Valentina drummed her pencil on the table top. Forms,letters and agreements were strewn all across. A keyboard jutted out like a forlorn, wave-washed, granite peninsula. Teetering opposite, at the very edge,was a collection of monitors. Each showed graphs, lists, connections and official looking, bureaucratic documents. Her life had become a verisimilitude of bureaucracy and it didn’t appeal to her.
“Did you ever imagine that something as simple as setting a trade agreement could be so convoluted?” she asked Max who was sitting outside on the balcony enjoying the Sun and the breeze.
“I wasn’t the one who had over sized dreams of grandeur” he replied. “Perhaps the World Trade Organization isn’t ready for an out-of-this-world relationship.” He smiled to himself on reflecting upon his pun.
“You can’t be serious can you?” she answered.”The WTO is supposed to ensure that trade is open, free and transparent between nations. The colonists on the Moon are a nation. They have every right to free and open trade with any nation on Earth!”
“But there is no free trade on Earth.” he answered. “For all the fuss and bother, it’s like always. The strong make the rules and the weak do whatever it takes to survive. At least until they become the strong ones. And then they get to make the rules.”
“But that’s just not fair. How can people on the Moon ever hope to develop an economy if industries on Earth only want to maximize their returns? If the top 5 or 10 industries of a nation request tariffs on Lunar goods then we won’t have a chance at entering its market. We probably can’t do much but offer esoteric luxury goods anyway. Who’s it going to hurt if we sell a few million dollars worth of lunar rock to collectors on Earth?”
“You and I both know that it’s not the breccia that’s got the Earthlings scared. It’s the energy potential. Now that we’ve recharged the batteries on a satellite they realize that the Moon does have potential. A lot of electrical potential!” He smiled again. Two puns in one sitting must be some sort of personal record he thought.
“That doesn’t really count. It was a demonstration and it had so many restrictions that it barely occurred. And it wasn’t very many Joules. If we were to become a major energy supplier to the Earth then we’d have to cover half the lunar surface in solar collectors. Think of all the material that would have to be carried from the Earth to the Moon to make that happen.”
“Yes, that’s a lot of material. But as we both know,we’re developing home-grown solar collectors. Now just imagine if the Moon becomes an energy exporter to an energy deprived Earth. Then, which trade partner will be the weaker and which will be the stronger?” Valentina drummed her pencil a little longer on the table. But she wasn’t seeing anything in front of her anymore. She was back on the Moon, in the Hab, looking at all the results from the assaying. “Max was right!” she thought. There was a huge potential on the Moon. She would need to balance the blood-lust of the developers against the needs of the colonists.And with careful teetering, the Earth would get energy and the colonists would get expanded infrastructure. Infrastructure leading them ever closer to self-sufficiency. She stopped drumming, leaned back and returned to planning,planning for the reams of bureaucratic communiqués.