Government Types (anarchy/corporate state etc)

General discussion for players of Oolite.

Moderators: another_commander, winston

Post Reply
User avatar
Cholmondely
Wiki Wizard
Wiki Wizard
Posts: 1149
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:00 am
Location: The Delightful Domains of Her Most Britannic Majesty
Contact:

Government Types (anarchy/corporate state etc)

Post by Cholmondely »

Who decides if an anarchy is an anarchy? Or a communist state is a communist state?

Are the systems labelled communist really all communist?

There would seem to be at least three possible approaches:

1) Simplistic: The anarchies really are all anarchies and the label just reflects political reality. Ditto for the communists etc. The effects on matters such as piracy thus flow naturally on from this.

2) Defined by GalCop: The anarchies are labelled as such by GalCop because -for whatever reason - they are incapable of sustaining a "proper" political relationship with GalCop, thus allowing for augmentation of police patrols etc.

3) Defined by eg. the Register of Worlds: and thus providing all the planetary information for the F7 screen.

I tend towards (2) - being influenced by Cim's essay in his Ship's Manual:
Planetary Governments

The Cooperative maintains a short summary of the government type of each system, and this is viewable on your F7 system data screen. For simplicity, governments are divided into eight broad classifications, each described in the following chapters. The government type is reflected in the number and size of police patrols in the system, with Corporate States generally having the most patrols (and the fewest pirates) and Feudal and Anarchy systems having the fewest patrols (and the most pirates). The classifications are extremely broad, and many systems could arguably fall into two (or sometimes more!) classifications. There have been allegations, so far unproven, that some planetary governments have been bribing the Cooperative officials to grant a more pleasant classification, and funding additional patrol craft – and conversely that some systems which have been unable to keep up with the required payments under Cooperative treaties have been downgraded. This has all been strenuously denied: nevertheless, the government description is far more useful as an indicator of the environment in space than it is of the planet below. The following sections give typical and atypical examples of the government types.
and especially by this (one of his three examples of a communist system):
Xesoon in Chart 3 counts as Communist mostly because it had to be filed somewhere. The citizenry communicates entirely through poetry, and the Constitution is a fifty-thousand word epic. Government business is carried out through an annual song-poem, to which any citizen may append a verse to set out and approve of their business for the year. While private enterprise is technically allowed, the locals prefer to add their work to the song-poem, and outsiders who can compose poetry to the standards required to do business are extremely rare.
.
Denizen of the Dark and Dismal Deserts of Digebiti.

Milo wrote Dancing the Gavotte
User avatar
Redspear
---- E L I T E ----
---- E L I T E ----
Posts: 1660
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:22 pm

Re: Government Types (anarchy/corporate state etc)

Post by Redspear »

I think the motivation for cim's text on the matter could also be interpreted as simply trying to explain / hand-wave the ingame reality of such simplistic categorisation.

From a gameplay point of view government was to indicate danger level and the association (of danger with government) was primarily to add more flavour than, for example, 'dangerous' (which would of course have denied them an adjective for player ranking and perhaps a subsequent sequal).

How about this mix of all three?:

1. They are simplisatic but for convenience rather than for accuracy
2. GalCop does have final say on each categorisation...
3. ...but generally draws its data from the 'Register of Worlds' (or similar) before editing should it wish or need to for its own purposes

In real life it's not too hard to imagine a communist government with a capitalist economic model :|
"With our thoughts, we make the world" :-) - - - Game too slow for you? Masslock Compensators - - - Trouble getting out of trouble? Indestructible Injectors
User avatar
Disembodied
Jedi Spam Assassin
Jedi Spam Assassin
Posts: 6672
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Carter's Snort

Re: Government Types (anarchy/corporate state etc)

Post by Disembodied »

My own personal reading is that the classifications are unofficial, and provided by the Registry as a quick-and-dirty guide for what pilots can expect when they're in-system. It's really just a useful way of indicating what sort of pirate threat level you can expect, without embarrassing anyone by publicly admitting that piracy is rife and that the Co-operative is struggling to cope.

