If I might change the subject momentarily: Economics.
The topic seems to have degenerated from its original purpose into a questioning of game mechanics, as it relates to an economy's effect on research and production.
It'd be appreciated if some of you guys would care to stop by and put in your two cents worth, as it seems we have a veritable smorgasbord of knowledgeable and/or veteran players in this thread (whether or not they are in the Empire).
Just to clarify, I'm not asking you to agree with me, just asking you to agree with the game mechanics. You know, just in case a certain someone decides to make a big deal out of this post.
Most of you know that I do try to help people, particularly when it involves understanding how the game works, but I'm at a loss here for how to proceed. Logic and reproduceable examples don't appear to have any effect.