?>
GTX0 NewestRepliesHottestMy Active
NIFE UpdatesRoadmapRequests | HelpDiscuss Game Worlds


Distribution of Wealth
Posted: Posted February 22nd, 2010 by chiarizio

Background:

Daniel Ariely recently did a survey of NPR listeners to see three things:
(1) What fraction of America's wealth do they think the 20% richest Americans own?
(2) What fraction of America's wealth do they think the 20% richest Americans should own?
(3) How do their political, social, economic, etc. backgrounds and opinions, correlate with their answers to questions 1 and 2?

The survay only had 600 respondents, so the results are not definitively reliable. Nevertheless I remember two things.
(1) On average the listeners think the 20% richest Americans own 65% of America's wealth; but this is wrong. Actually, the 20% richest Americans own 88% of America's wealth.
(2) Independently of their politics etc., nearly all the listeners think the 20% richest Americans should own about 33% of America's wealth.


Questions:
In your various concultures,
(1) What is the actual distribution of wealth, and
(2) What do your conpeople think it should be?

For instance, if the richest third own two-thirds, while the poorest two-thirds own one-third:
Maybe the 3.7% richest own 29.6% of the wealth between them;
the next 22.2% own 44.4%;
the next 44.4% own 22.2%;
and the poorest 29.6% own 3.7% between them.

More extremely, if the richest quarter own three-quarters, while the poorest three-quarters own one-quarter:
Maybe the 1.6% richest own 42.2% of the wealth between them;
the next 14.1% own 42.2%;
the next 42.2% own 14.1%;
and the poorest 42.2% own 1.6% between them.

Less extremely, if the richest two-fifths own three-fifths, while the poorest three-fifths own two-fifths:
Maybe the 6.4% richest own 21.6% of the wealth between them;
the next 28.8% own 43.2%;
the next 43.2% own 28.8%;
and the poorest 21.6% own 6.4% between them.

And obviously there are other variations possible. For instance:
Maybe the 3.7% richest own 42.2% of the wealth between them;
the next 22.2% own 42.2%;
the next 44.4% own 14.1%;
and the poorest 29.6% own 1.6% between them.

Or, maybe the 3.7% richest own 21.6% of the wealth between them;
the next 22.2% own 43.2%;
the next 44.4% own 28.8%;
and the poorest 29.6% own 6.4% between them.

Or, maybe the 1.6% richest own 29.6% of the wealth between them;
the next 14.1% own 44.4%;
the next 42.2% own 22.2%;
and the poorest 42.2% own 3.7% between them.

Or, maybe the 6.4% richest own 29.6% of the wealth between them;
the next 28.8% own 44.4%;
the next 43.2% own 22.2%;
and the poorest 21.6% own 3.7% between them.

Anyway, there's likely to be a Pareto distribution of wealth, and your conpeople are likely to believe that some people deserve more than some other people. (If they don't, that's interesting; why? and what's the result?)

There are 34 Replies
Page:
1 2 3 4 Load all posts
settingsSettings

My understanding of concrete economics in my setting, and complex economics in general, are lacking, but i'd say that since most governments are autocracies, wealth distribution would probably follow something similar to your "More extreme" model:

More extremely, if the richest quarter own three-quarters, while the poorest three-quarters own one-quarter:
Maybe the 1.6% richest own 42.2% of the wealth between them;
the next 14.1% own 42.2%;
the next 42.2% own 14.1%;
and the poorest 42.2% own 1.6% between them.


with the "richest" people- Party officials, landed Lords, and other government elements- owning a lot of the assets in many countries.

It might actually be more like the figure for America, or more extreme (especially for the one Agrarian government that's heavily socialist), but in some cases i'm not sure since there may be a disparity between what the people think is "wealth", and what the government sees as valuable.

A couple things that i'm not really sure about may fit into that distinction: souls, and the microoeconomy, which is monitored by human government (since they need to maintain relations to keep people living), but effectively managed by the intelligent microorganisms that make it up.

Souls are valuable for conversion to a power source, but the government can't really harvest them until someone dies. The issue is that it's possible- due to the original purpose of souls, which had to do with deciding who went to Heaven and who went to Hell- for people to live their lives in ways that can either increase or decrease the amount of energy recouped when the soul is harvested for power. There isn't really any way for the government to control the types of things that people do (at least they haven't had success in doing it), so in a way, do you think that constitutes a kind of personal wealth ownership for the poor majority?

The issue with the microorganism economy is that i'm not really sure how it stands in the society at all. It's certainly a resource, since the agreements Agrafascists have with single-celled life keep them safe from disease among other things, but no one really "owns" all of it, and the whole system is subject to failures on the micro end since i imagine each individual human body as a relatively sovereign state.


But many common people probably wouldn't list either of those as wealth. If you asked most people a question like this, they'd probably say "We fucking want 100% of the food, 100% of the coin, and 100% of the slaves!" As far as other kinds of wealth though, many non-landed people wouldn't necessarily object to the richest owning 80 or 90% of the land.

Posted February 22nd, 2010 by Fetus Commander

In the main city I'm focusing on in what is currently my primary world, The richest 5% own something like 60-65% of the wealth of the city. They are in the upper echelons of the city's three gangs. "gang" is a bit of a misnomer here. They started out as trade guilds, then moved on to facilitating illicit transactions, and by now, have bought up most of the legit businesses in the city. Now, they function like japanese zaibatsu companies, except with WAY mare bloodthirst. One of them even colects & keeps taxes that are suposed to go to the somewhat faltering empire that is suposed to be ruling the city. Another has bought almost all the banks in the city, giving them a near monopoly on the city's banking sector.

the next 10-15% of the people hold the next 20-25% of the city's weath. this includes sucessful independent business owners, and well paid gang employees; managers of profitable businesses, good propagandists, especially renound sorcerers and the like. a kind of upper middle class.

Below them are the petite bourguisie and the lower class. I haven't really thought about how wealth is distributed between these two groups. I think the lower classes would have more wealth in total than the lower middle class, because in this city, the latter group is relatively small. The poorer sections of societey are far from having no impact. like the citicenery of Paris before the 1850's, they can ocasionally riot and barricade streets to get the leaders' attention. It's working. One of the gangs has actually begun a mass political campaingn aimed predominately at the city's lower classes. They've named themselves the Peaople's Organization, and they advocate radical and somewhat impractical reforms that smell like communisim, though they aren't really very similar at all.

Posted April 13th, 2010 by Elyador
Elyador
 

The poorer sections of societey are far from having no impact. like the citicenery of Paris before the 1850's, they can ocasionally riot and barricade streets to get the leaders' attention. It's working. One of the gangs has actually begun a mass political campaingn aimed predominately at the city's lower classes. They've named themselves the Peaople's Organization, and they advocate radical and somewhat impractical reforms that smell like communisim, though they aren't really very similar at all.
There's also the Resistance movement, which is starting to rapidly gain support in the lower classes of society. It's an organized group that seeks to overthrow the gangs and establish a new order. Although they are well intentioned, many of them are essentially terrorists.

Posted April 13th, 2010 by Velkas
Velkas
 

The poorer sections of societey are far from having no impact. like the citicenery of Paris before the 1850's, they can ocasionally riot and barricade streets to get the leaders' attention.

The Plebeians in Ancient Rome got concessions by threatening to leave the city en masse. Kind of a "general strike". Note that not all the plebeians were poor and not all the patricians were rich for at least some of the time this conflict was going on.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I thank everybody for all their responses so far.

My next question is not in response to any single post above, but:
What do you think of this distribution of wealth:
Richest 10% -- owns 14.8%

Second 10% -- owns 13.5%
Third 10% -- owns 12.2%
Fourth 10% -- owns 11.1%
Fifth 10% -- owns 10.1%
Sixth 10% -- owns 9.2%
Seventh 10% -- owns 8.4%
Eighth 10% -- owns 7.6%
Ninth 10% -- owns 6.9%
Poorest 10% -- owns 6.3%


As for Adpihi, at least at a certain time in its history, I think the distribution might maybe be somthing like this:
Richest  1% own one-seventh

Next 2% own one-seventh
Next 4% own one-seventh
Next 7% own one-seventh
Next 14% own one-seventh
Next 25% own one-seventh
Poorest 47% own one-seventh
I've been thinking of the 2% as "the Rich", the 7% as "the middle class", and the 25% as "the poor". Or, the 1% are "the Senatorial class", the 2% are "the Equestrian class", the 4% are the upper-middle class, the 7% are the middle-middle class, the 14% are the lower-middle class, the 25% are the working class, and the 47% are the proletariat.

(Not quite the same as
Richest seventh owns 47%

Second seventh owns 25%
Third seventh owns 14%
Middle seventh owns 7%
Fifth seventh owns 4%
Sixth seventh owns 2%
Poorest seventh owns 1%
)

Posted April 16th, 2010 by chiarizio

What do everyone think of the following four “rules”, whether individually, or all four together, or any combination of two or three of them?

  • The poorest 5/6 of the population, taken together, must own or control at least 2/3 of the society’s total property wealth, and earn at least 2/3 of the society’s total income. Equivalently; the richest 1/6 of the populace, altogether, must not own nor control more than 1/3 of society’s total property wealth, nor earn altogether more than 1/3 of society’s total income.

