The Megacorps

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Par'tha Expanse


The Houses and the Freeworlds are not the sole domestic source of power in the Par'tha Expanse. The various large companies which operate in the region also have a certain amount of influence on political and economic decisions made in the sector.

The mining companies affiliated with the Mining Guild are by far the most powerful of these, but there are other companies which have enough "juice" to influence sector affairs, many of them high tech manufacturers and shipping firms.

Because the Empire has not yet begun to nationalize businesses in the Par'tha Expanse, it has become a haven for businesses in other parts of the Empire that wish to operate with a minimum of Imperial interference. The last fifteen years have seen a massive influx of businesses relocating their headquarters to the worlds of the Par'tha Expanse.

Whether a company settles in the Expanse Sector or the Freeworlds Region depends on the needs of the company. The Freeworlds offer greater autonomy, but are more vulnerable to Imperial meddling. The house worlds, in contrast, demand a greater say in company affairs, but offer in exchange protection against the Empire.

House Affiliated Companies

Many businesses chose to ally themselves with a house and settle on a house world. These companies tend to be either very powerful and self-sufficient, or in need of protection against outside sources. A more powerful company can gain the benefits of dealing with a house, while protecting itself from house entanglements because it can deal more as an equal with the sponsoring house. A weaker company is far more likely to be swallowed whole by house interests, but gains in exchange the protection of the house from extra-sector rivals.

An alliance with a house comes with a host of enticing benefits. The tax breaks offered by most of the houses to companies willing to relocate are extremely generous. Labor pools are well educated, hard-working, and relatively honest. There are often very lucrative exclusive contracts to be had. For the upper management, there are often privileges not available elsewhere. Most importantly, house sponsorship affords partial protection from the Empire. A company based on a house world need not fear Imperial annexation - at least not in the immediate future.

Becoming a house client company is not all wine and roses, however. There are significant drawbacks to the arrangement. Settling on a house world immediately introduces a firm to the often-sordid dealings of house politics.

Even before opening for business on a house world, a company must make concessions to the sponsoring house. Such concessions might be relatively benign, depending on the power of the company and the character of the house itself. The company might be required to submit to oversight by the house, admit house representatives to the board, or support local philanthropies and institutions. In less ideal situations, the company might be required to pay immense bribes to house members or institutions, merge with other client companies, or surrender autonomy altogether.

Every company allying itself with a house immediately buys into the house's list of allies and enemies. It may be required to trade or deal with companies on worlds allied with the sponsor house, or be forbidden to trade with those under rival houses. It must also be prepared to deal with sabotage - as a client of a specific house, it is now a target to rival houses who may wish to strike at the sponsoring house through it.

Freeworlds Companies

Companies settling on one of the Freeworlds face a far different situation. The Freeworlds are far less intrusive in the affairs of the company, but can offer less protection against Imperial meddling unless the company is affiliated with the Mining Guild.

Like the house worlds, the Freeworlds offer prospective companies protection from direct Imperial intervention, low tax rates, and an educated labor pool. Unlike a house client company, however, a company setting on a Freeworld need not become entangled in house politics and its ever-shifting list of allies and rivals. A neutral Freeworld company may often do business with any organization based in the Freeworlds.

Many of the Freeworlds are located on at least one prime shipping lane, which is a major consideration for many businesses involved in the transportation of goods. Only Houses Tadere and Beruna can offer immediate access to Imperial space. However, if trade with the Ferengi Commerce Association and the United Federation of Planets could be resumed through the Jenatris Corridor, the Freeworlds could gain a major advantage back from the house worlds.

Another attractive aspect of settling on a Freeworld is that a company can mind its own affairs without a lot of outside supervision. While a Freeworld might require a certain level of legal oversight to protect itself and ensure it is collecting the proper amount of taxes, it is far less likely to muscle in and try to influence the business decisions than a house world.

The disadvantages of settling on a Freeworld are few but significant. Imperial interest in the Par'tha Expanse is growing, and of the worlds in the sector, the Freeworlds are most vulnerable to eventual and outright Imperial annexation. Imperial edicts set into place by the governors or Grand Governor are slowly but surely beginning to impact business decisions.

Some farsighted companies are already leaving the Freeworlds for regions which still offer havens to businesses fleeing Imperial encroachment. Some are moving to house worlds withing the Expanse Sector, but most are heading to the CSA or the Solerian Sector. Since the number of companies arriving from elsewhere where conditions are worse still outnumbers those leaving, this trend is largely invisible to those who are not looking for it.

Other

Though there are an enormous number of companies and businesses headquartered in the Par'tha Expanse, there are an equally enormous number of companies and businesses headquartered elsewhere with regional offices, factories, stores or outlets in the Expanse in order to take advantage of the huge market.