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Author Topic: The Casani  (Read 16502 times)
Gethuch
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« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2010, 10:48:52 pm »

Bethar and I are not natural capitalists, and are left blinking and trying to understand what you mean...
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TheGremlin
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« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2010, 01:30:54 am »

Perhaps Capitalism / Communism only muddies the waters. Neither are synonymous with either libertarianism and decentralisation or authoritarianism and centralisation.
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Rick
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« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2010, 01:49:18 am »

I'm not a natural capitalist either. The problem is, "capitalism" is an extremely misapplied term. Capitalism is an economic term, not a political one and it's not really fubarnii. My take on things is that fubarnii see the acquisition of wealth, power, prestige as the same thing, but it's about acquiring a better standing within the clan and acquiring a better standing for the clan within the empire, not about a personal gain (although being known as someone that furthered a clan's efforts would reflect very favourably on that person). Politically, I think the empire is sort of in the middle ground between a confederation and a satrapy (Persian Empire), in that Clan leaders have a lot of power within their own territory, and probably a fair amount of power collectively, as an advisory council to the Emporer. I like the Persian Empire model, even though the clan leaders are definately not satraps, as on a military level, there are state troops (knights) and regional troops (militia).

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Perhaps Capitalism / Communism only muddies the waters. Neither are synonymous with either libertarianism and decentralisation or authoritarianism and centralisation.

Again, I think these are all terms for an economic system, not a political system.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 01:52:44 am by Rick » Logged
Jubal
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« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2010, 10:15:11 am »

I see the Fubarnii as being as politically and economically... confused, I guess, as ourselves. One suspects that in some areas the clan element is extremely strong, whereas possibly for more central clans where the Emperor has a lot of power this has started to decrease in favour of a more individualistic and less clan-based society and economy. The traders are really the proponents of a more capitalist model and try to make sure they can trade freely and without restraint across Anyaral. That said, the clan element is very strogn where it is strong and it's probably only as the traders and knights have gained power independently of clans that it's begun to erode anywhere (in the same way that the introduction of a western european governmental model broke apart the traditional clan structures of native Americans).

So in that sense I guess it could be that the clan can be considered the "original" unit of Fubarnii culture (in the same way it was with humans in many areas) and as different political systems leave their mark and are spread by traders and knights (the former more than the latter, since I can't imagine knights are trained with free thought in mind) then different ideas and systems are beginning to emerge in different areas.

One suspects that any sort of liberal or left-wing politics isn't very obvious to Fubarnii of any sort; in the clan systems it's frowned upon socially, in the Central Empire the Emperor would make darned sure that nobody advocated any funny ideas about "voting" or "freedom", and in the Delgon everything is very simply Gods > Priests > Minions (the fact that the Gods exist leaves little room for theistic rebellion, and makes the "Prove that this is how God wants it to be" argument against Theocracy MUCH easier. I can't imagine it hasn't cropped up, but it may take a particular spark for it to gain any traction anywhere.
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Rick
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« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2010, 03:22:55 pm »

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in the same way that the introduction of a western european governmental model broke apart the traditional clan structures of native Americans
Hmm, don't think so, the native Americans still have a strong clan structure. What broke their system apart was the near genocide of the native Americans by the western governmental model. The clan structure was a stable political structure that worked extremely well for the native Americans, lol!
I'm confused by your use of "freedom" in this context - the fubarnii individually and as a society are free; they have free-will, self-determination and the ability to move socially (improve their social position within society). The fubarnii are just more family and clan centred than individually centred (which is more of a genetic disposition than a learned response) - if a fubarnii put his personal acquisition of wealth ahead of his family, they would think he was mentally ill (which he would be, for a fubarnii). I don't think the Emperor is too bothered by "funny ideas" - there are slightly different clan systems throughout the empire and he rules over them all as the head of a confederacy of clan states.