  • The poorest 2/3 of people must own/control at least 1/2 of the society’s total property and earn at least 1/2 of the total income. Equivalently the richest 1/3 must not own/control more than 1/2 the property nor earn more than 1/2 the GNP (if I should even use that term).

  • The poorest 1/2 of The people must own(or control) at least 1/3 of the property and earn at least 1/3 of the income. That is, the richest 1/2 mustn’t own/control over 2/3 the wealth nor earn more than 2/3 the income.

  • The poorest 1/3 of folks must own (etc.) at least 1/6 of the total wealth and earn at least 1/6 of the total income. I.e. the richest 2/3 of people shouldn’t own over 5/6 the property nor earn over 5/6 the total income.

    ——————

    Do you think I’ve listed these ideas in order of importance/priority/urgency from most to least? Or from least to most? Or neither?

    —————
    ——————————————————————

    For purposes of discussing the ideas in this thread — especially those in this post — how many economic classes do you think it would be best to divide the population into?
    I assume the answer is between two and ten, inclusive.

    Should each class contain about as many people as each other class, or not?
    Or instead, should each class collectively own or earn about as much as each other class, or not?

    Suppose there are five classes and we aren’t going to keep them equally numerous.
    What would be a better ratio? (From wealthiest class to poorest class.)
    1:4:6:4:1? Or 1:2:3:4:5? Or 1:4:9:16:25? Or 1:2:4:8:16?

    With six classes, and the top 25% having 75%, we might get something like:

    0.098% have 23.73%
    1.465% have 39.55%
    8.789% have 26.37%
    26.37% have 8.789%
    39.55% have 1.465%
    23.73% have 0.098%

    Which I think most of us would feel is pretty unequal..


    ————————————————————
    ————————————————————


    Next up; How should such inequality be solved?

    Guaranteed good nutrition, adequate housing, good healthcare, good education and job-training, and ways to inform jobseekers about available jobs and get them to the job sites, seem like obvious partial solutions.
    OTOH restricting the reproduction of the poor and unemployed seems also “on the table”.

    All of that has to be paid for; and it seems at first blush that the obvious people to foot the bills are the wealthy and affluent.

    But first; what should be the highest income-tax bracket?
    20%? 25%? 33.33%? 37.5%?

    And how about property tax? In real life it’s a much lower rate than income tax. Should it be about a tenth the income-tax rate?

    ——————————

    Assuming the income tax should peak at 25%, and property tax at 2.5%, I’ve come up with a scheme. I don’t know its merits. But since we’re discussing generic fictional societies, it’s probably worth a look.

    First;
    For anyone whose income is more than twice the median income, they must pay 12.5% of the difference as income tax. (So only something less than half the people would have to pay this tax.)
    Additionally, for anyone whose income is more than the 75% centile, (that is, they earn more than is earned by 75% of individuals), they must pay 12.5% of that difference. (So only one-quarter of The people would have to pay this tax.)
    So, people whose income was both in the top 25% and more than twice the median would be paying 25% of their excess income over the greater of those two figures; people whose income exceeded only one of those two figures would be paying 12.5% of their excess over the lesser figure; and no-one else would be paying income tax.

    Property tax would be similar. People whose property-wealth’s value exceeded twice the median assets —— the amount that 50% of the populace owns that much or more and another 50% owns that much or less —— would pay 1.25% of the excess as property tax. So fewer than half the population would owe this tax.
    Additionally, people whose assets were valued at more than an amount 75% of the population owned that much or less, but another 25% of the population owned that much or more, would pay 1.25% of the excess in property tax.
    So some folks (25% of them or fewer) would be paying 2.5% of the excess over the greater limit; some would be paying 1.25% of the excess over the lesser figure; and more than half the population would owe no property tax.

    — — — — —

    Most of that revenue would be distributed directly to the poorer citizens.

    For anyone whose income is less than 1/3 the median income, they’d receive a benefit of 7% of the shortfall.

    Independently, for anyone whose income is less than half the 33.3% centile — (the amount that 1/3 of the population earns that much or less, and 2/3 of the population earns that much or more) — they’ll receive 7% of that shortfall.

    And finally, for anyone whose income is less than the 20% centile (the amount which 80% of the population earns that much or more, while 20% earns that much or less), they’ll receive 7% of that shortfall.

    So some people (at most 20%, likely(?) fewer) will be receiving 21% of the shortfall below the lowest of those three figures. Probably at most 1/3 of the people will get 14% of the shortfall below the middle figure; and fewer than 1/2 the population will get 7% of their shortfall below the highest figure.

    I may be mistaken, but I estimate that all of the property tax revenue and at least 4/25 of the income tax revenue, will be available for defense, infrastructure, healthcare, education, law-enforcement, and other necessary public services.

    And I think that might work. It wouldn’t “penalize success” in my opinion ; and it wouldn’t be burdensome to the affluent and wealthy, or at least I expect not. And it would guarantee that the least affluent people would not fall too far behind the middle class.

    Most people wouldn’t be taxed. Most wouldn’t get welfare payments either. I’m not sure the majority wouldn’t do one or the other, though. I’m not even sure that those who do neither would outnumber each of the other two groups. But I hope they would. Can anyone answer?

    —————

    Is that one viable technique for trying to rein in income inequality and/or wealth inequality? It depends somewhat on the notion that people who are down on their luck at the moment, are their own best judges about what they need to spend their money on, if they could only get some.

    Please criticize and/or improve, or just creatively suggest alternatives without necessarily saying which alternative is better.

    Remember this is for general-purpose fictional societies.
    Or, you could make it for one of your conworlds or concultures. Or someone else’s.

  • Posted June 5th, 2018 by chiarizio

    I have no idea what it would be for Saltha.
    Is there a good rule of thumb formula for figuring it out?
    Saltha is a preindustrial society, so I imagine it's pretty unequal.
    Though as a society while they are much more capitalistic sort of than communistic (no really large mechanism for redistribution of wealth, though there are some assistance through taxes), there's nothing that outright intends to go in the opposite direction either (laws that intentionally pads the pockets of the rich).

    Posted June 7th, 2018 by Foolster41

    It’s usually something like:
    90% of the wealth is owned by 10% of the people (rather less equal than modern US)
    Or
    80% of wealth is owned by 20% of people (rather more equitable than modern US)
    Or
    70% of wealth is owned by 30% of people (a good deal more equal than modern US)

    You can figure out a finer classification by assuming each class’s wealth is distributed among themselves in the same way total wealth is distributed among all the classes.

    I think for some purposes at least some economo-sociologists would report on the rich 5th, the 2nd fifth, the middle 5th, the 4th fifth, and the poor 5th. You could assume each fifth owned a certain multiple of what the next lower fifth owns; and that multiple is constant from one fifth to another.

    For instance; maybe:
    The top 5th owns 16/31 of the total wealth;
    The 2nd fifth owns 8/31 of the total wealth;
    The middle 5th owns 4/31 of the total wealth;
    The 4th fifth owns 2/31 of the total wealth;
    And the poorest 5th owns 1/31 of the total wealth.

    So the richest fifth average about 16 times as wealthy as the poorest fifth.

    To me that seems rather severely unequal; yet it’s much less severe than the modern US. It gives the top 20% ownership of around 52% of everything; but in real life US right now they actually own about 88% of everything.

    I haven’t figured out how to keep all the classes’s sizes constant at 20% and calculate what fraction of the national total wealth each one owns by just knowing how much the richest fifth owns, by assuming each class owns the same fraction of how much the next higher class owns. Right now my formula would require solving a 4th-degree equation, which I don’t know how to do (although I do know a method exists).

    A similar problem would be; assume each of five classes owns 20% of the total wealth; and there is some constant multiplier such that each class contains that multiplier times as many citizens as the next higher class.

    For example:
    The richest 1/31 of the people own 20% of the total wealth;
    The next 2/31 of the people also own 20% of the wealth;
    Then the next 4/31 of the people own another 20% of the wealth;
    And the next 8/31 of the people own another 20% of the wealth;
    Finally the remaining 16/31 of the people own the remaining 20% of the wealth.

    There may be some purposes for which some socio-economists would prefer that way of classifying the populace.

    But you see that about the richest 3.2% of the population have about 20% of the wealth, while about the poorest 52% have to share about 20% of the wealth. The richest class average about 16 times as much wealth as the poorest class; and the poorest class are (just barely) more than half the total population.

    It’s much easier to decide by what multiple each class will be wealthier than the next lower class, and/or by what multiple each class will outnumber the next higher class, and figure out the result, than it is to start from the result you want, and figure out what those parameters must be.

    However, the Pareto distribution (a.k.a. the log normal distribution) has been well-studied, starting with Pareto himself, so I’m sure somewhere someone has published a solution to this problem. I just don’t know how to get my hands on it.

    ———

    Suppose you wanted each class to own 3/2 times as much property, or earn 3/2 as much income, as the next lower class; and you also wanted each class to have 4/3 times as many people as the next higher class.

    And suppose you want five classes.

    Divide the wealth into shares of 81 + 54 + 36 + 24 + 16 (totaling 211 shares);
    And divide population into shares of 81 + 108 + 144 + 192 + 256 (totaling 781 shares).

    Now say:

    81/781 of the people have 81/211 of the wealth,
    108/781 of the people have 54/211 of the wealth,
    144/781 of the people have 36/211 of the wealth,
    192/781 of the people have 24/211 of the wealth, and
    256/781 of the people have 16/211 of the wealth.

