I’ve already divided elsewhere the history of the planet Adpihi and its “empire” the Reptigan Union, into
* Early Adpihi
* Late Adpihi
* Early Reptigan
* Late Reptigan
And I’m fairly confident those will continue to suffice for most purposes.
However I’ve sometimes spoken of a Middle Adpihi or Middle Reptigan.
Anyway; through history the source of power has been democracy and election and representative republics;
and the source of prestige and status has been exploration.
What those mean, exactly, has changed over time, but much less than the sources of wealth.
In Early Adpihi the activities of “the blood-paths” (the patriclans) was the main kind of exploration.
The activities of “the milk-houses“ (the matriclans) was the main source of property.
As manufacturing and research and education became more important, the “spirit-robes” (the alterclans) became more important as sources of wealth (manufacturing and intellectual property), and became also the centers for a kind of metaphorical “exploration” (research and art).
The blood-paths and milk-houses continued to be the main participants in primary industries (e.g. hunting for blood-paths and agriculture for milk-houses); but the increasing importance of secondary industries make the spirit-robes take over as main producers of wealth.
The blood-paths will — I’m guessing — divide the tertiary industries (sales and transportation etc.) amongst themselves, and to a great degree the quaternary industries, except for government etc., will be divided amongst the spirit-robes.
Once the planet Adpihi has been thoroughly explored, and the people (re)turn to outer space, exploration will mostly be done by the Explorer Corps or Space Service or whatever I’ll call it. It will have been formed in Late Adpihi as soon as the planet is unified; and it will start concentrating on outer space as soon as that becomes possible. That will be the end of Adpihi and/or the beginning of Reptigan.
Reptigan will begin in earnest as soon as they establish an off-Adpihi settlement, or encounter a nonhuman spacefaring species, or even an advanced-but-not-quite-spacegoing other civilization.
During the generations when Reptigan is growing, there’ll be an alliance between wealth and status, as follows.
A wealthy person will want a high-status foster-child or foster-sibling or spouse. Their family will find for them a well-qualified but not wealthy age-mate whom they will sponsor in the Space Force or Service Corps or whatchamacallit. This will enable ambitious and able youngsters from not-so-rich backgrounds to change their economic class, or at least to ensure their children are born richer than they themselves were.
The main way status will be displayed is by the number of children one has.
Off-Adpihi the limit on number of offspring may be highish, rather. On worlds recently and/or as-yet-lightly settled, there may be a goal to increase the population.
On Adpihi and maybe the rest of the most populous 1% of the planets, there’ll be a limit on biological offspring, strict enough that even the richest can’t afford more than three. But they may be able to afford more than one foster-child! And high-status veterans of the Explorers’ Corps will be permitted as many biological offspring as rich people. And foster-children may become children-in-law.
Furthermore middle-class families may band together and foster an explorer jointly.
So “charity” will be another way the rich can improve their status AND display their wealth!
As for power;
I’m afraid the closer someone lives to the power-centers the likelier they are to be able to move up the “power-ladder”.
Representatives elected from low-tech planets far from the Capitol are probably going to be elected for life; the opportunity for someone from such a place to rise to the All-Union or “Imperial” or “Federal” parliament will come along at most once in a lifetime. (Though more local or provincial power may be as available to them as anyone else in any representative democracy.)
How wealth and status will influence power, and vice-versa, are things I haven’t worked out yet.
I’m not quite sure the exact times or ways that the sources and natures of status and wealth will change in Adpihi and Reptigan, though obviously they will.
The sources of political power will change in Reptigan with the incorporation of non-humans as full citizens.
There will be many planets on which humans are not the solely dominant species.
On many they will share dominance with some others; from just one other species up to many other species.
And on many planets they will be a minority with decidedly less power than one or more of the others.
I haven’t worked that out yet.
I expect it would be intriguing to do so.
I don’t know whether I have the talent to do a good job, though.
Edited September 26th
In Arpien, even more than in Reptigan, wealth and power will be directly influenced by the ability to get along with members of the other sapient species on/in the world of Ataivsh.
All three hominoid species will have patriclans and matriclans; none will have alterclans.
The MerCentaurs will have a completely different family-structure and kinship-system.
I am not sure that prestige and status will be directly influenced by the ability to get along with other species; but surely it will be at least indirectly influenced!
Posted September 25th