Government and Society of the Union

    Union Government

    Background:

    2097.181 is often considered the date that the Union began, but the Accords of 2097 were actually only the foundation document that established the principles and the process of creating the Charter of the Union. The Union Charter was drafted by representatives of the remaining governments of Earth and the multinational corporations that retained much of the economic power at that point.

    The Charter of the Union was actually ratified by unanimous endorsement on 2100.001

    Organization:

    The Union Government is a hybridization of the principles of a Meritocracy and a Technocracy, wherein those who administer are qualified technical experts and are elected by qualified members of the electorate. Further, any member of the population is eligible to be qualified to vote without restriction (providing they pass minimum competency requirements), and they may possess multiple qualifications and therefore vote for representatives in multiple areas.

    Those who do not possess qualification are also entitled to vote for representation in a position within the government that serves as a check against special interests of leaders dominating the main government.

    Decision making is done by an Executive Council of elected members of the six primary divisions of the government. These six Chancellors enjoy a great deal of autonomy within their own administrative branches of the government (called Cartel) and meet frequently to address decisions that reach across their jurisdictional areas of specialization.

    The Executive Council is overseen by an administrative Prime Minister who moderates sessions and votes on Executive Council matters. This individual carries one equal vote on the Council, thus creating a seventh voting member to avoid potential deadlock. The Prime Minister is elected by the members of the Executive Council, but must not be an individual that has served as a previous, or current, Chancellor.

    The eighth member of the Executive Council is the Steward of the Union. This individual is elected by majority of the unaligned (unqualified) members of the general population, and does not vote on Executive Council matters. Instead, this person is the only member of the Council authorized to bring agenda items to an Executive Council Session. The primary function of this position is to act as a throttle mechanism on the Council. If the Steward does not believe a matter is representative of the needs of the larger society, no process can bring a matter before the Executive Council (other than in an administrative Sealed Docket Session).  Any Chancellor wishing to put a matter on the agenda for a session therefore MUST bring it before the Steward.

    The final element of the Union Government is the Grand Assembly. The Grand Assembly is a representative body that convenes semi-annually to advise the Steward of the Union as to what issues and concerns are relevant to the general populace. This body is loosely structured around representing local jurisdictional requirements, and may be made up of appointed or elected representatives. The structure and membership of the Grand Assembly will vary from session to session as it is an informal advisory organization that serves at the discretion of the Steward.

    Funding of Operations:

    No taxes are collected from the populace for the operation of the government, and all administrative expenses are negotiated and paid by the specific Cartels requiring service.

    Expenses incurred to provide services to the unaligned population are borne by the cartels, proportionate to the gross portion of the economy produced by each Cartel.

    Executive Council Elections:

    Cartel Chancellors (aka the Chancellery):

    Chancellors serve for ten years and may be elected for an unlimited number of terms providing they remain qualified and have the support of their specific Cartel Membership. Each Cartel holds an election in the year prior to the end of their current chancellor’s term and the elections are offset between the Cartels so that consistency of purpose is not disrupted by the entire Executive Council being changed simultaneously. This means that for six consecutive years, a new chancellor may be seated every year.

    The Prime Minister:

    The Prime Minister is elected for a ten year term by 2/3 majority of the Executive Council on the seventh year of the term cycle and may serve for no more than two terms.

    The Steward of the Union:

    The Steward is elected in the eighth year of the term cycle by simple majority of the unaligned populace and may serve for no more than three consecutive terms.

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    Purpose and Jurisdiction of Cartels:

    Purpose:

    Under the Accords of 2097, the Cartel System was established to administer aspects of Union government and society. These equal branches of government were developed to provide professional level management services and operate at zero profit. They do not functionally resemble the mega-corporations that dominated the earth's economy and environment prior to the collapse and are not allowed to amass wealth. Any surplus operating capital developed by a Cartel is returned directly to the economy through the Governance Expense Fund and the Joint Allowance Coffers.

    FleetCartel:

    FleetCartel is responsible for operating the vast majority of space vessels in the Union.  They do not directly own most of the vessels under their command, but all of the command crews are required to possess FleetCom certifications (Pilot and Ship Engineer at a minimum) and are usually FleetCartel members. Safety certification for ship construction facilities are also under the jurisdiction of FleetCartel.

    Additionally FleetCartel maintains training facilities based on the lunar farside at Tsiolkovskiy FleetCom Training Center and provides advanced training for ship crews and their own staff personnel.

    Most shipyards in the Union are operated by DoCartel however FleetCartel does operate the Lunar L-2 Shipyard and a maintenance platform at Mimas, Saturn.

    FleetCom is the support branch within FleetCartel, and does operate a substantial fleet of Multicruisers. These large scale (E-class keel) ships are multipurpose vessels that are deployed throughout the solar system to provide everything from cargo livery services to emergency response support.

