My biz experience being from the Philippines reflects how I make the mechanics for developing and underdeveloped worlds in Cepheus Engine.
As a child that was carried along by parents to witness the Edsa Revolution, be a history nerd and learn the Economic and Memetic changes undergone by philippine society, and being a TRPG gamer that grew up with Old School gamers with younger brothers and their peers of the transitioning generation of gamers.
Particularly how the Cost and Reliability of Transactions in Underdeveloped and Developing Worlds as compared to developed, mature and ancient worlds. Being able to simulate a Developing and Underdeveloped world and the value of Potential as compared to a Developed World.
Hustlers or high SOC are what is found because it's a full time job to Socialize and Network vs more developed worlds that automate these and try to break up social network monopolies and some of the "early" centralizations of power. This is because the infra, culture, trust, and systems are lacking in an Underdeveloped world as compared a more developed world. The cost of Information gathering is HIGH in underdeveloped countries as the infra in both physical and social institution doesnt allow greater bandwidth of transactions.
These Developments dont have to be in a familiar western model - these can be divergent models of asian, middle eastern, african, south american etc... and alien models. What is important is there is a well understood system that everyone can figure out.
Communications Infra and stable process make it that low SOC can thrive - that high Edu and Int can participate in the market.
If trade leaves most parties better off. Anything that increases the transaction rate makes a society able to better be better off. Even if trade moves in inches per year or very tiny improvements per decade.
As the PCs are in a less developing world - finding HIGH Edu and Int is harder. Access to goods with less middlemen or with economies of scale is the challenge. They arrive and they deal with the customs and gate keepers. These are people who have to keep things as secret as possible. Information assymetry is important and is the main element of the game. As a society becomes more developed systems and the aggregate of the society takes over - and systemic issues become more of the main driver of unrest.
As they arrive in more developed they worlds systems take over and in older and ancient worlds the system is the tyrant.
Diaspora is how societies can be reborn back to its optimal form - their ideal growth-to-stablilty ratio. You want a society or world - not too unstable to work and live in and grow - but not too stable that its calcified and people are trapped. Systematically Oppressed people leave to found new societies and try again to correct it only to discover the new blind areas of their systems as their societies develop.
That human development will take millennia and filled with experiments discovering limits of a new system. That every ideal world has a blind spot and that blind spot, people systematically harmed, will find a place to repeat the social experiment and try to improve on the past - only to fail and discover a new mutation and variant of society that was unexpected.
Mutant Outlier Societies - Variants - and social experiments would be very interesting. Especially if we go by the Ancients/Precursor set up that they seeded worlds with humans to maintain some of their infra thousands of years ago.
World Building - if Automated and Procedural - allowing the GM and Players to work with uncertainty and challenging their comfort zones can be as source of development for the gamer in a skillset that allows them to better look at systems of behavior and society. To be able to observe GM and player behavior given these options and see if the challenge feels like something they can take on to see if they can make themselves try something a little bit outside their comfort zone.
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