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So in that sense I guess it could be that the clan can be considered the "original" unit of Fubarnii culture (in the same way it was with humans in many areas) and as different political systems leave their mark and are spread by traders and knights (the former more than the latter, since I can't imagine knights are trained with free thought in mind) then different ideas and systems are beginning to emerge in different areas.
I think knights have a lot more free thought than you imagine, as they are the Emperors ambassador's to the various cities and clans - they spend most of their time in politics and peacemaking between the clans, and only a fraction fighting Devanu. I also think you're wrong about the traders - it's in their family interests that things remain stable and, in fact, they have done more for homogenising the language and society across the Empire than almost any other group.
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Jubal
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« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2010, 05:07:19 pm »

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Hmm, don't think so, the native Americans still have a strong clan structure. What broke their system apart was the near genocide of the native Americans by the western governmental model. The clan structure was a stable political structure that worked extremely well for the native Americans, lol!
That was the case in the north, with the British and French settlers. Mesoamerica and South America had rather different stories to tell; the Spanish introduction of a westernised model essentially promoted competition in societies where the idea of individual property (as opposed to clan ownership) was utterly alien. It was this that allowed the spanish to break up Aztec and Inca culture with realtively small numbers of settlers; they used their cultural ideas to split up the nations and for the first time turn the clans in on each other. The genocide in the north was, agreed, very much done by the westerners but in the Spanish regions a lot of the death came from the civil wars that occurred as clans were split between spanish-promoted leaders benefiting from trade and individual capitalism and their traditional tribal background.

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I'm confused by your use of "freedom" in this context - the fubarnii individually and as a society are free; they have free-will, self-determination and the ability to move socially (improve their social position within society). The fubarnii are just more family and clan centred than individually centred (which is more of a genetic disposition than a learned response) - if a fubarnii put his personal acquisition of wealth ahead of his family, they would think he was mentally ill (which he would be, for a fubarnii). I don't think the Emperor is too bothered by "funny ideas" - there are slightly different clan systems throughout the empire and he rules over them all as the head of a confederacy of clan states.
I don't think it is a genetic disposition; with humans it's very much a cultural thing with Western Europe having led the way in terms of individualism while other groups had an extremely family-based structure and culture which would be considerably more alien to us. In terms of freedom, the Fubarnii only have freedom of social movement to an extent; I can't imagine a Fubarnii from a poor background would be allowed to move up the ranks to a guild leader or courtier! While there may not be a universal respect for the wealthy and aristocrats, the Fubarnii don’t have any systems in place to specifically allow social mobility, such as a state schooling system or any form of redistributive taxation (and in real terms systems of that ilk are very much required to prevent skills and wealth accumulating in particular families). There’s also the issue of taxes; the Fubarnii must have to pay tax, probably relatively heavy tax, to pay for the clan and state expenditure. At the state level there will be civc buildings to maintain, clan leaders to feed (be interesting to know how clan leaders get their status – hereditary?), and of course equipping the militia. Fubarnii are also paying taxes to support the Emperor’s own expenditure (and I’m sure he lives pretty well) and the Knights at the same time. I can’t imagine that some more unruly Fubarnii in the less war-torn states haven’t come up with the bright idea of wanting to secede and thus save themselves that upper tier of expenditure (whereas the frontiers are of course more loyal, as was the case with the Roman Empire, due to the necessity of the troop presence). And then of course Fubarnii have no democracy; the Emperor is the Emperor because of family ties essentially, and his word is law. I suspect the Emperor hasn’t been bothered by “funny ideas”, but if at some point in the future they lead to a clan refusing to pay some taxes or even a few small riots in a major city one suspects that he might.

