Originally posted on FF : here
Governmental systems in an age of immortals is a key question to ponder, in a world of almost constant conflict and war. The pure, unmodified systems of old, with Democracy, Tribalism, Empire, and Statism, seem to have no proper place in this context. A leader of a capsuleer organization must be both enlightened technocrat, and keen-minded military leader; both magnetically charismatic, and cooly practical. The matter of leading fleets of ships in space is intensely intellectual, but is also tied to deep human forces of friendship, camaraderie, and greed. Leadership in the Capsuleer Age is the most challenging task any capsuleer may undertake.
Many organizations these days simply rule their constituent members through a crude autocracy. The person at the top gives orders, and all beneath him or her must obey. This leads to a predictable situation where coups, intrigues, and sedition rise up and overthrow these single-leader organizations from time to time. Others conduct their business more loosely, with a kind of anarcho-tribalist style of leadership where everyone can do what they want, but they are bound together by a sense of ‘tribe’, such as large new-pilot organizations or loose confederations of corporations.
So many pilots have become so hurt by poor leadership, poor governance, and poor quality of day to day opportunities, that they are resigned to accept whatever is forced upon them. They adapt to the organization they are in, in an effort to maintain whatever limited income or pleasure that organization allows them. Many more capsuleers have retired into obscurity as there appears to be no good options left. It is easier to reside on the planets of New Eden, blissfully ignorant of the struggles in space, than to plug in and get back out there to change the status quo.
To put it shortly, if capsuleer leaders are unable to find willing pilots to do their work for them, they only have themselves to blame.
So, how then are we to bring back these embittered and wary capsuleers, and renew our efforts to establish a new Capsuleer Age? The answer is to establish a new sort of government. Leaders must be held accountable for their actions, and act in the best interests of their constituent members of their community, and moreover, those members must have the ability to have a real and meaningful voice in their immediate group of pilots and comrades.
Democracy cannot truly achieve this. Through the coarse sieve of democratic balloting, dictators or incompetents can arise, or poor decisions made, and this will lead a group to disaster. The next vote, or impeachment, may be too far away to practically change anything. This was seen in the old alliance I used to be a member of, Brutally Clever Empire, where a democratic assembly was allowed to set policy for the overall Alliance. In a singular act of hubris, they turned down a reasonable partition of moon resources with a new fledgling alliance at the time, named Pandemic Legion, and war broke out in Fountain Region once PL decided to show us their disgust through weapons fire. This led to our expulsion from Fountain and the destruction of the alliance.
A purely military organization also cannot achieve this. Autocracy with no checks will simply harm the participating members, whose only recourse will be to quit and go to another group. If there are no alternative groups, they will simply retire from piloting entirely, which benefits no one.
I do not pretend to have the answer to this problem of government, and I am still seeking solutions to this issue. However, our current dilemma of pilot drop-out and retirement seems to be directly related to the following statement: If you do not respect the pilot, they will not have any reason to participate, and will come and go as they please. If you enable your pilots to truly rise up and meaningfully contribute, they will not only stay loyal, but they will be more productive and your group overall will be more effective.
Stop treating your fellow capsuleers like pawns. Provide opportunities for the best among them to grow, and have a voice in the operations, and all will gain from it.