Monday, June 15, 2009

IPTO announces new regulation for self-rep capable fabs

From the AT news service

The Inter-Planetary Trade Organisation announced today (E 12/6/2129) that agreement has been reached on a set of new regulations governing the operation and ownership of Von Neuman class ("self-rep capable") fabs. With immediate effect, ownership of all such facilities passes to a new body, Fabbing Monopoly Ltd, a holding company jointly owned by all IPTO members. The newly established body, to be headquartered on Ceres, will be responsible for "correcting over-production", with the aim of restoring the primacy of Earth's extractive and manfacturing sectors. The communique also stated that "appropriate levels of compensation" will be paid to the former owns of fabs, although no details were given of how valuations would be calculated.

Market reaction to the surprise IPTO move was mixed; commodities prices surged on the news, with copper ore rising as high as 10 cent per ton at one point, but equity markets fell further. Reaction from trade unions was also mixed, with spokesfolk welcoming the likely reduction in the influx of cheap 'fabbed droid labour, but also voicing concerns as to the likely effect on their membership's spending power of a reduction in imports from the trans-Martian manufacturing belt.

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