NEW πŸ“—Story: Island Hopper ❌

Why is the Commons Only Found in Vekllei?

Part of the bulletin series of articles

Summary

  • The commons is a pretty remarkable thing. It has improved life satisfaction, productivity, and quality of life for people in Vekllei.
  • The obvious question follows – if the commons is so great, why is it only found in Vekllei? If other countries are richer and more powerful, why have they not seized on these new developments?
  • The answer is complicated, and just as the commons does not rely on the benevolent altruism of the Vekllei person, its exclusivity does not rely on a superior work ethic intrinsic to them either.
  • Fundamentally, Vekllei’s system is just too unusual, too culturally and geographically specific, too risky, and too imperfect to see much interest in adoption overseas.

The obvious question is, if the Vekllei commons is so great, why is it only found in Vekllei? The commons, as a reminder, is a moniker for Vekllei’s domestic, consumer economy that does not use money in ordinary life. For most Vekllei people, this is the only economy they actually engage with in a domestic context. It is seperate from the industrial economy, through which international trade and most large enterprise is facilitated.

Since its gradual, staged introduction throughout the 2010s and 2020s, the commons has been a radical achievement of postwar Vekllei society. Against all expectations, it has produced good outcomes for Vekllei people and continues to do so. They rank highly in productivity, happiness, education and overall life satisfaction, and it is has dramatically redetermined the function and mechanics of the economy.

Vekllei’s world in 2063 has plenty of radical, or at least ostensibly revolutionary, states. So why has the success of the Vekllei system, which has resemblance to many different kinds of progressive economic ideologies, not yet found traction in other countries?

While there are a few key factors that have resulted in Vekllei being the only example of such a system in a world, it’s important to acknowledge that Vekllei has had and continues to have influence on the political and economic thinking around the world. Although moneylessness has not been implemented in other countries, geographic neighbours like Cuba have worked closely with Vekllei to establish the Oceans Political Institute as part of an expression of interest in their system. As another example, Iberia’s internal self-governing collectivities closely resemble aspects of the Vekllei commons.

Nonetheless, there are good answers for why Vekllei remains unique among economic systems:

  1. There is little evidence that the commons would work at scale. Despite its geographic size, Vekllei has only 24 million people. It has major urban centres in Oslola and some islands in the Kalina island chain, and those cities have been dramatically adapted to suit their system. There is no reason to assume that what works on their islands might also work in a much larger, more populous, continental country.
  2. They have a very federal society with a strong, civic culture developed in a unique set of circumstances. These are not things you can simply develop in a five-year plan, or attempt to forge through control of media. Their social behaviours are also their economic ones, and so are much more vulnerable to changes in public sentiment or attitude.
  3. Vekllei is politically independent. Despite some similarities, Vekllei does not in rhetoric or appearance resemble a communist or anarchist society. There is no mention of Marx, class, or proletariat, and the foundations of Vekllei political economics were influenced by feminist anarchists, Georgists, libertarians and nationalists. Although the country does not resemble any single ideology, these left-of-field influences isolate (and insulate) it from straightforward characterisation in the cold war binary, and by extension has much less academic interest overseas.
  4. While Vekllei considers itself a western, democratic country, it does not resemble traditional capitalist liberalism, and elements of its economy, like dirigisme, are already common around the world. Consequently, Vekllei does not offer much insight into reform of these existing systems, and its greater achievements require much more revolutionary, foundational and unappealing changes to a country.
  5. Fundamentally, competing systems continue to ‘work.’ The Soviet Union and China remain superpowers, and despite the troubles of the US, the Western powers remain economically and militarily powerful. From a certain perspective, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with these systems insofar as they maintain their superpower status and continuous growth.
  6. The commons has straightforward concessions, and directs their quality of life. Despite its social achievements, Vekllei people are materially poorer than most other developed countries, if measured by the metrics of a consumer society.
  7. It is obvious to other countries that Vekllei is culturally obscure, and its social economy is built on core social factors that aren’t easy to reproduce in economic planning. There is no straightforward solution or, for the reasons listed above, a serious desire to introduce aspects of its economy elsewhere. It has no special industrial or technological advantage. It is quite possible its introduction would destroy a country, since its only successful example developed in the aftermath of total devastation in the Atomic War.

While these reasons contribute to the obscurity of the commons, it is also true that it has been successfully implemented in many different societies – it’s just that those societies now make up part of Vekllei, and their integration (known as ‘federalisation’) was directed by Vekllei. This exact process will be described in another bulletin, but its success contains insights for other emerging case studies, including potentially Cuba and Haiti. These are similarly radical societies with a restless island population, and so are primed for the kind of changes required to undertake such a dramatic reimagining of their economic system.