Whatever of Kameqó

Single-system polity, consisting of the star system of Kameqó (Uulder Shore) with the exception of a small number of independent drifts. Its unusual galactographic sobriquet comes from its extreme governancial instability. Over the last century, Kameqó has enjoyed the following governances:

  • Kingdom of Kameqó (constitutional monarchy)
  • Kingdom of Kameqó (absolute monarchy)
  • Republic of Kameqó (democracy)
  • Holy Land of Kameqó (theocracy)
  • Kameqóan Militate (military junta)
  • Lintenian Kameqó Protectorate (externally-imposed governance following an unsuccessful attempt at interstellar imperialism)
  • Restored Regent-Kingdom of Kameqó (regency)
  • Confederated Workers’ Soviets of Kameqó (communist state)
  • Kameqóan Interregnal Period (anarchy)
  • Eternal Holy Land of Kameqó (theocracy)
  • Civic Plutocracy of Kameqó (corporate city-states)
  • People’s Republic of Kameqó (socialist democracy)
  • People’s Techlepathic Republic of Kameqó (hive-mind democracy)
  • Ascetacy of Kameqó (primitivist)
  • Panic Guilds of Kameqó (prandialist syndicracy)

Despite this rapid turnover in governance, the Kameqó system remains relatively safe to visit for outsiders, provided that they refrain from opining on political topics or otherwise appearing to take any sides in local political affairs; unusually, the Kameqóan political sects tend to concentrate their internecine warfare on each other, and even local “non-polit” residents find it possible to keep their heads down and get on with their lives, despite the ongoing rain of inconvenience from above and the severely deleterious effect it has on the system economy.

The primary export of the Kameqó polity is newsbytes; its primary imports include weapons, relief supplies, political memes, and sociodynamicists. Those considering speculative trade should bear in mind that, due to the aforementioned deleterious effects, Kameqóan local currency is commonly valued below an equivalent volume of blank scrip, and is in any case subject to complete devaluation at the next change in governance; trading only in hard currency is advised.

Libertist theorists point to Kameqó as an example of the systemic failure modes inherent in any kind of cratic governance. Serious libertist theorists point to Kameqó as an example of a pathological case that makes for a terrible example.

– Leyness’s Worlds: Guide to the Ecumene

Trope-a-Day: One World Order

One World Order: Averted.  Most species have more than one government.  Even the Empire, huge as it is and prone to casual memetic imperialism and absorption as it also is, has spawned splinters – not just the individual Renunciates and Renegades, but some actual other eldraeic governances created by minority factions that just couldn’t get along with the overall libertist-technepraxic consensus. (Given the predicates of said consensus, Imperial relations with these are usually, albeit not always, remarkably toxic – with the splinters being seen as something between heretics and just plain old bastard-coated bastards with bastard-flavored filling.)

Many governments also include more than one species.  Looked at either way, no-one speaks for all.

Also, even the supposedly all-encompassing Associated Worlds and Conclave of Galactic Polities don’t encompass everything.  The Voniensa Republic prefers to stand aloof from the whole situation, smug gits that they are, and horrified by the sheer lack of control of the whole thing.  There are plenty of still balkanized planets around, whether the countries have come together to create some international body to deal with offworld affairs or are each trying to conduct their own interstellar policy.  And, heck, encouraged by the fact that at least two of the major powers in the setting are functioning libertarianesque polities that shamelessly encourage this sort of thing, there are a lot of independent habitats out there that have taken advantage of the vastness of space to declare themselves the Sovereign Polity of Brad & Janet, pop. 5, or just straight-out sovereign not-owned-by-any-government individuals, m’kay?

Unity is not where it is at, today.

Trope-a-Day: One Nation Under Copyright

One Nation Under Copyright: There are various forms of corporate-style governments found in the Associated Worlds – at least three distinct ones in the Empire alone.

The first of these is the governing corporation – a government which organizes itself along corporate lines. (A distinct feature of this type of corporate government is that the corporation exists solely to be a government, rather than being a corporation focused on something else that happens to govern.) The Empire contains quite a few of these, and indeed, is itself the largest – albeit an impure, the joint-stock corporation itself being in its infancy when it was founded – example of the type, hence the term citizen-shareholder, and the presence in the Imperial Couple’s style of Chief Executive Officers of the Imperium Incorporate.  Another unusual constituent-nation example is the First Distributed Exclavine Republic, a confederation of Imperial exclaves run by a central Board.

