The Economy of the Amarr Empire is one of the largest in New Eden, being generally considered the second or third largest (typically behind the Gallente Federation and, depending on methods of measurement and yearly fluctuations, occasionally the Caldari State.
The Empire extensively utilizes slave labor, which has had a controversial impact on the Amarr economy. It is a mixed economy based heavily on agricultural and mineral production, with moderate-to-high rates of unemployment. Wealth is highly stratified, with a minority of royalty and nobility owning the overwhelming majority of the Empire's resources and businesses. The economy is highly insular, with lower rates of import and export than the other major empires of New Eden, though recent measures have opened the borders somewhat to trade.
Prior to encountering the Udorians in 20022 AD, the Amarr Empire maintained no contact with outside nations and subsisted primarily on internal agriculture and limited forms of manufacturing. Contact with the Udorians opened up proper trade routes for the first time and spurred a sudden shift toward production of luxury goods for trade.
This period was short lived, however, as the Empire launched the Reclaiming in 20078 AD, declaring total war on the various Udorian states. With the first reclaimed Udorians, the Amarr began to slowly transition their economy from a feudal serfdom to one dominated by slave labor. Most large scale menial labor was undertaken by slaves owned by the noble class known as Holders, while free commoners moved increasingly to individual farming, skilled labor, artistry, and similar pursuits. As the use of slave labor became more widespread, unemployment in the common class swelled.
With the openly belligerent attitude of the Empire, it found few trading partners during its expansion. Trading was typically limited to times of peace, often with a flurry of activity between merchants and traders until the next war broke out. Eventually, the Empire had conquered the entirety of its home world in 20544 AD, ending the possibility for trade for thousands of years.
The Empire was entering the early Space Age as it completed the conquest of the newly-renamed Amarr Prime. Manufacturing and industry became a much larger part of its economy as it sought to expand beyond the influence of their home world's gravity. As peace and general prosperity reigned in the Empire, the population exploded and by 20725 AD overcrowding spurred the Empire to establish extra-planetary civilian colonies on the other planets in its home system.
These colonies necessitated the establishment of supply and trade routes from the home world. For a time, common traders grew in prominence, but they were soon consumed by the Holder class, which either welcomed powerful and savvy traders into their ranks or bought out and absorbed their businesses.
Eventually, the Empire opened stargates to other solar systems and began to slowly spread through the cluster. The general tenor of the Empire's economy did not change, as it focused heavily on slave-driven agriculture and mining to produce food and materials for its rapidly growing population. Its manufacturing sector often lagged behind, leaving those on the outskirts of the Empire with only the basic necessities for decades.
Unemployment dropped to historic lows during this time, as the steady expansion provided opportunities for all, even when the Empire encountered and enslaved the Ealur and other minor races, bolstering their slave stock to unprecedented levels. Commoners were more likely to flock to new colonies, especially less mineral-rich ones, than Holders with their expensive slaves.
In 21875 AD, the Empire was split by a civil war which came to be known as the Moral Reforms. The war devastated the Empire, causing heavy casualties and much destruction. In the aftermath, the Empire threw billions of slaves into the reconstruction process. They were heavily worked, many to death, in order to restore the Empire to its previous glory. This opened up many opportunities for commoners, who moved to fill the gap.
For several centuries the commoner and slave often worked side-by-side, until the Empire encountered the Ni-Kunni and Minmatar in quick succession. These two conquests bolstered the Empire's slave ranks to greater heights than it had ever reached. Commoners were almost entirely forced out of the hard labor and manufacturing sectors, forcing many into unemployment.
The Empire took a fairly heavy hit to its economy following the Khanid Rebellion in 23041 AD. A good portion of the Empire seceded, costing the Empire a fair number of people, territory, resources, and military. However, while the overall size of the Imperial economy suffered, it was a relatively peaceful secession and did not have the destabilizing impact the Moral Reforms had.
In 23180 AD, the Amarr finally encountered a nation they could not enslave, when they made first contact with the Gallente Federation. Contact with the Caldari and Jove soon followed and the Empire was forced to take a cautious stance toward them. Initial relations were frosty with all three empires, but they began to thaw slightly with the Federation, which culminated in the Gallente-Amarr Free Trade Agreement of 23210.
