CURRENT STATE OF DEVELOPMENT
Genesis has not yet achieved material self-sufficiency. Highly complex types of equipment, such as fusion power reactors, computer mainframes, and chemical transformers must still be brought by starship from Earth. Approximately 1,423,000 people now call Genesis home. Of these 500,000 are immigrants. The population is distributed among five “developed areas” along the Aurora Straights. Malthus, the largest of these, numbers 500,000 people. More than 50 percent of the work force engages in land cultivation or creation.
Planning has shaped Genesis’ development to a greater extent than any other colony. During the precolonial period, planners developed not only a highly detailed plan for the first 20 years of its existence, but a Master Plan that will govern development over the next 700 years! By the end of this period, Earth’s lifeforms will have spread over the entire globe. The master plans calls for Genesis to achieve material self-sufficiency in another 88 years, approximately twice the time it has taken the older colonies, better endowed with natural resources, to achieve it.
The living standard on Genesis cannot be compared meaningfully with Earth’s or any other colony’s. Genesis lacks the wide variety of consumer goods and services available on Earth.
Though Genesis hasn’t the abundance of desirable land found on other new worlds, the land Genesis offers pioneers is the prettiest and most pleasant environment of any known world, totally lacking in pests and dangers, totally conditioned for Human comfort. More than any physical inducements, however, Genesis offers pioneers the chance to participate in the greatest experiment in Human history, the creation of the best of all possible worlds!
The Master Plan calls for maintaining a ratio of 310 persons per square kilometer of developed land. Virtually all of the population lives within developed areas of the planet. Undeveloped land can be claimed by all citizens, but few claims have been filed and most of these have been for weekend retreats rather than permanent homesites. Some people attempt the backbreaking task of developing small plots of land. To do this one must carefully prepare and chemically balance the soil, then plant and cultivate the appropriate mix of plants, animals, and microorganisms to make it a living environment.
This process generally doesn’t work on plots smaller than three hectares, for the land will not be large enough to sustain self-perpetuating populations.
Housing is abundant and of high quality. Immigrants use spire structures of modern starships for the first years after their arrival. Despite the shortage of desirable land most people on Genesis live in small, single-family units on individual plots of ground. Large, multifamily dwellings set on large plots can be leased by pioneers who wish to avoid the expense and work of maintaining their own land.
Food crops imported from Earth create an ample and varied diet for everyone. The Genesean diet contains little meat because Earth’s food animals require large amounts of hectarage relative to the amount of usable food they yield. Sheep and goats provide some meat and dairy products, and imported fish species are raised in the sea. Since these products cost substantially more than on Earth, the bulk of protein consumed by people comes from grains, beans, and nuts of various kinds.
Transportation and communication create few problems on Genesis. Most of the population lives within small, well-defined geographic areas, and there are few places to go outside of them. Within developed areas, most pioneers get about in small, low-cost, hydrogen-powered, antigrav cars. These vehicles, with top speeds of about 80 kilometers per hour, are supplemented by large, high-speed antigrav transports that make the large jumps between developments. A large space station in synchronous orbit over the Aurora Straights provides communications channels between all developed areas. Information services and entertainment on Genesis compare in quality with those of Earth.
Energy comes from large power plants in each development and is channeled to individual users through an optical frequency distribution system. The tiny, individually-owned power plants of the other colonies need not be used because of the relative compactness of Genesis’ population.
Consumer goods remain limited by Earth standards, but basic items such as clothing, vehicles, preservators, food-preparing appliances, space conditioners, sleep fields, and dataceivers can be purchased by all. Though the centrally planned economy dictates how resources are apportioned between economic sectors, detailed production of many consumer items is left to privately owned and operated enterprises and is sold through private retail outlets.
Medical care, available at no charge through government supported health centers, keeps the population fit. The level of sickness is low, despite the fact that the planet’s rarefied atmosphere poses a potential health hazard. The thin blanket of air makes a less effective shield against the short-wave radiation from Genesis’s sun. Consequently people who work outside suffer higher incidences of sunburn and skin cancer. Fortunately the latter disease, once a major health threat, is as easily treatable as a nicked finger, and the medical community has developed several innovative techniques for reducing the cost of this treatment still further.
The government of Genesis consists of a Central Committee and of local steering committees, elected by majority vote of the adult population. Agencies of these committees make all major planning decisions for the planet, except for revisions of the Master Plan, which must be ratified by two-thirds majority vote and approved by GAIL.
Research and Development
Scientific research, financed by the government through the Genesis Scientific Research Organization, is essential to the colony’s survival. Biology constitutes the principal field of effort, but other natural sciences, such as geology and meteorology, receive high priority as well. While Genesis cannot claim to have originated many significant industrial processes or inventions, it has contributed to a better understanding of the development of species, the origin of planets and the biological interactions between forms of life. For the first time, people have been able to evaluate the consequences of encouraging or eliminating certain life forms in a controlled environment. Preserving the proper balance of nature has proven as important to the survival of Earth as it is to Genesis.