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  1. - Top - End - #121
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    I don't understand pet pigs. I've smelled pigs. Don't get me wrong, I like pigs. Having a pig out in the pen rooting through the compost is great fun, and boy do they ever love some table scraps. But the out in the barnyard is key.

    (Other things pigs love, cottonwood leaves, cottonwood roots, pigweed stems, rats. Truly committed omnivores, pigs.)
    You forgot feces, rotting vegetation and corpses. There's a reason religions keep calling pigs unclean---they are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    You forgot feces, rotting vegetation and corpses. There's a reason religions keep calling pigs unclean---they are.
    They are also the ultimate survivors. You can release them in pretty much any environment (aside from extreme cold) and they will thrive - often to the detriment of local species. In fact in the colonization era this was exploited heavily as the exploratory missions would set some pigs free on the newly discovered lands so that the later colonizers would have a source of meat ready.

    edit: and for the discussion to still be relevant for the thread I present Pigs in Space!
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  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    I think lab grown meat will take over the second it is cheaper. Imagine how many less ecoli outbreaks and how much more shippable you can make it. All the supermarkets will want it, and the consumers will flock to prices (assuming it actually feels and tastes like meat.)
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    (assuming it actually feels and tastes like meat.)
    That's the big one. I've read that at present it's pretty decent for burgers & chicken nuggets etc, but that even those are a bit spongy - but that's largely a matter of getting the costs down along with possibly minor improvements.

    They aren't that close at being able to manufacture a good steak.

    So if they got ground meat equivalents to be cheaper than real meat, I'd guess that they would mostly take over those markets pretty quickly, but animal meat steaks would stick around and actually have their prices go up (since they would be forced to sell the parts of the cow only suitable for burger cheaper than before to stay competitive with vat grown). It wouldn't be until vat-grown could make actual slabs of meat properly that livestock would be truly outmoded.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    My prediction is this: They will eventually clone kobe beef, no one will be able to tell the difference - and within a decade, cows and pigs will only ever be seen in the zoo.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Kobe beef isn't something you clone. It's just a specific style of raising the animal.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    Kobe beef isn't something you clone. It's just a specific style of raising the animal.
    True, but it's supposed to be used to refer to a specific style of raising a very small number of breeds, and the meat is basically not really kobe wagyu if you're not in Japan and/or not paying exorbitant prices for it.
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  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    True, but it's supposed to be used to refer to a specific style of raising a very small number of breeds, and the meat is basically not really kobe wagyu if you're not in Japan and/or not paying exorbitant prices for it.
    Also, given the source pointing out factual errors isn't going to result in any sort of productive conversation.

    Instead, I'll address the question as intended and say that if we can clone the Japanese Black cattle used in Kobe beef and grow it in such a way that mimics the texture and flavor profile associated with them, it would certainly corner a certain sector of the market. At that point, the competition will be against cheaper lab-meats, since I imagine getting everything right will always be more expensive than creating a product with less stringent tolerances. However, there is also that phenomenon of conspicuous consumption as its own form of premium consumption--in other words, and Kobe beef* becomes more affordable, it will only increase demand for the real thing from a particular niche of consumers.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    Also, given the source pointing out factual errors isn't going to result in any sort of productive conversation.

    Instead, I'll address the question as intended and say that if we can clone the Japanese Black cattle used in Kobe beef and grow it in such a way that mimics the texture and flavor profile associated with them, it would certainly corner a certain sector of the market. At that point, the competition will be against cheaper lab-meats, since I imagine getting everything right will always be more expensive than creating a product with less stringent tolerances. However, there is also that phenomenon of conspicuous consumption as its own form of premium consumption--in other words, and Kobe beef* becomes more affordable, it will only increase demand for the real thing from a particular niche of consumers.
    Oh, most certainly.

