Vir's Archive

Monday, March 18, 2013

An Earth Less Ordinary (Content)




Earth, like Mars and Ceres, has been difficult to write.  The vision I have for Earth is the anti-unified government.  I'm tired of seeing the fractious nature of humanity glossed over for a literary convenience.  Frankly, unified Earth governments are boring.  I want an Earth that barely hangs together, with myriad of competing interests driving the powers-that-be apart.  I want the things keeping the motley band of Hegemons and Corporations together is the bureaucratic inertia behind the UN and the fact that the one thing the Hegemons can agree upon is how much they hate the idea of colonial Independence.

The problem with such a wonderful complicated political and social landscape is that you actually have to define that complicated relationship and give a unique face to the various powers.

This is my lame attempt at a start.  This is supposed to be Earth - I need a lot more content and detail to do it justice.

Humanity’s Cradle -- Earth: Earth is the most developed and populated planet in known human space.  It is the cradle of humanity and boasts the largest, most affluent, and most educated population in the Solar System.  Currently, the planet hosts just under 50 billion people, a number closely regulated by strict laws about population growth.  It also boasts the most diverse, and some would say, Balkanized population in the System.  Earth is home to 71 independent countries, eight Trans-National/Hegemonic blocs, and 17 corporate entities that have secured a special independent status for themselves.  These varied interests are often at each others’ throats, both on earth and off.  

Earth is dominated by a number of large political and economic entities that span much of the globe.  The many Trans-National alliances create a club of hegemonic blocs that dominate much of the planet’s territory.  Land ownership by individuals is a rare right offered in only a few of the smaller countries, with the nation states, and by extension the hegemonic blocs owning and regulating most of the land resources of the world.  Thus, despite the relatively advanced state of political theory and identity politics, the nations of earth are still very much tied to the land they claim.  The blocs, along with their member states, operate the largest militaries on the planet, able to project power into humanity’s home like none other.  The nations and blocs have also been the traditional lead in the colonization effort, and many operate and maintain extensive off-Earth holdings.

Earth is also home to a number of Sovereign Corporate Entities (SCE) that have the same rights and responsibilities as their nation-contemporaries.  These 17 corporations are often more liquid than the nation-states.  They operate their own, usually small, security forces and have seats within the UN and its committees just as any traditional nation does.  The SCEs can also grant citizenship – usually to its employees and their families.  Like the Hegemonic Blocs, the SCEs maintain off-world colonial holdings.

The third pillar of the political and social sphere of Earth is the United Nations.   Despite numerous existential crises over the decades, the UN remains the premiere venue for multilateral affairs.  Over time, it has seen some of its powers grow, especially in regards to the colonies.  Similarly, in Earth affairs it has seen its role and scope retracted as the Blocs and SCEs have maneuvered the polity to serve more as their own tool for securing their interests.  However, the UN still maintains a sizable political influence on Earth, and while difficult, still does intervene on the behalf of the General Assembly or Security Council in Earth affairs.

Earth is a mess of conflicting goals and shifting alliances. The times they do come together is against Mars or to pool their exploitative resources off-world... and even then, there are a number of on-world interests that are ready to take advantage if the Hegemons drop their guard.  While the Hegemons dominate, they do not act with impunity.  Even small states have a vote in the UN’s General Assembly and the renaissance of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a direct result of failed attempts by the Hegemonic Blocs to bully countries like India, Argentina, and Nigeria.  In fact, many in the NAM are sympathetic to the anti-colonial movement off-world (if only because the successes of the colonies come at a cost of Hegemonic power), and a handful of independent aggressively advocate for increased colonial independence.  While much of this maneuvering is simply a balancing of powers, some nations really do believe in the morality of self-determination and are willing to make principled stands against the Hegemons and the subservient UN.  


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Next up will be some expansion of Earth, I think.  That or a redefining of the term "diaspora."