In the end, a lot of it comes down to how powerful and authoritative you think the Co-operative is. If you think it's a strong, centralising authority, then it can say to member worlds, "Sit down, shut up, you're a Dictatorship and that's final". If you think it's a weak, loose treaty setting extremely basic rules governing interstellar trade, then these kinds of classifications would have to be unofficial.

Any official attempt to classify a system would be fraught with difficulty. If the Co-operative was making these classifications, many member worlds would demand the right to self-define and things would quickly become nonsensical. Every member nation of the UN knows that North Korea is a grotesque military dictatorship under a vague gloss of communist rhetoric - but the label on their seat still says "Democratic People's Republic of North Korea".
User avatar
Cholmondely
Wiki Wizard
Wiki Wizard
Posts: 1149
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:00 am
Location: The Delightful Domains of Her Most Britannic Majesty
Contact:

Re: Government Types (anarchy/corporate state etc)

Post by Cholmondely »

I tend to take the introduction on the Oolite site as official lore:
Among the seven trillion people who are - at least officially - Cooperative citizens, you are nobody. So far, anyway. You've got a ship, some weapons, and enough spare cash to get started - and one day, you might get the fame, wealth or glory you want. Perhaps one day, everyone might know your name. If, that is, you can survive that long.

The two thousand star systems of the Cooperative once enjoyed a golden age of peace and prosperity, and perhaps the wealthiest of them can still pretend to. The trade ships that once safely travelled between planets now have to be well armed and escorted to fend off pirate attacks, from small-time criminals desperate for their next meal, to powerful robber barons extracting tithes from everyone who passes through their space.

The Cooperative's police force, concentrated near a few influential planets, can no longer maintain order. The mercenaries they hire for a few credits a kill are too few, too unreliable to do so either. And in the darkness between the stars, an old enemy lurks, fearless, perhaps waiting for order to collapse entirely.

Good luck, Commander.
Thus, I see GalCop as weak. I dare say that GalCop could mount an attack on a system and pulverize it (if the system had but a few allies), but I cannot see that it would be worth its while to do so except in extremis.

So unless the systems are happy with the definitions, GalCop will be unlikely to force definitions down their throats.

Democracies, Communists & Feudal states are all based on ethical premisses (however flawed the realities are), and so one can see that systems with that definition would not necessarily resist their label. Especially if the communist systems are organised in the way that Commies & Captain Hesperus' wiki entries portray.

I see Anarchies as being defined as such as a consequence of their virtually inexistent relationship with GalCop. Their relationship with GalCop is so poor, that they have no say in the definition.

It might well be that Corporate States are happy with their label too - the ethics of free enterprise/anarcho-capitalism and all that. The fact that it seems pejorative to me now in 2021, does not mean that the opprobrium applies the same way in the far future.

That leaves Dictatorships, Multi-Governments and Confederacies.

Dictatorship may again have lost the opprobrium in the light of the impending Dark Age and the need to resist it without too much help from GalCop (a bit like the original rationale for feudalism). Again, an ethical arguement, so to speak.

Mulitgovernments and Confederacies are pretty much the same thing - except that in confederacies, the planetary governments co-operate and in M-Gs they don't (civil war etc). Again, the definition here would seem to be a function of (i) political reality (ii) relationship with GalCop.

The fly in the ointment seems to me to be the Feudal classification, as it seems bizarre that they would be so anti-GalCop as to disdain help against pirates & Thargoids. Perhaps GalCop 'declared war' on them for undemocratic behaviour. Or maybe they are mostly in a state of civil war like the Multi-Govs, but were not classified as such. I would guess that feudal fractioning is the cause of the definition and the piracy issue. Thus the dictatorships would include the more effective/functioning feudal states.

