Opportunity Profits

In the Thousand Precise Protocols of the Integral Accountant, opportunity profits are defined as effectively the opposite of opportunity costs,

Opportunity costs represent the potential value one misses out upon when choosing one alternative over another. Because opportunity costs are, by definition, unseen, they can be easily overlooked. Understanding the potential missed opportunities when one chooses one path, or one investment, over another allows for better decision-making.

Opportunity profits, therefore, represent the value one gains from choosing and acting upon an alternative, which, implicitly, other people have thus far chosen not to pursue. For example, an odocorp which constructs a bridge over a river reaps, in addition to the profits deriving directly from the construction and operation of the structure, but also an opportunity profit; their legitimate reward for having demonstrated foresight in seeing the need, willingness to accept the risks involved in the investment, and the boldness to seize the opportunity.

Perhaps the most famous example of opportunity profits (other than the Empire’s major odocorps) would be those of Ring Dynamics, ICC, whose seizure of the opportunity of the moment to parlay their development of stargate technology into a long-lasting dominance of interstellar transport is, if you will pardon the expression, textbook; although this also provides an example of a lost opportunity profit, since the Laserider Network lost its investment in the deep space lasers rendered obsolete by the advent of the stargates.

– from an introductory Imperial economics textbook, circa 3000

Birthday Present

Peréä System, far orbit, 4016


“Okay, go ahead and open your eyes.”

“You got me a giant laser! Wait, where did you get me a giant laser? … And, um, why did you get me a giant laser?”

“In order: yes, the Laserider Network’s fire sale, and –”

“Fire sale?”

“Yeah. It hasn’t hit the public ‘weave yet, but word from the Deep Space Relay is that someone back Home has cracked the fittling problem and they’re sending us the necessary, so the interstellar light-sail network concept is dead in space. Helén Inuriannon is taking the news about as well as possible for someone whose reason for being here just took a long walk out a short airlock, but they’re in full close-it-out, sell-it-off mode already. I picked the main laser array up for a short song and a handful of considerations.”

“We have FTL now –  no, never mind, in a minute. So why do we – I – whichever want a giant laser?”

“Think of it less as a laser and more the prospect of being independently wealthy.”

“Right now I’m thinking of it less as an explanation and more the prospect of being annoyingly smug.”

“If they have FTL, we’ll be getting more colonists, more quickly. That means the ecotects are going to be even hungrier for metal than they are now. And that laser…”

“…is going to be a thousand sideritic asteroids smelted down and put on the market first.”

“So, you like it?”

“Be as smug as you want today, love.”