In most cases, Colonies in a TL:10-12 society or more advanced refer to colonization of new planets, moons, or planetoids. They are interstellar colonies expanding the reach of a World-State into a Pocket Empire or a larger political grouping.
A world, country, or foundation sponsors most colonies. Because colonies generally lose money, profit is rarely a motive for sponsoring a colony. A colony must become self-supporting; sponsors cannot supply goods indefinitely. Lingering problems will doom a colony.
Some colonists raise food to feed themselves and to sell to other colonists. Others produce commodities for export off-planet. There may be hunter/explorers as well - people who live in the wild, occasionally visiting civilization to sell their unusual finds. The last have limited use in any colonization scheme.
Farmers or miner/prospectors will settle first. Storekeepers and other businessmen will follow. The arrival of medium and large businesses usually signals long term success in producing saleable exports. Few colonies become self-sufficient in manufacturing. Saleable commodities from under-developed worlds are almost exclusively precious minerals. The economies of under- developed worlds are dependent on resource prices.
"The little Settler Tom" from Better Home Publishing describes ideas, concepts and strategies of colonization.
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