The Niven Chain is shorthand for a practical difficulty with colonization which frequently results in colonies having to resort to low technology...sometimes very low.
- It is technology term tat explains the difficulty of building and maintaining complex interconnected economies of manufacturing and technology maintenance.
Even in a best case, in which the necessary facilities are immediately provided along with the equipment to extract and refine the necessary materials, it remains that the output from these facilities is limited. During the period in which this infrastructure expands enough to directly benefit the entire local population, the colonists are obligated to use imports, whether initially brought or subsequently purchased, or to use products manufactured from low-tech processes such as woodworking or smithing.
The term is derived from Terran author Larry Niven. 
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References & Contributors (Sources)
- Traveller Wiki Editorial Team
- Author & Contributor: Arglark
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science