You’re entirely missing the point. The people you’d be working for are the ones who want people and things moved, while remaining off the books. They aren’t going to audit you to the point of exposing their own con. This of course means that the captain and crew can also rip off their sponsors, but such is life once a little corruption takes hold. Don't get too greedy, though. . .phavoc wrote: ↑Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:49 pm
You haven't met the accountants that I work with...
But more seriously, if you are a merchant working for someone, missing a few thousand credits is going to cause an investigation by accounting. It's not that you couldn't figure out a way, but you'll need receipts, justification, etc. Accounting in the 52nd century is no different than the 1st century - except maybe there is more paperwork.
A subsidized ship would, most likely, still have to open their books to whomever is subsidizing them - especially if it's a governmental entity. That's just how those kinds of things work. A depotic government, a democracy, a feudal one, any sort of organization will want to know how their money is being used. The only way that wouldn't work out would be if the subsidized ship was given a block grant of funds for X tons of cargo for Y period. And if the subsidizing entity didn't use their pre-paid allocation then they could potentially lose it for that period.
Take a look around at any of the various less industrialized nations on earth. Corruption and graft are everywhere. Much of it government sponsored. In some places the whole point of being an bureaucrat is the bribes that come with the job. Many a wayward child of a dictator has profited into the hundreds of millions of dollars from government contracts, and taken many a friend on the ride with them.
Would this work in the US or EU with a federal government sponsored program being audited by Ernst & Young? Probably not. But the Imperium equivalent of the Boston - London Route is not the realm of the subsidized merchant. Think more the Muscat - Mogadishu route.