Biotopia Economy

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Economy of the Sixth Republic of Biotopia
Currency 1 Vello (v) = 100 ek (e)
Fiscal year calendar year
Trade organizations IFTA
Statistics
GDP ranking 12th in region as of 2020
GDP PPP V 1.6 trillion (2020)
GDP growth rate 1.0% (2020)
GDP per capita V 35,300 (2020)
GDP by sector agriculture (5.2%), industry (31.5%), services (63.3%) (2020)
Inflation rate 1.9% (2020)
Pop below poverty line N/A
Labour force 28.43m (2020)
Labour force by occupation services (64%), industry (33%), agriculture (3%) (2020)
Unemployment 3.0% (2020)
Main industries beverages, chemicals, food processing, glass, information technology, metals, shipbuilding and textiles
Trading partners
Exports V 1.86bn (2020)
Main partners N/A
Imports V 1.89bn (2020)
Main partners N/A
Public finances
Public debt V 36.8bn (2020)
External debt V 180.3bn (2020)
Economic aid V 1.5bn (2020)

Biotopia is one of the 15 largest economies in the region by GDP and sustains a high standard of living. Biotopia is a ratified member of the International Fair trade Agreement as well as a member of the anti-capitalist alliance and the United Nations. The economy is sometimes described as an eco-socialist, post-socialist or more traditionally a liberal socialist system.

Economic Structure

The four cornerstones of the Biotopian economy are the constitutional prohibition of capitalism, provincial self-sufficiency, modernisation and environmental sustainability. Biotopia supports an export-orientated agricultural sector, diversified industrial base a highly educated population and a developed national infrastructure network. Manufacturing exports and the service industry have become an increasingly important aspect of sustaining the economic status que. The government has initiated policies aimed at linking environmental sustainability with economic development with success.

Provincial Self-Sufficiency

The provinces retain a high-degree of fiscal independence. Under the previous system of a Centralised Planned Economy (CPE). To overcome the inherent problems of planning the national economy provincial governments were charged with organising, planning and managing their own centralised economies. Some vestiges of the centrally planed economy remain such as production quotas and a strong presence by the government at the regional and national level. Provincial self-sufficiency has largely been limited to key areas such as agriculture, energy and light manufacturing.

Modernisation

Agriculture and manufacturing have traditionally been the main non-government enterprise sectors in the Biotopian economy. Replacing traditional industrial practices with modern high-capital industry and integrating with information technology has been an important aspect of the modernisation process. Likewise the reforms from a centrally planned to a decentralised economy have required transition from manufacturing to services and from traditional heavy industry to finance, information technology and telecommunications. The term modernisation has covered a broad range of reforms technological, social and economic but in general it relates to the transition from a centralised to a decentralised system with the adaptation of innovation and efficiency.

Sustainability

Sustainable environmental practice is a twin aspect of the modernisation process. Environmental conditions are linked with economic development. Some of these innovations include a carbon tax, a national carbon neutral initiative and incentives in reducing resource use and waste production. Environmental innovation has proven to be a stimulus for new businesses centred on technology conversion, technical design, recycling and providing environmental services to other businesses. The government has established several national targets in reducing the ecological footprint of the average citizen and neutralising the worst excesses of industrial development on the nation.

Private Enterprise

There are a variety of ownership and management structures used in Biotopian business practice. In essence capitalism is constitutionally prohibited with an exception covered by the Small Enterprise Act (SEA I) and the Self-Employed Act (SEA II) which allows for the private ownership of the means of production and un-elected management in companies employing five or less staff. These exemptions were introduced to cover the self-employed and those who work in niche and micro-cottage industries. About 2.5% of the GDP is generated by these businesses which are typically family centred affairs. The self-employed are limited to owning assets in excess of V 671,000 and small enterprises are limited to assets of V 941,000.

Agriculture

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Agriculture is an important part of the Biotopian economy with Cereals, fisheries, livestock and forestry as major export commodities. Spirits, beverages and fresh produce are important staples of the domestic market. The agricultural sector also produces raw materials for the textile, biofuel and pharmaceutical industry as well as contribution to some industrial practices.


Most agricultural land is legally held as a “Commons in Trust” by the provincial government. This means the land is set aside in the public interest and protected as public property. Farmers themselves are not provincial employees but “Trust Custodians” meaning they are responsible for the welfare of the property and are obliged to fulfil certain conditions under contract. The standard contract requires the production of a nutritional quota and maintaining farm capital and the health of the land and waterways on the property.


Under federal law there are three commons districts with corresponding maximum limits on quota production. Inner-urban commons have a zero percent quota, outer-urban zones have a maximum 25% quota and rural commons have a maximum 50% quota. In special circumstances some contracts may be renegotiated into a “Government Licence” with farmers becoming direct employees required to sell 100% of their goods to the government. This is the standard case for goods that are in short supply (such as dairy goods in the arid regions) or produce required by national industry (such as medicinal plants).

Land Use

These land use statistics only reflect the proportion of total farm land. In terms of total area covered aquaculture would be the largest followed by forestry however since fisheries and specific forest reserves are excluded these figures have been omitted. Also omitted are statistics relating to non-farming commons (type one) that are used to produce foodstuffs for private consumption.