    Also, not being able to tell the difference shouldn't really weigh into it; there are numerous studies about wine qualities being detectable, and not being able to tell a difference hasn't factored into the wine markets.
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  10. - Top - End - #130
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    You know, going back to the original technology raised way-back-when: Replicators. Theoretically, the Star Trek replicators are pretty much perfectly accurately, but there been at least a couple of debates in the shows between characters about whether you can really tell the difference between replicated foods and properly grown/cooked ones.

    Regardless of who is actually correct (since the limitations aren't explicitly stated, though some limitations must exist to prevent replicators from crashing the non-Federation economy) the fact that the debate rages on is probably one of the most accurate reflections of real life economics I've seen on the franchise.
    Last edited by Xyril; 2020-11-04 at 10:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    You know, going back to the original technology raised way-back-when: Replicators. Theoretically, the Star Trek replicators are pretty much perfectly accurately, but there been at least a couple of debates in the shows between characters about whether you can really tell the difference between replicated foods and properly grown/cooked ones.
    I've a memory of something in the extra materials (perhaps the TNG Technical Manual) that says there's some things that become toxic if they're replicated.

    Regardless of who is actually correct (since the limitations aren't explicitly stated, though some limitations must exist to prevent replicators from crashing the non-Federation economy) the fact that the debate rages on is probably one of the most accurate reflections of real life economics I've seen on the franchise.
    Latinum appears in DS9, which is a substance that cannot be replicated. I guess there's also energy requirements to run the replicators which means anti-matter availability would also be a limiting factor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Storm_Of_Snow View Post
    Latinum appears in DS9, which is a substance that cannot be replicated. I guess there's also energy requirements to run the replicators which means anti-matter availability would also be a limiting factor.
    I know that's why latinum seems to be the primary medium of exchange outside of specific currencies, and presumably backs a lot of said currencies. I was thinking more in terms of trade goods. For example, in DS9, the Ferengi make a number of trade deals that risk provoking the Dominion. Well, at first Quark was sent to arrange deals solely as a means to make contact with the Dominion through their members, but even after they realized how xenophobic and authoritarian the Dominion was, they continued to illicitly trade with some of those members despite the risk. So clearly, there was some value involved in getting these gamma quadrant goods that justified the danger. However, if the limitations of replications of replicators were down to energy usage and the inability to create latinum and a few other very limited classes of materials, then this sort of trade would be hard to justify.

    Instead of smuggling literal tons of tulaberry wine out of the Dominion, the Ferengi only have to import enough to scan/test until their replicators can recreate the drink. Yes, this will be energy intensive. However, considering that replicators are in general household in more developed worlds, it would still be a net-profit to divert replicators and power used to make chicken soup or other foods that can be grown in the alpha quadrant by a peaceful trading partner, and instead use them to make tulaberry wine, or other exotic goods. Yes, there's still the issue of "replicated isn't real, and real is prestige," but in general the premium market makes up only a fraction of trade. Also, it's the Ferengi--the fact that the source is replicated certainly wouldn't stop them from marketing it as imported.

  13. - Top - End - #133
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    I know that's why latinum seems to be the primary medium of exchange outside of specific currencies, and presumably backs a lot of said currencies. I was thinking more in terms of trade goods. For example, in DS9, the Ferengi make a number of trade deals that risk provoking the Dominion. Well, at first Quark was sent to arrange deals solely as a means to make contact with the Dominion through their members, but even after they realized how xenophobic and authoritarian the Dominion was, they continued to illicitly trade with some of those members despite the risk. So clearly, there was some value involved in getting these gamma quadrant goods that justified the danger. However, if the limitations of replications of replicators were down to energy usage and the inability to create latinum and a few other very limited classes of materials, then this sort of trade would be hard to justify.
    Replicators have size limits. Going to the absurd end of the spectrum here, but you can't replicate a starship.
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  14. - Top - End - #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Replicators have size limits. Going to the absurd end of the spectrum here, but you can't replicate a starship.
    True, but (and I dunno if it's A-canon or just B-canon) I recall some sources that alluded to the use of industrial scale replicators that manufacture many of the components of starships.