    Calculate those fractions as percentages, and you have something scientific-looking.

    But for what you’re asking for, it might be more realistic to have something like this:
    0.01% of the people have 90% of the wealth,
    0.09% of the people have 9% of the wealth,
    0.9% of the people have 0.9% of the wealth,
    9% of the people have 0.09% of the wealth, and
    90% of the people have 0.01% of the wealth.

    If I’m figuring right (and maybe I’m not):
    The wealthiest tranch will be about 9000 times as wealthy, on the average, as the middle tranch (the median); and in their turn the median tranch will average about 9000 times as much per capita as the poorest tranch.
    So the wealthy few will average about 81 million times as much wealth per head as the impoverished many.

    ————————————

    What did you think of my wealth-redistribution scheme?

    in my opinion it would not come close to correcting an imbalance such as actually exists IRL, even after many generations.. But it would, I’m guessing, slow down the runaway growth of the income-inequality gap.

    To actually stop the gap growing, and even shrink it, would require aggressive and extensive evening of the playing field for everyone from conception to adulthood, in terms of safety, security, sanitation, nutrition, housing, water, healthcare, and education; tapering off after adulthood (except a bit longer after adulthood for education), but continuing if and as and for whom needed, for the rest of their careers, in (I assume) lessening amounts.

    What say you?

    Is there any chance anyone in any of your concultures would try for anything like that?

    —————

    It seems, from the OP, that if a population thinks the richest 20% owns not more than 65% of everything, they’ll tolerate it without doing anything more dangerous than grumbling; and if they think the top fifth owns just a third of everything, they’ll actually think that’s fair!

    But what will they do if/when they find out the richest 20% actually own/earn 88% of everything?
    In modern America I think they’ll just want the rich to support programs for defense, policing, Justice, sanitation, water, nutrition, healthcare, education including job training for anyone whose job becomes obsolete; communication and news especially about what jobs need what kind of workers, where and when, and will pay how much; and help moving house to where those jobs are, or help commuting to those job sites if changing residence is not necessary. Thus, roads etc. , and air travel and water travel, will also be something they’ll want.
    But if the super-rich refuse to help with those programs —— or the middle and lower classes think they’re dodging their fair share of the burden —— there’s likely to be a political upheaval (probably falling short of violence, and even short of a (nonviolent) revolution) in the US or Europe.
    It’s not clear such an upheaval won’t backfire.

    ———

    What about in your conworlds?

    ———

    I’m thinking Adpihi and Reptigan will try to build in ways to keep things from getting too out-of-hand, from the beginning. I doubt there’ll ever be any guarantee these built-in safeguards will be adequate..

    I can’t see a way to avoid making some of them depend (at least partly) on people’s honesty.
    I also can’t see a way to avoid making some of them depend (at least partly) on people’s sense of duty.

    Posted June 7th, 2018 by chiarizio

    Those rules of thumb are a good start!

    I guess the problem is, I'm not sure on what economicly my world looks like like.

    I imagine them packed into a small area, situated around an oasis, so I don't know if a feudal system would develop. I'm thinking maybe they don't farm at all, and only hunt. I guess knowing how people make money and generate food is probibly needed to figure out an economy.

    During the time of the divided monarchy, each city was it's own city state. Then there the was a single royal lineage ruling the whole lands.

    1.)The King and his family would be at the top.
    2.)Wealthy families who could afford to purchase titles for privilages
    3.)Not as wealthy, but somewhat well-off farmers (?). merchants, artisens and soldiers (being so isolated with no outside wars, soldiers wouldn't have quite the same influence as a state like Rome).
    4.)Peasants (everyone else)

    After the revolution though, the king was disposed. Probability a good deal of his wealth w as seized and distributed as well (though much of it would go to repatriations to other nations in the war). Besides taking away special privileges of titles, I don't think anything happened to the second class.

    Actual population numbers would be helpful to this too, so I could know how many is .01% etc, but calculators/systems like "Medieval demographics made easy" doesn't really apply to what I'm thinking my world would be like.

    Posted June 7th, 2018 by Foolster41

    If there’s no agriculture, there is no individual ownership of land. The community would own the land for hunting and gathering; Ownership would mean defending it against some other community that wanted to hunt or gather there.

    Even at that stage, there would be manufacturing. Some people would make rope. Some people would make stone tools. Some people would probably weave baskets or make clay pots or tan hides for people to make clothes.

    I don’t see any huge difference, for Old Stone Age people, that is the Paleolithic people, in wealth between the chiefs and the average tribesman; unless it were measured in wives or something. Even the dogs would probably be a communal property, since everyone would be equally interested in the hunt.

    Once there is farming, there would be land ownership. Once animals start being domesticated, there would be a distinction between, say, people who own cows and people who don’t, or people who own horses and people who don’t. Once people start building houses, there will be differences in how big somebody’s house is, and/or how many outbuildings somebody has.

    Once metallurgy starts, the biggest difference between the wealthy and the poor will probably be how many metal items, or how much metal, somebody owns.

    Even at this stage, at first, everybody will know how to do every job. Specialties won’t depend on who knows how to do what; instead they will depend on who can do it better or who wants to do it or who can’t do anything else. For instance, maybe the smiths will be whoever is lame.

    The first professionals will probably be the shamans.

    Tertiary industries —— transportation and marketing and so on —— probably will not arrive (in the sense that someone can make a living that way) until people start trading with other groups further away.

    Technically, all of primary industry (extraction of natural resources), secondary industry (manufacturing), tertiary industry (transporting and selling), and quaternary industry (government, religion, accounting, teaching, and so on), will exist from the beginning; but at first the only way anyone will make a living will be in the primary industries.

    Once civilization actually starts, after the Neolithic revolution, the distribution will probably be something like: 90% of people will make their living in primary industries; 9% of people will make their living in secondary industries; 0.9% of people will make their living in tertiary industries; and 0.1% of people will make their living in a quaternary industries.

    This doesn’t necessarily say anything about how wealth will be distributed.

    The industrial revolution will put much more emphasis on the secondary industries.

    Later developments will cause a big increase in the tertiary industries (as happened IRL between the Great Depression and the “Ad Age” of the 1950s) Later yet, there will be an upsurge in the relative importance of the quaternary industries (as happened here IRL in the Cyber Revolution between the 1970s and the 2000s). I don’t know whether or what point they will outshine the secondary industries. It seems that just recently, after the Cyber Revolution was well underway, the manufacturing industries of the US have finally and permanently taken a back seat to the tertiary and quaternary industries.

    Posted June 7th, 2018 by chiarizio

    With buggy WiFi buggy autocorrect is damn buggy.

    Posted June 7th, 2018 by chiarizio

    Hmm. Good points. I don't think I actually want to make them hunter-gatherer only (it was an idea I was throwing out there as possible).

    I guess there is some domestication of animals (they have big lizards called Kes). Though I don't know how much population is supported by how big a water supply (googling info on desert cities around oasis hasn't given me much).

    Setting aside that though, and just assuming I can have water supplies big enough, I plugged some numbers into a medieval demographics calculator and came up with a total population of 1.4 million people.

    So, about 142 people in the royal family would control 90% of the wealth
    1,278 nobles would control 9%
    12,780 of the artisan, soldier and merchant class would control 0.9%
    and the remaining ~1.406 Million would control 0.1%.

    I'm not sure statistically what a post-revolution spread would look like.
    The king and possibly the royal family is killed. Maybe all that wealth would just go away (went to paying off reparations). But also, wealth isn't just money in a account/vault, but also income (how much is being made from farming, taxes).

    Posted June 7th, 2018 by Foolster41

    Until tertiary industries become paramount, it won’t make sense to measure wealth in money —— at least that’s what I think.

    While the upper class dominate because they’re the only ones who can get bronze armor and bronze weapons, wealth will probably be measured in metal; but that won’t mean currency, at first.

    Before that, wealth will probably be measured in land, and/or cattle (in the broad sense!), and/or in grain and/or produce.
    In continental Southeast Asia —— “India-beyond-the-Ganges” —— when it was under “the Mandala system” —— tribute and prices and so on between principalities and noblemen etc. was all in rice.

    And, you’re right, we’ll need to think about income as well as assets.
    The ones who own the most I call “the wealthy”; the ones who earn the most I call “the affluent”.
    The 2nd-poorest class may have zero wealth but still have positive affluence.
    The wealthiest might be independently wealthy; so wealthy they don’t need to be affluent.

    As far as “the wealth of nations” goes, “corn”(or the equivalent) will probably be a better measure than “gold”(or the equivalent) for a long time; maybe forever.

    Nomads will value portable wealth. They might like precious gems or jewels or metalwork or embroidery or fine clothes etc. sooner than settled people. Of course, horses and draft animals and mounts and wagons and tents and moveable housing will be important to them too. If they’re itinerant seamen or rivermen or lake men or whatever, they may also value boats; fishing boats, whaling or sealing boats, cargo boats, houseboats, etc.

    —————

    Among each other the upper classes will compare one another’s wealth, in part, by how many loyal laborers, armsmen, servants, and so on, they have.
    The working classes will compare each other by how much their labor is valued.

    Posted June 7th, 2018 by chiarizio

    BTW if your folk are in the desert they probably measure wealth in potable water.

