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 Post subject: Government of Uscan
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:11 am 
Avisaru
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I've been digging up some old notes I have on the government of Uscan. I'm not sure it makes a lot of practical sense, but I want some help to make this into a workable system.

So the idea is, there's an elective monarchy (where only an elite has a vote) combined with a democracy (where most of the public can vote). The elective monarchy is older, the democracy is newer, and is slowly taking over an older system. I want the system to be messy and confusing. I want it to look like a hodgepodge of various incongruous ideas that have somehow flattened out into something that people work with.

The people of Uscan are divided into two kinds, laucumpir (royals, nobles, what have you) and commoners, sacnir. There are ten families of laucumpir. The laucumpir's only job is in theory only to rule and govern, but in reality, it's mostly partying, having a good time, and raising enough money to keep doing so.

Amongst the sacnir, the "castes", eterer, are more important as a distinction between people. The eterer are not strictly hereditary (though there is often pressure to take up your parents caste upon your itnu "coming-of-age ritual"). The castes are: cecase keepers of the dead, crial builders/smiths, hermu postal workers/journalists, macis artists/craftsmen, macistrev scholars/teachers, maru miners, marunu cooks/servants, tamera hunters/lumberjacks/rangers and veza farmers. There is also the army, śutu, which in most respects operates like an etere, except everyone in it is already a member of an actual etere before joining. People can be temporarily stripped of their caste to become ezerir or permanently to become lautni "slaves". Ezerir and lautnir do not really have any legal protection or rights.

Every four years (approximately eight Earth years), a new laucum "monarch" is elected amongst the laucumpir. Each of the ten laucumpir also get a scar "advisor" at his court. The sacnir send their own representative to his court, the capuc "overseer". The laucum, scar and capuc oversee most executive decisions (including executive decisions which have the power of law, and can trump law). The capuc is traditionally the treasurer of the state.

The sacnir are invited to meet at the end of every season for a sacnicap or a "commoner meeting". These appoint people to office in the lucrac "lower legislature". Those who have been elected for two consecutive terms (two years each) are eligibile to be handpicked by the laucumpir (represented by their current scar), for the lucti, a permanent upper legislature division. This is not a strictly bicameral arrangement. Both can initiate bills, and certain matters are handled exclusively in either one. Others are advanced from the lucrac to the lucti.

Lawyers from the macistrev etere are picked by the laucumpir to serve as judges tevarat, in the courts, zeru. The idea of a jury of peers is a recent innovation, these are called tevaraler. It has been added to the types of community service people can engage in. Another is taking on apprentices for the itnu. These people are called raufun.

Cities (spur, asac or atśe) and great cities (atuca) have a camti, a city council. Each member is referred to as being spurana "of the city". The head of the council is called spacle (in case the city is a "spur", a port city) or an ascap in case of an asac or atśe, a land city. The mayor of atucar is called atucap. The cities often have a canzuc who liasons with vigilantes.


What do you think? Anything seem jarring, out-of-place or particluarly unlikely? Anything seem cool?

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 Post subject: Re: Government of Uscan
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:42 pm 
Niš
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How are the city-council members chosen? What's the difference between spacle/ascap and an atucap? Are they elected, appointed? Do land cities and port cities authorities have different powers/roles?

Also, what's the general time-frame and tech-level for this country?


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 Post subject: Re: Government of Uscan
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:32 pm 
Smeric
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yeah, tech level.

Also, describing a bit the incentive structure and political negotiation framework seems like a good idea: what is the incentive for the emperor to do as the overseer and the various councilmen for the noble houses? maybe the emperor has a very weak grasp over his subjects. good questions are always these two: who has the money, and who has the guns/swords/bows/nanodesintegrator beams?. who controls the army?

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 Post subject: Re: Government of Uscan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:38 am 
Sanci
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A few thoughts of mine.....

The sacnicap, is it a general meeting of all commoners, just the richest ones, the most prominent ones, or of certain electors chosen by the castes? It seems to me that a general assembly of every member of the castes would be very hard to manage, no matter the technological level of the society in question (though maybe a bit easier for more advanced societies).