This agreement placed numerous restrictions on trade between the two empires, but did open the borders of the Empire for the first time in thousands of years. Though difficult, trade flourished, with goods moving in and out of the Empire at a fantastic pace. Common traders, who often lacked the prejudice of the Holders (or were at least desperate enough to overlook them), began to rise in power and started to flourish. Unlike before, the Holders only barely managed to insert themselves into the picture and, to this day, common traders remain relatively well-off in the Empire.
The Amarr attempted a failed invasion of the Jove in 23216 AD, precipitating the Minmatar Rebellion. The loss to the Jove was minor in comparison to the widespread slave uprising. Millions of Amarr lost their lives in the revolts, while significant swaths of territory were lost to the Minmatar. In the end, nearly a fourth of the Empire's territory was lost to the Minmatar, while incredible damage was done even in the Empire's core worlds.
Much as following the Moral Reforms, heavy amounts of resources were thrown into the rebuilding effort. Unlike before, the loss of so many slaves meant Holders were more cautious with their stock, leading to numerous commoners to briefly reenter the workforce as laborers. This was short lived, however, as advances in manufacturing, drone technology, and automation meant even the depleted slave numbers were able to keep pace.
The rumored complicity of the Federation in the rebellion, as well as the open support they gave to the newly-formed Minmatar Republic, caused a sharp decline in trade between the Empire and Gallente. This void was quickly filled by the Caldari State who, busy fighting their own war against the Federation, saw the Amarr as potential allies.
The Caldari negotiated much more favorable terms with the Empire, so their traders were better able to penetrate Amarr markets. The Caldari found the Empire's use of slavery baffling, often criticizing it as stunting the Empire's economy, but were still happy to exploit the huge Imperial market.
CONCORD was founded jointly by the empires in 23230 AD, facilitating nominal peace between them. One division of CONCORD, the CAD (Commerce Assessment Division), was put in place to facilitate interstellar trade. This opened the Empire's borders to the Minmatar and Gallente, as well as eventually the Khanid and other smaller sovereign entities. While minimal at first, eventually outsider traders began to find more acceptance in the Empire, even Minmatar ones.
For roughly a hundred-twenty years, peace and trade reigned, causing the Amarr economy to soar to new heights. In the early parts of YC 105, as economies across the cluster were considered to be entering a golden age, the Empire was no exception. Even threats of violence caused a surge in the electronics, machinery, and weaponry sectors. Shortly afterward, the markets were briefly shaken by the death of Emperor Heideran VII.
Despite this, three years later in YC 108, the Empire had canceled a number of trade agreements with the Khanid Kingdom as it turned its eyes more toward the Caldari and peaceful Federation and Republic.
Empyrean War Era
The Empire's economy took a heavy blow following the Elder Invasion in YC 110. Heavy damage was done especially to the Empire's core worlds, while one of its major trading partners in the Ammatar Mandate was devastated as well. In addition, large numbers of slaves were emancipated or killed in the fighting, though not to the numbers of the Rebellion. The Empire immediately cut off all direct trade with the Republic, and severely tightened restrictions on trading with the Federation as well.
One of the few areas to remain strong was the Tash-Murkon region, which was guided by the leadership of Catiz Tash-Murkon. Corporations in numerous sectors posted profits double-percentage points higher than in other regions of the Empire. This was bolstered by a strong trade agreement signed between the Tash-Murkon Family and Khanid Kingdom, while also negotiating an economic agreement between the Empire and State
As the war grew more intense, the areas directly in the line of fire, especially the Bleak Lands, grew more and more destitute. However, as Holders fled these areas, they brought their many slaves and wealth to the core regions of the Empire, bolstering it as a whole. In general, while the Empire remains economically down overall from its heights prior to the breakout of the Empyrean War, its economy is generally considered strong by most analysts.
The Imperial industry is dominated by the influence of the Holder class. Holders (including the royal Heirs) are the primary business owners in the Empire, with most of the largest corporations in the Empire being owned at least in part by Holders. Many of the smaller regional and planetary corporations are also owned by Holders, who control virtually all industries through ownership of the businesses involved, though many have little day-to-day involvement in their running.
The Empire's three largest business sectors are agricultural, mining, and manufacturing. The majority of labor in these sectors comes from slaves, with only small numbers of commoners involved, most often as overseers and drivers, only on extremely small scales as actual laborers.
Agriculture has always been incredibly important to the Empire, as it maintains the largest populace in the cluster. Combined with its unwillingness to import food from the other empires due to a variety of dietary and religious restrictions, the Empire must produce virtually all of its own food. It most famously produces Amarr Wheat, a genetically pure, unmodified strain which can be traced back to Amarr Island. The Empire utilizes minimal automation in harvesting, which makes it less efficient than the other empires. Despite this, the Empire usually produces a surplus of food, some of which cannot be easily stored long term. Several corporations, Joint Harvesting in particular, sell the surplus off to foreign markets.
