Feudalism and Plagues

Mr Wuttke notes supply shortages of basic materials such as packaging are common for many companies. Other challenges range from 14-day quarantines for truck drivers as soon as they return home from a trip, to a myriad of new special permits required by officials across the country as they attempt to protect their fiefdoms from the virus.

“Every city has turned into a little Alamo,” he adds. “You need a lot of permits just to get things from point A to point B. It is unbelievable the challenges logistics departments are dealing with.”

Ether Yin at Trivium, a Beijing-based consultancy, says “officials are in a tough spot — they need to make sure they stop the spread of the virus in their jurisdictions. At the same time, they are under pressure to get things back to normal.”

China: an economy in quarantine by Tom Mitchell and Don Weinland in Beijing and Brendan Greeley in Washington

The Third Imperium is not nearly as controlling as the Chinese ruling dynasties: red/bloody, yellow/golden, or otherwise.

Moreover, the Imperium make no claim to “guarantee economic growth”, only to insure free trade fair measures, weights and standards; and just, predictable rulings on property and contract disputes. Since they make no promises for actively encouraging economic growth, their legitimacy is not harmed directly if there is a local recession/depression.

On the other hand, almost all Nobles prefer to have a bigger economy — and a bigger tax haul — than a smaller one. And most Nobles – Solomani and Vilani alike – treat contagious and dangerous plagues as a “non-sophont enemy” that can hurt & kill their people and their property.

Story idea: release a biological plague – or a techno-plague, like the Virus of Traveller: The New Era – on the peacetime Imperium. Observe how quickly things get hard-core feudal, and how long it will take to restore some semblance of Imperial unity in trade and transportation.

Curiosity: the Peerage is big enough that a few Nobles place something above having a bigger economy. It would be cool to get names on that group, and find out exactly what they are placing above greater wealth. Some possibilities include…

  • Race & Tribe
  • Law & Justice
  • Ritual & Tradition
  • Science
  • Stability
  • Equality/Unity/Collectivism
  • Environment
  • Occultic/Mystic

Special note: placing “Law & Justice” above wealth is somewhat incoherent, as traders and businessmen are attracted to worlds with predictable, reasonably fair justice and legal traditions, and stout protection for life, liberty, and property

A fairly similar situation occurs if “Truth & Wisdom” is placed above wealth: accurate and timely information is, in and of itself, a source of wealth. Same thing for wise actions at the right time.

It would have been interesting if these high roads of gold had more time to spread and impact the Imperial Aristocracy. But it was decided that 1116 years was enough time: and in every life – collective and individual – Judgement Day comes.

So the Imperium was placed on the balances… and found wanting.

About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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