Posted Tue, May 01, 2012 by The Mittani
During a Hulkageddon, the more informed miners in hisec tend to hide; those that do not hide tend to die. In either case, the supply of minerals is drastically cut, and thousands of Hulks are destroyed. And what exactly makes a Hulk? According to a detailed analysis by Jester, 70% of each Hulk is made out of - wait for it - Technetium, the fabled conflict diamond of the North. Technetium only comes from the northwest regions of the galaxy, and the brutal defenestration of Raidendot from Tenal and Vale finally has brought about something that savvy market-watchers have dreaded since the Technetium bottleneck was first created - a cartel. This OTEC - the Organization of Technetium Exporting Corporations - comprises representatives from the CFC, NCdot, Ev0ke, and PL, the four nullsec entities that control 90% of the Technetium moons in the galaxy. Rather than trying to restrict supply, OTEC has coordinated price-fixing, jacking the price of Tech past 200k per unit - and in doing so driving up the price of every T2 ship and module on the market. The Tech market is very ‘thin’ - there are no major stockpiles of Technetium lying around, as the community has expected a nerf on this bottleneck product for more than a year. The abrupt Hulkageddon-induced need to produce thousands of replacement exhumers will only exacerbate the price spike.
So: the Sack of Jita was only the tip of the iceberg, the birth-scream of a new economic era that was only hinted at during the Ice Interdiction. Nullsec now sends gankers into hisec to disrupt an already thin mineral supply and bankrolls freelancers via Hulkageddon to destroy miners en masse; each exhumer destroyed can only be replaced by production that requires cartelized Technetium, which goes right into the pockets of the very people bankrolling the gankers. A tremendous amount of uncertainty now hangs over the head of every hisec trade hub and each producer within it, as if Jita can be sacked, perhaps Amarr, Rens, or Dodixie could be next - and that uncertainty drives prices up still more. I can state affirmatively that there will be more ‘burns’ of trade hubs by nullsec alliances, but future attacks will not come with two months of warning - if there is any notice at all.
The Sack of Jita was originally intended as an experiment. However, because of its success, and the nexus of incentives from Escalation, Hulkageddon, and OTEC, macroeconomic extortion of Empire for profit will rapidly transform from a gleam in a nullsec financier’s eye to a brutal fact of economic life in New Eden.