FAYRII and HEIR
SYSTEMS: ECONOMIC PART III
Okay, here’s part two of me breaking down RAM’s document. If you missed this earlier, RAM’s initial document can be found here. And my first part of this is here.
As with last time RAM’s stuff is standard weight, mine notes are bolded.
Let’s get back to it...
PLANET TWO: FAYRII
Mirroring the feudal nature of the Monarchy on FAYRII - industry largely consists of consolidated giant corporations operating in various sectors on the planet. Some of the most powerful players in the syndicate come from FAYRII. Mirroring the monarchy and the greater narrative of duality - the corporations on the planet are largely preoccupied with weathering and exploiting this cyclical stance.
I think this is correct and the progression of the idea follows into Ram’s next paragraph, but I think there’s a really good thread to pick up here before we move on.
‘Weathering and exploiting’ the comings and goings of monarchs feels like a blue chip stock play. Like these older companies have the wealth to simply endure a bad (or good) king or queen. I sincerely doubt it would be as passive as that (as power is real wealth), but a company’s longevity for ‘the good of the throne’ would be an easy sell here for corporate interests that have cornered an essential service and have the good sense to shear and not skin.
I also want to point out that -- for me -- one of the most interesting aspects of FAYRII and HEIR is that everything about the two worlds is intertwined. Politically, economically, and strategically.
I almost feel like the most baller move that the royals on FAYRII have made is that they’ve exported all their bullshit drama.
‘Want to play Game of Thrones?’ Take that shit to Heir. ‘Want to make disruption your corporate policy?’ To the moon with your childish, break everything ethos.
Effectively gambling through every monarchic cycle - the corporations on FAYRII bet on who the incoming heir will be. Backing their attempts at fratricide and Patricide. Whoever bets on the winning horse - tends to go through a waxing cycle- with massive expansion, takeovers and consolidation until the heirs come of age and the gamble begins all over again.
There might be winners and losers - but the monarchs all realize they NEED the corporations to survive. They need the money backing them. They need captains of industry swaying the public and putting their resources behind them. So, the complete failure of companies is rare. And thus, sitting on top of the cyclical duality of the monarchy and the corporation on FAYRII is the uneasy balance between monarchy and industry itself. They are all of them, Kingmakers.
It would not be wrong to think of the Industrialists on FAYRII as Feudal lords - checking and swinging the balance of power by deciding who they will ally their banner to.
While the constant evolution of business is baked into most economies -- and the part above feels like it’s absolutely essential (and correct) -- the way that Ram describes it makes me doubly sure I’m correct. I think these are moon sports.
To put it strictly into economic system language. I’m certain that FAYRII has the most closed economy in the universe of Three Worlds Three Moons, and that HEIR has the most open.
(And to be honest, yes, if these were the only factors regarding our world building, it would innately make FAYRII our most boring setting. Fortunately, these aren’t the only factors).
And it is that balance which is now being threatened with the coming change. The re-emergence of a magic cycle will throw a variable into this delicate equation because magic can overturn the old lines of dominance. The unfavored heir can be king, the upstart corporation can rise to dominance by bringing magic to their unlikely chosen horse.
This doesn’t have anything to do with economic systems, but the throne of FAYRII is the most anti-Institute world in the solar system and KAOSO mythology is baked into the ‘power’ of the monarchy.
MOON ONE: HEIR
THE BANK is on the moon “HEIR”. Operating independently of other syndicates THE BANK is not an industrial organization. It makes nothing, it sells nothing. It peddles influence, lends money, and collects loans. Its purpose is to perpetuate its own value. It cares not for the duality of things. It cares not for cycles. THE BANK simply wants to be on the ascendency regardless of which way the cycle swings.
So, how does this work? If KHOR is the real valuable asset, and that asset is the basis for all standard credits (a rate which fluctuates) then how does the bank actually have influence?
Normally this is done by the BANK holding the real asset and manipulating the debt and value associated with the translated currency. But earlier I stated...
“While there is some amount of hoarding or planetary reserves of KHOR, it is the stuff that powers everything, so it is in constant use and the market does turn over. Does KHOR spoil or have an aggressive half-life or something? That’s a good question. I think the answer is, yes. Which makes control or reserves even trickier.”
So how does that work if, if the KHOR decays? What asset is there to hold?