Because the Empire controls roughly 40% of high security space, it has access to large amounts of mineral resources. The Empire utilizes its mineral wealth for trade much more than it does its agricultural excess, with the Caldari State and Khanid Kingdom being the main trade partners in purchasing Amarr minerals. However, the majority of the Empire's mineral wealth is utilized inside the Empire itself. The Amarr Navy is the largest single user of the minerals, as it must often replace or repair aging vessels and outposts, construct new ones, and furnish its troops with weaponry.
Much of the rest of the minerals goes toward maintaining the extensive infrastructure of the Empire, such as its stargates, planetary colonies, and space stations. As the Empire favors tradition and relics, it pours incredible amounts of money and resources into keeping its most ancient buildings and landmarks in good repair. The often ostentatious displays require many rare and expensive minerals to keep in peak condition, thus draining the Empire of its most valuable mineral resources.
Other industries in the Empire rely heavily on its mining backbone, particularly its manufacturing industry. The majority of Imperial goods are constructed from slave-mined minerals .
As with most things, the Empire manufactures most of its own goods, doing little importing of foreign output. This has oftentimes caused it to lag, particularly behind the Caldari State and Gallente Federation, in terms of overall luxury and quality of their goods. For day-to-day objects such as appliances, planetary vehicles, and electronics, the Empire is often considered second tier to the other empires.
However, this isolation also keeps the manufacturing sector internally strong. Though unable to compete with the Caldari megacorps for cluster-wide reach, Imperial manufacturers tend to turn healthy profits relative to their size, as Amarr prefer (and often have no choice but) to buy goods manufactured inside the Empire.
One of the areas the Empire is strong in remains implants, with Inherent Implants leading the way in many technologies. It is particularly on the cutting edge when it comes to limb and organ replacement implants, owing to their historic use by Emperors and the Heirs (and, to a lesser extent, Holders) to extend their own lives. Inherent Implants, and implant manufacturers in general, are some of the largest exporters in the Empire.
The Empire is also largely involved in weapons manufacturing. Imperial Armaments, an Amarr corporation, is the largest single weapons manufacturer in New Eden. Its largest client is naturally the Amarr Navy and other armed forces, which being larger than the other militaries in New Eden require a large number of supplies. In addition, it supplies arms to the Heirs, numerous Holders, and a wide array of private concerns in the Empire and abroad. It is one of the few Amarr corporations to have achieved widespread market penetration in the other empires, having stations in all four. Its small arms, which are laser focused, tend to be very popular sidearms as they require no ammunition, recharge quickly, and don't leave much of a mess. Its larger weaponry is less well regarded outside of the Empire, though the benefits of laser weapons mean even the least suited ship might utilize them from time to time.
Not only a source of labor, slavery is an industry in itself within the Empire. Trillions of ISK change hands every year in direct relation to the slave industry. Though the industry, in a contained fashion, isn't as large as the preceding three, it is vitally connected to each. Not only do slaves provide most of the manual labor in those industries, the slave industry also requires large amounts of food, minerals, and equipment to properly function.
In some senses, this is a self-fulfilling cycle, as more slaves mean more needs, which means more work must be done, which means more slaves are needed. This, as well as a perceived inefficiency in utilizing manual labor over extensive automation, has led to criticism of the slavery industry from a purely economic standpoint, especially from the Caldari State. Ignoring the social and religious implications, the Amarr often respond that adjusting a process which has worked for millennia would have massive costs which could potentially crash the Imperial economy entirely.
The Empire has a steady research industry, though it partners extensively with the Caldari State and Khanid Kingdom for most major projects. Carthum Conglomerate, one of the most influential Amarr research firms, is partially owned and founded by Lai Dai. The industry was once considered stagnant, and often lags behind in many sectors, but has recently been making major strides in the areas of starship design.
Textiles and fabrics are some of the largest Imperial trade goods, with Amarr-made cloth being exported across New Eden. Amarr-made clothes are often well regarded for their intricate stitching and patterns and are heavily worn in the other empires thanks to the relatively low rate of slave labor involved in their production.
Most other industries are strong in the Empire, though few are dominant forces and they are generally a year or two behind the other empires in cutting-edge developments.