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Old 01-18-2009, 12:43 PM
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Default International Trade

While re-watching the 1978 History documentary series "Connections" (which I wholeheartedly recommend) I started thinking about the existence of international trade through the ages.

I started thinking what products are so easily produced and produced in such numbers that even the twilight war would not reduce production to a point where trade is not profitable.

Opium from Afghanistan was the first thing I though of. Quinine from Java also would be important as I am assuming malaria rates would be shooting up. Some narcotics and coffee from South America would also see international movement. Spices from Asia as always would be in demand.

I'd like to hear other opinions or other expected trade routes.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:01 PM
Graebarde Graebarde is offline
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S ugar and Rum from the Carribean probably would be in production and trade. While the sugar would be 'raw' (brown) rather than white crystal. Coffee would also probably bring better prices than coke and in more general demand. As recovery progresses, textiles, such as linen, hemp, cotton, and wool will also trade again. It may be raw material or cloth, depending on where it comes from. This would only occur after food production stabalizes. SALT is also another 'ancient' commodity not found everywhere but needed.

Just some rambling ideas.

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Old 01-18-2009, 10:50 PM
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Vegetable oils could be another choice. Olive oil from southern europe, Palm oil from Africa, other type of vegetable oil from pretty much everywhere...

These are useful for almost everything, and from place to place, it will be produced in fair quantities.
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:58 AM
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Australia has always produced vastly more grain than it needs for domestic consumption. I guess alot of the surplus during the Twilight War would be used to distill alcohol but Australia also has the advantage of having far more natural gas available than it needs for domestic consumption and we have a thriving (RL) market in converting cars to LPG so most petrol vehicles here would be converted to gas before 2000 I would think. So Australia would most likely be a bread basket for its allies during the war. The only problem would be that California is a terrible mess by 2000 and it would be dangerous for shipping to use the Panama Canal so maybe Australian grain might be traded to Seattle or possibly even the RDF in the Middle East?
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:26 AM
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Australia also is the worlds most efficient sugar cane grower. Sugar, as we know, makes great raw material for alcohol.

The following is something I knocked up a while back. It's not quite in line with this thread, but near enough:

Supply and demand in a post nuclear world

For the frontline soldier, the first two things they'll start to miss are Tobacco and Coffee. Now, any decent military will have a pretty nice supply of Ye Olde Java, but cigarettes will become more scarce, since smokers will probably be smoking MORE (Nuclear apocalypse is a pretty stressful thing), while non-smokers might just start. Civilians will want both of those, along with the stuff already mentioned, (salt, pepper, soap, etc.) I can see the guy who was driving a truck for Shoprite when the faeces hit the fan doing quite well on the growing black market.

Something that needs to be kept in mind is that globally, the war and associated diseases, famine and social unrest have claimed over 50% of the worlds population - that's in the order of about 3 BILLION people. Areas such as Silesia in south-western Poland had been hit even harder. From a pre-war population of 3 million, there are barely 100,000 by mid 2000. That's 29 out of every 30 people dead (though probably not buried).

So what does this mean for the luxury items such as soap, tobacco and so on? Well for a start the immediately available stocks of said items have a much lower demand. This is of course more than offset by the almost total lack of a distribution network. While many areas have a serious shortage, other areas (production regions or warehousing facilities) might just have more than anyone could dream of. The continued existence of these stockpiles could be put down to all the workers in the area having succumbed to the various diseases, moved away to a better area (take the mass migration in the US during 2001 due to the drought), or perhaps able bodied persons being drafted, enslaved or otherwise forcibly removed.

As time goes past of course, trade routes would begin to reopen as enterprising individuals and groups stumble upon these stockpiles or re-establish communications using animal drawn caravans and the odd alcohol powered vehicle. Items that originated in far-flung parts of the globe would remain in extremely short supply (spices from the orient in western Europe for example) with the occasional injection into the market from the aforementioned stocks. Small amounts would also be scavenged from the dead (cigarettes, soap, etc), abandoned houses and shops. Most of this "ready supply" would be quickly exhausted as people caught on to the benefits gained with looting.

Salt and sugar aren't too hard to produce locally. If close to the sea, drying pans filled with sea water can provide copious amounts within the space of a few weeks (much longer in colder climates or winter). Salt mines are also another option and would once more become profitable.

Sugar can be produced from cane (in tropical regions) or sugarbeet in colder latitudes. Other than that, there are plenty of sweet substitutes, honey being a prime example.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:08 PM
Olefin Olefin is offline
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one thing to look at for International trade would be to see what countries are still functional enough to be able to trade at all

Looking at the V1 timeline (and including things like what Frank Frey had in his Soviet Vehicle Guide about the Japanese) you would probably have the following still able to trade:

South Africa
several of the South American nations
the Pacific island nations like Fiji, Tonga, Vanatu, etc..
New Zealand
Cuba and several of the Caribbean nations

For many of them the biggest issue would be the distances involved - i.e. you are either looking at ships fueled by coal or sail and coaling stations by 2000 are few and far between. So even if you had things to trade for many of them, you might not be visited by ships more than a few times per year and the amount of cargo they could trade could be negligible compared to what freighters powered by oil could carry.

Australia does have a few coal powered freighters that were used on the bauxite route that were large ships - but unless they were modified to carry a lot more coal they had a limited range that doesnt allow for much in the way of long range travel.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:19 AM
simonmark6 simonmark6 is offline
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Very interesting thread.