    —————

    Further BTW: You don’t seem to have a class below peasants and workers.
    In French colonial Caribbean, the buccaneers were originally not merely shirtless descamisados; they couldn’t afford any clothes at all!
    In Ancient Rome, the proletariat were those who served the state by reproducing, thus providing sons to be “cannon fodder” — minimally-trained minimally-armed foot-soldiers to carry a spear for the state into harm’s way. The proletariat weren’t expected to be able to earn their whole living. They were given a dole of bread to supplement their income enough to stay alive. “Bread and circuses!”

    Maybe your confolk aren’t at a stage where it’s practical to keep a proletariat around?

    (Marx called those people the “lumpenproletariat” and he cared nothing for them. The workers and peasants he called “the proletariat” were actually one step better off than the folks the Ancient Romans called “proletarians”.)

    Posted June 7th, 2018 by chiarizio

    For purposes of discussing the ideas in this thread — especially those in this post — how many economic classes do you think it would be best to divide the population into?
    I assume the answer is between two and ten, inclusive.

    Should each class contain about as many people as each other class, or not?
    Or instead, should each class collectively own or earn about as much as each other class, or not?


    There was an interesting study published in the early 1940s, about life in the American south of the mid-1930s that might be interesting in this regard: Deep South.

    As I recall, the study authors divided the population in two ways, economically and socially (important here because of the obvious ethnic divide between Colored and White). The social divisions were of various castes and seem to me to be relics of the European past (especially the British caste system).

    The economic divisions, as I recall were nine. Broadly, there were upper, middle and lower class (as one might expect), so I guess "three" might be a good starting number for your investigations. But each of these was further divided into three sub-classes (lower-lower, lower-middle, upper-lower --- you get the idea).

    Economics not being my area of interest, I couldn't answer your specific questions, except to note that at the South in that time period, a rather small number of ultra rich White land owners controlled almost all the economic activity of the region. And the majority of Colored people controlled nothing, owning little more than the shirts on their backs.

    The economic model of the time (cotton plantation economy) precluded anything like an equal distribution of population through all economic classes; and in fact, the system that had evolved (juxtaposition of social caste with economic class) was designed like a machine to keep as much economic wealth and social power in the hands of as few people as possible while at the same time actively precluding the masses (both Colored and White) from rising too high or getting too much of that economic pie.

    For the purposes of your consideration of this thread: I think the answers to your questions will depend much on the social structure of the invented culture you're dealing with. The South of the early 20th century clearly had unequal economic capacity and unequally distributed population in each sub-class. So I think you're on the right track, for a certain definition of economic system!

    Posted June 13th, 2018 by elemtilas

    Thanks 🙏!

    Posted June 13th, 2018 by chiarizio

    Thanks 🙏!


    No worries!

    It is actually a fascinating read for geopoets / conculturers / worldbuilders and even writers as there is a wealth of agricultural and social information to churn through in that book. I think especially writers interested in the meso-South (post-Reconstruction, mid-JimCrow, ante-CivilRights era) will find it most valuable, but even if your world has a culture or country with similar situations, it would be helpful.

    I can answer a little for the Daine, as their situation is quite different from any of the ones you've outlined above. Obviously, they are not humans and so think and behave differently. Their basic cultural foundation is one I'd liken to Christian socialism. The basic unit of Daine society is "all Daine everywhere in Gea". Even though there are ethnic, sub-racial and quasi-national distinctions, two Daine from different ends of the continent will find much more in common with each other than either will with the Men living in their respective regions.

    In a Daine country (such as Harathalliê or Dar Irenalliê) locally speaking, the basic unit of Daine society is the queenhold, defined roughly as a territory and the people in it. Perhaps akin to a nominal township or village. These people can be native, newcomer or transient traveller. Various levels of Daine society are ruled by a Queen and guided by her Council. The Queen of a small holding might form a regional Council over which is a higher Queen which level might be likened to a parish or country. Those regional Queens might similarly be under a Greatqueen of a whole country.

    Within a holding, the ideas of "private wealth" and "labour vs. management" don't exist. The notion of private property is not unknown to them. A person who makes him a pair of mittens from some rabbit skins can expect to wear those mittens himself and not have them stolen by some central planning committee. If he makes a surplus of mittens, he may freely trade some for a kindness done by someone else or a service rendered (like a gift economy of paying backward) or he may trade elsewhere (at a fair or market for example) or he may place them in the mathomhouse for others who might need a pair of mittens (a gift economy of paying forward).

    Everybody labours for the common good, and the whole people hold in common the fruits of the queenhold's work, or "wages" if your will. People with different skills and holding different offices within society perform their tasks for a time and in exchange for whatever they might need from others. Public works, agricultural pursuits, animal husbandry and the like are the labour of the whole people together.

    Daine don't have castes the way we understand them, so their Queens are not substantially any different from their milkmaids. Each is respected for the work they do at the present time and may easily expect to trade places at some future time. Some crafts are held in high esteem, and those skilled for example in certain magical arts or storytelling or the playing of musical instruments are highly respected. They have no economic classes: there are no "rich" or "poor" as regards money. Wealth is the property of the whole people, and individuals account their queenhold's wealth by the work they have all done. A beautifully tended orchard, healthy herdbeasts, lovingly made and tended barns, skilfully crafted tools and instruments, delicately painted storyboards, happy children, neat and tidy houses and villages with clean water and clever waste removal. Those are the hallmarks of Daine wealth, and as everyone shares in making their home a beautiful and prosperous place, so everyone is wealthy according to the Daine fashion.

    I guess, therefore, you could say Daine have one social caste and one economic class. I think that comes a little short of your minimum of two, but the circumstances in Daine countries warrant it!

    Posted June 13th, 2018 by elemtilas

    I am replying mostly to your June 13 daylight posts. I have yet to read your June 13 evening post closely enough to be able to reply to it.

    I checked “The Deep South” out of our local public library. But they only have the 1989 version. I gather the Smithsonian‘s first edition was about 1939? Which would have pre-dated the one you were talking about by a year or two, right?

    By the way I did work out a five-class distribution in which all the classes are equally numerous, every class owns and/or controls a constant multiple of the property and/or income of the class below it, and the top fifth control and/or own 1/3 of the society’s total economy.
    I didn’t solve a quartic equation explicitly in radicals. I didn’t even use Newton’s method! I just attacked it with a spreadsheet, brute force, and ignorance.

    It turns out we would want each class to own about 1.34903 (i.e. 134.903%) as much as the next lower class. I decided to round everything off to the nearest hundredth of a percent, or to four significant digits, depending on my mood.

    The richest fifth would own/control/earn about 33.33%.
    The second-richest fifth would own/control/earn about 24.71%.
    The middle fifth would own/earn/control about 18.32%.
    The second-poorest fifth would own, control, or earn, about 13.58%.
    And the poorest fifth would own or control or earn about 10.06%.

    —————

    More to come, but I am posting this now, so as not to lose it. I will edit in what I have to say next (which is more responsive to your post, by the way!), after a bite of supper.

    —————

    I thought of reasons to prefer a nine-class reporting structure before you posted your post. I basically had two reasons. First, I kind of like the “stanine” reporting system. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanine).
    Second, I like the class system of:
    “ upper upper“;
    “ middle upper“;
    “ lower upper“;
    “ upper middle“;
    “ middle middle”;
    “ lower middle“;
    “ upper lower“;
    “ middle lower“; and
    “ lower lower”.

    But so far I have mostly been posting about five-class systems wherein all classes are equally numerous. That’s just because that’s what I have seen most often in various textbooks.

    When it comes to my own conworld I have mostly been using a seven class system, inspired by the Ancient Roman Comitia Centuriata. That comitia originated under the last few Kings of pre-Republican Rome; persisted throughout the Roman Republic; and continued under the first few Emperors of the Roman Empire. There was a senatorial class; an Equestrian class of centuries; and five classes of foot soldiers. It was reformed several times but always had the same number of strata.

    ———

    I have also been using three different statistical types of distribution.

    One is the Pareto distribution or log-normal distribution. We usually see this characterized as follows; The writer picked some fraction P greater than zero but less than 1/2, and says something like, “the richest P of the population control (1-P) of the wealth”.

    Another I have been calling a log-uniform distribution. This is the one where for some constant multiple >=1, each class is that many times as numerous as the next higher class; and, for some possibly other constant multiple>=1, each class owns or controls or earns that multiple of the wealth or income of the next lower class.

    My favorite, although I haven’t posted much about it yet, I think I should call log-binomial. (See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binomial_distribution). It is related to the binomial distribution, the way the Pareto distribution is related to the normal distribution.

    Here’s how the “log-binomial” distribution works.
    Choose a positive fraction P not greater than 1/2. Choose another fraction Q less than one but not less than 1/2. P must be less than Q. So while either of them could be 1/2, they can’t both be 1/2.
    Choose a whole number C of classes; C between two and 10 inclusive.
    We are going to take the statement “a fraction P of the total number of people, control or own or earn a fraction Q of the total wealth or income or economy”, and expand it apply to cover C classes.

    If C is 2, we’re already done!

    In order to get any further in maximum generality, I am going to have to introduce a function which I think you already know about but you’re going to need to know how I’m going to denote it.

    I’m just going to assume you know what a factorial is.

    For a positive whole number A, and non-negative whole number B not greater than A, you can calculate the number of ways you can choose a set of B elements out of a set of A elements as follows.
    CHOOSE(A,B) = (A!)/((B!)((A-B)!)).

