[LMB] District admin, was Worst thing for Ivan

Lois McMaster Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Sat Nov 6 18:01:54 GMT 2010

[LMB] Worst thing for Ivan
Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com
Sat Nov 6 17:26:32 GMT 2010

--- On Sat, 11/6/10, David Bernat <dbernat at gol.com> wrote:

 > The business manager takes care of the day-to-day details,
 > doesn't he?

I'm sure he does. I don't think Aral has ever swept the floors of kept 
up household accounts.

An overzealous Count who loves bookkeeping might keep his own accounts.  
Otherwise the Count only has to personally do the duties he wants to do.


*** Note that Tsipis, whom we have seen, is only the man-of-business for 
the family's *personal* properties and financial affairs.   The District 
has a proper bureaucracy, headquartered in Hassadar (and with branches 
elsewhere as needed), with all the appurtenances one would expect to 
find in a State, Provincial, or Prefecture government.  Public health, 
public safety, roads and bridges, technical and traditional 
infrastructure, agriculture and terraforming, business courts, domestic 
courts... the list goes on.  These run along pretty much without the 
day-to-day supervision of the Count, which is the whole purpose of a 
well-oiled bureaucracy, but the Count does set the *tone* of affairs.  
Much as the CEO sets the tone in a large corporation, and influences 
corporate culture -- what stories people tell each other about the 
enterprise, what behaviors get valued, etc.

While we're on the subject, there is a lot of bottom-up control of 
affairs on the very local levels -- township, village, city -- that we 
might recognize as quasi-democratic.  It is not uniform, either within a 
District or between Districts, but one may be certain that no Count is 
overseeing every detail.  It's only the *problems* that get passed up, 
and there are a number of layers of filtering to make sure most of the 
minor ones get passed right back down again, to be solved more locally.

Also while we're on the subject, both South Continent and Sergyar are 
"crown lands", belonging to the Emperor (or the Imperium), not to the 
Counts Vorbarra.  When Barrayarans are being technical and precise in 
their language, "the Empire" refers to the physical geography of the 
three planets, but "the Imperium" refers to the *people* living there, 
in their web of neo-feudal relationships.  Rather the way the medieval 
church used to be conceptualized as "the Body of Christ", every person 
in the Imperium is seen as being part of the Imperium.  If all three 
planets blew up, Ghu forbid, the collected survivors would still be "the 

Ta, L.

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