The BANK therefore must have developed a way to preserve the KHOR. A proprietary method by which they -- and only they -- can maintain reserves. Which, goes a really long way to explaining why the BANK is the BANK and exists outside of politics and religion and, and, and.
So that really works, and explains it well, BUT what if it’s bullshit? What if the only real asset of the BANK is the lie that they can preserve the KHOR.
That’s worth killing for. That’s worth dying for.
So that might be fun.
THE BANK has seen cycles come and go. THE BANK has backed kings and toppled them. THE BANK has funded wars. THE BANK has a direct line to the men of god, on AKVA.
Look over there at that war. Look over there at all those sinners.
THE BANK knows that on the far reaches of some distant moon, magic is making a return. And THE BANK wants to seriously consider this investment opportunity.
I think this is interesting because it feels like a misstep. Or maybe just a misunderstanding.
I would think that the rise of a magic age would imply a ‘new truth’ and the power of that comes in exposing the ‘old lies’ that work against, uh, enlightenment of individuals and work for systems of control.
I do think that if FAYRII is secretly anti-Institute, then the BANK would be secretly (or not-so secretly) pro-Institute. But maybe this all about the nature of greed. And it never being enough.
THE BANK does not come under the purview of any of the established nations or governments. It has more money than any one organization and so wields that power over the leaders of whole planets. But THE BANK is aware that its operation is contingent upon its discretion. Although it is more powerful than most other entities it must never be seen as being so. Although it is bigger than other entities it must never be seen as being so. Its power is in its ubiquitous nature, in its ambient influence. Its ultimate aim is to grow and perpetuate endlessly.
There are organizations capable of standing up to THE BANK. Within the purview of this document, those are the syndicates. The largest syndicates together can potentially measure up to THE BANK’s power. So far, despite some friction the stance has been— why stand opposed when you can stand with.
But the advent of magic once again is a game-changer. Although THE BANK has been around forever, if the Syndicates were to play their cards right at the moment of inflection in a cycle, you could (however unlikely it may be) potentially take THE BANK.
All right, this seems really interesting to me because it both rings as REALLY TRUE, and calls into question why there would be pre-existing friction.
I mean, sure, the yoke is always unacceptable for the powerful, and being the only winner is the best version of the game Annihilation, BUT more often than not (as RAM stated) it easier to be aligned if it costs you nothing?
So what would there be any historical beef?
I think it’s because of forbidden (or denied) knowledge. Like ‘don’t build machines that think’ or ‘don’t land on Europa.’ If we’re going with the conceit that it’s unavoidable that every cycle almost completely annihilates the previous cycle (science > magic > science > magic) and history begins again each time, then it does make sense that there would be a kind of baked-in ignorance of the history of ‘everything.’
And it would seem -- now that societies exists on three worlds and three moons -- that the KHOR has always been there and been at the center of everything...
But curious minds would ask more interesting questions. And I think that the Syndicates -- from time-to-time -- either by purpose or accident, stumble into innovations that harken back to an earlier date age (this nuclear energy, or fusion, or any non-KHOR-based power source), and at that point the BANK steps in and quashes it. Because they remember. As they are the only entity with a true institutional memory*.
(Which would also be a logical argument for their interest in KAOSO despite being an Institute backer.)
(*I know we’re also making an argument for the Institute and the Academy having remnant knowledge of previous ages, but I think they suffer pretty big losses of that with each turning of a cycle because of the internal conflicts within each body -- and the eventual wars that are waged between the two at inflection points.)
Finally, even though Ram didn’t touch on this in his document, I do think I want to add a bit about the most disruptive economic force on HEIR, which is the exiled royalty who use the planet as a playground for their games of succession.
Sure there’s going to be a certain amount of crime everywhere, and with that kind of money rolling around a large amount of it is going to be organized, but I think there have to be rules on HEIR about why these guys get to run around trying to murder each other -- and everyone is cool with it -- but the random murders of others (and/or bystanders) would not be (because that’s bad for business).
So I think there has to be some type of codified system of duels for the royals on HEIR, which would also imply that there would need to be some type of specialized organization that’s over it or part of it.
And since these are royals I think it would have to ‘part of it,’ because I don’t see these guys subjugating themselves to murder bosses or something.
Super high-end games of death sounds cool.
Okay, THERRA, ORDO and KAOSO are next. Then after that, the best stuff — designs and comics.
Also, I’ll post tomorrow an update on all of us watching Children of Men.