    Now, if the C classes are numbered from 1 to C, with the richest class counted first; then, the K-th class will contain
    the fraction CHOOSE((C-1),(K-1)) * (P^(C-K)) * ((1-P)^(K-1)) of the people,
    And will own or earn or control
    the fraction CHOOSE((C-1),(K-1)) * (Q^(C-K)) * ((1-Q)^(K-1)) of the economy or income or property.

    It will all look simpler if I get specific about C and K.

    Going with C=5,
    The 1st class contains P^4 of the population and owns or earns Q^4 of the wealth;
    The 2nd class contains 4*(P^3)*(1-P) of the people and controls 4*(Q^3)*(1-Q) of the wealth;
    The 3rd class contains 6*(P^2)*((1-P)^2) of the people and controls 6*(Q^2)*((1-Q)^2) of the wealth;
    The 4th class contains 4*P*((1-P)^3) of the people and controls 4*Q*((1-Q)^3) of the wealth;
    And the 5th class contains (1-P)^4 of the people and controls (1-Q)^4 of the wealth.

    ———

    With C=9 classes, we’d get:

    P^8 of the folk own Q^8 of everything;
    8*(P^7)*(1-P) of The folk own 8*(Q^7)*(1-Q) of everything,
    28*(P^6)*((1-P)^2) of folk own 28*(Q^6)*((1-Q)^2) of pelf,
    56*(P^5)*((1-P)^3) of folk own 56*(Q^5)*((1-Q)^3) of pelf,
    70*(P^4)*((1-P)^4) of folk own 70*(Q^4)*((1-Q)^4) of pelf,
    56*(P^3)*((1-P)^5) of folk own 56*(Q^3)*((1-Q)^5) of pelf,
    28*(P^2)*((1-P)^6) of folk own 28*(Q^2)*((1-Q)^6) of pelf,
    8*P*((1-P)^7) of folk own 8*Q*((1-Q)^7) of pelf, and finally
    (1-P)^8 of folk own (1-Q)^8 of pelf.

    ———

    Post is getting long, will continue (and hope will finish) in my next post.

    Posted June 15th, 2018 by chiarizio

    It might be even clearer if I were equally explicit about P and Q.

    So let’s take C=5 classes, and suppose that P=40% of the people have Q=80% of the goods and income and so on.

    Then:

    2.56% of the people have 40.96% ;
    15.36% have 40.96%,
    34.56% have 15.36%,
    34.56% have 2.56%, and
    12.96% have 0.16%.

    ———

    The “log-uniform” type of distribution is more appropriate when barriers to downward economic mobility are very very high and barriers to upward mobility are insurmountable, or at least practically insurmountable.
    The lower the class, the more numerous it is; and the higher the class, the greater total wealth it has. (Not merely, the greater average wealth!)


    The Pareto or log-normal type of distribution is more appropriate when economic mobility in either direction is easy. The further from the middle-middle class, the less numerous, in either direction. And while the higher a class is the more average wealth its typical members have (equivalently the lower the class the less average wealth its members have), you will always find that, if you have enough classes —— that is, as long as your reporting system is fine-grained enough —— each high-enough upper classes’ total wealth will decrease, because it’s membership will begin to shrink faster than their average wealth grows.

    The “log-binomial” type of distribution is best when downward mobility is somewhat unlikely but by no means impossible, and upward mobility is definitely possible but by no means easy (harder than downward mobility, e.g.)
    Like the log-uniform distribution-type, it skews so that the most numerous classes are among the less-wealthy more-than-half of the population; and also skews so that the classes which (collectively, as a class) control the most wealth, are among the richer, they-own-more-than-half-of-it-all classes.
    But, like the lognormal type of distribution, as long as the classification is sufficiently detailed, the very poorest few classes will be less numerous than the next-richer class; and the very richest few classes will control less total aggregated wealth, as a class, than the next-poorer class.

    ———

    Posted June 15th, 2018 by chiarizio

    Does everyone know what socage is?

    (I like the notion that “society” is etymologically and semantically related to “socage”. I like it so much that I have avoided checking it out; I doubt the relationship exists, but I don’t want to know that it doesn’t!)

    A socman is a kind of bondservant.
    The chief difference between a socman and a slave are that a socman’s duties are fixed. When he goes to sleep at night he already knows what his master will require of him in the morning.

    As I understand it, other possible differences could be;
  • Maybe some socman can’t be bought or sold.
  • Socmen have (limited) rights in court; more than slaves have.

    A serf was like a socman in that serf’s duties were fixed, not at the whims of their landlords. But serfs could be bought and sold, though not like chattel slaves; serfs couldn’t be evicted, so if the land they worked and lived on changed hands, the serfs went with the land.

    Proletarii were like socmen whose master was the polis (city or state). Their fixed duty was to stand wherever their master —— that is, the Republic or the Empire —— needed them to stand, wielding whatever weapons the state felt obligated to give them, wearing the armor (if any) the state thought was reasonable to provide them, and try to survive something dangerous and keep it from harming any other citizens. And if they could, sire more sons to do the same.
    In return they got sustenance, and help at not dying of want.

    ———

    A given society may not have a class so poor that they won’t own anything at all. We might call them buccaneers (if they can’t even clothe themselves), or bedouin (if they can usually not count on getting enough water), or proletarii.
    But they probably won’t be as poor as slaves, if the society has slaves, which it may not.

    Of course, back when people actually said “I’d rather be a nigger than poor white trash”, they meant it. Slavery was a condition of life not much worse than many. What’s incredible (though true) is that it was actually better than a few other conditions. Some “poor white trash” were actually worse off than some slaves; and both the slaves and the poor whites knew it.

    ———

    It’s 11:24pm. I know I had more to say. Maybe I would have posted it here; or maybe it would have been smarter to start a new thread or two.
    But now I can’t think of it. My brain 🧠 is tired 😓 😴 💤.

    Later! Stuff about “4-letter codons” and “6-letter DNA alphabets”.
    Also stuff about occupational caste-systems.
    Hope I can remember it tomorrow!

    Happy Fathers’ Day Sunday!

  • Posted June 15th, 2018 by chiarizio

    @elemtilas. I’ve read your jun 13 post here about the Daine.
    They seem to have held on to a type of communism typical of Paleolithic hunter-gatherer groups and pastoralist groups and nomadic groups. (Well, I’m no expert —— maybe it’s really not that typical. )

    How do they cultivate their orchards?

    How do they avoid living in their own trash?

    Anyway; sounds like they’d skip the problems I asked about in my Jun 4 post.
    I think life with them looks & sounds pretty sweet!

    Posted June 16th, 2018 by chiarizio

    @elemtilas. I’ve read your jun 13 post here about the Daine.
    They seem to have held on to a type of communism typical of Paleolithic hunter-gatherer groups and pastoralist groups and nomadic groups. (Well, I’m no expert —— maybe it’s really not that typical. )


    Could be! I'm no economics expert either!

    I think perhaps you're on to something. They do hunt, even those living a more settled life; and many also keep various herd & flock animals. Perhaps a combination of that now very remote kind of communalsim combined with their natively communal mindset:

    ...All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. Acts 4

    With the exception of having no apostles to set wealth at the feet of (though I suppose their queens and monks might stand in) and having no way to actually sell land. The basic kind of life the Daine live I think would be very similar to this.

    How do they cultivate their orchards?


    Daine seem not to have gone the route of twisting Nature to suit their own ends. So they are unlike Men in that regard. They don't actively seek to genetically or beahviourally alter their food plants. Even now, their orchards and gardens and fields are filled with what we'd call heirloom cultivars: lineages of plants that descend naturally from ancient wild stock but that receive no particular crossbreeding or even magical intervention to change the produce. Natural cross pollination is allowed to run its course and they are content with the results.


    How do they avoid living in their own trash?


    In part, even Men don't have this issue. Even in big cities, there is very little actual trash produced. There is really no such thing as a disposable society in Gea. Raw materials are just too precious and everything that can be recycled is recycled.

    What you'll find somewhere in any Daine queenholding are two curious institutions. One is the mathomhouse and the other is what we'd recognise as a kind of scrap yard.

    The mathomhouse is a building, very much like any other in a village, and it serves one purpose: the storage of currently unused articles awaiting someone to take them and put them to use. It's kind of a combination of museum (some mathoms can be quite ancient indeed!, and of dubious use; they're not thrown away because, well you never know!), second hand shop and antique mall all rolled into one.

    Daine generally will not make some tool or article of clothing / body decoration or weapon themselves if they can find something that will do in the mathomhouse. I you look inside a Daine house (https://elemtilas.deviantart.com/art/What-a-Brother-Won-t-Do-665174235) you might find that the simple wood bench is three hundred years old and the combs are seventy or a hundred years old. But there's not much reason to make a comb if there's one in the mathomhouse.

    You might make something new as a gift or for a sibling leaving home for marriage, but when you get down to it, Daine pretty much live inside an antique mall.

    The scrap yard (really more of a barn) is where things that are too worn or too broken to be useful go to await recycling. Everything Daine make is made from metal (bronze, mostly, iron being rare), stone, wood, leather, bamboo, cloth, clay and the like. There are no synthetic materials. Broken & useless bits of wood will be most often used as kindling, compost or perhaps made into charcoal. Scrap metal will be melted and made into new articles. Stone is repurposed; leather & cloth can be broken down and made into other things.

