© 2003, Kevan Hashemi

Government Made Simple

The following is from Ralphires Moralisus, working in the Office of Aries, Olympia, 12-Mar-4768.

My divine master, Aries, has asked that I record for the benefit of certain parties who would work with him on social and economic projects, the following guidelines when assessing the viability and long-term stability of such projects. After reading these rules, which Aries reminds you are summary and in themselves inadequate, we will be interested to receive your written comments. These comments will be taken as indications of the extent of your experience in such projects, and your understanding of the underlying economic and social principles that govern them.

All stable governments extract as much money from their population as possible, subject to the constraints of their philosophy of government (Panacea's Principle). Each philosophy does better than all others in the right place, with the correct level of technological advancement among the working people, and the correct relations with neighboring nations (Athena's Principle of Diverse Optimality). Trading people, for example, generate so much more revenue under a libertarian government that the government still makes more money with its lower tax rate than would a monarch applying a higher tax rate under an authoritarian dictatorship.

Here are guidelines we can use to decide the maximal tax rate in a society based upon the nature of its government, and the fraction of the government's income that it can safely devote to its military while maintaining the services its population expects for its tax dollars. The guidelines we obtained by surveying the several sapien populations under our control.

PhilosophyTax RateMilitary Spending
Table: Maximal Tax Rates and Fractional Military Spending.

The following table are approximate per capita incomes expressed in Olympian dollars adjusted for purchasing power, for a selection of socioeconomic conditions.

Table: Per Capita Income in per year.

For government to be stable, it need not be the richest form of government, but it must be able to defend itself against rebellion and invasion.

If a nation has constantly warlike neighbors then its military spending may be all that stands between freedom and occupation. The optimal government in such circumstances will be the one with the largest military spending, all other things being equal. We can see that a manufacturing population under a libertarian government will produce $1000 per capita military spending, while a socialist government will produce $600, and an oppressive government $500.

A soldier costs approximately $100k per year to keep in a standing army. This money pays for his training, equipment, keep, housing, and family. This standard soldier is heavy infantry or light cavalry, well-trained and obedient. For $50k per year a government might choose instead to hire light infantry with inferior training, or for $300k per year, keep a single heavy cavalry troop. But these details are unimportant to the argument that follows, in which we can assume that a government's standing army is made up of soldiers that cost $100k per year.

The maximum, and most likely, standing army troops per capita we can deduce from the previous two tables by dividing the military spending by the cost of each troop.

Table: Maximum Standing Army Troops per Thousand Inhabitants.

From the above table we see that, in the face of constantly warlike neighbors, trading and manufacturing nations are better off Libertarian, while farming nations are better off under an oppressive government. In no cases, with constantly warlike neighbors, is a socialist government at an advantage, and yet socialist governments exist, and are stable.

The power of socialist government lies in its frequent association with democracy, and democracy allows a government to summon conscripted troops, in time of war, in far greater numbers than other forms of government. By use of its conscripted army, a socialist government can conquer and permanently pacify its neighbors, so that it is no longer among the constantly-warring neighbors we assumed above.

TypeConscripted Army
Table: Maximum Conscripted Army Troops per Thousand Inhabitants.

As an example, we will look at the nations around the Western Outlands on Idonius, Clarus, for they present us with a varied selection of governments, and include also nations of hellspawn, whose distinctive character can be seen in the way they break with the sapien trends presented in the previous tables. Furthermore, the governance and economies of these nations are well-known and easy to study in Olympian libraries. We invite you to use them as a basis for your answering comments.

NationTypePhilosophyPopulationStanding ArmyConscripted Army
Western OutlandsOligarchyLibertarian300k60k60k
Table: Government and Armies of Nations in the Region.

We should be clear what we mean by a democracy. A democracy is any government for which any citizen can obtain the vote by performing a required service. For example, performing military service, paying a percentage of income, promising to fight in a war, or merely obeying the law. Varay counts as a democracy because all members of the reserve army can vote, and any citizen is welcome to serve in the army, provided they are fit enough to do so. Kiali is also a democracy because they elect their chiefs and the chiefs elect the king, and dictate his policy. Caravel has an elected Council of the Commoners which represents them before the monarch, but the monarch has final authority, so Caravel is not a democracy. Endromis is a democracy, even though the hereditary king is commander in chief of the armed forces. The senate has the power to dethrone the king and choose another. In Equina, the king has one-month veto-power over any law passed in their National Congress, but that is the extent of his power. Nevertheless, the kings have wealth, and therefore influence, in both cases inherited from the days before democracy.

Endromis, with its large conscripted army, forced Equina into democracy several centuries ago, and since then has had a peaceful ally for a neighbor instead of an aggressive enemy. Here we see the socialist state changing the world around it to guarantee its safety.