Bulletproof Blues: Governments

illuminati pyramid

We posted an excerpt on corporations yesterday. We hope you enjoyed it. Today we flip the coin a bit, and look at governments in the Kalos Universe…

Governments

George Washington is reputed to have said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force.” While the authenticity of the quotation is in doubt, the accuracy of that assertion is not.

In the Kalos Universe, governments are the tangible expression of the natural tendency of some individuals to seek to dominate others through the use of force. Those who are part of the government are the “insiders”, while those subject to the government’s rule are the “outsiders”. Insiders have a pecking order where some wield more power than others, and the means by which insiders rise and fall in the hierarchy depends on the specific form of government.

The goals of those in government depend on their rank in the hierarchy, and vice versa. At the lowest levels, such as a city council or a school board, most insiders will seek to use their power and status to force others to adhere to a certain moral code or to gain some benefit for a preferred social group. Some may even seek to promote what they perceive to be the “common good”. At intermediate levels, such as in state governments, smaller national agencies, or even upper levels of national governments in smaller countries, the insider’s desire for money, power, and status is as important as their concern for public morality or social justice. At the highest levels of government, such as the legislatures and major agencies of world powers, the goals of those in government are money, power, and status, to the exclusion of all other considerations.

Outsiders, those not in government, often think that governments exist to provide services. Governments may in fact provide services for outsiders, but this is incidental. A government without a postal system, a highway department, or a department that administers medical subsidies would still be a government. A government without an army, on the other hand, would cease to be a government. As Mao Zedong said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

Bulletproof Blues: Corporations

An excerpt from ”Bulletproof Blues”…

Corporations

A corporation is a legal entity created to shield the people controlling it from liability. The ultimate goal of a corporation is to make as large a profit as possible. Other considerations, such as the quality of the product or service the corporation provides, the health and welfare of its employees and customers, the integrity of the environment, the survival of future generations, and adherence to the law are discarded when it is cost effective to do so. For example, if the fine associated with violating a government regulation is lower than the cost of complying with the regulation, the corporation will violate the regulation and pay the fine (or challenge the fine in court, if that seems more cost-effective). Similarly, if a product may result in the deaths of a percentage of those who use it, and the cost of defending against or settling any ensuing lawsuits is predicted to be lower than the cost of altering the product’s design, the corporation will produce and sell the product as-is rather than sacrifice profits to prevent the deaths.

Corporations accrue political power by funding politicians who support the corporation’s interests. Typically, political influence is used to increase incomes, eliminate competition, or externalize costs by either enacting or eliminating laws and regulations. For example, the multinational corporation Lastimar used its political influence in the USA to ensure the addition of riders to a multi-billion dollar agricultural appropriations bill. These riders required the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement could be completed.

Many corporations present a carefully crafted persona to the public designed to increase sales and engender trust. For example, the corporation may contribute to highly publicized environmental causes (while causing massive damage to the biosphere elsewhere), it may donate funds to children’s charities (while paying Indonesian children three cents an hour to work in its factories), or it may run commercials featuring a friendly mascot with an innocent smile and gentle, self-deprecating humor. Corporations employ teams of marketing analysts and psychologists to ensure that the consumer perception of the corporation is that of a trusted friend who provides essential goods and services. As the current Nexus-McKesson slogan states, “Nexus makes life better!”

Bulletproof Blues: Extraterrestrials

An excerpt from ”Bulletproof Blues”…

Earth has been visited by aliens many times in its history, although few people are aware of this. Most of these visits were well before 3000 BCE, which is when humans began recording history. Some may have even been before the evolution of Homo sapiens approximately 200,000 years ago.

However, since the beginning of recorded history extraterrestrials have only openly visited Earth twice: Draconian, who came to our world in 1951 after escaping the destruction of his home planet (inspiring the film The Day The Earth Stood Still), and the Isopterans, who invaded Earth in 2009 (inspiring numerous “alien invasion” films in the following years). Some experts believe that a third group of aliens, the Shran, has visited the Earth, but there is little evidence for this, and the claim is disputed.

Even though the Isopterans landed on five different continents, and the conflict was reported by every news medium, a significant number of people do not believe that extraterrestrials exist (roughly 30% of the polled populace of the Unites States, for example).

How to play a roleplaying game

Wrapped up editing the Basics chapter of Bulletproof Blues today, which covers such topics as why RPGs have rules and how to avoid being a problem player. The author of this section is Greg Stolze, whose pedigree as a RPG author is unassailable. As it happens, his viewpoint on these topics mirror our own, so we saved a great deal of time by using an essay he’d already written on this subject. Well done, Greg.