Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Ephraim Ben Raphael, May 19, 2011.
Which MotF was it?
I can't actually remember. The prompt was something about governments being exiled to their former colonies, or something like that.
I'm guessing before the Bolshevik Revolution Alaska was mainly used as an extension of the exile to Siberia thing. Afterwards the white Russian government in exile was able to stabilize its economy thanks to the duel discoveries of gold and oil. Along with being supported by the US and Canada to prevent the spread of Communism.
I'm still thinking about the idea of a Pakistan run as a literal wellfare state by a massive public-health ministry (the military is essentially a logistics network with guns and some combat training, to protect the people and their health, the economy is run in a quasi-market-socialist fashion with a massive social safety net, etc.) after multiple badly lost wars with India and a pandemic disease outbreak in the mid-late '70s left all the major political figures so widely hated that they put an ascetic philanthropist in charge of the country, but unfortunately between the job search, grad school applications, my other projects, and sheer creative exhaustion I've been unable to work on it.
I know we already had a kakistocracy with that Japan a while back, but have we seen a Strasserist/nazbol regime yet? Command economy like the USSR but also a strict hierarchy/caste system of "races" like colonial Latin America on steroids?
How does it fit with the attempted Islamic nationalism Pakistan has tried to generally use, and was founded upon, as a unifying ideology to attempt to paper over all the ethnic/racial tensions and languages and such?
I would be interested in doing a "Sorelian" India which is basically "National Maoist".
"on the site", please.
Not one bit. The "nation of nurses" is in part a reaction to the"martial race theory" that got this Pakistan gutted.
Maybe you could insert independent Baluchistan and Afghanistan (doesn't matter if it is a surviving Kingdom of Afghanistan, Muhammad Daoud's short-lived Republic of Afghanistan lasting longer, or the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan) grabbing the Northwest Frontier as well (to "add insult to injury" to Pakistan's state)?
I mean, this Pakistan would've completely lost Kashmir to India, but basically given up on getting it back due to lack of political will following the military and societal clusterfuck.
True, but what about my idea of the Pashtun bits of Pakistan being nommed by a more stable Afghanistan ("to protect the Pashtuns in the area") and Baluchistan (they have a strong separatist movement IOTL) breaking free?
Possible but unlikely. I'm imagining more, the state keeps itself together, they start aggressively recruiting people to go abroad to learn medical skills and most of those people come back but a significant chunk of them stay abroad to funnel cash home, that provides a trickle of cash inflow while the state sorts itself out, they eventually get back on their feet by burying the hatchet with India (probably after a more authoritarian head of the health ministry is thrown out and the organization is reformed along more democratic lines, ironically giving it even more power and essentially consuming what used to be the government), which brings US aid and foreign investment, etc. By the 21st century they formally abolish the old government and institute voting procedures for who runs the health ministry. So the Pakistani state has literally been replaced by "the Pakistani Health Ministry".
Fair enough, but Baluchistan and the Pashtun bits of Pakistan having their own separate "Health Ministries" with a large degree of autonomy from Islamabad (or whatever they renamed Islamabad to) could still work?
I'll think about it when I get around to actually writing the damn thing.
What about Cuba? It's a communist state with a thriving heath-care industry, strong state control over the economy, and has the third highest doctors-per-person ratio in the entire world. Even before the take-over of Castro, Batista's Cuba managed to outperform other third-world nations in infant mortality and life expectancy thanks to the fact that the ratio of physicians were still higher than Britain, France, and the Netherlands. While nuclear war might be enough to wipe Cuba of the map, maybe a bloodier revolution would be enough to create a country run by the public-health ministry
The French Outremer Company
Le Cap, which is located in what would in many other dimensions be Cape Town, is a bustling mega-city of over ten million people, one of the great cities of this world where political decisions are made along with Seoul, Vienna, New Stockholm, Nanjing, Agra, Warsaw, Cuzco, Konstantiniyye, and Pires-Cidade. Out of the great capitals of this world, Le Cap is unique in that it is not the capital city of a great democracy, an empire, or dictatorship. The government it hosts is a far more unique entity than that.