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I think knights have a lot more free thought than you imagine, as they are the Emperors ambassador's to the various cities and clans - they spend most of their time in politics and peacemaking between the clans, and only a fraction fighting Devanu. I also think you're wrong about the traders - it's in their family interests that things remain stable and, in fact, they have done more for homogenising the language and society across the Empire than almost any other group.
True, but they are brought up from Jenta to be the Emperor’s representatives, and generally all systems of that nature include having respect for the Emperor and the established system firmly dinned in (one is reminded of Janissaries). I’m sure they can be very clever and even-handed as diplomats, but thinking beyond the social structure and political systems they know would probably barely occur to them. As for traders, their first interest and the thing that their lifestyle is designed towards is making money. That, in itself, probably tends to lead to a certain anti-authority streak since authority, by and large, is what takes money away (and spends it on nice fancy palaces and those rather dashing plumes Knight Captains get). I’m not saying that the Traders are a hotbed of political heresy, far far from it, but I expect that some of them will take a serious interest in new ideas.
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Rick
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« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2010, 06:11:30 pm »

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There’s also the issue of taxes; the Fubarnii must have to pay tax, probably relatively heavy tax, to pay for the clan and state expenditure. At the state level there will be civc buildings to maintain, clan leaders to feed (be interesting to know how clan leaders get their status – hereditary?), and of course equipping the militia. Fubarnii are also paying taxes to support the Emperor’s own expenditure (and I’m sure he lives pretty well) and the Knights at the same time.

I see your points, but I still feel that you are thinking in terms of capitalism - that land, labour, material and products all have a monetary value and that a persons wealth is in purely monetary terms. There probably is a system of taxation, but I doubt if it is as high as you think, and it's probably levied on external clans. I do not feel that fubarnii have an idea of land ownership per se; I think that the clan controls the land within it's boundaries, that each fubarnii has a right to work an amount of land according to their status/size of family. Within the clan, the members produce enough to fulfill their needs, any surplus is traded for items they can't produce, or for profit as a 3rd option. This owes more to the mercantile economic system than the capitalist one, but not entirely - by removing some of the ideas that land and labour have a monetary value, it's going a little way towards a socialist model. To a fubarnii clan; material, produce and size have a prestige value, but only traded surplus has a monetary value, and can be taxed.

The modern western european system grew out of feudalism with a strict sense of a god-given right for one group to be of a higher social ranking than another, thus ruling them. I think in a clan-based system, there is more social movement, but fubarnii will think in terms of the long view - it may take several generations of a family to rise up the social ladder within a clan, accruing as much power and prestige to enable this to happen. Clan leaders are chosen because of the power and prestige that they and their family hold; if they lose the power and prestige they're likely to be replaced. The emperor is the leader of the most powerful clan in Gar-Loren and the empire; if a catastrophe happened and the emperors clan lost that prestige and power, I think we'd see a new emperor on the throne (highly unlikely though). It's not the Emperors word that is law - it's his clans power and influence - he can only rule by getting the clan leaders to agree with him (which they would if they had less power than he did), and he'd be very foolish to issue edicts that he knew none of the clan leaders would support.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 06:32:02 pm by Rick » Logged
Jubal
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« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2010, 08:31:45 pm »

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I see your points, but I still feel that you are thinking in terms of capitalism - that land, labour, material and products all have a monetary value and that a persons wealth is in purely monetary terms. There probably is a system of taxation, but I doubt if it is as high as you think, and it's probably levied on external clans. I do not feel that fubarnii have an idea of land ownership per se; I think that the clan controls the land within it's boundaries, that each fubarnii has a right to work an amount of land according to their status/size of family. Within the clan, the members produce enough to fulfill their needs, any surplus is traded for items they can't produce, or for profit as a 3rd option. This owes more to the mercantile economic system than the capitalist one, but not entirely - by removing some of the ideas that land and labour have a monetary value, it's going a little way towards a socialist model. To a fubarnii clan; material, produce and size have a prestige value, but only traded surplus has a monetary value, and can be taxed.

