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Salvaging the Cities. "One man’s trash…"

In the world of the Morrow Project, the economic situation  is the opposite of our own.  There are large supplies of (easily worked) raw materials – but limited amounts of energy.  This results in a new form of resource extraction: salvaging.  Some salvagers are resident (like the inhabitants of “The ruins of Chicago”) but there is also an economic niche for nomadic salvagers (the Wanderers)

Salvaging is economically viable because it is more efficient than producing things ‘from scratch’.  For example: a steel girder embodies a huge amount of energy.  The ore (probably very low grade stuff if it was produced in the late 20th Century) was mined, smelted, purified, alloyed, cast and formed. It was then shipped hundreds (maybe thousands) of miles to the construction site.   Despite this huge expenditure of energy, an individual girder was regarded as being of low value.

But, in the TMP world, that girder is an easily accessible and highly valued source raw material.  A salvager just needs a hacksaw (to cut it into manageable bits) and a wagon to haul it away.  The salvager’s customer needs only simple, low-tech equipment: blacksmith’s hammer, anvil, and a charcoal-burning forge.  Given these tools, the girder can be converted into nails, knives, ploughs, more hacksaws, firearms, and dozens of other products.  Interestingly, this ‘recycling’ requires lower temperatures than are needed for smelting ore – it will also yield better metal.  Aluminium is an even better example; smelting aluminium ore requires HUGE amounts of electricity.  It’s much more efficient to salvage/recycle.

But it’s not just scrap metal that that the salvager is looking for.  This may be good enough for some ‘low-technology’ clients but there are other items of value in the cities – and these may be useful for other customers.

For example, let’s look at the alternator found in every car.  These are truly wondrous devices for the salvager and his/her customers.  If the customer can make the shaft rotate, 12 volts of electricity are produced.   This means that every old car contains a power source; a community’s craftsmen can use that alternator to create electricity.  They would buy an alternator from the Salvager , add some gears and chain from a (salvaged) bicycle or motorbike, set it into a framework made of wood or (salvaged) steel, then spend a little time constructing some streamlined blades.  Voila! A windmill that will trickle-charge some (salvaged) lead-acid batteries.

More ambitious communities might take the motors from washing machines and construct a small hydro-electric dam.

Or perhaps you would prefer ‘Solar’ Power?  I’m not referring to photovoltaic cells, here.

solar ovens

{There are numerous sites that show how to make a solar oven from a cardboard box.  }

http://solarcooking.org/plans/

or solar dehydrators-

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/2006-08-01/Build-a-Solar-Food-Dehydrator.aspx

or steam engines

http://www.phoenixnavigation.com/ptbc/articles/ptbc36.htm

ALL of these can be made with raw materials salvaged from the cities

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  1. Author1
    July 2, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Salvage in the World View:

    With the breakdown of the international trade system, any modern county that survived the war would find it short on parts or materials as the world economy lends itself to having each country produce products that it can excel on without care about were the finished item with be assembled.
    Thus a computer might have parts from Twain, China, United States, Korea, Japan, and Mexico.

    Thus making a computer from scratch in the post war world would be a problematic at best.

    But the materials would be around, in much of the industrial world, as salvage from pre existing equipment.

    Nations that could, would find ways to recover these valuable resources from nations badly damaged by the war. Thus in many aspects, the powerful will feed on the weak to rebuild themselves as it is the most efficient means to regain there economic power.
    Water Travel is one of the most efficient ways to bring items to a country in a post war world, so cities on coastal areas would be the first to “reclaimed”.

    Military or economic governments would not have the resources to put many troops on the ground nor would they want to. A more economic method would to hire people to do the heavy lifting for them and just have a few traders to pick up the salvage goods. People in the lands badly damaged in the war, would be desperate for medicine, ammo, finished products, spare parts, and even food, so the payment of such groups would not be much in economic terms.

    Thus the Salvage Companies would be formed.

    For the Morrow Project, this type of trade could be devastating over time as it robs North America of the infrastructure that the project would need to rebuild. Though over 150 years, much of the infrastructure would already be in a bad state and thus little use.

    But it might be a common site for teams to find these salvage companies in operation in the ruins of a city in costal areas.

  2. Author1
    July 2, 2009 at 3:25 am

    Salvage Companies
    Morrow Project encounters Group
    Geographic location: Any City or ruins
    H&M AVERAGE: 8
    H&M RANGE: 1-12
    NUMBER FOUND: 3-18
    TECH LEVEL: C-B
    POWER/RESOURCES: Basic Power, some batteries, Will have Horse drawn Wagons or Vehicles to carry goods.
    WEAPONS: Limited Modern Weapons, Trade Rifles, Limited Explosives. Good Ammo supply.
    SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES: Light Amour (AC2), experts in salvage, Geiger Counters, contacts with local governments or overseas traders.
    DISCRIPTION:

    With the destruction of the American government, it is only natural that bands of people would specialize in finding useful items in the ruins of civilization. What makes a Salvage company different is that they trade the salvage items for goods from prewar industrial societies.

    This salvage of old cities can be a big economy, and so can be quite well organized. Local governments, warlords, or foreign powers give special salvage licenses to select companies to operate contracts for goods. These contracts are much sought after as the rewards are great.

    It is not unheard of to have competing salvage companies sabotage each others teams or even attack them. Once the Teams leave the trade zones, anything is up for grabs, though there are alliances and treaties between various companies.

    Since they have access to a higher source of technology in trade goods, the average Salvage company (Clan or Group) has working modern firearms, good ammo, some “modern” medicine, as well as simple electronic items such as a radiation detector (as the outside traders do not want “Hot” items).

    An Item of note, that these Companies would not necessary understand the working of the items they salvage or have the skills to repair the items. They are told what is valuable to a client and they will use all means to get the required items’.

  1. August 4, 2012 at 10:17 pm
  2. April 21, 2013 at 7:42 pm

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