But is all this too tidy for reality?

Two more points: (i) the labels must remain useful for beginners to the game, allowing them to predict piracy levels and thus survive in the early days of play (Redspear's point when I argued for keeping Riedqaut as an anarchy while lowering its piracy levels).
(ii) I agree with the argument that it is more logical if the labels are applied by the Registry. And if we accept the argument that pilots visiting/being allowed to visit planets is a recent thing, then the label would have been irrelevant from a players perspective until recently.

One point though, North Korea, Yugoslavia, China & Russia all calling themselves People's Democracies/Republics etc did not prevent them also calling themselves Communist.
Denizen of the Dark and Dismal Deserts of Digebiti.

Milo wrote Dancing the Gavotte
User avatar
Cmdr James
Commodore
Commodore
Posts: 1326
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:43 pm
Location: Berlin

Re: Government Types (anarchy/corporate state etc)

Post by Cmdr James »

Disembodied wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:57 am Every member nation of the UN knows that North Korea is a grotesque military dictatorship under a vague gloss of communist rhetoric - but the label on their seat still says "Democratic People's Republic of North Korea".
I think you are confusing country name and political system. The label on the NK seat makes no claim about the political system at all, it is simply its name.
Cholmondely wrote: Sat Mar 06, 2021 8:30 pm Who decides if an anarchy is an anarchy? Or a communist state is a communist state?

Are the systems labelled communist really all communist?

There would seem to be at least three possible approaches:
I think its obviously a simplification, all the complexity of the whole political setup of a planet is reduced to one word with each government type being a broad categorisation.

Remember what the purpose of the categorisation is, it is to give a pilot an idea of the level of risk, police presence etc and is certainly not an in depth analysis of the political system.

Where do they come from? Probably an intern who is tasked with looking into each planet and making a call which will mostly be good enough. Each ship probably has a database that was set up when it was made and can be updated whenever the pilot cares enough to do so (think gps systems) and I could image that different suppliers would have slightly differing views on some planets and for local legal issues they may sometimes change what gets displayed (ie in system this system is democracy, everywhere else it is shown as dictatorship).
User avatar
Disembodied
Jedi Spam Assassin
Jedi Spam Assassin
Posts: 6672
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Carter's Snort

Re: Government Types (anarchy/corporate state etc)

Post by Disembodied »

Cmdr James wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 4:29 pm
Disembodied wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:57 am Every member nation of the UN knows that North Korea is a grotesque military dictatorship under a vague gloss of communist rhetoric - but the label on their seat still says "Democratic People's Republic of North Korea".
I think you are confusing country name and political system. The label on the NK seat makes no claim about the political system at all, it is simply its name.
Yes, but it's the name they've chosen, and it's a name that makes a claim … if I call myself "tall Bob", and I turn out to be 5'3", people might wonder why I chose that particular adjective.
User avatar
Redspear
---- E L I T E ----
---- E L I T E ----
Posts: 1660
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:22 pm

Re: Government Types (anarchy/corporate state etc)

Post by Redspear »

Disembodied wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:02 pm
Cmdr James wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 4:29 pm
Disembodied wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:57 am Every member nation of the UN knows that North Korea is a grotesque military dictatorship under a vague gloss of communist rhetoric - but the label on their seat still says "Democratic People's Republic of North Korea".
I think you are confusing country name and political system. The label on the NK seat makes no claim about the political system at all, it is simply its name.
Yes, but it's the name they've chosen, and it's a name that makes a claim … if I call myself "tall Bob", and I turn out to be 5'3", people might wonder why I chose that particular adjective.
Until, before you know it, you're only appearing in public next to short people and insist on being photographed from angles that hide the strategically placed box that makes you look taller.
"With our thoughts, we make the world" :-) - - - Game too slow for you? Masslock Compensators - - - Trouble getting out of trouble? Indestructible Injectors
User avatar
stranger
---- E L I T E ----
---- E L I T E ----
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:31 am
Location: Vladivostok, Russia

