Friday, April 15, 2011

The Control of Technology in the Festrian Empire

Most Traveller universi have no sort of prime directive: they're all about swapping culture left right and center. Tech goes with that. 

And yet, there are all these different tech levels: and generally speaking, it's better to have higher tech than not. 
So the question comes up: how is technology controlled? If at all? 

There was a JTAS article about law and punishment which obliquely referred to trafficking in controlled high tech goods as a subsector-level crime. But there's been nothing else like that as far as I can tell, apart from the control of weapons tech: Generally, military grade high tech arms are both illegal and hard to get. In terms of naval scale weapons, traditionally nuclear weapons are the big no-no; one can only imagine that the same goes for particle accelerators and mesons, but that nobody really needs to spell that out because only a navy can afford the things anyhow. But what about other stuff?

So here's some thoughts:
Governments like to have the best military tech to themselves, when the alternative is destabilization.
The Imperium will have, or try to have, a monopoly on TL 15 equipment: so sales of that to anyone other than the Navy, would be high treason, as would passing on information of its construction. So, jump-6, the best mesons, and so on, all verboten. Passing on the secret of the Black Globe? Kill the bloody traitor.
On individual worlds, the government likely will want to have the best they can get: their tech, or better. Neighboring worlds will NOT want those governments to have better arms, especially in space tech. A TL 9 world might not mind their TL6 neighbor buying TL8 laser carbines, and might in fact sell them the things themselves. But selling that TL6 neighbor TL 11 spacecraft? Might bring a complaint to the navy:
If supply of technological information is likely to destabilize a region, it will be controlled.

That same TL 6 government will be delighted to buy your laser carbines, but will frown on you selling them to
their opposition groups. This will certainly be a planetary crime - but as it may destabilize the region, it may fall under Imperial purview as well.

Jump technology is an important tech to control: it's fair to say that Jump-1 is all but impossible to limit. Building starship drives is likely to be a big industrial process, though, and regular scout patrols on a world might be enough to see if it's being done. It seems that the worlds you don't want getting Jump are the worlds you don't want anything to do with, though: Blockade 'em, or blow 'em up.

More later? Any idears?


Blogger Craig A. Glesner said...

Yes. More ideas later. Sleep now.

7:23 PM  

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