increased their utility. A number of common applications made them a necessity in every walk of life.
The imaging capabilities of the orbital platforms also had numerous uses.
The combined system was managed through a distributed network comprising nodes on each of the orbiting platforms and each Comm Card connected to them plus a few dedicated processors for specialised tasks. This distributed system allowed processing power and temporary storage to be assigned from virtually every processor and storage location on the continent at need.
The service was provided free of charge to all colonists and French nationals (foreigners had to pay a daily fee for access). The only cost for users was the provision of a Comm Card and the purchase of processing and storage resources.
Along with the comms system the orbital terminal was one of the first items of infrastructure provided by the Colonial Office. The terminal was constructed around a core of Asterie Colonist Modules (providing spin gravity accommodation). The terminal's other major component was an electrodynamic tether deployed from the core to both higher and lower orbits. At the high orbit end a small solar power satellite provided the terminal's power requirements for life support, fuel cracking and electrodynamic boost (using electricity to boost the terminal's orbit by interaction with Joi's magnetic field).
The terminal provided several services for the colony.
The terminal also housed the French Orbital Traffic Control, Interface Squadron and Naval Liaison Office.
In 2258 a visiting Japanese starship collided with the terminal (following a stutterwarp drive malfunction) resulting in the loss of the tether, separation of the spin gravity docking facilities and destabilisation of whole terminal structure. The loss of life was minimal due to the self contained life support and emergency power of the Asterie Colony Modules however the terminal was useless for colonist transfers. The terminal was quickly stablised and non essential personnel evacuated to Elysia however reconstruction, requiring a replacement tether to be shipped from Earth, took over two years. During this period a reduced flow of colonists used the Hanoverian terminal.
Medical & Emergency
As in other French colonies medical care was provided free of charge by the government. Primary care was provided at a local level by a clinic in each hub village. Clinics were capable of treating all but the most severe or unusual injuries and ailments.
Secondary care for the most serious cases was originally concentrated in the Esperance Hospital which served the whole colony for the first decades of its existence. As the population and distance from Esperance increased district hospitals were constructed.
To complement the clinic and hospital system a two tier ambulance service was also provided. The local service, run by part-time staff, dealt with initial collection and transfer to the clinics. This service (known as the Service d'Urgence) also dealt with fire fighting, rescue and civil defence. Transfers to the Esperance, and later district, hospitals were carried out by a specialist unit of the Service Colonial de Transport using ambulance tilt rotors.
The primary product of any colony is not food, raw materials or exotic alien goods but children. The maternity provisions of all French colonies reflect this priority and Elysia was no exception.
Maternity care, like general medical provision, was provided free of charge. Each hub village contained Core World standard diagnostic and anti and post natal facilities. In contrast to the general medical facilities, provided by the local clinics, the maternity provision was very much concentrated in the front line in the Centres des Enfants. As well as centralised services the Service Maternitie also provided comprehensive home support for mothers and children.
With very high colonial birth rates and the need for mothers and fathers to remain as economically productive as possible child care facilities were also key to French colonial policy. Traditionally child care was the province of the extended family however in the case of colonists (especially first generation) this was not a viable option.
Each Centre des Enfants, alongside the Maternity facilities, contained well staffed child care facilities which offered free care up to the age of six on a wide range of terms (from hourly, part day, whole day through to full time boarding).
All French colonial school systems effectively duplicated those of terrestrial France (with minimal modifications for local conditions and subjects) and were compulsory from age six to eighteen. The vast majority of children were educated in the local ecoles (usually located near the Centre des Enfants). As with the child care facilities many of the schools also provided boarding facilities for children whose parents or family were not locally based.
Secondary education (again provided free by the state) came primarily in two forms. The first was the provision of part time learning courses (mainly in technical subjects) which were provided locally. The academic aspects of these courses were mainly distance learning (i.e. done primarily at home via the Comm system with limited personal tuition at the local ecole out of normal school/working hours). The practical aspects were delivered either through simulation or again at the local ecole.
The second form of provision was the traditional University system where students went away to study. Initially the only University on Elysia was in Esperance but as the population grew additional campuses were created in the larger towns. University courses covered the usual range of subjects (with a significantly greater proportion of more practical areas than would normally be found in the Core).
Law and Order
The maintenance of Law and Order on Elysia, as on any French Colony was a three tier process.
At the bottom were the Justice Municipal and the Police Municipal who dealt with minor civil matters at a local level. Both Judges and Police were recruited locally and were paid for by the local assemblies.