    They don't create much of what we'd call actual "trash" in the first place. There's no useless packaging and any kind of boxes or baskets or bags will be of high quality & beautifully made in and of themselves and have obvious secondary uses.

    There are places where detritus builds up of course: any kind of mining or metalworking operation will involve some amount of slag, cinders, ash and other stuff. Those things of course have to be dealt with, and that might be by burying or concealing within masonry or thaumologically crunching it down into sand and dust and using that somewhere.

    Also as you can see in the picture, Daine material culture is pretty spartan. Even with mathomhouses, there's just simply not a lot of "stuff". Articles that you'll find in even the most cluttered of Daine workshops are useful and put to good purpose.

    Anyway; sounds like they’d skip the problems I asked about in my Jun 4 post.


    I believe so!

    I think life with them looks & sounds pretty sweet!


    It would be! If you were a Daine yourself!

    I think human / Mannish nature almost precludes our kind of people from living this way for very long. Daine have been perfecting it for myriades maybe even lakhs of years.

    Men have only been on the proverbial radar for something like twenty or thirty thousand years. And it's really only in the last couple thousand that they've made any great strides in this direction.
    [/url]

    Posted June 16th, 2018 by elemtilas

    Does everyone know what socage is?


    Everyone? I'd be surprised if more than 1% of people know it has nothing to do with footwear! If they've heard of the word at all!

    (I like the notion that “society” is etymologically and semantically related to “socage”. I like it so much that I have avoided checking it out; I doubt the relationship exists, but I don’t want to know that it doesn’t!)


    Truth is even more interesting, in this case! They do look related. And in fact, the underlying semantics are actually very close in meaning, being those of seeking and following. But alas, different IE roots at work in the same semantic domain.

    A socman is a kind of bondservant.
    The chief difference between a socman and a slave are that a socman’s duties are fixed. When he goes to sleep at night he already knows what his master will require of him in the morning.

    As I understand it, other possible differences could be;
  • Maybe some socman can’t be bought or sold.
  • Socmen have (limited) rights in court; more than slaves have.


  • Yeah. Soccage is a relationship between tenant and lord. Edward Coke in his commentary on English Statutes distinguishes between Tenure by Socage and Tenure by Knight's Service. A knight's service obviously entailed keeping and bearing arms and going along with the lord or king in time of war. Socage was also a kind of service to the lord, but in stead of swords and shields (escuage), socmen owed their lord service by agricultural labour, and eventually money rent.

    Certainly not slaves and they would have had some rights indeed.

    Posted June 17th, 2018 by elemtilas

    Two “issues”, one a bit more general than the other.

    One ☝️: your response about “trash” was very relevant and informative, and the kind of thing I (we?) need to know, and I’m glad you posted it, and it directly answers the question I DID ask. But in retrospect there’s a slightly different question I also SHOULD have asked, but didn’t.
    The nearly-universal criticism nearly all nomads make of nearly all settled peoples is “You live in your own filth”.
    “Filth” is a bit different from “trash”, (and both are a bit different from “waste”).

    So; how do the Daine avoid living in filth?
    Maybe they use nearly every bit of any animals they hunt. Maybe they don’t prune their trees, or find uses for every scrap of branch they do prune. (I think they’ll have to do some pruning for the health of the trees).
    But they can’t avoid the need to excrete or eliminate biological waste from their alimentary systems. They probably need to do something about their flocks’ or herds’ wastes as well.


    Ah. Shit. Yes. That's a natural consequence of being physically alive, and will touch upon biology, especially within a magical world, as well as good farming practices and general sanitation.

    We'll start with the waste products of people themselves.
    Daine do in fact eat, and drink; they therefore also do in fact crap and pee. I don't know much about how digestive systems work in specific, though I can say that Daine digestive systems are very robust and efficient. There's not a lot of waste. The amount, as you might suspect, is a direct correlation of amount of food eaten. They don't eat all that much and thus don't crap all that much.

    Daine certainly understand the need and desire to handle especially solid waste, and they know how to make cisterns for storing water and pipes and toilets and so forth for washing solid waste away. And also that water should be sequestered from springs & freshets or else obtained from precipitation for clean uses, and that waste should flow downhill towards the river for removal. In Daine places that have been long settled and where conditions are quite good, you'll find a very comfortable, convenient and clean society. If they are forced to live in a place where these things are unknown or where they can not order their living quarters sensibly, then, well, they'll live in or at least in close proximity to, filth.

    Animal Waste
    Nomadic herders don't have to worry much about animal waste. Whatever you don't dry and burn as fuel, well, you leave it behind! Problem solved!

    For a more settled life, this can be a problem, and is also an opportunity to reuse something. It should come as no surprise that dung gets used as fertiliser. In any kind of farming culture, that's a bit of a no-brainer! They don't engage in industrial scale animal husbandry, so don't have to worry about the problems of excess fertiliser in the ecosystem.

    They make cheese and yoghurt and drink some amount of non-Daine milk, so dairy herds exist (usually a mixture of cow-like and sheep-like animals). They keep some kinds of birds for their eggs, though not so much for their meat. Flocks are what we'd recognise as free range and so most "animal filth" is kept sequestered from their living areas.

    Animal Parts
    Most parts of an animal are useful. Meat can either be eaten as is, or can be preserved and exported. (Interestingly, a lot of wild game jerky gets passed along the trade routes terminating in Auntimoany and Rumelia. Men there love their meat and cookeries need a wide variety of meats to keep up with demand. And beef and pork and chicken just aren't eaten that commonly.)

    Bone can be used in a wide variety of ways: boiled up into broth or gelatin; dried and polished and made into tools, handles or decorative oddments; ground up for fertiliser, etc. Intestines can be turned into sausage wrappers or gut threads for sewing or tool making. Hides of course can be worn, made into leather or vellum. Blood can be made into food. Etc.

    Anything inedible or unappetising will generally be carted off into some wild place and offered there to the wild beasts to eat. Carrion birds large and small, toothed and untoothed, wolves, wargs, wildcats and all sorts of other critters will turn that pile of organs and left overs into dinner quite quickly!

    They've also learned that Talarians love a kind of sausage made from ground up bits of offal yuck, and some regions are noted for their export of herb sausage in that direction.

    Corpses
    The one animal Daine almost universally refuse to eat any portion of is, well, other Daine! (There are some kindreds noted for hunting and chowing down on kinds of Daine other than their own. This, I suppose, would be like Cro Magnons dining on Neanderthalers or Humans ordering up a Bonobo bbq.)

    Dead bodies are most frequently taken from the town and out to a necropolis. There, upon elevated platforms, the naked and stripped bodies are placed and the carrion birds invited to come down and feast. What remains, feathers, hair and bones, are taken and dealt with accordingly. Select bones may be used to make musical instruments or esoteric tools while most bones are buried in the woodlands. Only the skull is reserved and placed in the ossuary. Some cultures burn the hair and feathers; some use them for decorative purposes; still others place them in the ossuary or shrine as mementos of those passed over.

    Plant Parts
    Pruning, of course, is an inevitable part of Daine agricultural practice, but results in rather less waste than you might suspect. Actual pruning would only be done in case a branch has broken or a limb has been damaged by lightning or scavengers have gotten into the garden. One key to their practice of agriculture is the magic known as dendrothaumology. Of course, this literally means tree magic and their most astounding works of this magic are the great halls of the ancient houses and manses of Onutumun (Auntimoany) and to a lesser extent other realms in the Eastlands. If they can nudge a grove of trees to grow into a beautiful edifice, then imagine what they could do with tomatoes and cucumbers!

    And indeed, what they do, also with fruit and nut trees, berry vines and all sorts of other vegetable plants is nudge them to grow in certain ways. A tree they might nudge to remain short and bushy: easy to get at the fruit, not much need for pruning! Grape and berry vines they might nudge to grow horizontally from trunk to trunk throughout an orchard; or they might nudge them to twist together and form a graceful gazebo of living leafiness that provides both protection from rain, but also, in season, a yummy treat for those visiting the place.

    Fall and oncoming of the time of the Winter Queen means death and a period of repose for all orchards, fields & gardens this far north. Leaves fall, dead stems and twigs need to be cleared. These, along with left-overs, inedible bits, husks & peels are easy to put to compost. Compost plus manure = happy garden! It's just like Miracle Grow!

    Two✌️: Wouldn’t there be a sanitation issue, regarding ectoparasites, with reusing a comb that had had multiple previous users, especially over a long period of time?


    There would be, for you and me! It is a curious property of Daine themselves and the places they inhabit (especially) and frequent (less especially) that vermin, pests, parasites and other nasty creatures flee from them. Even the dirtiest of Daine children will never be found to harbour fleas, ticks, lice, worms, or any such beastie. This property attaches to those things in close association with them: their dogs don't have fleas, or if they come back home with fleas, those fleas will soon flee!

    This, I think, may be an external effect of their similarly robust immune systems. They don't suffer from microbial diseases (no E. coli or influenza infections) and endoparasites find no safe harbour to attach to and will be either killed or weakened and eliminated (no tapeworms or botflies or parameciums).

    Daine may suffer from other problems!

    Anyway, I have really enjoyed your posts, and really look forward to reading more!


    Thank you! It's been a joy and privilege to write for whoever is here reading!