But the clans are huge; what you seem to be saying is that clans have an essentially non-monetary internal economy. Fubarnii clans are the size of small countries, so I can't see that working at all well. I agree on the land ownership, though that I would guess is due to relatively sparse population rather than a socialist ideal; there's probably plenty of land for everyone, particularly if many farms are underground (fungi). I think that there must be a decent amount of intra-clan trade, though; the scale of the clans would make it difficult for there not to be without the clan system being very heavily ordered and collectivist. Also, of course, prestige in the system you’ve outlined only really takes the place of wealth in pure capitalism; those with greater prestige get more goods and materials, live in bigger homes, and so have more prestige…

I’m sure that taxes must be quite high, too; I can’t see any way that they could not be, to support an Empire that size with a significant military force required due to the Devanu in all provinces and most major population centres.

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The modern western european system grew out of feudalism with a strict sense of a god-given right for one group to be of a higher social ranking than another, thus ruling them. I think in a clan-based system, there is more social movement, but fubarnii will think in terms of the long view - it may take several generations of a family to rise up the social ladder within a clan, accruing as much power and prestige to enable this to happen. Clan leaders are chosen because of the power and prestige that they and their family hold; if they lose the power and prestige they're likely to be replaced. The emperor is the leader of the most powerful clan in Gar-Loren and the empire; if a catastrophe happened and the emperors clan lost that prestige and power, I think we'd see a new emperor on the throne (highly unlikely though). It's not the Emperors word that is law - it's his clans power and influence - he can only rule by getting the clan leaders to agree with him (which they would if they had less power than he did), and he'd be very foolish to issue edicts that he knew none of the clan leaders would support.
In clan systems there’s rarely much more social movement, and sometimes there’s even less. Families can move up or down given many generations, but it takes a hell of a lot to be able to do so. The simple fact is that Jenta from more prominent families will be able to be better taught and trained than those from less prominent ones, and thus will be better equipped to hold the reins of power for the next generation. I’m sure Emperors can lose power – I think that Carcharoth has said that it’s happened on occasion. On the other hand, there’s no call for him to necessarily take account of the clan leaders; the fact that he personally commands a large fighting force stationed in all their regions gives him a total monopoly of power across his clans (I am not saying that he’d attack them, of course, but if he needed to raise taxes for a new regiment of Knights and they disagreed then the threat of removing his knights would bring them sharply into line).

Do we know how the Traders interlink with the Clan system anyway? I suspect we’re fast hitting the stage where we need some more information from on high…
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Rick
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« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2010, 09:04:17 pm »

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I suspect we’re fast hitting the stage where we need some more information from on high…

Fun though this speculation is, I think you're quite right on this; we could debate these points until we're blue in the face and still not reach a satisfactory answer (the sex thread springs to mind! Lol!). I suspect Tom and Mike have answered some of these problems already, maybe they're chuckling on the sidelines at the sheer inventiveness of our fiction, Lol!!
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Bethar
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« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2010, 09:18:05 pm »

This is great!  Before I know it, you'll have written Fubarnii 101 Chapter 4 for me.
Regarding freedom and social class, an idea we came up with a while ago was the creche system used in the Empire, which I've been taking as canon for so long without actually explaining it that perhaps I should take it out, give it a shake and see what you think of it.
The idea is that in Gar Loren, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in the Empire, all the young are brought up in a creche that is strictly stratified according to social class.  This is not as crazy as you might think - unlike humans who bond and form strong attachment to their own offspring, Fubarnii have always been in the position of often having to bring up the children of another wife.  They also don't have internal gestation, so from the moment the child is conceived, the mother could in theory walk off and let someone else deal with it.  It is simply an extension of the idea of "family" to allow the state to bring up your children.  I'm not saying it's natural or healthy, indeed some of the more rural clans think it's abhorrent, but when you get a high-density population and encouragement for loyalty to the Emperor (the head of your "family" in an extreme sense) you can see how it could happen.
The jenta are brought up and educated by sempa whose job is to work in the creche.  They get a great deal of socialisation, are taught a broad range of skills, and their upkeep is paid for by the state.  When a tradesman needs an apprentice, he can go to the creche and choose a likely jenta; creche staff will know who has the best aptitude for his trade, and with a few well placed bribes he can easily secure a good worker or, if he prefers, a jenta who takes his fancy as a potential wife.  It is not unusual for apprentices to end up marrying their masters.  The apprentice, once she reaches sempahood, does of course have the choice whether to marry, but not doing so might leave her short of other options.
A tradesman (or soldier, or courtier, or creche worker) would belong to a certain class and could only take an apprentice from the same class level (unless they could afford a particularly large bribe).  Maybe from a class either side in exceptional circumstances.  Incest is not a problem so parentage doesn't need to be carefully tracked, though it probably is at the upper tiers as ancestry could give some prestige.  In Gar Loren there are many tiers, the top one being reserved for the Emperor and his family.  The next tier down is likely to be for courtiers, high ranking soldiers and so forth.  In other cities there may only be two or three tiers, and some more distant places won't have tiers at all.  Outside the central Empire, families are less likely to bother with creches, though in Gar Loren it is compulsory, as it help keep the Emperor's line 'pure'.
Strict role boundaries are not new to Fubarnii.  Because they can change from sempa to kopa, it makes it more, not less, important for boundaries to be clear, and this means gender roles are very strict.  As a harem society hierarchies are extremely important.
The Delgon don't have a creche system, but there will be other strictures on their social relationships.
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Jubal
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« Reply #40 on: June 01, 2010, 09:50:04 pm »