The city of Le Cap is a very cosmopolitan place and one with lots of conspicuous luxury, befitting the capital of a “corporate empire” which has possessions in five continents and a population of over half-a-billion people with Chinese, French, Africans, Indians, Malays, and many other ethnicities and faces being seen on the streets. However, I am not here to wonder about the wealth and prosperity of the effective capital of the French Outremer Company, but to meet leaders of the company which runs such an empire and is counted as one of the world’s great powers, eclipsing the Metropole of the country which it is theoretically part of.
After being driven to the “Corporate Palace”, I am guided to the office of Catherine Bousquet, a member of the Directorate which controls the French Outremer Company. Catherine Bousquet is a calm and charming woman who I would later find out was from a “dynasty” which had provided five of the company’s Supreme Directors since they first came into prominence in the mid-19th Century.
After exchanging formalities, I asked her “What is it like to be part of running a company which is considered one of the world’s main superpowers?”
“It’s hard to balance the different responsibilities of running a multi-continental power and administering the business assets of the Company,” she replied, “but we manage. There are many separate branches of the Company which deal with different responsibilities under different directors, much like ministries and ministers in more traditional states.”
How does a company perform the traditional responsibilities of a state, especially considering that it remains on paper a private entity?
Bousquet shrugged and smiled; “The Company’s original charter from 1586 gave the Outremer Company the right to sign treaties with “Oriental Rulers”, maintain armies, build forts, and exclusive trading rights with the Orient. Our different national functions all stem from that.”
How can a charter that is over 400 years old and remain relevant in this day and age of technology and superpowers?
She laughed out loud at that
“There are thousands of countries working off of equally ancient constitutions. Like them we have amended and expanded our original charter that later charters that gave our company the right to administer territory, wage war on our own, issue currency, carry out foreign policy, and expand unilaterally. More importantly we have international treaties formally recognizing the “special status” of the Outremer Company as a sovereign entity with the right to manage its own foreign along with colonization of the Americas. Whatever our charters may say; the world recognizes our power.”
It seemed like a good time to bring up the role of the Company's subjects in its empire, and I did so.
“The Departments of the Company, which were derived from native protectorates or from settler colonies, have autonomy in local affairs and generally are left alone as long as they obey certain responsibilities. We even let them have quite a bit of economic freedom- despite what the Collectivists and their propaganda would want you to believe, the Outremer Company doesn’t own everything within the territories of the Outremer Company and there are businesses outside of the Company’s control.”
The French Outremer Company was founded by the Valois Kings of France in 1586 in an attempt to “break into” the spice trade as the Protestant French had a distinct disadvantage against the Catholic Portuguese and Spanish, who were the first to discover the Americas and make voyages to Indonesia. While this company had modest beginnings, the FEC would gradually grow into the corporate superpower that this world knows and is familiar with.
During the 17th century the company proceeded to colonize Formosa, take control of Java, the Moluccas, and Sri Lanka in Asia while beginning the colonization of South Africa, which would eventually become the heart of the FEC. During the 18th century the Company took advantage of the collapse of the Ming Empire in China, where successfully siezed a coastal strip around Guangdong and Fujian and expanded into the south of India. This was followed by the Franco-Spanish Wars saw the Spanish Philippines, La Plata and New Granada (which were renamed L’argent and New Brittany) and parts of the Caribbean added to the FEC’s possessions. In North America, France also saw large colonial successes with French Acadia encompassing an area from Potomac in the north and the Appalachians in the west. By now, France was a “multi-continental” empire with the colonization of Antipodea as a penal colony beginning in the 1760s.
However the same waves of revolutions which swept through Europe between 1683 and 1768 that resulted in the absolutist monarchy of France becoming a constitutional monarchy also resulted in the growing empire of the French Outremer Company developing into a more unique entity as the Acadian Uprising of 1768-69 was only quelled by the Outremer Company granting the Acadians a great degree of leeway of autonomy on local affairs. This would lead to the creation of the “Department” of Acadia, which despite being formed from a settler colony, functioned with the same degree of autonomy as the various Company protectorates in India and the East Indies.