Re: Government Types (anarchy/corporate state etc)

Post by stranger »

Redspear wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:03 pm
Disembodied wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:02 pm
Cmdr James wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 4:29 pm I think you are confusing country name and political system. The label on the NK seat makes no claim about the political system at all, it is simply its name.
Yes, but it's the name they've chosen, and it's a name that makes a claim … if I call myself "tall Bob", and I turn out to be 5'3", people might wonder why I chose that particular adjective.
Until, before you know it, you're only appearing in public next to short people and insist on being photographed from angles that hide the strategically placed box that makes you look taller.
Yes, we have nice example of such behavior pattern in Russia.
If dwarfs cast long shadows, then you are living during sunset.
Stanisław Jerzy Lec
Let's return to initial theme.
Technically we have no any activity on planet surface - only space activity. Government type reflects only system danger for visiting ships. Stable governments has more police patrols and less pirate activity. There is also correlation between government type and TL. Stable governments tends to have high TL index. It is matter of safety too - you'll can't repair damaged high-tech equipment in low-tech anarchy.
It is possible to construct alternative interpretations is Galcop Government type classification adequately reflects political systems of local surface governments. We only know that GalCop avoids any direct intervention onto surface life. No any peacemaker operations like real UN forces did. Maybe due to moral obligations, maybe GalCop is too weak for such direct interventions.
All in all, Riedquat is a wonderful, unspoiled planet where you can get away from the teeming cares of the Co-operative and relax into a gentler way of life. The only significant problem, and the major risk, is getting there. Riedquat’s local volume seethes with pirates, from lone-wolf freebooters to bandit gangs.
Rough Guide on the Ooniverse
Despite being Anarchy citizens Riedquat residents are pretty friendly to outsiders and only lack of space lane control makes visiting system so dangerous. But maybe more xenophobic societies will be opposite case. It is a matter of special OXPs of course, and we have already some OXP flavor. We have local police forces in Commies and Dictatorship systems - seems these regimes prefer to control system space by oneself, without GalCop assistance. We have also non-hostile NPC system-specific ships in Feudal systems, this case can be developed onto more interesting setting. How about some chaotic behavior of these feudal ships? Some ships can defend player due to moral obligations of loyalty to local lords, some can provide protection for money and some can demand ransom for free pass.
User avatar
Redspear
---- E L I T E ----
---- E L I T E ----
Posts: 1660
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:22 pm

Re: Government Types (anarchy/corporate state etc)

Post by Redspear »

stranger wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 1:09 am Yes, we have nice example of such behavior pattern in Russia.
:D

stranger wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 1:09 am Despite being Anarchy citizens Riedquat residents are pretty friendly to outsiders and only lack of space lane control makes visiting system so dangerous.
It's perhaps not unlikely that folks in extremely dangerous systems tend to have a with us or against us attitude. I've seen it with extremism generally and also in places where you might be inclined to look over your shoulder.

You've come to trade with us? Not many will, so we'll genuinely treat you nice but if you give us any reason not to...

stranger wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 1:09 am But maybe more xenophobic societies will be opposite case.
Different 'them' and 'us' but same problem perhaps (with us or against us).
Besides it can be surprising how often xenophobes will make an exception for one individual when it suits them.


Apart from the government specific oxps you mention and their ships, a visiting pilot could be from anywhere of course and as long as,
stranger wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 1:09 am Technically we have no any activity on planet surface - only space activity.
then having government type be represented in game isn't obvious without treading on what is already covered by system characteristics (government, econony, tech etc.)

I prefer making something more of largely unused characteristics such as 'inhabitants'. I've essentially done it too - just need to find the thing and update it :roll:
"With our thoughts, we make the world" :-) - - - Game too slow for you? Masslock Compensators - - - Trouble getting out of trouble? Indestructible Injectors
Post Reply