Expansionist Stock Market Slumps 7% In Single Day, Outlook GrimThe AIE's Acrylon Composite stock index fell 7% in yesterday's trading as fears began to rise over AIE's economic overextension. Financial commentator Rudolph Inohaya pronounced that it is 'becoming apparent that the AIE's economic future hinges on its extraplanetary activities.' Inohaya explained that, "Since the founding of the AIE as a coherent government it has always expended extraordinary amounts of money on its colonization programs. The massive tax rate needed to pay for this expense has long stifled business in the alliance's borders; it's only a matter of time before we start to see a threat of a national debt default."
The AIE was originally founded as a treaty organization of CTN colonies at the tip of the spear of human colonization, wielding tremendous influence in their sphere of colonies whilst nominally being a member state. But when the First CTN War began the AIE formed the first Expansionist Congress in 2341 and declared themselves a sovereign alliance, joining with the Hale Collective in a war of independence against the CTN. Almost seventeen years have passed since then, and the AIE have yet to run a budget surplus due to the amount of money that had been spent on both the war effort against the CTN and the debts from the colonization projects. Having to provide the majority of High Guard funding since the war with the Praelor began seven years ago only added to the burden.
Now it appears that cracks are beginning to show. Most of the colonization projects undertaken by the AIE have yet to produce a profit; over-optimistic estimates of resource deposits and corporate tax rates of up to 75% have done much to strangle any economic development that could have arisen from the expansion. The economy has been declining since early last year, but now companies such as Acrylon Courier Transport (ACRT) and Siren Electronics (SELC) are in particularly dire straits, with Siren on the verge of bankruptcy and Acrylon Courier looking to make massive cuts and lay-offs.
It is believed by some in the AIE that the warm relations between the AIE and the Hale will mean an increase in trade and a potential market for the AIE's exports, which are mostly in the high-tech sector which Hale's non-pilot citizens are only recently being able to afford to consume in. The Hale is nearing completion of its major industrial complex projects, and as well as its 'Secondary Jump Hub project' that will help integrate the frontiers of human space into a coherent whole. Some analysts believe this will lead to a rebound of the AIE economy. Mr. Inohaya thinks otherwise. "The AIE as an alliance are spread too thin. Despite having 28% of inhabited human space under our administration, we have the lowest population of any alliance, and this is reflected in our economic performance. The AIE's colonies either need a sudden influx of manpower, such as by integrating the millions of itinerant peoples of no fixed nationality [known as 'Unregistered' amongst pilots] or they need to focus on their extraplanetary operations. Pilots will become more important than ever to the AIE's economy as its private industry falters in the wake of tough competition from the Hale and the Commonwealth."
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