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When the Coal Runs Out

When the coal seams run out, Hstan already has a working system of solar collectors, wind generators, hydrogen plants, hydrogen fuel cells, and large batteries for storing electricity for when weather does not cooperate. Because of the decision two generations ago to sideline the gambling casinos, Hstan society has the resources (in both the public and private sectors) to make these gradual changes without causing great hardship on the general citizenry. With the new electrical facilities built, this generation of Hstan citizens will enjoy even more prosperity than their parents and grandparents.

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But in Gstan, the picture is not so good. Neither the government nor the free market could find alternative sources of energy in time. Gstan citizens are using their forests to heat their homes—and these forests may last only another decade. Because energy is now so expensive, farms and factories are no longer as productive as they were.

“The solution,” says the government of Gstan, “is trade with Hstan.” So they send a delegation to their neighbor to open up trade talks. “What do you have to offer,” says the negotiator for the government of Hstan. “Why,” says the head of the Gstan trade delegation, “we have these excellent casinos for your citizens as a vacation destination. They can experience the pleasure and excitement of gambling as we Gstan citizens have for the past two generations.”

“Only a very few of our citizens would enjoy your casinos,” says the negotiator from Hstan, “You have very little that interests us.”


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© 2009 Dave Volek.
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