The middle tier, which was present only in areas of the Colony under the jurisdiction of the Colonial Assembly, consisted of Magistrates and the Police Elysienne. These were again recruited locally, albeit in the case of the Magistrates subject to the veto of the Governor, and paid for by the Colonial Assembly. The purvue of the middle tier included criminal and civil matters wholly within the jurisdiction of the Assembly.
The top tier comprised the Magistrates Colonial and the Gendarmerie Colonial. These were appointed and paid for by the Colonial Office and comprised a mixture of off world (the majority) and local staff. Their remit included criminal and civil matters at least partly outside the jurisdiction of the Colonial Assembly and any matters affecting the colony as a whole.
The French Colonial Office maintained several Research & Development Stations on Elysia primarily aimed at improving the agricultural productivity of Joian crops. These Stations were much more independent than the norm due to the need to employ external personnel (the Colonial Office's Science Department being over stretched by France's other colonial interests). Instead of the usual civil servants therefore the Stations were manned with academics from a wide range of universities on secondment or Sabbatical and a large minority of whom were members of the Order of St. Theodora.
During this period there was little or no government effort spent on industrial development. What manufacturing and resource development that did take place was carried out by the Order of St. Theodora under the aegis of the Elysian Fund.
As an island continent on a planet with no international rivalries there was no need for any significant military presence. The Gendarmerie Colonial provided a para-military presence and the Navy maintained a liaison office on the Orbital Terminal.
A number of security related services were however provided by the Service Colonial de Transport.
Economic Development 2277 to 2283 : Return to Form
The "Stewardship" period of development came to an end in 2277 with the appointment of governor Margarite AlLaham in 2277. While this may have come as something of a surprise to the colonists the change had been under consideration in the Colonial Office for some time,
By the early 2270s it had become clear to the planners in the Colonial Office that substantial work would be required to maintain the interface infrastructure in Esperance after 20 years of constant use. The influence of the Order of St. Theodora on the existing colony was also causing increasing frustration within the Colonial Office due to the resistance of the Colonial Assembly to some of the Office's proposals. In addition 20 years of development had already taken the most valuable parcels of land close to Esperance and further growth would require the use of either more marginal land or additional travel time from the interface port.
International relations also had a bearing on the development policy. On Earth Franco-Hanoverian relations had begun to deteriorate due to the rise in German nationalism and the Hanoverian government's espousal of the "Kleine Deutschland" policy. As the Elysian colony was dependent upon Halbinsel for several key products it was thought prudent to reduce this reliance. Consequently a significant (albeit still not massive) increase in industrialisation was planned.
Rather than continuing to develop the colony from the existing center of Esperance it was therefore decided to set up a second center on the opposite coast. This, to the planners, had several advantages.
In essence the planners wished to revert to more typical French colonisation policies and, rather than attempt to impose them on the existing colony, they would effectively set up a second colony on Elysia. This is exaggerating the case somewhat and in fact the existing areas provided substantial support (in terms of food, materials and equipment) to the newly colonised regions.
Changes in Policy
Most of the colony's existing policies actually remained unchanged - the main difference was that a significant industrial presence was planned for the new center of Bonne Chance. Thus the only policies that substantially changed were those relating to manufacturing and energy production.
Following the normal French model a modest manufacturing base was established in Bonne Chance by government subsidy of French industrial concerns. These were initially targeted at replacing Hanoverian production and supplying the second center's colonisation programme with primary and secondary goods.
The need to provide substantial levels of output meant that the use of the petite usine (PU) model of flexible manufacturing was also not appropriate. Instead traditional dedicated facilities were established along Core World lines.
With the switch to increased industrialisation there was also a requirement for higher intensity power production. A solar power satellite system was considered however the construction lead times were considered too long to meet the planners' timetable (which was concerned with a Hanoverian embargo in the event of political difficulties on Earth).
The dual nature of the Elysian colony during this period was emphasised by the split in the governance of the colony.
The old colony centered on Esperance was, for domestic matters at least, under the jurisdiction of the Colonial Assembly, and under them Local Assemblies, with the Governor in a supervisory role. The new colony centered on Bonne Chance was under the direct control of the Governor with Local Assemblies only in the more developed areas.
The very significant levels of investment brought about by the reversal in development policy caught the Joian Colonial administration unprepared. As a consequence a good deal of the capital was misdirected and with hindsight it is clear that there was a considerable amount of high level corruption.
