The discussion about technetium over the last few weeks raises an interesting question: how far would a sov-holding alliance get if they didn't have tech moon income?
There's a funny thing about being a recognized blogger. People want to tell you stuff. About three times a year, someone sends me the financial spreadsheets (or links to them, or screen-caps of them) for big, sov-holding, moon-holding alliances. Make no mistake: running a big alliance's financials is a business. I've been in the business world for 25 years now, more or less, and I can tell you that there are multimillion dollar companies that run their finances with fewer spreadsheets, graphs, tables, and personnel then some big null-sec alliances. And the more transparent an alliance's finances are, the more likely it is that someone will feel the need to send me some of this stuff.
I don't mind. It's interesting stuff! I immediately have to tell the people involved that I can't use the data right away. "Never single source anything," is a hard and fast rule of both spy-craft and source-based writing. The easiest way to lose a source is to use that source's data if it hasn't been corroborated with other sources. "This is really interesting!" I say, "I can't use it now, but I'll use it eventually. I don't want you to be identified as the source." I explain this, and virtually everyone involved understands. If they don't understand, I delete what they send me.
Hint for bloggers and prospective bloggers: if someone is desperate for you to use what they send you right now, you're being trolled.
I've fallen victim or almost fallen victim to it a time or two. Hell, I might be falling for it right now. But still, the information I've gathered in this regard over the last couple of years is from multiple sources, internally consistent, and passes all the sniff tests I've been able to subject it to. So let's talk about it. I'll change the numbers very slightly to protect the guilty. And let's keep in mind that I'm talking about sov-holding, moon-holding alliances... CFC alliances, to be perfectly frank.
Let's say that in a particular month in 2011, Goonswarm Federation brought in about 175 billion ISK from "moon-goo sales." It wasn't that, but it was close to that. If I were to compare that to their operating expenses, what do you think that would pay for?
- Their ship reimbursement fund.
- Their ship-building and outfitting subsidies.
- Their sovereignty costs.
- The fuel for all of their towers.
- Their super-cap building program.
- All of the above.
The answer is the first, second, and third: moon-goo paid for their full reimbursement fund for both sub-caps and capital ships, their outfitting fund and subsidies for new super-caps and capital ships, and their sovereignty costs. The first two were about 140 billion. The third was about 25 billion. There was even enough left over to pay about a quarter of their POS fuel bill, too.
And it turns out that if I make this comparison for other months in 2011 or 2012, or for other CFC-member finance spreadsheets I've been shown over the last couple of years, that's very consistent. TEST has one quarter the tech moons of Goons but they have other moons to make up the difference. Their moon income combined pays for their ship reimbursements, subsidies, and sov costs, plus a small fraction of their POS fuel bill. The smaller CFC alliances are a half or a quarter of these budgets, but the proportions remain the same. Moon income pays for reimbursement, ship subsidies, and sovereignty. Minor income sources pay for the rest.
Put another way, if moon income disappeared tomorrow, the budgets for CFC sovereignty and PvP would also disappear. And of course without the sovereignty or the PvP budget, the need for or the ability to do the rest -- fuel POSes, build super-caps, et cetera -- would also disappear.
Put yet a third way, members of these alliances don't have to do any active PvE to pay these alliance-level costs because all of that is paid for by passive income.
In the immortal words of Jubal Early, that seem right to you?
Nope, no problem with tech at all.