The government of the Etamui is in many ways a direct democracy with compulsory voting. Every citizen is expected to do their civic duty and participate in the process. Referendums can be put forth by any citizen that will come forward to a global vote, and every citizen is expected to weigh in on it.
Administering a large series of space stations, however, is not an easy task. There are two mechanisms in place to help alleviate the load.
The first is the use of Sortition. Any eligible citizen can be selected to represent their district, and they will be called and expected to participate in this duty (much like Jury Duty in the United States). The Sortition is used to appoint members of a Council and into specific roles (such as magistrates), who are in turn are responsible for a lot of the day-to-day administration of the Etamui. At any point their district can hold a Vote of Recall (which is limited to the district performing the recall) and have an individual replaced, though they are eligible to be selected again.
Most of the day-to-day administrative tasks are handled in this way.
The second is through the matter of delegation. A citizen may grant their vote for most referendums to a member of the Council who they believe represents them (who may or may not be from that individual’s district). Then—except for the most important of referendums and any vote of recall—the Council member is assumed to represent that individual’s interests until or unless the individual chooses otherwise.
The Council handles most day-to-day administrative tasks, handles initiatives that do not require a full vote from the populace, puts together legislation that can either be handled by just the council or by the populace as a whole, and appoints people for government positions that are not selected via the Sortition.
This causes particular stress between the Gawa Forge Cluster and Celestial Station, because most of the administrative functions are centralized to Celestial. If you live on Celestial then it is just a short walk and the neuralnet connections are all very fast, but if you live in Gawa Forge Cluster it can be a significant commitment that takes a great deal of time and frustration if you end up being assigned somewhere in Celestial or being selected to join the Council (which you can join remotely and suffer the time penalty in communication, but it is most effective to show up in person to effectively represent your district).
Every citizen is absolutely equal, of course. Just some (e.g., the SciDevs) are more equal than others (e.g., the Gawans).
Fundamental to understanding the Etamui is understanding their view of rights. Every citizen of society is guaranteed several fundamental things:
- Food (covering basic nutrition only, think original soylent in our world) and water.
- Housing (basically in a capsule hotel)
- Medical care.
- Basic implants depending on what you are genetically engineered for, usually implanted in childhood.
- Clothing (basic, plain, but functional ).
- A job with an Enterprise if the government can find one suited to your implants, genetics, and abilities.
Glitches, lacking the basic implant, are not citizens of society and thus are not eligible until they accept the implant. There are some relief organizations to provide supplies to Glitches, but these provide haphazard assistance at best.
Anything beyond that is supported by the work that you do which gives you Celestial Credits (cc), though gift giving is a very common substitute.
Work and Currency
Every citizen is expected to work either directly for the government (assuming they have been picked in the Sortition) or for an Enterprise of some variety.
Any citizen is eligible to take the Assessment at any time, which informs what the individual is best suited for. Most enterprises (but not all) will only employ you if you have the appropriate Assessment.
There are, of course, ways of influencing the results of the Assessment and there are certainly augments that can help one be Assessed in a particular way, but these things are not openly discussed and are frequently expensive.
The major currency used is the Celestial Credit (cc). For the economy nerds reading this (because it’s not necessary to understand in order to play Temet Nosce), it’s a proof-of-stake cryptocurrency. This currency mints blocks relatively quickly, but does still require consensus for verifying transactions, making it difficult to use in the Gawa Forge Cluster since most of the major stakeholders are in Celestial Station.
The Celestial Credit is used to purchase most luxuries: everything from better food and tea to better lodging and clothing. According to Celestial Station, this is the only acceptable currency, and certainly it is the most widely accepted.
In the Gawa Forge Cluster, because the Celestial Credit takes longer to process and is under the control of Celestial Station, it is not uncommon for Enterprises to pay their workers using their own enterprise-specific cryptocurrencies when can then be used to purchase things from that enterprise (including, often but not always, Celestial Credits) or, sometimes (from Enterprises that have entered into an agreement), from other enterprises in the Gawa Forge Cluster.
Rather than have companies the Etamui have a concept of Enterprises. All enterprises are considered to be (de jure) socially owned by society in general and the employees in specific, though in practice truly socialized ownership is rare. Enterprises are allowed to select their own employees, but any employee who has passed the appropriate Assessment may also be assigned to any Enterprise (with mixed results). The Council (or the People) may also at any point require certain behaviors of Enterprises, and Enterprises will naturally assist.
Usually one “climbs the ranks” (such as those ranks exist) inside of an enterprise through a combination of the correct assessments (showing proclivities toward, e.g., management) and seniority.
Forming an enterprise is relatively straightforward (if you are on Celestial Station, anyways). You register it with the Council, get a few regulatory approvals, provide a societal good justification, and you are good to go.
Glitches have, from the standpoint of the Etamui, “opted out” of the system. They are allowed to do so, of course, but they aren’t citizens and thus aren’t entitled to the same rights (or carry the same responsibilities) as citizens.
They can, of course, accept the neuralnet implant, take the Assessments, and become full citizens at any time.
They usually trade goods as their major form of economic participation.