    I think my sentiment was more that the whole Silk Road vibe of DS9 as a hub of trade with the gamma quadrant (mostly of, presumably, small consumer goods that can fit into all those small ships that can fit along the docking ring) seems inconsistent with what we know about replicators. That said, I don't let it bother me too much because I find that bit of world-building to be very cool, and also a very convincing driver for Bajor's rapid transition from a recovering refugee planet to a major power that would plausibly say no to the Federation and everything it was offering.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    True, but (and I dunno if it's A-canon or just B-canon) I recall some sources that alluded to the use of industrial scale replicators that manufacture many of the components of starships.

    I think my sentiment was more that the whole Silk Road vibe of DS9 as a hub of trade with the gamma quadrant (mostly of, presumably, small consumer goods that can fit into all those small ships that can fit along the docking ring) seems inconsistent with what we know about replicators. That said, I don't let it bother me too much because I find that bit of world-building to be very cool, and also a very convincing driver for Bajor's rapid transition from a recovering refugee planet to a major power that would plausibly say no to the Federation and everything it was offering.
    Oh, I totally get your issue there. There's also the issues of scale (different scale this time). It's faster to take a space oil tanker through the Bahoran Wormhole than it is to fill that tanker up at Quark's Replicator Services. Having a Scooty Puff Jr. version of a replicator IRL, I can attest that buying factory-made things ain't going out of style, and that probably scales up for Star Trek replicators at some point.
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  16. - Top - End - #136
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Early DS9 talks about how many industrial grade replicators they'll shift to Bajor for the rebuilding, with the hint that the more Bajor toes the line, the more they'll get.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    I've run out of straws to grasp, it looks like.
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  18. - Top - End - #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Oh, I totally get your issue there. There's also the issues of scale (different scale this time). It's faster to take a space oil tanker through the Bahoran Wormhole than it is to fill that tanker up at Quark's Replicator Services. Having a Scooty Puff Jr. version of a replicator IRL, I can attest that buying factory-made things ain't going out of style, and that probably scales up for Star Trek replicators at some point.
    I think you hit the nail here. If something is as universal as a replicator, then it is clearly not optimal for specific choices. Dedicated production lines will still be a thing just because of higher efficiency once you have the whole setup running.

    It can be compared to two different programming paradigms (if it is the right word): you either write the code in 5 minutes resulting in a 1 hour runtime, or spend 1 hour coding to achieve a 5 minute runtime. Which one is best for a given situation depends on how often the code will be needed and how constrained the resources are.

    That being said, there are industrial grade replicators in Star Trek as I think the Cardasians got some from the Federation as part of the peace treaty. I kind of remember a scene from DS9 where Kira was getting angry that Cardasians got quite a few high class replicators, while Bajor got one and most likely an older model, so the perpetrators got better off than the victims. It was very long time ago, so there might have been some data corruption in my brain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    True, but (and I dunno if it's A-canon or just B-canon) I recall some sources that alluded to the use of industrial scale replicators that manufacture many of the components of starships.
    There's another non-canon quote - might even be from Gene Roddenberry - that was that if you actually could replicate an entire starship, you wouldn't need to.

    The Armada RTS games seem to work on the basis that the construction ships/construction yards replicate the components, but it's then all assembled.

    I think my sentiment was more that the whole Silk Road vibe of DS9 as a hub of trade with the gamma quadrant (mostly of, presumably, small consumer goods that can fit into all those small ships that can fit along the docking ring)
    And self-sealing stem bolts. ;)

    seems inconsistent with what we know about replicators. That said, I don't let it bother me too much because I find that bit of world-building to be very cool, and also a very convincing driver for Bajor's rapid transition from a recovering refugee planet to a major power that would plausibly say no to the Federation and everything it was offering.
    Well, there is a difference between a starship crew that may potentially be away from support for months, possibly years at a time, and thus need replicators to keep things livable (going back to the TNG technical manual, the feedstock for the replicators is essentially the waste matter, which is broken down, passed through conduits and assembled by modified transporter technology), and someone on a responsibly developed world that has agriculture and a decent transport network to move the products around - the latter may have replicators available as part of an emergency disaster relief system, or in a hospital to synthesise pharmaceuticals for rare conditions, but other than that, most people would consume naturally grown food.

