Inalienable Property

(Seeing as we’re discussing the amount of trouble people can get into through bad deals, it seems like an appropriate time to mention a certain generous legal provision…)

inalienable property: Private property not subject to seizure in mediatory proceedings, in collection of a debt, or in bankruptcy.

While any property, in theory, can be seized by a Curial court in re a criminal matter, where mediary matters, debt, and bankruptcy are concerned, the Imperial court system – as a matter of courtesy between citizen-shareholders – stipulates that certain property (When owned outright by the citizen-shareholder. If the equity in the property is held by a lender to whom the debtor is in default, that debtor may always exercise an existing option to reclaim that property.) shall be considered inalienable and not seized by the courts, including:

  • The citizen-shareholder’s primary body and/or server, whether owned or purchased as a service.
  • The citizen-shareholder’s primary domicile and furnishings for same, up to the limits of a basic claim set out in the Homestead Act.
  • The citizen-shareholder’s tort insurance, health insurance, and incarnation insurance.
  • One set of personal weapons for the citizen-shareholder’s defense.
  • One personal vehicle.
  • Clothing (including jewelry) not to exceed 25% of total inalienable property.
  • The tools of, and other required equipment for, the citizen-shareholder’s trade.
  • The citizen-shareholder’s library, including at least one computational and telecommunicative device.
  • Food, necessary medical equipment, and other sustenance.

– Lathenar’s Legal Dictionary, 41st ed.

(The aim, you see, is to recover insofar as possible those assets to which one’s debtors have a moral right, but not to strip anyone to the point at which they cannot effectively recover, nor to make the consequences of failure so harsh as to discourage risk-taking and entrepreneurship. That’s short-term thinking, and the Empire’s plutarchs are capable of seeing well beyond the next quarter…)


Trope-a-Day: Happiness in Slavery

Happiness in Slavery: Played with – Imperial law, despite the extreme cultural aversion to slavery, does permit voluntarily contracted indenture as a way to get out from under unrepayable debts without resorting to bankruptcy, and suchlike.  It’s not exactly happy – indeed, by local standards, it is ridiculously humiliating – but it’s probably better than most of the alternatives; and most cultural Imperials would see it as infinitely better than default.

(The kicker: with the exception of not being able to quit until the contract term is up, we would find the ghastly state and working conditions of what the Empire calls “indenture” very familiar indeed.  We call it employment.)

Averted pretty comprehensively with actual slaves in the darker and more hideously backward parts of the Worlds, though.