WI Governments stay on the move

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Tanc49, Apr 17, 2019 at 9:27 AM.

  1. Tanc49 Domitian Truther

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2014
    Hi folks,
    In the Middle Ages, many monarchies were always moving, keeping their treasure and documents with them.
    After a while, they stayed somewhere put, with a designated capital and all.

    What if they never stayed put? What if to this day, it was still customary for Western Governments to go round their provinces all the time?
     
  2. Mad Bad Rabbit Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    Like Carter's Mobile MX Missile proposal, but with government offices?
     
  3. Tanc49 Domitian Truther

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2014
    Like the French government having no official seat but going around the Préfecture, one préfecture per month or something.
    Same for the US, no US Senate in Washington but a US Senate travelling from state to state
     
  4. Mad Bad Rabbit Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    It'd certainly be a boon for the hotel business in state capitols, when the national government comes to town.
     
  5. HJ Tulp Vice Admiral, Eutopian Navy

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Location:
    Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    The EU parliament moves between Strasbourg and Brussels. It's not very popular.
     
  6. FillyofDelphi Kicked Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2017
    Well, we'd by definition have to have alot less complex governing structures/small scale government programs as part of the culture, with MAYBE the discussion of expanding them thanks to the rise of dependable mass data transfer happening recently. The beuracracy needed to handle even relatively simple departments would be cripplingly large and expensive "retenues"
     
    Tanc49 likes this.
  7. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2014
    Yeah, the big issue is that governments were small back then. Most matters were handled locally, and the matters that were the exclusive domain of the monarch's government could be handled by a relatively small court administration. Fixed capitals, not co-incidentally, became the norm when more established and expansive centralised state bureaucracies took shape.

    A government "on the move" is almost by definition a government that is exclusively tasked with foreign diplomacy, the prosecution of war, the security of the realm and the adjudication of disputes in the final instance (the monarch as ultimate arbiter and dispenser of justice).
     
  8. Legofan4 American Nationalist

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    I would think that as time went on and governments get larger this would become more and more impractical. Some American government departments are larger than the populations of entire medieval polities. So this just seems unlikely once more modern style of government develops.
     
  9. MrGreyOwl Watching Bird

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2014
    Location:
    Limerick
    It just wouldn't make sense.

    In the middle age, a monarch had to tour the country from time to time (no, even then, they weren't "always moving") to display power, personally oversee difficult problems, and generally remind people: "hey, I'm still alive and in charge". Improvement in communications and the development of local bureaucracies made this unnecessary. And let's not forget traveling has a non-negligible cost in logistic, and while on the move, you basically have to suspend all business. You government wouldn't be able to function half the time.
     
    bbctol likes this.
  10. Miriamele New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2017
    Well, they would see local problems firsthand.
     
  11. Quintuplicate Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    The British assizes were based on moving judges until 1971.
     
    xsampa likes this.
  12. Lalli Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Such moving wouldn't work in modern OTL style society. You should have move tons of papers, computers and hundreds of members of parliament, their assistants and state officials and byreocrats. And you should too find good place where govermnent can meet and people can live. Furthermore you should move embassies and always tell foreign nations where goverment sits This would make governing in any country totally impossible and economically unviable. In EU capital moves always between Brussels and Strasbourg and I haven't heard that anyone would love that.

    And imaginate what kind of pollution problem all these planes and trucks would cause.
     
  13. HJ Tulp Vice Admiral, Eutopian Navy

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Location:
    Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    Thinking about it, this might be something that can be done in the (near) future. You don't need to move a ton of papers, people can just move their electronic devices and themselves. One could have different sessions of parliament in different parts of the country to avoid a focus on the centre/capital.
     
    Minchandre, CtrlAltHistory and Tanc49 like this.
  14. Lalli Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    It would be still expensive move from city to another city. And there is not even reasonable reason do that. And still you should move much of stuff to another place.
     
  15. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2014
    Reasonably speaking, you could just keep the bureaucracy in one place, and have the legislature and the cabinet travel about. It would be relatively easy to keep in touch. I still think it's fairly impractical, but it can be done. The thing of of course is that in big countries it's most impractical, whereas in smaller countries (such as our fair Netherlands) there's less incentive to even undertake such a hassle. (Every time there's a serious public debate organised in -- say -- Groningen, after all, a few representatives and/or a minister can just drive over there in a couple of hours. And they often do. That makes moving about the whole legislature a bit silly.)
     
  16. Mad Bad Rabbit Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    Talking Heads songs "Don't Worry About The Government" and "Houses In Motion" are merged into one long song and have lyrics about the government constantly moving.
     
  17. Riain Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Straya
    The government didn't move like a mongol horde, they moved between a number of royal estates, each set up for the monarchs purposes. The modern equivalent would be the key members of the Cabinet setting up shop in a major government office outside the capital for a while, they'd simply use what was already in the building.

    I don't think you'd call modern leaders immobile, they and their staff are often traveling.
     
    Tanc49, The Ranger and CtrlAltHistory like this.