    DevCartel:

    DevCartel is the educational and scientific branch of the Union government. Maintaining all educational services throughout the Union, they operate major universities in Galileo Station, LEO 4 and 16, and in many of the Lunar Colonies.  They also manage the Vesta Science Academy of the Vesta Institute of Technology as the preeminent research center in the Union .

    DevCartel is widely respected as the leader in all research endeavors with scientists, engineers and scholars serving in positions through all the other cartels. DevCartel also operates a fleet of special project science vessels that range throughout the solar system. Much of the resource development and discoveries are done by these ships.

    DoCartel:

    Simply put, DoCartel manufactures everything. Operating shipyards throughout the solar system they build over 95% of all space vessels produced. They also manage the repair facilities for the entire space fleet.

    Every factory producing goods that are used anywhere in the Union is a DoCartel operation. DoCartel engineers have installed and oversee automated factories in every colony on the moon and all larger asteroids. In fact, the only major base in the Union that does not have a DoCartel manufacturing center is Galileo, and that is strictly because there is no room to put a factory in the massive station.

    SourceCartel:

    SourceCartel provides resource extraction and harvesting services throughout the Union. Operating massive materials processing centers in the asteroids and the Saturn System, they provide raw and finished materials to DevCartel facilities everywhere.

    The second largest fleet in the Union is managed by SourceCartel, with all Ice Haulers and processing stations directly under their control (actually outnumbering FleetCom in registered charters but not in ship mass/volume).

    Food production, water harvesting, and atmospheric reprocessing/life support are all additional aspects of Union society that fall under the jurisdiction of SourceCartel.

    WellCartel:

    WellCartel is the biological and life sciences side of the Union Government.  All medical centers are operated by, and staffed with doctors and biomedical scientists trained in WellCartel medical academies. Within their operation they also maintain the mental health care system.

    All biological science research and development falls under the purview of WellCartel.

    In addition to running these research labs they also operate mobile medical clinics in hospital ships run jointly with FleetCom.

    SocCartel:

    SocCartel oversees the cultural and social aspects of the Union. All arts and entertainment services fall directly or indirectly under their cultural endowment programs.

    SocCartel operates the Deepstar Cruise Lines and a wide range of traveling venues that bring entertainment and cultural experiences to the residents of the Union regardless of how far into the deep-system they reside.

    The true purpose of SocCartel is to maintain cultural cohesion as humanity evolves to the various environments that colonies occupy across the solar system.

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    Economy of the Union

    Universal  Base Income + Incentivization:

    All citizens of the Union receive a basic per-person subsistence allowance (in electronic funds) that provides adequate economic support to survive without concern for essential human needs. This program is funded through the Joint Allowance Coffers established and maintained by ongoing Cartel support to the Governance Expense Fund.

    In addition to this primary income, Union citizens are allowed to earn through any legal means, whatever additional income they may up to 1,000% of their UBI income without affecting their eligibility for base support.

    Employers are encouraged to negotiate a reasonable incentive salary for employees and must realize that not offering adequate compensation for work to an individual who does not NEED to work, will result in not having employees very quickly.

    Cartels are required to pay compensation to all employed members of their cartel above the 1,000% threshold so that it eliminates the possibility of all cartels subsidizing the workforce of any one cartel. However cartel members are not required to be employed by the cartel in which they have membership.

    Currency

    Credit:

    Credits are the official currency unit (often called “chit” because of the electronic transfer mechanism) All major business operations (Cartels and other large employers) pay for everything using electronic currency that is recorded through a large central exchange system and accessed through paytag devices (chits) of various configurations. Most employees receive incentive salary through this system.

    Credit/chit can be used to pay for almost anything a person needs, as most vendors can access the central exchange system from anywhere in the Union.

    Papercred:

    Printed currency exists and is commonly used for small financial transactions between individuals. Printed on thin flexible plastic sheets this currency is commonly called papercred (as a holdover to the old earth practice of printing on paper). Papercred can be deposited into the central bank as it is an official currency, although many of the individuals that use it often do not trust that access to their account is going to always remain stable. As a result hoarding is common.

    Some small businesses consider papercred as more valuable since using it does not track transactions through the central bank. However papercred does fluctuate value with respect to the more tightly controlled  electronic cred.

    At one time the Union Government tried to remove papercred from circulation and the resistance to the plan was so great that the economy nearly stalled entirely. Now the central bank buys and sells papercred to control its “concourse value” and occasionally will release large amounts back into circulation to keep it in close parity with the electronic form.

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    Body Types

    Ectomorph: Micro-gravity physiology (Asteroids and interplanetary space). Typically long brittle/porous bones and hyper-flexible joints. Very weak muscles and circulatory systems. Unable to function at all in medium or heavy gravity environments without technological support.

    Endomorph: Light to medium-gravity physiology (Luna and Mars). Stronger and only slightly elongated bones, with slight hyper-flexibility in the joint. Weakened muscles . With hard physical training an Endomorph can function adequately in an Earth normal weight environment for a limited time. Circulatory systems are weakened as well, and prolonged exposure to heavy-grav situations can cause cardio distress.