As the lucti are of the people yet handpicked by the laucumpir (who I assume own a disproportionately large part of the nation's resources), it would make sense to me if the lucti were in charge of the treasury. Kind of like the Senate were in ancient Rome. If the budget has to be approved by the lucti, and no major spending can be made without their saying so, that would certainly work to balance the power of the laucum without giving undue influence to temporary public opinion.

As for the recent development of a jury of peers where previously no such tendencies existed, I don't know how likely this is. In those countries where such juries exist in our world, the judicial systems are based on traditions reaching back to early medieval times. I could be wrong, but I find it somewhat hard to believe that a country (where such tendencies did not already exist) would suddenly decide to trust a group of laymen rather than professionals to decide the outcome of a trial.

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 Post subject: Re: Government of Uscan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:10 am 
Avisaru
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 Post subject: Re: Government of Uscan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:22 am 
Smeric
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 Post subject: Re: Government of Uscan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:15 pm 
Sanno
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I think it's helpful to approach these things from a historical perspective to explore how economics and technology can bring about changes in the negotiations between different institutions.

It's important to remember that parliaments exist because the king needs money. Kings are very bad at raising money in general, so they need to beg for it. In exchange for money, the king lets parliament ask for redress of grievances. How much legislative power the parliament gets depends on how much the king needs it - ie the shortfall between the king's ability to raise money himself and the amount of money that the king's ambition requires. And how able the king is to coerce parliament - which depends on his control of the army, which in turn depends on the army's control over him. [Eg Roman emperors could often force the senate to go along with them quite easily, because they controlled the army and the secret police - but at the same time, the army and the secret police often selected the emperor, and even more frequently deposed him, so in employing the threat of force, the emperor exchanged one weakness for another]. And that also REQUIRES an army, which medieval europe barely had at all. And WHO is in parliament depends on who has the money - if the landholders have all the money, only the landholders are in parliament, but if merchants and gentry have money, parliament has to find a way to include them too.


An example of these negotiations: the English monarchy went through an extremely weak period from the Anarchy onwards. Henry II was a notable counter-example (there will always be strong and weak rulers); but even his reign ended in a serious of civil wars between his sons, and between him and his sons. Richard II's reign continued these wars; John's likewise, and he was forced to concede the magna carta to remain in power. Henry II was even weaker - he was turned into a constitutional puppet king, while de Montfort established a wholly-elected parliament with universal (male) suffrage to rule the country. Edward I regained some power - but he established the elected parliament for good (still with universal suffrage). Edward II was killed by his own court. Edward III was a little stronger, but Richard II was deposed and murdered; Henry IV faced repeated insurrections by local powers (particularly in the north and in wales) and was forced to share power with his more popular son - Henry V, who chose to concentrate on war abroad while delegating actual politics to the nobles. Henry VI was barely more than a puppet, and engaged in the Wars of the roses with Edward IV; Edward V and Richard III also died in the civil war.

Why? Well, here's three important things. First, population was increasing. This made it harder and harder to maintain centralised rule with the old state apparatus. This, for instance, is a major reason why Henry II decided to create decentralised semi-independent touring courts - because it simply wasn't practical for everyone to seek the king's justice directly, or for the king to directly oversee the judicial function of his nobles. In the short term, this weakened the nobles by appealing to popular support - in the long run, it weakened the king by create the idea of the independent Rule of Law, to which all men were subject.

Second, because population was increasing, there was overpopulation, and the value of labour fell. This meant that the lower classes were increasingly under the power of their lords - which made their lords more powerful, relative to the king. For instance, take suffrage. Universal suffrage was only ended in 1430, toward the end of this era - why? Well, their official reason was that the polls were becoming 'overcrowded' - which suggests that until then, most people who could vote simply hadn't bothered. The nobles wanted universal suffrage, because it strengthened their case ideologically (they were the representatives of the people), and because they knew that all their serfs would vote as they were told, or else not vote at all. But after the Black Death, the common people became a lot more powerful - there were fewer of them, so they could demand higher wages (ie more freedom). So the nobles no longer wanted them to have the power to vote! But in the long run, the increasing power of the populace meant the decreasing power of the nobles, and hence the increasing power of the king.

And third, because for various reasons the kings of that era wanted costly foreign wars all the time - first the crusades, and then the hundred year's war. This required vast amounts of cash, which made the king greatly indebted to those with money....

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 Post subject: Re: Government of Uscan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:08 pm 
Avisaru
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