Okay, I've been doing some studying! I only subscribed yesterday and I've been doing some catching up. Right now, I'm mostly thinking about KHOR right now. To reiterate something you mentioned, Jonathan, it's important to differentiate KHOR from gold. Gold is kind of a symbolic standard of wealth, where KHOR is a usable resource. Like an economy based on units of petroleum or a Bronze Age culture that measures wealth in terms of cows (cattle). Petroleum has value in OUR culture and cows can be eaten, milked, used for leather, etc. Stuff you can use, and while gold has 'some' practical uses...eh...
It's going to seem like I'm going off topic but stick with me, I'm exploring the value of KHOR. One assumption I have been making and kinda want to confirm is, when the magic/science cycle changes- science starts to stop working and magic begins to work, right? I haven't seen that stated outright but these historical / cultural / societal changes are somewhat enforced by a tangible environmental change, right? I want to make sure that the assumption isn't that science becomes uncool and magic is the hot new trend for a 1,000 years. I can work with that idea, but my gut says that this a tangible and external change which in turn society / culture mirrors.
That suggests to me that KHOR never changes. It's the same stuff when magic is ascendant and when science reigns supreme. What changes is how the solar system interacts with KHOR. [These are my thoughts, not me telling you how it should work.] So when Science is ascendant there are some aspects of physics / chemistry / electromagnetics that are in place that allow technology (as we think of it) to function. The interaction between energy and physical systems (i.e technology) allows science to work (electricity makes robots go!). When magic is ascendant there is energy that responds to the systems of magic (rituals, force of will, psychic stuff, hermetic symbols, chanting and hand waving) affects and transforms the world around it. KHOR is the energy source in either case, but it's still the same. The environment is changing and interacting with it differently as the cycle progresses. NOT: idea is not exclusive to it having a half-life. That can be true too!
This reminds me of Roger Zelazny's Amber series, specifically The Guns of Avalon. Long story short, royals can travel the multiverse... but they come from a prime reality where technology does not function, except at a Renaissance Italy level. Zelazny describes this as "technology doesn't work" but when you look at it closely, it seems like certain chemical processes are shut off (gasoline engines quit when you get close enough). At some point the protagonist tosses some jeweler's rouge into the fireplace and it ignites.. like black powder. Kinda silly, wood burns in the fireplace but some kinds of combustion doesn't happen, but in the story he finds an exception. The rogue prince is then able to go out to other 'universes' and create firearms that uses this jeweler's rouge as ammo in place of black powder and he returns to his prime universe and changes the dynamics of his war with his brothers for the throne.
OKAY, back to Three Worlds, Three Moons! One of things that might set the BANK apart is they retain the knowledge that KHOR is valuable at any point, no matter where the cycle is at. This becomes especially important during times of transition. Consider, if the "technological" society is almost ground away to nothing, do people have to rediscover KHOR and what it can be used for? And vice versa, does the budding magical society have to rediscover KHOR and how they can exploit it? We're talking about if the BANK can preserve KHOR, we should consider that the BANK understands that it's value transcends the cycle. This may be why some vestige of the BANK endures through cyclical change. The BANK endures because KHOR truly is at the center of everything.
Maybe an incredibly simplified, dumbed down way to say it might be- KHOR is gelatinous electricity AND mana depending on the season of the solar system?
By the way, we should find a different term for the turnover of the Monarchy on FAYRII than "cycle." The word cycle runs the risk of becoming too ubiquitous like "level" in old D&D (i.e player level, spell level, caster spell level, level of the adventure, all of which were (amazingly) different things and all commonly referred to as "level").
If anybody read to the end of this comment, you have my heartfelt thanks!
I see you Mr. Hickman! And I can’t wait to see what you all decide about FAYRII & HEIR! I have to re-read this post in doses; there seems to be and underlying tug of war between dogma and “human” nature, if you will. The idea of an invention to maintain the KHOR seemed inevitable to me from the beginning of this process. It also lends itself to the sensitive balance and connection between BANK & LAB (for me anyway). I think this post set you apart as a creator/world builder because you are playing with destabilizing factors as part of a foundation. I think the science should be true and sound. The conflict isn’t whether BANK lies about keeping KHOR but how everyone and thing deals with that fact until magic changes things (for me anyway). I actually have to pause and come back to this post to rationalize everything. It was too much for me on first read. I did just catch up from the Morrison interview to here in a constant read, so maybe I’m just overloaded and tired.