    Mesomorph: Heavy world physiology (Earth, the LEO Colonies, Galileo Station and the Armstrong). Heavy solid build with strong circulatory systems and limited flexibility. Mesomorphs are faced with many smaller challenges when adapting to light-grav/zero-grav environments and often find working in space a challenging situation (belching in microgravity is a socially disastrous situation for someone used to gravity, and some Mesos never master the technique when emigrating from Earth).

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    Language and Culture

    One Voice Laws:

    Shortly after the Union Charter was ratified, the Executive Council passed a law that established a single common language for the Union population. Ostensibly this was done because standardization of language allowed for much safer working conditions in space. However, the idea of homogenizing the culture of the Union, through the establishment of an official language, was widely thought to be the primary reason for the decision. This law was initially met with resistance, but over several decades it was eventually accepted.

    The language chosen in the original ordinance was based on the most common form of English used by the people who were alive in 2101. It is closely tied to the North American variant of English and incorporates occasional words lifted from other former Earth cultures.

    Some colonies still maintain widespread traditional language usage with most notably, Tokyo Down Under and Lunagrad still using traditional languages in anything that is not official communication.

    Slango:

    Slango evolved as a dialectic variant of English shortly after the space elevators began bringing larger numbers of immigrants up from the surface of the Earth. It was a shorthand form of speaking that could be quickly picked up by the children of refugees and so it includes a wide range of slang and simplified grammatical structures.

    Slango worked as a shorthand that bridged the gap between traditional languages and the mandatory official speech of the Union.  As the children of the first waves of settlers grew up, the language rooted in and became widespread in spite of the need to maintain more formal communication styles for official interactions. Common usage forms of Slango have infiltrated the formal language and often they will slip into even the highest levels of communication.

    The interactions of unaligned business people are often exclusively conducted in Slango, and it is considered the language of negotiation on the concourse level of society.

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    Colorful Metaphors and Slango ( as used in Legacy of Pandora)

    Language in common usage is a continuously evolving thing. It has a life of its own, and sometimes that life will find its roots planted in the more base levels of society.

    In my writing I tend to not shy away from plain spoken characters or dialog, so people with softer sensibilities might find how my characters speak a bit course. People talk like this in the real world. (OK maybe not exactly like this, but this isn't a real world ... yet.)

     

    Because I have created my own list of colorful metaphors and some casual phrases that are used in my novels, I will leave this list here with little explanation other than to say what starts at the bottom, eventually finds its way to the top of the language tree. EMC

    Slango:

    As I have discussed elsewhere, Slango is a pigeon speak that originated in the LEO Colonies and has spread widely throughout the Union. Some of these phrases are fairly genteel, but others are a bit more base.

    Scan: To look, or to understand. "Hey pa. Ya scan, no?"  (Mister, you do understand me don't you?)

    Pa: A casual form of mister. "Pa, let me scan that yeastcake." (Mister, may I please look at that yeastcake?)

    Swinging in Spec: Working as intended. "Everything is swinging in spec, boss." (No problems observed, captain.)

    Swinging: Works as a generic verb for motion.

    Nojo: No Joke. Usually with a trace of sarcasm. "Nojo, we're foobed here."

    Nogo: No Good. Also sometimes with sarcasm or exasperation. "Frak me! That's nogo."

    Don't be dirty: Disbelief (sarcastic). "Don't be dirty pa, everything swings for papaercred, ya scan?" (Don't be silly mister, everything sells for cash. Do you understand?)

    Busting my bag: Trying to screw me over or push an unreasonable deal. "Yah sister, it swings, but why ya gotta be busting my bag?"

    Eggs: A non gender specified version of testicles. (Often assumed to be carried in the previously mentioned "busted bag.") Can also be used with additional modifiers. (She's got titanium eggs.)

    Foobed: Screwed up or screwed over. Shortened from the military acronym F.U.B.A.R.  (fucked up beyond all recognition) "Frag! We're so foobed!"

    Frag: Shit

    Frak: Fuck

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    Zone One

    Zone One is generally accepted to be the region of space immediately around the Earth/Luna system. It includes everything to an approximate distance of  500,000 kilometers as measured from the center of both bodies. This includes the five Lunar Lagrangian points and any and all facilities within the area.

    There is no actual political significance to the Zone One designation other than to be used as a colloquial shorthand to mean the part of space that humans call home.

    Included in the area of Zone One:

    • The surface of Earth.
    • The surface of Luna.
    • All of the LEO Stations.
    • All of the Geostations.
    • Lunar Lagrange One (the location of Galileo Station).
    • Lunar Lagrange Two (the location of FleetCartel's FleetCom L-2 Shipyard).
    • Lunar Lagrange Four and Five (both used as storage transfer positions for SourceCartel operations and have small administrative and maintenance platforms and large caches of raw materials).
    • Lunar Lagrange Three (unoccupied on a full time basis, although it is often the location of moderate duration scientific sensing equipment used by the Earth Terraforming Directorate).
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