Singreal History & Politics - 8th Edition - Singreal Associated Press 2289 - 2347 The Shao Years The successes of the Ganymede Development Corporation had thrust its executives into the forefront of Singreali political culture, in a time when that political culture was becoming increasingly dominated by "darlings" whose primary distinction was producing dramatic results fast. This dynamic became known to elicit tensions between established entities that were on the decline, or various labor movements that the Singreali government dutifully sought to quash. For instance, the Singreal Teamsters continued to run a delicate dance on the fringe of the Singreali law, moving between supporting and opposing the Board as it suited them; and the CEO of TransLuna was for a time regarded as a position that immediately premeditated CEO of Singreal itself (which was as good a position as any to guarantee an eventual spot on the Board). This trend was bucked in two important ways by the onset of what would become known simply as the Shao Years, also the Shao Era. Dr. Binyamin Shao had been the CEO and Founder of the Ganymede Development Corporation, heading it from the beginning as a brilliant and diligent woman. Once the crop yields were up and profits started pouring in, as slowly but surely the Ganymede Development Corporation began to feed the solar system, the good doctor became a celebrity in Singreal. Bucking the previously established trend of 35 years, the Board of Directors appointed her the CEO of the SHC in 2289, passing up the then-CEO of TransLuna. This inaugurated a 58-year period where Dr. Shao became an unshakeable political force. The core of this success came from the dividends paid out on the last century of investment strategy: it was a perfect storm for Dr. Shao, who came to preside over a golden age of growth. Rapidly growing industries were fed by other rapidly growing industries, as the growing markets of the "translunar commercial sphere" promised steadily increasing returns. Food and shipping: this became Singreal's bread and butter, and on this rock Dr. Shao built her church. The first half of the 24th century in Singreal is remembered as a halcyon time for these and many other reasons. Though many competitors appeared, none were able to topple the complex house of cards that the Shao Board presided over. It seemed that good times were going to last forever. Then the market crashed. Early in the first quarter of 2347, the Singreal Industrial Index stumbled a more considerable amount than it ever had before - although not, as was constantly assured, "enough to destroy the economy." But speculation abounded as to the causes: was it insider trading? Anxiety about more trouble in Ceres with the BMIC? The economy "cooling off" following bad investments in the ice worlds? Whatever the case, and despite the Board desperately trying to rekindle investment, the markets crashed again in the third quarter and seemed to portend a nasty recession. Fractures formed in the Shao coalition as opposing forces demanded different solutions to the market problem. Since a good deal of the SII indexes subsidiaries of the SHC, there was initially good support for Shao's proposed solution: buy the failed stocks, prop them up, and liquidate the less-employing businesses. But there was cynicism about this solution that only grew as the year went on. How long could this go on? Weren't Singreali enterprises meant to be profitable? And could the economy handle any more inflation? Shao as well as more than half of the Board would be removed by the end of 2353, though Shao still later in life earned a symbolic position on the Board well after this all had passed. The point, anyway, is that the ensuing recession sparked interest in political change in a political economy that had long been, of a sort, ossified. 2348 - 2356 The Recession In 2353, patience for Shao's strategy had run out. With the appropriate ceremony, she was dismissed and replaced with the accountant (and scion of billionaire family) Kevin Yu, who was now reckoned the helm of "the Liquidationists," as this faction called itself. Kevin Yu's strategy can be accurately summed in the word "financialization," which would go on to serve as the theme of the second half of the 24th century for Singreal. Failing businesses would be ruthlessly cut, and competition encouraged between subsidiaries that would be aggressively merged and refactored according to the more successful models. Efficiency became the name of the game, and this approach also involved a foreign recapitalization strategy that would use liquidated capital to target more cost-effective investment opportunities: in other nations as well as in other corporate entities. 2356 - ? The Gilded Era The recession was finally conquered in 2356 - and the tea leaves were good. Singreali business was leaning up across the board and several subsidiaries received the axe. TransLuna absorbed the next two largest shipping companies. The Ganymede Development Corporation was merged into the Jovian Redevelopment Corporation. And most importantly, Singreal pushed full-bore into building up its financial markets. The SII - once one among many - set out to cement its place as the biggest index in the solar system. Derivatives and securities markets took off; investment firms exploded - at the center of it all, Singreal was cultivating its reserve bank as a store of wealth and currency exchange, and capitalizing on two centuries of being the leading commercial destination outside Earth's atmosphere. If there was to be a future in Singreal, everyone seemed to agree, it was in the markets... of markets. With offices all across the belt and moons, silver tongues, and big promises, Kevin Yu was the hero of modern Singreal, and the father of space finance. "You called me, in your editorial, a war profiteer. I'm just a businessman. War between the colonies - that's nasty business. And I'm not the one instigating that. You go complain to those politicians and their toy boats, making the Stellar Congress a clown circus. We're not profiteers, we're helpers - just here to help smooth out the edges and make everyone else a little more comfortable in these trying times." - K. Yu -- Interplanetary Warfare (1) - Warships. Nasty business, but that's the curse of being successful. Planetary Defence (0) - That's what insurance is for. Political Influence (2) - What would you call intense financialization and massive reinvestment schemes other than a purest expression of capitalist political economy? Advanced Development (2) - High-margin industries, technology, and expertise - this is how we're making money in Singreal. Resource Extraction (1) - We need just enough to make it, the rest we'll let the others do and pay them pennies on the dollar for. Environmental Engineering (0) - Have you seen the margins on this crap?