Historical research has shown that a conspiracy was operating between senior members of the Elysian Colonial government, their supervisors in the Colonial Office on Earth and a number of large industrial concerns. The later were winning development contracts at inflated prices while the former were obtaining lucrative directorships and consultancies following their retirement from government service. While the allegations made by the Rouge factions during the revolt were clearly exaggerated what independent evidence is available does point to excessive levels of corruption.
Economic Development 2283 to 2291 : Hearts & Minds
In the years following the foundation of Lubumbashi it became clear that the use of Terran crops coupled with the eradication of any native competitors was by far the most efficient agricultural model for Joi. Worried at the prospect of a rapid decline in exports to New Cornwall the French authorities determined to switch from a primarily Joian agriculture to a predominantly Terran one.
This policy, first announced in 2283, caused great consternation in the Esperance half of the colony and the Colonial Assembly quickly voted against the proposals. Despite these protests, and against a rising tide of popular discontent, the new policies were imposed by the Governor - Alain Petit. In a move to try and dilute the influence of the Vertes party (as those ideologically opposed to Terran agriculture came to be known) in the Colonial Assembly large areas of the new colony were hurriedly granted independent status along with the right to elect Assembly Members. The new members combined with the existing moderates allowed the Governor to proceed with his plans.
Governor Petit's intention in 2283 was to continue with his predecessor's (now a non-executive director of the Fusion Power specialists Forge des Etoiles) development policies of gradual, but increasing, industrialisation centered around Bonne Chance coupled with a change in the agricultural model. What was not anticipated was the entrenched opposition of existing agricultural sector to a change in the model.
Rather than attempting to placate his restive subjects Petit continued full-steam-ahead with his policies resorting to increasingly brutal policing by the Gendarmerie Colonial. Eventually matters came to a head in 2285 with the so called Esperance Massacre where several (the actual numbers remain in dispute to today) demonstrators were shot dead by Gendarmes. This polarized opinions and resulted in several Local Assemblies in the Esperance region refusing to acknowledge the Governor's authority.
Changes in Policy
As a consequence, from 2285 onwards, there was no organised economic development policy for Elysia only various measures to bolster government support and sporadic attempts to buy off the rebels. The conduct of the Elysian revolt will not be covered here however a few noteworthy developments did take place.
In an effort to maintain the support of the Bonne Chance area the existing industrial development policy was maintained in the first few years of the revolt as was the introduction of Terran agriculture. This had the predictable result of further alienating the opposition. In addition the steady discovery of corruption in the development process also turned many of the government's original supporters against it.
The increasing militarisation of the revolt (essentially following the substantial Manchurian arms delivery to the Vertes in late 2286) led to the diversion of development spending to military facilities. From 2287 onwards there was a considerable construction programme for military (and paramilitary) bases and infrastructure such as runways, ammunition storage facilities, servicing and maintenance depots to support the influx of security forces.
Economic Development 2291 to 2301 : Developing Independence
Following French withdrawal from Elysia development in the colony effectively ceased and if anything began to regress. This was true in all areas of the economy from agriculture and industry through to government services.
From 2291 until roughly 2295 the economic capacity of Elysia declined but from 2295 onwards matters began to stabilise as the economy reached supportable levels. From 2298 small signs of a return to growth began, sporadically, to show.
Within this general process each sector of the economy followed its own course - in some cases crashing early but recovering quickly and in others going into a gradual decline from which they have still not halted completely..
Root Causes of Economic Decline
The reasons for the decline were many-fold however the primary contributors were as follows, in approximate order of importance.
The various factions in the civil war made their own claims regarding the relative importance of these causes. What passed for the Elysian government emphasised the latter two factors accusing French forces of a scorched earth policy during their withdrawal and an ongoing campaign of sabotage and destabilisation. Official French pronouncements on the other hand played up the loss of expertise and the incompetence of the newly independent colonists.
The ranking given above was compiled from the report of the Jaspersen Commission that investigated the causes of the Elysian Famine of 2292-2293. As such it represents the closest to an independent appraisal that is available.
Economic Effects of Decline
Ownership and Finance
With the departure of the large French industrial concerns and other French institutions a large proportion of the property and equipment owned by them was effectively abandoned. The provisional Elysian government seized all property either owned or subsidised by France (i.e. virtually all property not owned by individuals). In addition all property owned by individuals who fled the colony was taken into trust on the basis that it would no longer be maintained on an annual basis as per the provisions of the original grant. A few of these latter properties were returned to their original owners when they returned to Elysia and became citizens of the Joienne Republic.
