Jun 28, 2022 6:02 PM
Vanda Nosseo lands on a world that fights a lot of wars.
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Oh, that makes sense. What backs their currency, then? Healer-hours?

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Their currency isn't backed in the same way as Wolcyn's; you aren't guaranteed to be able to exchange any specific amount of it for any particular thing. It is merely the case that it is possible to exchange reasonable amounts of it for most things. In a loose sense you could say it's backed by resurrections and immortality and suchlike but the prices of those fluctuate.

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Countries have tried to do that! They ended up printing huge amounts of money and destroying their economies. Wolcyn has a famously reliable government and even though you can pay your taxes in treasury notes, gold dollars are trading with paper at 3:5.

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Well, it works all right for Vanda Nossëo, they just don't hyperinflate like that. You can avoid that by simply not printing huge amounts of money.

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He is suddenly much less confident that Vanda Nosseo knows what it's doing.

"... So, can you tell me more about the history of Vanda Nosseo?"

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"Sure," says Ligaya, and she explains its founding in Edda following Loki's adventures in Elentári (that's where Ortaron is from) and the subsequent accumulation of more worlds and its relationship with comparable organizations with slightly less sprawling specialties (Mîr, which relies on magic that only works in one neighborhood for its standard operations; Elendil, which is focused on a specific crowded universe that has very little native magic).

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... This sounds like they have a lot of monarchies for somewhere that supposedly has free people. "What power do these monarchs have, over the free states of Vanda Nosseo that they do not rule themselves?"

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"The ones they don't rule? By default none, although separately some royalty, especially Noldorin Elves in universes where they appear, have pursued positions in the Vanda Nossëo structure," says Ligaya.

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"And what rights do the nations of their subjects have in their states?"

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"Most people who have monarchies even after joining Vanda Nossëo," says Ligaya, "are this one species, Elves. There's an Elf on our team but he's distributing some food and so on to the needy back where we landed, there seemed to be a large concentration of desperate folks just there. It's both less formal and less inclined to suffer for that lack of formality than you may be imagining because of how Elves are as a species - an Elf who has absolute power over his subjects just actually won't behave the way a human with the same power will. That having been said, all the Elf nations have adopted a bill of rights specifically because lacking one discomfits people -" She can rattle it off.

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The bill of rights overall makes sense. And he can theoretically buy that other species aren't humans and will behave differently. Just...

"Monarchs, here, have absolute power over their subjects, in almost every nation in the world. And they abuse it sorely." Maybe this is just space aliens? "Wolcyn overthrew its king thirty-four years ago, and nearly all the kingdoms of the world joined together to try to pull us down." He does not bother boasting that they failed; that they failed was observable. "Since then, freedom has made Wolcyn grow richer by leaps and bounds, while the backbreaking taxes of kings and lords drives the rest of the world further into poverty. Rebellions for liberty break out across the world, and are put down with terrible atrocities, and only now, in the most desperate of times, do we make common cause with them against our enemy. It will be very hard to tell the people of in Wolcyn that the kings of the elves are different."

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"If it helps, Elves left to their own devices don't even invent money," says Ligaya. "As an emblem of the degree of difference. They make a gift economy work among themselves. We've never found humans doing that. They're immortal. They occur on planets that have gods, fairly interventionist ones as these things go. They don't invent a word for 'rape' till they meet other species. However, Vanda Nossëo isn't categorically against human kings, it's just much harder for them to hold their populations once they agree to freedom of emigration. The ones who keep them are usually constitutional monarchies where the king has a very limited range of powers."

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"I understand," he says. Aliens are aliens.

On the other hand - "It is a tragedy, when people are forced to flee their homelands for persecution, and though Wolcyn has right of entry and citizenship that any adult can achieve, there are still few who come to us instead of fighting to change their homeland." He considers. "You say that any region has the right to secede and join Vanda Nosseo by a vote. Does this permit a nation to secede from its king?"

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"There is precedent for a government-in-exile to be demonstrated to have de facto allegiance of the populace and allowed to call for a vote."

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He nods. "The foreign ministry would like to hear more about these precedents, if you have the time." Organizing governments-in-exile is something they're a little rusty about (and they've lost the edge with Ljudizem), but they can always get back into the swing since it may be now what matters. "I'd also like to arrange an appointment with one of your economists for the select committee of the Heremethyl dealing with finance and trade, they'll be very interested in hearing how you manage."

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"Of course! I'm sure the economists will be delighted, it's actually pretty rare anyone from a new planet is interested in their department," Ligaya says. And she can list off - her memory is evidently perfect - cases of government-in-exile and their complications and resolutions.

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Why would new planets not be interested in economics??? Economics is what makes countries rich! Like, for instance, his country!

He will take shorthand notes (with a fountain pen, clearly a hand-crafted high-tech gizmo), though his foreign ministry will still want to hear.

(He is not happy about the story of the queen who successfully got her entire populace obeying her in exile. He does not like monarchs, even if he is currently paying them very large subsidies. )

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"The same principle holds with republics," Ligaya says sympathetically.

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Yes, he understands. He's just a little disappointed because it means everyone will probably end up fleeing the country in the reign of the queen's daughter or granddaughter.

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"...we can make people immortal," Ligaya points out.

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Wait what

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"And also resurrect the dead of most species, though not all. Actually it's currently slightly cheaper to jump the resurrection queue than to get an immortality artifact, they use totally different underlying magic," Ligaya goes on. "So the immortality artifacts are subsidized pretty heavily for species we can't resurrect, but it's hardly unaffordable for a queen who doesn't want to pass the kingdom on to her successor."

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"Does that affect things substantively here?"

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"It is utterly unprecedented, and I cannot comprehend the scale of the impact."

He needs a DRINK. Fortunately, drink is right there. Drink.

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