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Industry

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The Biotopian economy supports a diverse industrial base. In particular the Biotopian economy has developed an internationally leading information technology sector. Traditional industrial and manufacturing industries including mining, chemicals, shipbuilding and textiles are still present and play a significant role in some of the regional and rural economies. New technology based industries such as optics, energy technologies and automobiles are a product of economic reform and associated with the development of the information technology sector.


Decentralisation has played an important role in the planning and organisation of industry. Emphasis on provincial self-sufficiency has produced a multitude of small to medium firms supplying regional populations with basic needs such as clothes, furniture, paper and building materials. High labour-to-capital ratio has meant higher prices but this is offset by other positive benefits such as local employment, waste reduction and reducing transport costs. It also means the development of a regional identity unique to a particular manufacturer. According to scales of economy high-end industries such as automobile assembly, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and machine tool construction are done by centralised factories that distributee their goods through export or to supply the domestic market with a lower labour-to-capital ratio.


A carefully planned transport network has made it cost-effective for some business to locate their plants in development priority centres away from other major industrial centres or co-production plants. It is typical that aside from the businesses centred on utilising local resources at the provincial level several cities are well known for their specialisation in a particular commodity. For example Akaarn is a well known paper and timber town and St. Ghort has an important ore refining plant. Restrictions on population distribution has promoted this decentralised and more regionalised mode of industrial development assisted by the access to a safe and efficient transport network.

Energy Policy

Biotopia has attempted to overcome its reliance on fossil fuelled power generation by undertaking a heavy investment in alternatives such as solar, wind, geothermal and bio-fuels. Hydropower is an important non-fossil fuel source of electricity because of the availability of appropriate locations however there are long-term environmental implications to such extensive damn use. Solar, wind and geothermal power have all made a significant contribution to replacing fossil fuel dependence and constructing a more decentralised energy economy allowing for a more autonomous industrial process encouraging development away from urban centres.

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Services

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The service sector has experienced the most pronounced increase in labour and GDP share. The increase in the service sector has been at the expense of the manufacturing and traditional industrial occupations which have been phased out due to economic and environmentally unsustainable practices. The opening of the banking and finance sectors has propelled their growth in response to the need for investment within the region and the domestic demand for competitive banking practices and an easing in the flow of capital especially for generating provincial development and employment.


The Biotopian service industry has also benefited from an opening to providing business for foreign customers. The pharmaceuticals and healthcare industry generates significant income based on the inflow of foreign patients seeking comparatively inexpensive medical treatment. Telecommunications and information technology have become major service industry components and are making headway in overseas markets. The continuing proliferation of business opportunities has meant the establishment of a diverse, dynamic and adaptable platform for future economic development. Research and development is an important mainstay as is the presence of international education and research institutes.


Consumer retail has benefited from the emergence of new service industries as well as the engineering, design and multi-media industries. Services grew at a time of steady decline for the agricultural sector which had received special domestic protection. Following agricultural reform there was a demand for improving the industrial base of the economy. Services was the outcome of these changes incorporating new and innovative technologies as well as preparing Biotopian companies for competition on the international market and integration into the IFTA trading bloc which secured an even playing field in terms of comparative living conditions and labour practices.

Sector Composition

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Exports

The Biotopian economy also satisfies many of its primary retail or level-one consumer items such as textiles, furniture, processed foodstuffs and some household items through its chain of small to medium sized manufacturing establishments based on a provincial economy of scale. Higher-order consumer goods such as luxury items, electronics, automobiles, medicine and specialist goods are not directly available and must either be produced in centralised factories to meet an appropriate economy of scale or imported. Satisfaction of the regional demand in basic goods has inhibited the natural development of export-orientated manufacturing.

Few cultural goods are exported abroad but there is an increasing presence of specialist manufacturing, electronics, optics and finance as well as more traditional items such as textiles, foodstuffs, shipbuilding, chemicals and metals. Some industrial goods such as petrochemicals, plastics, rubber as well as certain chemicals and minerals must be imported to satisfy domestic demand. The nation also supplies limited amounts of petroleum and liquefied natural gas although it is a net petroleum importer. Agriculture is a significant component of export commodities including cereals, livestock, diary products, timber and seafood.

Imports

Biotopian imports represent production gaps between the large export-orientated businesses and provincial producers. It is also the outcome of legislation that discriminates against heavy polluters operating in Biotopia forcing some companies to source otherwise domestic material from countries with less stringent environmental guidelines. Retail goods tend to be high-consumer end products such as designer clothing, jewellery, white goods, plasticware and items relating to entertainment and personal recreation. Biotopia has a large amount of reciprocal importation in most commodities that it produces domestically such as foodstuffs, beverages, chemicals and metal. This is largely coincidental and relates to specific items in high demand rather than a general deficiency in the quality or quantity of those goods in the domestic market.

Economic Relations

Biotopia maintains economic relations with all states that it participates with diplomatically. For further information see Biotopia International Relations