All these properties and enterprises were assigned to what became known as the Liberation Foundation. The Foundation was in turn nominally owned by all Elysians but run by a board appointed by the government. The Foundation's purpose was to further the economic development of Elysia (or at least to reduce its decline as far as possible) by exploiting the seized assets. This was done, for preference, by leasing the assets to Elysians (initially often for little or no cost) to run. Where this was not an option the Foundation would either mothball the equipment against future need or attempt to sell the assets to obtain badly needed foreign currency to make the most of their remaining assets.
Unlike other aspects of the Elysian economy the agricultural sector didn't decline - it crashed. The final stages of the revolt in 2291 interfered with the planting of crops in the spring of the year and their harvesting in the following autumn resulting in significantly decreased yields. On its own this would not have been disastrous however in the following year two other events conspired to cause a catastrophe.
Firstly the chemical plant in Bonne Chance, required to produce the fertiliser/supplements required for Terran crops to thrive, suffered a breakdown. With no remaining expertise in its operation and no access to off-world consultants or spare parts the Elysians were unable to effect repairs. The unwillingness of the new operators to admit either their ignorance or defeat meant that by the time the authorities realised the scale of the problem it was too late to request assistance from elsewhere or import alternative supplies. As a consequence the Terran crops in the Bonne Chance region almost universally failed.
Even at this stage all was not lost however when many of the reserve food storage facilities (grain silos, cold stores etc.) were opened they were found to have been either looted or damaged such that their contents were spoiled. With this revelation it became apparent, by mid-summer, that famine in the coming winter was a real possibility.
Fortunately food aid from the other Joian colonies (ironically particularly those employing the Terran crop systems that had initiated the Elysian revolt) prevented mass starvation. Despite this assistance the situation remained critical for another year until agricultural production was restored. This was done in three main ways.
Thus by the end of 2293 the Elysian agricultural sector had been stabilised, albeit it a lower level than previously.
As with agriculture it was the new industrial facilities around Bonne Chance that suffered most from the French withdrawal. These facilities were close to state of the art and consequently required expertise, spare parts and raw materials that the Elysians did not possess. While vital equipment could be maintained using scarce foreign currency to purchase goods and services from off world the bulk of the new industry fell, quickly or otherwise, into disrepair.
In effect only the fusion power plant and (following recovery from the famine) the fertiliser production facilities were maintained by the State- all the other production facilities had to fend for themselves.
Some of the shortfall in production was made up from the facilities around Esperance which had local expertise, spares and raw materials in abundance. Indeed much of the Bonne Chance industry was gradually replaced with the Petite Usine model of production.
Government services had already been partially taken over by the rebels prior to the final fall of the French colonial administration - either overtly in "liberated" areas or covertly in facilities that simply ignored the instructions from the Governor and his staff.
The Colonial and Local Assemblies were already tax raising bodies that paid for the majority of local services. As a consequence the transfer from French to Elysian control was relatively straight forward with none of the dislocation suffered in the industrial sector. Where government services did suffer was in the lack of any significant capital investment. The Elysians were perfectly capable of maintaining (with a little ingenuity) what they had but as major equipment failed or wore out the levels of service gradually decreased.
Medical provision was maintained with significant humanitarian aid from the Elysian Fund (backed by the Order of St. Theodora). Interface transport remained a national priority (and thereby had sufficient funds to obtain spares and expertise off-world). The relatively large complement of vehicles set against the massive decrease in traffic also provided a significant, but not unending, source of spare parts.
Recovering from the Decline
Once the initial effects of the loss of French support had worked their way through the Elysian economy the situation began to stabilise. Most colonies only 45 years old would have been doomed by the withdrawal of their parent however the unique nature of the original Elysian development not only allowed them to survive but, in the late 2290s, begin to flourish.
The loss of France also meant the loss of French colonists. Thus Elysia no longer had to provide for an additional 50,000 citizens per year consequently many of the resources previously devoted to the support of new colonist could be redirected to support expansion of the existing economy. With little or no external support Elysia was forced to "boot strap" its economy which, once the initial difficulties had been overcome it began to do.
Areas of Growth
The limited growth in the Elysian economy experienced from 2298 until the Kafer invasion of March 2302 was predominantly a gradual expansion of the Esperance model that was just slightly quicker than the decline of the Bonne Chance model.