The FEC faced setbacks into the 19th Century when the Spanish colonists in New Brittany successfully seceded in the Revolution of 1826 and a resurgent China took back most of Guangdong and Fujian in the Company War of 1863-1868 (or to the Chinese, the War of Reclaimation), reducing the Company’s prescence in China to a handful of peripheral possessions. The Industrial Revolution weakened the Company economically, however it still managed to colonize the rest of Insulindia and Antipodia during this period along with Aotearoa and parts of mainland Southeast Asia falling under its the control, as did growing parts of Africa. The FEC surged back again in the Second Industrial Revolution with them expanding to have a near-global reach by 1900 financially and in terms of goods.
The Company picked the winning sides in the first Oceanic War, regaining much of Guangdong and transforming into the unorthodox combination of mega-corporation and multi-continental power it currently is.
The 1924 reforms that accomplished this transformation were instituted by Christopher Maurice and entailed the creation of “Directorates” modelled on the ministries of more traditional countries and whose “Directors” were akin to traditional cabinet ministers. In addition, seats on the Board of Directors were opened to “indigenous” peoples and women for the first time and a limited degree of democracy was granted to peoples under the company’s rule in the form of a “Citizen’s Council” with limited (some would say symbolic) powers. Similarly limited self-rule was instituted for all the territories, which were broken up into an assortment of Departments with autonomy over local affairs but subordinate to the Company.
The Second Oceanic War (1943-1949) resulted in the modern world order as the Germans and Lusitanians defeated France during this war, partitioning the Kingdom between them, forcing the apparatus of the French Kingdom to flee to Le Cap (where the Valois Kings became the ceremonial “Presidents of the French Outremer Company” in addition to their roles as “King of France-in-exile”) while Tian China reclaimed the areas of Guangdong taken during the First Oceanic War. The Outremer Company also lost control over the eastern half of Kampuchea and Cochinchina to the National Republic of Dai Viet. However, the Outremer Company survived to the present day as one of the superpowers in the multi-sided "Silent Conflict" which defines this universe’s international politics.
After meeting Catherine Bousquet, I then flew to the city of Ayutthya where I found Niyom Pachrapa, the head of the Siamese Popular Freedom Party, a Democratic Cooperativist and one of the leaders of the nationalist political party advocating for Siam’s independence.
The first thing I asked him was what were his motives behind the push for Siamese independence?
Pachrapa looked me in the eye.
“There are a thousand reason to call for the independence of Siam, but two stand out.” He ticked them off on his fingers. “First, is the way the French dominate affairs in Siam, controlling her in total disregard of what her people want. This makes the second reason that much more destructive; the French Outremer Company doesn’t care about the people it rules at all.”
Can he give me specifically examples of that lack of care?
The pro-independence activist grimaced. “The Company only cares about profit and power. Working conditions in FEC facilities are poor with low wages and long hours. Outside of major cities infrastructure not dedicated to the Company or the Military is badly neglected with private interests outside of the Company and the local Departmental government having to take on the burden of building and maintaining basic transportation and communications systems.”
How an independent Siam would result in such problems being fixed?
“An independent Siam would be able to control her own finances and the Siamese people would be able to achieve a national pride not seen since the 19th Century, when we last controlled our own affairs independent of French authority.” He said joyfully. “It is not only in Siam that nationalism has arisen to challenge the control of the company. In areas from Acadia and L’Argent in the Americas to Aoteoroa to South India the people, motivated by resentment towards the foreign Outremer Company “government” are being inspired to speak out and protest.”
How does the Siamese Popular Freedom Party plan to bring about Siamese independence?
"Through peaceful means.” Pachrapa swallowed before continuing. “We are not radical Collectivists and terrorists like what Le Cap’s propaganda machine would like you to believe. We believe that democratic agitation and peaceful activism would get the Siamese people to support us and the international community to see the justice of our cause. I have one word of warning, however.”
I nodded for him to continue.
“Some nationalists have turned to terrorism, especially in the Outremer Company’s West African territories. The world and the Outremer Company must listen to our grievances against Company rule before we in Siam start to follow them in protest of French rule.”
(Note: The American and Asian portions of the Company's territory are not included in the map)
Welcome to the team, @Whiteshore!
That's a weird one, but neat! So it's basically a corporate colonial regime? Pretty impressive.
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