Political Formations of the
FREE TRADE ALLIANCE
The Free Trade Alliance is a loosely allied group of merchants and traders dedicated to the free flow of goods and information. Whether this presence represents the return of civilization or a new form of economic exploitation depends on one's perspective. The FTA is strongest in more economically developed regions, and maintains bases, outposts, and trading concessions throughout the known worlds-- with the exception of the Greater Magellanic Cloud, where the socialistic Kalderans fiercely oppose the FTA's brand of hypercapitalism. Rather than maintain its own standing army and argosy, the FTA instead uses member dues to buy military muscle on an ad hoc basis, at various times contracting with local governments, unaffiliated privateers, and mercenary groups such as the Ogami Sisterhood to do its bidding. The FTA's technological know how, deep pockets, and long reach will continue to make it a major force in political affairs throughout the known worlds for the forseeable future.