Effects of the Kafer Attack : 2302
Following two years of uncertainty and false alarms on 12th March 2302 the Kafers finally entered the 61 Ursae Majoris system while the human defenders withdrew from Joi orbit. By the 15th March the Kafer fleet had secured Joi orbit and had commenced landing operations. Fortunately for Elysia these were primarily directed at the German and Japanese colonies. After five days of fierce ground fighting a reinforced Human fleet returned catching the Kafer fleet against the planet destroying several major vessels and causing the remainder to flee.
In the days of the Kafer approach the Elysian's evacuated their orbital terminal and rendered it temporarily uninhabitable. As a consequence there was no attempt to either destroy or occupy the terminal and it survived the brief occupation of the system unscathed. The same could not be said of Elysian ground facilities which were subjected to orbital bombardment with Kinetic Energy weapons.
Even in this aspect Elysia got off lightly with only a perfunctory attempt by the Kafers to destroy interface capable landing strips and major industrial targets. Both the main landing strips were badly (though not irreparably) damaged however the interface vehicles had all been dispersed and the Elysians were able to quickly recommence interface operations (albeit limited) once the Kafer fleet had fled. The Kafers were unable to identify any major industrial facilities around Esperance (due the dispersed nature of the PU model) however the more conventional installations around Bonne Chance received harsher treatment. A number of the larger sites were completely levelled by the bombardment however many of them were already disused or in mothballs due to the recent economic problems. Nevertheless significant, but not critical, damage was done. The most significant losses were sustained by the fusion power plant which was completely shut down by the attack. Fortunately the modular nature of its construction enabled engineers to quickly restart two of the six reactors and later salvage a third.
Overall therefore Elysia weathered the Kafer attack well. Loss of life was minimal due to the prior evacuation of obvious targets and, with the exception of the fusion station, the orbital bombardment resulted in no critical losses. Perhaps most importantly of all no Kafer ground forces were landed in Elysia consequently there was none of the damage and disruption experienced in the Japanese and German Joian colonies.
Future Economic Potential
As of 2303 the Elysian economy is in remarkably robust shape considering the stresses and strains it has been subjected to over the preceding two decades. The basis of the economy remains, and is likely to remain, agricultural although there is a surprisingly comprehensive local industrial sector in place.
Following the Kafer defeat Elysia is well placed to take advantage of its relatively light injuries and its ability to operate with only minimal external support to expand its export markets. This is true both on a local planetary basis and more generally within the French Arm. Many of the former leaders in the agricultural sector have been badly damaged by the invasion and face the prospect of continued harassment by remnants of the Kafer horde. What is more other colonies on the French Arm will be dependent upon their parent nations for critical supplies which may not be readily forthcoming especially if their parents opt to concentrate on a military build up.
The prospect of improving export markets should also mean improved access to hard currency and potential investment. This in turn should allow Elysia to quickly make up the economic ground that it lost following independence and to forge ahead.
The economic development of Elysia followed a divergent path from normal French Type A colonial practice in its formative years. This resulted in an economy that was designed to be as self sufficient as possible and was tailored to the conditions of Joi. Subsequent, more standard, development did nothing to substantially change this situation.
The nature of the Elysian economy was also both a contribution to the revolt against French government and a key enabler for its eventual success. No other colony only 43 after establishment would have had any hope of surviving without the support of its mother country (or a substitute). The Elysians however have not only survived but prospered, albeit not without significant pain and only in a modest way, as an independent interstellar nation.
From an economic point of view therefore Elysia is an outstanding success at creating a robust, independent nation. It seems unlikely however that the model will be emulated elsewhere as to the French economy, which invested and lost so much, Elysia represents an unmitigated disaster of enormous proportions. There is clearly no driver for interstellar nations, even those with the best intentions for their daughter colonies at heart, to repeat the experiment.
Overall therefore Elysia clearly represents a unique example of human economic development which, while it may not be the model for future colonies, will be of great interest to both economic and political observers for years to come.
My intention in designing the Elysian economy was to produce something a little different from the 2300ad colonial norm (which I have always assumed looks a little like present day rural America or New Zealand). The range of available technologies and the vast untapped resources of a virgin planet means that there are alternative ways of doing things.
I don't claim that the economy depicted here would function in reality but I do hope that it is sufficiently believable to make an interesting background.
Copyright J.M. Pearson, 2004