(For the libertarians in the audience, one reason for this is that many of these, the Old Empires included, evolved out of PPLs or mutual-PPLs, themselves founded after the fall of the korásan and the Drowning of the People.)

The second of these is the corporate conlegial model, which exists to cover the large number of company-owned (or other privately-owned) but still Imperially-sovereign habitats or other enclaves, in which the responsibility to provide law/contract enforcement and other sovereign services on the Charter model is formally devolved upon the owning corporation’s Infrastructure and Security departments, thus saving a great deal of trouble  where all the thousands of habitat-based office parks and research parks are concerned.   The largest examples, of course, are the jointly-held corporate research planet Wynérias, the privately owned storage depository system Argyran, and the interlocking-collectives-of-Mad-Scientists-owned system Resplendent Exponential Vector.

The third is the corporate colonial model, in which those Imperially-chartered ecopoesis, colonization and development corporations that own entire planets under development are responsible for providing said sovereign services under Charter law on those planets until such time as they’re turned over to their actual final owners.

Variations on these three – essentially benign – models also exist elsewhere in the Worlds, as do some other less benign examples; in the Magen Corporate, for example, non-shareholding citizens are considered corporate assets in the literal sense, and the Chelzan Syndicracy is always fighting corruption in its mutual-conlegial model, but on average, corporate government tends to produce results no worse than any of the other kinds people try and use.

Trope-a-Day: Feudal Future

Feudal Future: Subverted.  While the runér who make up the “executive branch” of the Empire’s government might look like a feudal hierarchy from some angles, and their titles are occasionally translated that way, in practice they have much less power than a feudal lord’s theoretical powers, and theirs is not a legally enshrined hereditarian hierarchy that places them above all other parts of society (see: Fantastic Caste System).  And historically, they grew up as, effectively, bottom-up-driven administrators rather than as local warlords, the old feudal model having died hard in the tumults that led up to the founding of the Old Empires.

In short: there’s a reason tying back very directly to the fundamental nature of the Imperial government why the Imperial Couple’s formal style includes the line “Chief Executive Officers of the Imperium Incorporate”, and why the fundamental power rests – strictly according to explicit contract – with the citizen-shareholders.

Trope-a-Day: Democracy Is Bad

Democracy Is Bad: This is the Imperial consensus view.  Partly for the fairly obvious reason that in democracies like ours, where just about everything or everything minus a small list is up for grabs by vote, it’s just a tyranny with more tyrants.  (See, thus, the Drowning of the People.)

Even for what they consider the legitimate purposes of government, they’d claim that democracy is an idiot’s way to run things.  If you’re building a bridge, or operating a power grid, or developing software, or performing orbital maneuvers, or whatever, you use experts to solve problems.  You don’t leave the decisions in the hands of a straw poll of whatever unqualified randoms are around at the time, unless your plan actually is to waste untold amounts of money and kill a whole bunch of people.

And it doesn’t magically become a better plan when you apply it to, say, managing the commons, administering the infrastructure, or controlling the currency.  Sorry, no.

These are technical problems with technical solutions, and that means they’re the province of technicians.  Or technarchs, rather.

Exercising Government by Means of Virtue

Some governments maintain a rigidly defined chain of command, rights and duties, from top to bottom – from a monarch, an autocrat, an elected council, or what have you, directives emerge and are complied with by the lesser strata of administration.

This is at best theoretically the case in the Empire.  While section VIII of the Imperial Charter does instruct the runér to owe fealty and duties to their superiors and receive them from their inferiors, it leaves what precisely these consist of unsaid, and specifies that they are owed to the Empire first and the Imperial Couple second before that; and in defining the duties of the runér, it requires subordination only in the command of local garrison forces, otherwise saying that their administration shall be “in accordance with their right of coronargyr and the Imperial Mandate”.

In practice, then, the Empire’s runér are an independent and fractious group, proud of their demesnes, and prone to vigorously defend their prerogatives and perquisites to govern as they see fit.  Such cooperation as can be expected as of right is limited to that enshrined in Imperial law and their letters patent.  Moreover, while the power of a runér to govern is strictly circumscribed by the Fundamental Contract and the Imperial Charter, most well-established or founding runér command extensive tapestries of properties, investments, easements, circles, pacts, favors, and reputation within their demesne which grant them extensive socioeconomic power and influence outside their formal command of justice, defense, and the public infrastructure.

Thus, the successful Imperial Couple or upper-stratum executive learns to avoid commanding the runér when possible; and when necessary, to apply persuasion, influence, incentive and leverage in equal measure.

– from the Scroll of Staves, fifteenth recension