The INSL council on Economic Advancement announced today that international exchange of goods has reached a record high. This, combined with the recent report on the burgeoning economy, is leading some to believe that the two are closely linked.
The traditionally open borders among the countries within Valhalla have long been a vehicle for cultural and economic exchange. Ever since the end of the Great War when the current national boundaries were set, there have been a remarkable number of travelers between the nations. Naturally many of these travelers have been Newbies, who are renowned for their wanderlust. These Newbies, however, are far from having a monopoly on international travel and trade.
The Merchant Guild confirmed that their records show a marked year-over-year increase in the international transport of goods for ten consecutive years. “The majority of world trade seems to be imports arriving in Ada-Kar,” says Langston Raker, a Guild spokesman. “This is, of course, easily explained by the fact that there is not enough land available on the island to grow food to sustain its population. While the price of imports makes living here significantly more expensive it’s status as world capital means there are no shortage of people who want or need to live there.”
Beyond this, however, international trade has been booming for many years. Most notable is the almost universal trade of grains and other food stores from the Nations of the Sun to practically every other part of the world. The fertile soil and reliable sources of water have made this area one of the largest food producing nations on the face of the planet.
Meanwhile the Nations of the Sun have been importing mass-produced specialty goods from the Allied Nations. Chief among these goods are plows and other farming equipment. In fact the so-called “middle-breaker plow” has become so common among the Egyptian populace that it is now one of the sacrificial items that are dedicated to Renenutet, the goddess of the harvest, each year.
Not all goods transported from these Technophile nations are so benign. It is well-known that inexpensive mass-produced melee weapons have been making their way from the Western Continent to many Low-Tech nations. The aggressors from the recent Hobgoblin uprising in Xa’cor dy Yelpheet, for example, were armed almost entirely by mass-produced short swords, maces, and spears produced in the Axis Nations. The Allied Nations have been doing significant business with similar goods in the Nations of the Sun while Narodnaya Strana seems to have been supplying arms to the Coalition of City-States.
Oddly while these countries seem to be exporting such goods at an alarming rate, the trade of specialty hand-made weapons from Technophobic nations to Technophile nations also seems to be on the rise. Ornately designed and masterfully crafted weapons such as the Japanese katana or the Roman gladius are often given to business partners or political counterparts as tokens of friendship and esteem. These hand-crafted items are more likely to be seen in a museum than on the battlefield.
It can be said that nearly all nations enjoy some level of international trade. Besides those already mentioned, there are a wide number of other countries that export and import a plethora of goods. Such exports include petroleum from the People of Islam, oceangoing vessels from the Imperial Nations, and precious gems and ores from the Coalition of American States.
In fact there are only a few nations that do not have open trade policies. These include the ever-secretive Gorgonian aliens who control Gyr Kuzott and the insular fiefdoms within the Kingdoms.
Ironically another nation that has had limited trade options is Megalopolis. While it would seem logical that the people of this high-tech nation would be a dominant force among the world economy, it has found so few trading partners that the nation is bordering on insolvency. The reason being that high-tech devices that would normally be in such demand are relatively useless in areas outside of their own borders. The ability to own an entire library on a single hand-held device or even a holo-phone becomes useless when the devices suffer repeated breakdowns when removed from their native Tech Zone.
Of all their advances, only their cutting-edge medical industry is viable on the international field. Any number of their pharmaceutical goods can be used throughout the world without suffering ill effects from transitioning to a lower tech zone. The only interference in such areas is often cultural, such as the Kingdom’s refusal of all medication more advanced than the leach.
Robust trade throughout Valhalla is a sure sign that the nations of the world have many opportunities to cooperate for the betterment of all. As more time passes and the wounds and sorrows of the Great War are forgotten, it is more likely that international peace will reign. Economists caution, however, that such open trade can lead to world-wide problems should the current economic boom turn to bust.