    Posted June 17th, 2018 by elemtilas

    (I like the notion that “society” is etymologically and semantically related to “socage”. I like it so much that I have avoided checking it out; I doubt the relationship exists, but I don’t want to know that it doesn’t!)


    Truth is even more interesting, in this case! They do look related. And in fact, the underlying semantics are actually very close in meaning, being those of seeking and following. But alas, different IE roots at work in the same semantic domain.


    Thanks 🙏!

    It’s interesting (to me — YMMV) that the idea, if not the word, appears in Hammurabi, and also in Hittite texts.

    If the word has a Semitic root, perhaps its reflex occurred in Hammurabi?
    If the word has an I-E root, perhaps its reflex occurred in Hittite?

    I guess the Roman proletarii had knightly service. Except they rented no land by that service; they had no horses and weren’t allowed to ride; and they owned no armor nor weapons, and probably wouldn’t use any that weren’t provided to them by the state.

    BTW the “crossroads sodalities” that policed the intersections at night were IIRC manned by the neighborhood proletarii, right? So they did have duties in peacetime? There’ll be something similar in Adpihi.

    Posted June 18th, 2018 by chiarizio

    Following up on my June 4 post.

    I suggested a system whereby certain wealthy and/or affluent people (those in the top quartile and/or those earning/owning more than twice the median amount) should pay a certain fraction (I said an eighth, but maybe a tenth or a sixth would be better) of their excess over those limits, as taxes.

    And I suggested that certain poorer people should receive assistance in the form of direct disbursements, of some fraction of the amount by which they fell below the poverty line. I suggested three poverty lines; namely,
  • one third of the median
  • one half of the lower tertile
  • the lowest quintile.
    (The fraction I suggested was 7%, because three times 7% is 21%, which is less than 25% (two eighths), so theoretically the government should have some tax-revenue left over.)

    And I mentioned that partial brakes on the growth of disparity would be making everyone as safe and secure from war and crime and disease and malnutrition and various other things as the richest; and making everyone nearly as educated as everyone else as possible.

    I also mentioned restricting the reproduction of the poor and/or unemployed.

    Here is/are some possible elaboration(s) on those ideas.

    Maybe anyone who is receiving the economic assistance mentioned above, should be subject to restrictions on reproduction for as long as they are.
    Maybe the stringency of these restrictions should depend on how much assistance they are receiving.
    For instance: maybe those who fall below all three poverty lines should not be allowed to have children; those who fall below two of the lines shouldn’t be permitted more than one child; and those who fall below just one of them should not be permitted more than two children.
    Or: those who fall below all three lines should be permitted at most one child, those who fall below just two of the lines should be permitted at most two children, and those who fall below just one line should be permitted at most three children.

    I would like to add the idea that anyone “on the dole” or “on the NIT” (Negative Income Tax) owes the community some labor.
    The state could be the employer of last resort, like Keynes suggested.
    Three kinds of services come to my mind right away:
  • the military
  • police (local police and night watch especially, but why limit ourselves?)
  • various Civilian Conservation Corps , WPA, CWA, Peace Corps, and so on, corvee or labor-draft services.

    Perhaps this should all be voluntary but incentivized.
    Maybe it should be mandatory for only those below all three poverty-lines.
    Maybe anyone participating in community service should be allowed one more child than they’d otherwise be allowed.
    Maybe they’d have more and/or longer-lasting assistance with food, healthcare, housing, job-training, etc., for themselves and their families, than if they hadn’t participated.
    Maybe some of these rewards should be postponed until after they’ve completed their service.
    Maybe they’d get some preferences in hiring, job-training and/or general education, small business loans, and/or real estate, or something else I haven’t thought of.

    I’m thinking of a story I heard where a young Marine NCO enlisted because when he was honorably discharged he would be able to buy a small farm with the government’s help. While in the service he met a young, widowed mother of a small child; they married as soon as he was mustered out and they had a farm to live on.

    Any elaborations or improvements to suggest?
    Any criticisms?
    Any just-plain-different ideas?

    How about your conworlds?
    Are any of these, or similar ideas, or other ideas these made you think of, used anywhere by any groups or consocieties in your conworlds?

    In earlyish-to-middleish Adpihi there were a wide range of quasi-military quasi-police jobs that the poor could find nearly-guaranteed employment in. It was like a draft in that they had to pick one, but like a volunteer services in that they could get the one they picked.

    The default was night watchman of their own neighborhood.
    Another almost-default job was “garbage man”, or street-cleaner.
    There were also the guardsmen of the city gates; and the watchmen on the walls.
    And firefighters.

    Construction workers on public buildings and works, and sanitation and maintenance workers on public parks and public gardens etc., are some more-specialized (I suppose) possibilities, too.

    In Reptigan, most of these idea will be kept, but mutated a bit by the greater technology.
    Young people will want to get into the kinds of services wherein they’ll travel; they’ll hope for certain kinds of travel, and certain kinds of education.
    There’ll be new services that need people to go into space, or even to other stellar systems.

    I think if I tried to keep going I’d just be rambling.
    So; I’ll eagerly await your response!

  • Posted June 21st, 2018 by chiarizio

    Maybe anyone who is receiving the economic assistance mentioned above, should be subject to restrictions on reproduction for as long as they are.
    Maybe the stringency of these restrictions should depend on how much assistance they are receiving.
    For instance: maybe those who fall below all three poverty lines should not be allowed to have children; those who fall below two of the lines shouldn’t be permitted more than one child; and those who fall below just one of them should not be permitted more than two children.
    Or: those who fall below all three lines should be permitted at most one child, those who fall below just two of the lines should be permitted at most two children, and those who fall below just one line should be permitted at most three children.


    Hmm. Couple thoughts come to mind:

    Assuming the lowest level of society are those that do the hard labour and dirty jobs, and are also more likely to be poorly educated and are more likely to lead unhealthy lives (poor nutrition, higher rates of disease and child/maternal mortality), these are probably the people your society might want to require FOUR children of. Reason being, such a family will need to make two children just to replace the parents as part of society's cheap labour / cannon-fodder level. The likelihood of one or even both of those children dying in infancy is high, so the couple would have to not only replace themselves but might also have to replace one or both of their first children as well.

    Limiting the upper-middle classes to two children makes sense. Matters of inheritance of relatively meagre wealth becomes important at this level. Too many children and land / property / house / trade become too subdivided.

    The highest level might be able to fan out to four just like the lowest, but for different reasons. At a minimum, a high class couple needs two children to replace themselves. And also, if there are inheritable lands / titles / domains / etc., they'll need an heir and a spare. I say four because you can consecrate one to the priesthood and place another in charge of an army. And later, hitch him up to a likely young noblewoman so they can make a good match!

    Posted June 21st, 2018 by elemtilas

    Those ideas are worthy of consideration in detail; for which I will have to wait.

    —————

    OK, I’m back.

    We want to keep their numbers up only if they are doing or have done those dirty and/or dangerous jobs.

    During early (and maybe also middle) Adpihi, there’ll be plenty of such jobs, and they really will, for the most part, carry a risk to the workers’ lifespans etc. Anyone who has survived such a career will be seen as likely, if they have children, to have children who have a significant chance of also pursuing such a career; and will be seen as deserving state aid in raising such children.

    But, in good times in later Adpihi, and in Reptigan, the NIT (or “dole”) will likely be seen as a drain on the state’s resources. “We” wouldn’t want their numbers to increase. Any children they have, we’d clearly want to give the best possible chance of climbing out of that class; but:
    There are two reasons we’d want to slow down or stop their reproduction, unless they seemed to be making progress toward improving their lot.
    First, the burden of child-rearing is still mostly on the parents (broadly interpreted as “older family members”). The state only helps the parents; it doesn’t stand in loco parentis. So “we” don’t want them to have more children than they can raise “well”, that is, raise to have a significantly improved chance of climbing up the economic-social “ladder”.
    Second, by the time of Reptigan, the world of Adpihi will already be close to maximum capacity. Most everybody, the rich included, will be limited to three children. (See my posts on other threads about limiting population growth.)

    In Reptigan most dangerous jobs will be more adventuresome than tedious or “unclean”. It would make sense to take volunteers from poorer classes who otherwise wouldn’t be allowed more than one child, equip them with everything they need for one long or several short dangerous missions, then reward them, upon mustering out, with a right to have another two children, plus a pension equal to the cost of raising (most of) those children to rise up a step on the ladder.

    In the spirit of King Josiah and Deut 15:11, “we” don’t want the poor to die out just because of their poverty. For that reason I don’t think Adpihi and Reptigan will prohibit anyone from having at least one child, unless something has come up (like they’ve turned out to be a child-molester). The replacement rate will always be more than two children per couple. In the RL West these days IRL the replacement rate seems to be about 2.1 per couple. I think a society like Adpihi or Reptigan might want the extra 0.1 to come from heroes.

    —————

    But if I make other consocieties in which I consider these questions, I hope I’ll give your ideas a try.

    —————

    I always intended these policies —— both socio-economic, and reproductive rights —— to be flexible enough to adjust when conditions are appropriate.

    A lot of Sturm und Drang and drama and conflict and suffering can come out of continuing to enforce systems that are no longer fit-for-purpose. I don’t want to do that for Adpihi/Reptigan because it would just be a boring repeat of way too many R.L. historical stories. Adpihi have some knowledge, at their foundation, of what CAN happen; they will try to put in place safeguards to decrease the probabilities and frequencies with which some swings of the pendulum will go too far too fast. It won’t be guaranteed to work. But, it would leave me free to repeat only the interesting stories from RL history, that have some other cause.

