Thursday, October 9, 2014

CH2: Homecoming, Part 3

Conditions for the Martian Revolution – Economic

The prolonged peace and expanding trade brought by the Vigili dynasty led to a corresponding expansion of the Elysium economy. Elysian luxury goods – personal electronics, glasswork, jewelry, personal animals, foodstuffs – found markets across Mars. Even in the Amazonis Bloc, having an Elysian raptor on your shoulder, or serving Elysian luxohol at a dinner, became a marker of prestige and wealth.

The new trade revenues created a new and prosperous class of merchants and middlemen outside the Guild and Noble hierarchies. There had always been a small lower-middle class in the Martian city-states outside the Guilds and nobility: noblemens' servants, merchant-traders, shop-clerks, minor bureaucrats, etc., but before 4,900 AD they had been strictly marginal. These mercantile and intellectual classes benefitted disproportionately from the peace and prosperity of Elysium in the 4,900's, and by 5,000 AD were becoming a small but no longer negligible force in city politics.

However, even as the expansion in trade was bringing new riches to the Elysian middle and upper classes, the condition of the lower classes remained dire. There had been no major plagues or city-destroying wars on Mars since the 4700's, and, as a result, the population was expanding beyond what the existing structure could easily support – not just in Elysium, but Mars-wide.

The masses had always lived on little more then subsistence rations, but the Guilds and the nobility were also producing more sons and daughters then they could find positions for. These surplus people could have been put to good use by expanding the Guild structures, but the number of Guild positions was traditionally limited to prevent over-competition among Guild members. Some found success in the new mercantile classes, but only a few had the skills, attitude, or luck to succeed in that new domain. Some ventured out into the southern wilderness to found new cities, but there were limits to how many surplus people this process could absorb, since the city governments were reluctant to divert resources to such projects. As a result, even as Elysium grew richer then it had been since the end of the Second Golden Age, it had more and more people living in destitution, ripe for conversion to Zealotry or, later, the Republican cause.

Population of Mars in Millions, 4000 to 5000 AD

Martian Steel Production in Megatons, 4000 to 5000 AD

Martian Electrical Power Output in GWe, 4000 to 5000 AD

Comparison of Major Martian Powers, 5000 AD

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