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Originally published at Agent Incite. You can comment here or there.

Any time there’s a colony inception, there’s a reason. For this one you’re the welfare and social services administrator for all the people in a large region. There’s welfare queens, ex-cons, junkies, people with disabilities, folks turfed out of their jobs by social and or technological developments, petty criminals still in jail or on probation, and their kids, and in some cases grandchildren.

Here’s your solution:

  • Take all the money needed to keep the future colonists on the books for their expected lifetime.
  • Invest said money in a colony ship
  • Load them up
  • Load the ships databases with everything they could possibly need to know

What’s the reason? Arguably you’re doing it because you think you can get all of these people currently on public assistance a higher standard of living five, ten, and twenty-eight years from now than their public support will accomplish. Or maybe you’re in the pocket of a major developer who wants to gentrify a swathe of the downtown.

Not that you have the why and the who. There’s the other questions to answer. How many of these folks would end up going? If we take New York and the numbers from 2012, roughly 245,000 people received  public assistance. For New York that’s 3.4%, slightly above the national average. If we take a look at the Bureau of Prisons numbers, almost half of prisoners are in the hoosegow for drug offenses. Only 3.1% were recently locked up murder, aggravated assault, or kidnapping. For the New York specific population of roughly 78,000 excluding the gives ups about 320,000 adults. If we’re going to limit the export to people under 40, and add 4% (or roughly twice the states average)* for people’s own children and others living with them we get about one third of a million people.

When you take out the need to worry about making enough to afford to live, maybe some of those folks on disability can do twenty hours a week or even fifteen at whatever they trained or educated themselves in before succumbing to injury or illness.

So where does the story come from here?

Well, maybe it’s how you convince all these people to change the planet they pursue life, liberty, and happiness upon and hop on your Jefferson Starship and take their inalienable rights to another world. Or maybe it’s making up the skills gap among those who volunteer to go along who are outside the structure of public support. Maybe the story is in keeping the drug pushers from taking over the new colony, or figuring out some way to provide advanced enough food production and storage for several years, but simple enough equipment for the colonists to maintain.

Look for more soon.

*I’m not surprised Utah has the highest average children per family, I’m just surprised it’s as low as it is. I do wonder how they calculate children in the officially non existent plural marriages some Mormon groups practice.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 8th, 2016 03:54 pm (UTC)
Maybe a legal end-run for non-violent offenses that shouldn't necessarily be illegal, but the host country can't quite get the political clout to change the laws. Which will make for an interesting conflict and attitude between and about the host country and colony.
Thought for a hook on that one (I pun, hah): Protagonist needs to get out of the country, so selects a Proscribed Substance of Choice, takes it, and deliberately gets caught.

Shipping off the 'welfare problem', yikes. Two biggest, scariest things about this setup are a lack of skills necessary to survive and people with 'invisible' disabilities. Depending on how harsh and impersonal the system is will determine how many unsuitable colonists there are, as far as physical/mental capability goes (mental, regarding the ability to handle the stresses inherent).

There's also the available technology for the colonists. Axe, saw, and shovel? Chainsaw and backhoe? Semi-autonomous drones? Do they get training, or do they get pushed out the door on landing, a vague wave at a pile of crates, then the ship takes off again?

So many ways for things to go horribly wrong, which means a lot of good fodder for good stories, good characters, and good social commentary, however the author feels on any of the above!
Nov. 22nd, 2016 05:03 pm (UTC)
With all the varied skills among the non-violent criminals, and the probable complete lack of need for maintenance or non food/medicine for the first decade or so, mostly there will be plenty of time to learn new stuff.

But yeah, there's bunch tons of potential for cray-cray story lines.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


O'Mike aka onyxhawke

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