    In really hard times in Early Adpihi, the replacement rate may be as high as six children per couple. If society wants the population to grow, they may encourage people to have seven children per couple, though probably not more than three or four all living at home all at the same time.

    Posted June 22nd, 2018 by chiarizio

    Real world attempts at approximating the ideas in my last post:
    In the United Kingdom (if not the whole British Empire) of Napoleonic and Victorian times, the rich considered it their duty to perform such acts of charity as they were able, to forestall any sympathy for revolution in the hearts and minds of the less fortunate.
    Furthermore (or maybe accordingly), everyone who could afford to hire servants, was expected to hire as many servants as they could afford; thus minimising unemployment to the absolutely unavoidable, and also minimising the number living in unsustainable or unsurvivable poverty.
    There was also a check or brake on the fecundity of the poor. Servants were expected not to marry without the permission of their employers (or masters).

    So; it’s been done in real life. With some partial success. Obviously, some people were still in abject poverty. Some, especially the disabled, were still unemployed and unemployable. There was some “class warfare”, or at any rate Molly Maguires and Luddites and so on, who violently destroyed some of the property of some of the rich. But nobody in th U.K. that I know of, recommended beheading the upper class! Or (in the 1789-1940 period) violently abolishing the monarchy!

    —————————— —————————— ——————————

    Another distribution of wealth for your consideration:
    Suppose there are nine classes; {upper|middle|lower}x{upper|middle|lower}.
    Suppose each class, except the lower-lower class, has 3/4 as many people, and 4/3 as much wealth, as the next lower class; and every class, except the upper-upper, has 4/3 as many people, and 3/4 as much wealth, as the next higher class.
    Then the upper-upper class will have 3^8 = 6,561 people for every 4^8 = 65,536 people the lower-lower class has. In other words, the lower-lower class will be about 10 times as numerous as the upper-upper class; the top class will be only 1/10 the size of the bottom class.
    And, the upper-upper class will control about 65,536 dollars’-worth of the economy for each 6,561 dollars’-worth controlled by the lower-lower class; in other words, the lowest class will control about a tenth as much wealth as the highest class.

    .... .... ....

    Also; each individual member of any class (except the lowest) will have on average about 16/9, or 177.778%, as much wealth per capita, as the average individual member of the next lower class.
    And the average member of each class (except the highest), will control about 9/16 or 56.25% as much wealth per capita, as the average individual in the next higher class.
    A member of the upper-upper class will have or earn or whatever more than 99.77 times as much — let’s call it 100 times as much — wealth per capita, as a member of the lower-lower class.

    —————

    This distribution has something in common with, IOW somewhat resembles, a Pareto distribution in which “3/7 of the population controls 4/7 of the wealth”. I think it would be considered OK by the average modern middle-class USAmerican. Admittedly I’ve asked only two opinions, one upper-middle-class modern USAnian and one lower-middle-class one.

    It might look something like this, or at least the proportions would be the same.

    Upper-upper: 6,561 people have 65,536 sacks of grain, or gallons of water, or barrels of crude oil, or pounds of steel or bronze, or acres of land, or head of cattle, or however wealth is measured;
    Middle-upper: 8,748 people have 49,152;
    Lower-upper: 11,664 people have 36,864;
    Upper-middle: 15,552 people have 27,648;
    Middle-middle: 20,736 people have 20,736;
    Lower-middle: 27,648 people have 15,552 to share between them;
    Upper-lower: 36,864 people share 11,664;
    Middle-lower: 49,152 share 8,748;
    Lower-lower: 65,536 people share 6,561.

    Posted July 7th, 2018 by chiarizio

    Another pair of ideas.

    Poorest 4/5 control at least 2/3
    Poorest 3/5 control at least 2/5
    Poorest 2/5 control at least 1/5
    Poorest 1/5 control at least 1/15

    Another way of saying that is:
    Richest 1/5 can’t control more than 1/3
    Richest 2/5 can’t control more than 3/5
    Richest 3/5 can’t control more than 4/5
    Richest 4/5 can’t control more than 14/15

  • * * * *

    Or:
    Poorest 1/3 control at least 1/5
    Poorest 3/5 control at least 2/5
    Poorest 4/5 control at least 3/5
    Poorest 14/15 control at least 4/5

    Equivalently:
    Richest 1/15 can’t control more than 1/5
    Richest 1/5 can’t control more than 2/5
    Richest 2/5 can’t control more than 3/5
    Richest 2/3 can’t control more than 4/5

    ———————————

    One can see that these are not the same.

  • Posted August 3rd, 2018 by chiarizio

    
    
    Poorest E-Fraction of Population Controls
    At Least F-Fraction of Economy

    A. B. C. D. E. F.
    1. 5. 1. 15 20.0000%. 6.6667%
    1. 4. 1. 10 25.0000%. 10.0000%
    1. 3. 1. 5 33.3333%. 20.0000%
    2. 5. 1. 4 40.0000%. 25.0000%
    1. 2. 1. 3 50.0000%. 33.3333%
    3. 5. 2. 5 60.0000%. 40.0000%
    2. 3. 1. 2 66.6667%. 50.0000%
    3. 4. 3. 5 75.0000%. 60.0000%
    4. 5. 2. 3 80.0000%. 66.6667%
    9. 10. 3. 4 90.0000%. 75.0000%
    14. 15. 4. 5 93.3333%. 80.0000%


    E is A/B expressed as a percent. F is C/D expressed as a percent.

    —————

    Whattaya think?

    ——————————

    [edit]
    One conclusion is this:
    The average individual member of the richest fifteenth of the population, will be about three times as rich, as the average individual member of the remaining 14/15 of the population;
    And the average individual member of the poorest fifth of the population, will be about one-third as rich, as the average individual member of the remaining 4/5 of the population.
    So the average individual member of the richest fifteenth, will be about nine times as rich, as the average individual member of the poorest fifth.

    That might be considered too tight.
    What do folks think?
    [/edit]

    Posted September 9th, 2018 by chiarizio

    Did anyone else think about this?

    Is having the top-class members average about nine times as wealthy as the average bottom-class members, too tight a constraint to be realistic in a conculture? Or maybe too loose?

    What about having the average top-class member limited to about 100 times as rich as the average bottom-class member? Is that too tight, or too loose?

    What about having the average member of the richest 0.01% be about 81 million times as rich as the average member of the poorest 90%?

    Or does anyone have any other thoughts?


    (edit:)
    ———————————————————————————————————————
    If the richer half controlled two-thirds of the economy, while the poorer half controlled one-third, that would make the average member of the richer half, twice as rich as the average member of the poorer half. Is that ridiculously utopian and close to communism? Or is it reasonably close to equal? Or is it still unfair?

    If the richest third controlled half the economy, and the other two-thirds controlled the other half, that would (again) make the average member of the richer third, two times as rich as the average member of the poorer two-thirds. Is that also unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky, pipe-dream, communistic, etc.? Or about as close to equal as can be expected? Or still too harsh a difference?

    If the richest third of the people control two-thirds of the economy and the wealth, while the poorest two-thirds of the people control one-third of the economy and the wealth, that would make the average person in the richest third, about four times as rich, as the average individual member of the poorest two-thirds. Is that about as close to even as one should realistically shoot for? Or too unequal? Or unrealistically equal?

    One could go on.

    If the top 40% have 60% while the lower 60% have 40%, the average guy in the top has about 2.25 as much as the average guy in the bottom.

    And if the top 25% have 75% while the bottom 75% have 25%, the ratio is nine to one.

    If the top 3/7 (42.85714%) have 4/7 (57.14286%), the ratio is 16:9, or about 177.7778%.

    What’s fair, what’s unfair, what’s realistic, what’s unrealistic?

    (/edit)


    Posted December 23rd, 2018 by chiarizio

    I am still interested in answers to my questions that I posted after elemtilas’s last post.

    Posted February 18th by chiarizio

    In Reptigan most dangerous jobs will be more adventuresome than tedious or “unclean”. It would make sense to take volunteers from poorer classes who otherwise wouldn’t be allowed more than one child, equip them with everything they need for one long or several short dangerous missions, then reward them, upon mustering out, with a right to have another two children, plus a pension equal to the cost of raising (most of) those children to rise up a step on the ladder.


    I’ve thought of a refinement.
    As soon as they enlist and are sent on their first mission, they earn the right to have one extra child.
    If they complete their assignment and survive and are honorably discharged, they earn the right to yet another child, provided they promise to raise at least one of their children to follow in their footsteps.

    How ‘bout that?


    Posted February 25th by chiarizio


    [@]Elyador[/@]
    [@]Velkas[/@]
    [@]Foolster41[/@]
    [@]elemtilas[/@]
    [@]bloodb4roses[/@]
    [@]Xhin[/@]
    [@]Leo[/@]
    [@]Fonori[/@]
    [@]eldin raigmore[/@]
    Cross-ref:
    Adventurous jobs and duties of rich to poor



    Posted February 26th by chiarizio
    Load next page Load rest of pages
    Reply to: Distribution of Wealth
    Enter your message here

    Site Rules | Complaints Process | Give Feedback Facebook Page
    GTX0 © 2009-2019 Xhin GameTalk © 1999-2008 lives on