It's likely that nations capable of trade will start initially trading with other viable nations as they are the ones with things to trade. The Pacific between NZ/AUS and Japan should get busy fairly quickly and some of the intervening islands could raise cash/goods by acting as refuelling stations by producing fuel for the freighters.

The northern parts of South America and the Caribbean might also be an area of growth.

France is a different case. It's too far away from viable nations to set up trade routes and initially I see one off trips for vital goods like industrial diamonds, nuclear fuel etc.

Eventually it might be the nation to set up coalling stations as it is the one that benefits more from global trade.

Getting to California from Australia would be an adventure in itself but then you have to ask yourself, for what? There isn't much the US has to trade that justifies a regular trade route and by the time there is, the US probably won't want to be importing bulk food goods.

There could be a sort of reverse slave trade tricangle at somepoint where the Africans ship bulk goods to Europe, pick up refugees to sell to work as indentured workers on the sugar platations in Cuba and then use teh profits to ship sugar and booze back to Africa. I like the irony of this even though it's unlikely.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:50 AM
Olefin Olefin is offline
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could see local trading blocs for sure - i.e. NZ/Australia/Pacific Island nations for one, another being Burma/Thailand/Malaysia/Singapore and definitely the Caribbean nations and South America

look at Grenada for instance - once you have dealt with the pirates and the Cubans that are there, you could see them very easily getting into selling ethanol fuel to other countries in the area as well as sugar and rum

let alone with the shipwrights there (assuming they dont all get killed off in the module) they can sell sailing craft for other countries to use
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:32 PM
Neal5x5 Neal5x5 is offline
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Historically, after a major die-off of the population from plague or other means, the major economic event to occur is inflation. There are fewer people to work, therefore employers compete for workers and are forced to increase wages to remain competative. This drives up wages as well as demand for goods and services.

I don't have a reference handy, but IIRC, following one of the more unpleasant bouts of Black Death in Europe, local wages doubled and then tripled in the space of a single year. It also inspired a few revolutions that limited the power of the local nobles. I'll have to see if I can dig that out of my library when I get home.

As to how this impacts trade, you would have small populations of people with more wealth that wanted, and had the ability to pay for, goods and services that otherwise might not have been practical, such as coffee, machine parts, etc.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:35 PM
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Let's not forget emerging polities, either. "International" may suddenly mean "the Carolinas" - or whatever other coastal pocket of civilization is home to your PCs and has some sort of export good.

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Old 04-03-2013, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by simonmark6 View Post
Very interesting thread.


Getting to California from Australia would be an adventure in itself but then you have to ask yourself, for what? There isn't much the US has to trade that justifies a regular trade route and by the time there is, the US probably won't want to be importing bulk food goods.

There could be a sort of reverse slave trade tricangle at somepoint where the Africans ship bulk goods to Europe, pick up refugees to sell to work as indentured workers on the sugar platations in Cuba and then use teh profits to ship sugar and booze back to Africa. I like the irony of this even though it's unlikely.
As for what the US may have to trade with, that's somewhat irrelevant if you take a long view: market research/intelligence gathering combined with relief supplies (medical, food, ammo, weapons, tools) distribution could help stabilize and set up a future market share, with a trading enclave as a semi-permanent fixture. Lots of good will and "hearts and minds" action going on there. Think French and English trading expeditions into North America in the 17th & 18th centuries.
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:44 PM
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I wonder if you'd see transnational trading polities forming after 2000, kind of like a modern iteration of the Hanseatic League which, BTW, had a very powerful presence on along the Baltic Coast from the 13th to the 16th centuries.
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:50 AM
Cpl. Kalkwarf Cpl. Kalkwarf is offline
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Of coarse they would. The World would not just stop, hell the survivors would go on trying out how to make a living and raise family's. There are always people figuring out a way to make a buck in the worst of conditions. Need to put a roof over ones head and food in the belly. Granted it would never be on the scope or level of prewar conditions.

Another thing to consider is fuel, I have been thinking of this allot. There are quite a few smaller refineries that have survived. Some were not in operation at the time of the TDM. Now granted they do not put out the quantity of petrol and refined oils that the prewar refineries did. But they do not need to. There are not that many people that need it anyway. Also most of it would most likely go to military use anyway, followed by other efforts such as food production (farming) and distribution.

Basically everything is going to be on a smaller scale anyways. Though certain areas would have more traffic and activities anyways. With hubs of civilization and activity sprouting up, while the rest of the areas go wild and are just there for future expansion.

Instead of trying to bring everything back into action and to normal prewar condition. One would and should have city states or cantonments with wilderness and or subsistence farmers in between. If these cities start to get too much population then they would or could start some colonization of wild areas or prewar locations with the promise of future growth and property for those willing to venture out. (much like in the days of the move west in American history.)

Actually its much like the wild west anyway just with scattered modern tech thrown in.

Doctors, Engineers, Technical knowledge would actually be the new mission.

People will carry on with living and generally getting back to the rigors of life. They will adapt.

I'm going to start a new face to face game with this in mind. Start with the standard 2.2 ish time line possibly updated. when and if the characters make it back state side on the evacuation. they will most likely if they remain with the military or government they will be sent out to a post much like in the old west. to handle all the fun those had to back in the day. (just updated with current problems )
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