    And even on those worlds that do have general replicator use, there may still be a demand for natural food, hand crafted goods and so on, simply because they're unique, there's flaws and imperfections that no machine could achieve and so on - for a real-world example, look at the Arts and Crafts artistic movement at around the turn of the 20th century, which was kind of a rebellion against industrialisation and mass production for something more hand-crafted and using traditional skills.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Storm_Of_Snow View Post
    And self-sealing stem bolts. ;)
    Oh hey I need some of those. Would you be willing to take some yammok sauce for them?
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    That's still my second favorite Nog episode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Storm_Of_Snow View Post

    Well, there is a difference between a starship crew that may potentially be away from support for months, possibly years at a time, and thus need replicators to keep things livable (going back to the TNG technical manual, the feedstock for the replicators is essentially the waste matter, which is broken down, passed through conduits and assembled by modified transporter technology), and someone on a responsibly developed world that has agriculture and a decent transport network to move the products around - the latter may have replicators available as part of an emergency disaster relief system, or in a hospital to synthesise pharmaceuticals for rare conditions, but other than that, most people would consume naturally grown food.
    I think it's the inconsistency of this bit that nags me a bit. On one hand, on DS9 you have the Replimat, which implies that replicators aren't available in all quarters, or that they might be more expensive to use, or limited, or have other drawbacks. On the other hand, I also vaguely recall allusions to household replicators being common on Ferenginar and Earth. On other worlds, the balance would make sense if the energy costs of running replicators were higher than the equivalent economic costs of growing food, but the vague socialist utopian Earth envisioned by Roddenberry complicates things.

    But anyway, the original topic question raised wasn't why everyone doesn't use replicators for everything, but rather what constraints replicators place on trade. The cost/efficiency disadvantage of replicators doesn't have to be too high to justify growing food on your world, or even importing it from elsewhere in your system or from nearby worlds. Things just begin to strain credulity a bit when you start dealing with much longer, costlier, and riskier trade routes, or smuggling. It may be justified in limited circumstances where the replicator isn't a perfect substitute (IIRC, in TNG it was mentioned that replicators couldn't synthesize Romulan blood due to its complexity) or other restrictions are at play (if you have to smuggle weapons into a nation, for example, it's likely that the government that restricts possession of weapons would also require hardcoded limits on their replicators to prevent their manufacture.)

    However, back to my extreme example: How freakin' amazing does non-replicated tulaberry wine have to be that you'd risk pissing off the Dominion to buy it? IIRC, the episode Starship Down was precipitated because the Jem Hadar were sent to wipe out the entire trade delegation as punishment.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    I think it's the inconsistency of this bit that nags me a bit. On one hand, on DS9 you have the Replimat, which implies that replicators aren't available in all quarters, or that they might be more expensive to use, or limited, or have other drawbacks. On the other hand, I also vaguely recall allusions to household replicators being common on Ferenginar and Earth. On other worlds, the balance would make sense if the energy costs of running replicators were higher than the equivalent economic costs of growing food, but the vague socialist utopian Earth envisioned by Roddenberry complicates things.