So in fact far from state education breaking down social ossification, it strengthens it. Interesting.

Does this run right across the Empire? One might imagine that further out areas, Casani Tribes or rural clans would just bring their children up themselves anyway - Jenta couldbe useful to help on the farms and so on. It sounds like the sort of thing that runs well in the central Empire and some big cities but breaks down rather in the countryside...
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Bethar
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« Reply #41 on: June 01, 2010, 09:59:47 pm »

So in fact far from state education breaking down social ossification, it strengthens it. Interesting.
Yep.  Coincidentally, I was reading a paper on career theory the other day that said this is what happens in Britain - schools essentially prepare their students for the type of job they might expect for their social class.  It was an old paper, I don't know to what extent it is still true.

Does this run right across the Empire? One might imagine that further out areas, Casani Tribes or rural clans would just bring their children up themselves anyway - Jenta could be useful to help on the farms and so on. It sounds like the sort of thing that runs well in the central Empire and some big cities but breaks down rather in the countryside...
Exactly, it's an urban thing, more pronounced the closer you get to the capital.  I don't imagine the Casani use this system at all. 
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Carcharoth
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« Reply #42 on: June 01, 2010, 10:20:48 pm »

That was a very enjoyable read - it makes me smile to see such knowledgeable (or at least knowledgeable sounding) people arguing over the details of Fubarnii social structures! I need to think carefully before I answer too much though, or I'll just make myself look foolish...
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Rick
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« Reply #43 on: June 01, 2010, 10:47:51 pm »

Oh, I dunno Mike. Jubal and I were discussing 2 opposing viewpoints where 80-90% of our arguments were sheer speculation. I think we both rather enjoyed it - was certainly stimulating, lol!

Fascinating idea of the creche system, Bethar - almost a form of meritocracy, where the more hard-working or skilled you are, the more likely you'll be to be placed in a high status position within your class. For most of the population, a higher status clan isn't a birthright, more a case of which you're adopted into?
« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 10:59:29 pm by Rick » Logged
Rick
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« Reply #44 on: June 01, 2010, 11:06:42 pm »

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Yep.  Coincidentally, I was reading a paper on career theory the other day that said this is what happens in Britain - schools essentially prepare their students for the type of job they might expect for their social class.  It was an old paper, I don't know to what extent it is still true.

I have a feeling that this was one of the arguments for school league tables. I think it probably was at least partially true - it also depended on the school; the better (more elitist) the school, the more chance you had to move up a social class. I imagine there might be competition for some sempa to place their eggs with a better creche (possibly the closer to the centre of Gar-Loren you get, the more elitist the creche gets).
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 01:21:25 am by Rick » Logged
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