Dan Melson: February 2014 Archives

Trying to write sf about exploring a few nearby stars. Apparently, the mechanics of Tau Ceti are reasonably nailed down, with five planets deduced from data of the star.

It had to be a lot easier fictionalizing planets of nearby stars before the bleeping astronomers could actually find them!

What I'm writing now

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What seems to be wanting to come out now - or not wanting to come out least - is a story about Grace's nephew Tony on the first Earth expedition to nearby stars, using borrowed Imperial technology.

I also have several other ideas I'm making notes about, at least two of which are completely outside of the Imperial 'universe'

Someone asked about building a minimalist government.

For a minimalist government to be stable as such, there must be a reason why it does not follow the historical norm of all governments, to arrogate progressively more power to itself, to the detriment of everyone.

But it is in the interest of any given member of government to have more power. Given the position and the government and the ability to do so, a certain percentage will grab more power than they can.

The only way to stop this is some interest group that knows it is not in their best interest to allow that.

The first step is that the superiors have a motivation not to do it and not to allow it.

The components of this are two: M'Don's Equations giving a general motivation not to allow it. M'Don's Equations (and M'Dorna's Hypothesis that led to them) are extensions of the general principles of liberty - that the larger the government and the more it takes away, the smaller GDP will be. (This falls quite nicely out of the fact of the Laffer Curve, well known since the late 1970s. Recent research indicates an approximate 3.1 points of GDP lost per point of taxes (see Roemer and Roemer 2010, it was on p 799 of the PDF I downloaded)), Taxation also has a negative effect upon future growth, which has not yet been quantitatively determined as far as I am aware, but since maintenance is the first requirement of all viable economic systems and expansion is only fueled by excess, it becomes easy to show that the effect upon economic growth of greater taxation is even more heavily negative.

The second was the traditional rivalry between the children of Merphon and their descendants. When one family doesn't want other families to have governmental power, and none of them wants the Emperor or family to have power, things have a tendency to stay small. None of the most powerful families are strong enough to balance all of the others.

The second step is that outsiders have an ability to limit it - in other words, citizens' ability to take action against some element. Well, no matter how totalitarian the government, this has never been taken away. In fact, even the most successful totalitarian government has never been able to generate more than an illusion of being impotent against the government. The Imperial government, being composed of very smart people, realizes this and also realizes it forms a very effective brake upon rogue factions within the government. The Sixth and Seventh Order Guardians at the center of the government are strong enough, practiced enough, that it takes a very unusual actor to constitute a threat to them - but not so much to the lower order Guardians that compose most of the government.


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