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Old 01-11-2013, 05:39 PM   #1
Luke Bunyip
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: The Kingdom of Insignificance
Default Dwarven Governance & Economics?

Whilst we have been discussing what would be found in a dwarven settlement, I've been also musing about the economic and political structures which would appeal to dwarves. This post from Jason:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
Sleeping chambers? Tolkien never said where Dwarves lived. Do they each have a chamber? Do they buy and sell clusters of caves the way humans do with houses?
.... really highlighted it for me, in that property ownership is a fundamental aspect of any political framework.

My gut feeling is that dwarves will not have a strictly feudal political structure. By the same token, the top-down planned economy approach which has be a fundamental aspect of authoritarian socialist regimes doesn't seem to make sense either.

But, I do see dwarves as being hierarchical. Are they purely democratic? Mmmn, does really seem to fit for me. A plutocracy, where political influence is determined by the relative economic power of different guilds, appeals, but I have not really thought through how it would work.

The Nordic surname model, ie your surname is a derivative of your father's or mother's given name, implies that there is a importance on familial and extra-familial relationships.

However, I do not see dwarven society as having a large underclass, or a struggling working class. For me this implies a degree of publicly run enterprises, akin to the UK's NHS, Swedish public health and education, and my own experience, of public institutions here in Australia.

So, in summary:
  • I have no fixed ideas on what it should be in totality, just what it shouldn't be, and the elements it would contain;
  • Guilds would be important;
  • Clans would be important;
  • If you have nothing, you can always get free accommodation, free food, but with the requirement of providing unskilled labour for a minimum of 75% of your free time (leaves the other 25% for personal profit, education etc);
  • A similar arrangement could provide for the basic necessities for journeymen;
  • If you dig it at your own cost, you own it; and
  • It isn't quasi-socialist*. Capitalism** seems like a natural fit for dwarves.
*I am using this word to refer to Stalinism, Maoism, and their derivatives. For example, Australia is a wealthy capitalist country, with some very wealthy industrialists, including the richest woman in the world, Gina Rinehart, and provides public health, public education, public housing and public transport, without having a history similar to the afore mentioned, who could quite easily be characterised as tyrants.

**The contract in the Hobbit implies a legal structure which deals with commercial disputes
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dwarves, world building

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