    But anyway, the original topic question raised wasn't why everyone doesn't use replicators for everything, but rather what constraints replicators place on trade. The cost/efficiency disadvantage of replicators doesn't have to be too high to justify growing food on your world, or even importing it from elsewhere in your system or from nearby worlds. Things just begin to strain credulity a bit when you start dealing with much longer, costlier, and riskier trade routes, or smuggling. It may be justified in limited circumstances where the replicator isn't a perfect substitute (IIRC, in TNG it was mentioned that replicators couldn't synthesize Romulan blood due to its complexity) or other restrictions are at play (if you have to smuggle weapons into a nation, for example, it's likely that the government that restricts possession of weapons would also require hardcoded limits on their replicators to prevent their manufacture.)

    However, back to my extreme example: How freakin' amazing does non-replicated tulaberry wine have to be that you'd risk pissing off the Dominion to buy it? IIRC, the episode Starship Down was precipitated because the Jem Hadar were sent to wipe out the entire trade delegation as punishment.
    DS9 was a Cardassian station that IIRC used Cardassian replicator technology.
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    And if memory serves, they were completely off-line most of the first season as well.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    And if memory serves, they were completely off-line most of the first season as well.
    I can't remember whether it's due to the unreliability of Cardassian tech or that the Cardassians boobytrapped or spiked most of the stations systems before they left.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    I think it's the inconsistency of this bit that nags me a bit. On one hand, on DS9 you have the Replimat, which implies that replicators aren't available in all quarters, or that they might be more expensive to use, or limited, or have other drawbacks. On the other hand, I also vaguely recall allusions to household replicators being common on Ferenginar and Earth. On other worlds, the balance would make sense if the energy costs of running replicators were higher than the equivalent economic costs of growing food, but the vague socialist utopian Earth envisioned by Roddenberry complicates things.
    And 10-Forward in TNG - some of that could just be the Replimat, Quark's Bar, the Klingon Restuarant that appears later on etc are seen as places to socialise, conduct business and so on. I've a vague memory of Quark getting the heating lowered (or at least considering the idea) in the residential areas as well to push people into the promenade where it's warmer.

    And I doubt most of the quarters for transients (rather than station crew) would have anything other than Cardassian decor - at least initially - which may well be enough encouragement for people to eat out.

    But anyway, the original topic question raised wasn't why everyone doesn't use replicators for everything, but rather what constraints replicators place on trade. The cost/efficiency disadvantage of replicators doesn't have to be too high to justify growing food on your world, or even importing it from elsewhere in your system or from nearby worlds. Things just begin to strain credulity a bit when you start dealing with much longer, costlier, and riskier trade routes, or smuggling.
    Depends on what level replicators work at - if it's atomic, then for every Runabout that gets destroyed, you'd still need someone to mine a load of iron, aluminimum, titanium, copper and other, rarer elements to feed into a replicators feed stock - some of which may be all but worked out in core systems and need bringing in from more remote systems.

    For smuggling, it's probably a lot easier to justify - certain patterns may be restricted (for example, opiates might be available in limited amounted to a medical officer for pain relief, but all replicator uses are logged and require specific authorisations), while others may not just be unavailable, but there's code in the system to prevent them from being scanned and stored, and any relatively benign precursor chemicals for man-made narcotics are also logged and only available in small amounts at a time.

    It may be justified in limited circumstances where the replicator isn't a perfect substitute (IIRC, in TNG it was mentioned that replicators couldn't synthesize Romulan blood due to its complexity) or other restrictions are at play (if you have to smuggle weapons into a nation, for example, it's likely that the government that restricts possession of weapons would also require hardcoded limits on their replicators to prevent their manufacture.)
    Well, there's Picard using the Thompson in the holodeck with disabled safety protocols in First Contact (and yes, there's the whole issue with matter from the holodeck can't leave it - except where it does) , and one of the flashbacks in Fallen Heroes that has one of the characters (Kira? It's been a while since I last read it) trying to replicate firearms when phasers prove useless against the attacking enemy - the replicators are malfunctioning due to the attack and produce junk, but at least in that story there's patterns for them in the system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I can't remember whether it's due to the unreliability of Cardassian tech or that the Cardassians boobytrapped or spiked most of the stations systems before they left.
    There's the incompatibility between Federation and Cardassian systems, the state of the systems left behind when Sisko et al take over, hidden Cardassian programs (Civil Defence) and Bajoran Resistance sabotage - Babel was due to this rather than anything the Cardassians left behind.

