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Old 01-17-2013, 03:07 AM   #42
Luke Bunyip
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Location: The Kingdom of Insignificance
Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I suspect that dwarven law might be fairly uniform across different communities, subject to slow mutation through local judges making different rulings. Dwarves are pretty conservative, and might well not go in for much in the way of legislation.
Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
This is especially likely to be true if Dwarvish lifespans are as long as Tolkien-influenced fantasy tends to make them. If your influential people can live to the age of 200 or so, it's a lot harder for new blood to move things along a different course (or for old traditions to be forgotten).
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
I'd actually tend the opposite direction: dwarves have reams of law, most of it related to property rights. The archetypical dwarf is (a) very concerned with property, (b) unlikely to yield property to prevent conflict, and (c) stubborn. That's the sort of thing that leads to either interminable feuds or interminable lawsuits, and the latter leads to reams of very detailed law.
I've always envisaged dwarves as being politically decentralised, yet having a standard codex of laws. The nearest I can get is the way that the Commonwealth of Australia is a construct of it's constituent states, which predate it.

Potentially, the same or similar could be the case for dwarves. Dwarves, regardless of their political affiliation or loyalties to a particular king, could all abide to an over arching codex of laws, with cases being overseen by a nominated member of a centralised body of judges. These could be politically independent to all other dwarven polities, not dissimilar to the wizards in Le Guin's Earthsea, the Black Watch in GoTs, or (IIRC) weapon makers in historical Bedouin society. The legality of a suit "she and her family dug under my storeroom" could be determined by an impartial judge, who could then suggest a range of suitable punishments, but sentencing could be the responsibility of the relevant local polity, cartel, king etc.

That's my random thoughts on the matter. Not well thought through, but something I have admittedly been ruminating on a wee bit.

Mining rights and depth are a tricky issue. Here in Australia, land ownership titles exist only, with one exception* for the surface. subsurface exploration and extraction leases are issued by the state. Given Australia's economic reliance upon mining, you can guess who gets to push, and who gets shoved.

However, this can get messy when it comes to digging out multi level dwarven settlements. For non mining purposes, you may not have the right to dictate who digs above or below you, but merely for a particular depth (dependent upon rock type, and established localised geological stability). For mining purposes, I have no idea...

*The one exception I mentioned above: Cobb and Co Coaches used to have a series of coachhouses scattered across the Goldfields, and rather quickly miners would 'accidentally' tunnel under them, which was rather lucrative, given that their safes would be full of gold. Therefore, the only private dwellings in my state of Victoria which have clear properity rights " the centre of the Earth" are converted Cobb and Co coachhouses.
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Last edited by Luke Bunyip; 01-17-2013 at 04:15 AM.
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