[LMB] Barrayaran revenues

Tel teldreaming at gmail.com
Sat Apr 7 19:20:24 BST 2012

On Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 6:34 AM,  <beatrice_otter at haugensgalleri.com> wrote:
> Tel wrote:
>> The various mentions indicate Komarr supplies a good chunk of what the
>> Council of Counts (& Ministers, see Brothers in Arms) spend without
>> any particular say in the process. IMHO this set-up torpedoes any
>> Barrayaran pretense of legitimate rule there, but nobody asked me...
>> Komarr being honestly much better off as an independent state is a
>> source of unrest unsolvable so long as Barrayar refuses to pay its own
>> way.
>> -Tel
> No taxation without representation!  How very American a definition of
> legitimate rule.  Of course, being American I tend to agree with you on
> that one.

well, I was more going for the lack of (in formal terms) responsible
government. Or, at bare minimum, consensual government.

> Take the Roman
> Empire--I would not label their conquest of much of their territory as
> "legitimate," and yet most of their territories prospered, with a standard
> of living, safety, and security that rose consistently throughout the
> Roman rule up to the last century or so of the Roman Empire.

Benefits can arise from being conquered by a more developed country,
especially when you haven't figured out how to build roads yet.
Barrayar, however, is a less developed country that has difficulty
figuring out which end of a uterine replicator is up, while Komarr
looks quite modern in all aspects, so none of that really applies :)

> And the unequal tax burden is also a good point.  The problem is, I don't
> think Barrayar is capable of bearing an equal share, even leaving aside
> the tarriff revenues.  Komarr has a much more modern infrastructure (and
> infostructure) and a much higher standard of living than Barrayar.  That
> almost certainly manifests as higher wages and productivity.  Which means
> that even if you have the same percentage of taxation, in objective terms
> the Komarrans are going to be paying more.  And I doubt Barrayar can
> afford the same percentage of taxation.  Some districts probably could,
> but there are also several Districts (such as the Vorkosigan district)
> where you have quite a number of people apparently still engaging in
> subsistence agriculture.  I.e. they can feed themselves, and not much
> more.  And they are dependent on the weather.  In a good year, they can
> afford to pay taxes.  In a bad year, they may not be able to feed
> themselves, and having to sell some of their harvest to pay taxes might
> tip them over into starvation.

IMHO, rural electrification and so on could be achieved with an early
20th century tech level and a lot of work (i.e. with local resources
only -if they really wanted to-). Barrayaran governmental priorities
regarding rural development are just massively screwed up and giving
them more of other peoples' money is not going to help that.

The ultimate issue, again, is that Barrayaran rule is involuntary,
illegitimate, and making Komarr worse off, (even when the central
government spends money on Komarr it often does so in a way that
negatively impacts actual Komarrans - I can provide examples if people
want). If this was a consensual set-up, or the Komarrans could do
something about it, that would be one thing, but given they were
kidnapped at gunpoint and shot at when they tried to leave it's really
appalling. Unrest is a given.

> Isles.  So the British politicians who started raising taxes felt they
> were only being fair, and that the Americans (proud supporters of the
> British Crown and British customs) would grumble a little bit and then go
> along with a system that would have them pay for the benefits they had
> received.  We all know how *that* turned out.

Eh, the Americans thought they'd be better off not sending any money
to Britain and not getting any "benefits" back, and who's to say they
were wrong?


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