    Although to be fair, it's not like the Federation left the station in a much better state at the end of the 5th season.

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    Apr 2015

    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Storm_Of_Snow View Post
    And 10-Forward in TNG - some of that could just be the Replimat, Quark's Bar, the Klingon Restuarant that appears later on etc are seen as places to socialise, conduct business and so on. I've a vague memory of Quark getting the heating lowered (or at least considering the idea) in the residential areas as well to push people into the promenade where it's warmer.
    Depends on what level replicators work at - if it's atomic, then for every Runabout that gets destroyed, you'd still need someone to mine a load of iron, aluminimum, titanium, copper and other, rarer elements to feed into a replicators feed stock - some of which may be all but worked out in core systems and need bringing in from more remote systems.
    Well, there's the whole cost in sentient lives thing, but if you want to dismiss that (or just assign them an arbitrary number that's interchangeable with any other resource) there's still the issue of comparative costs, which is the true driver of trade. If you lose ten percent of your ships in trade, but manage to bring in trade goods that are worth more than the cost of replacing those ships plus the total spent purchasing goods (including those never successfully arrive) plus cost of those pesky lost sentient lives plus any other overhead, then technically the business is "worth it" because it turns a profit.

    However, if replicators can create a perfect replica of those particular trade goods, and the trade in those goods is high enough volume to justify initial setup costs, then at that point it would almost certainly be more efficient to replicate them from a safer, local source. If you believe Voyager (where Janeway once mentioned that "recycling" a fancy watch that was replicated her would let them replicate a pair of boots or some other more necessary item), then the elements involved are somewhat interchangeable. If there's profit to be made running the gauntlet to bring in vast quantities of wine, then there's even more profit to be made in adapting a local source and not having to replace 10% of your goods and your ships.

    For smuggling, it's probably a lot easier to justify - certain patterns may be restricted (for example, opiates might be available in limited amounted to a medical officer for pain relief, but all replicator uses are logged and require specific authorisations), while others may not just be unavailable, but there's code in the system to prevent them from being scanned and stored, and any relatively benign precursor chemicals for man-made narcotics are also logged and only available in small amounts at a time.
    I'm not sure if you're actually reading my posts for content at this point, or just skimming for points to be content, but I explicitly raised the point that smuggling might be justified when you're bringing restricted good in to a system where the government is able to impose limitations on replicators and other manufacturing. You might want to give it a read--you might find we have very similar thoughts on this point.

    In general, however, the risks of smuggling interdiction (or general piracy, for that matter) are hard to justify. When you're smuggling goods in to a restricted area, you're most likely bringing in desired goods to a place where someone in power is doing his darned best to keep people from importing or manufacturing those goods. In other words, there may not be a viable alternative. When you're smuggling goods out of or through a restricted region, you're risking poking the bear for no reason. The Federation, and numerous other neighboring governments, most likely aren't interested in preventing someone from replicating Dominion wines. When you have replicators, you have the advantage of being able to create a source of goods in pretty much any location with the requisite energy/economic resources, and the absence of a totalitarian government with a vested interested in keeping you out.

    Moreover, the risks of smuggling in this case were far graver than the likelihood that the Dominion would confiscate or destroy a few of your cargo ships--they attacked a Federation warship in order to wipe out the guys who negotiated the illicit trade deal in order to make an example of them. It's not complicated to factor in the cost of lost ships and sentient lives from your own trading fleet--particularly for the Ferengi, in this case. It becomes much more complicated when you consider that the smuggling would most likely result in additional restrictions or reprisals against Dominion sanctioned trade against the Ferengi and their associates.

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