East Arcadia Company

The EAC is a for-profit, joint-stock company and the government of New Cheliax.

Charter

The EAC is granted by the Chelish state (1) a monopoly on the carriage of goods from Arcadia to Avistan (though the state has also offered ad hoc exceptions to this) and (2) the power to make and enforce law in New Cheliax (whose borders are roughly defined as as far as the Company can enforce its will.)

Strategy

The East Arcadia Company’s main strategy is to incorporate existing elites by buying out their quasi-feudal rights (to governance and various in-kind dues) in exchange for Company stock, giving them a stake in the new system; if they refuse, they may simply be conquered. In practice this almost always involves a bit of violence, because the traditional rights and obligations that exist are very complex and entangled, and the idea of selling them at all generally often exist under the old system. So the EAC may find an Ulfar-Tlecaxana noble who’s willing to give up her feudal privileges and convert her entailed demesne into private property in exchange for shares in the Company, but her priests, retainers, and heirs may have good reason to object, and you’ve got a miniature civil war on your hands. The EAC is also willing to make similar offers to the peasant majority – converting various forms of complex bonded labor into free landless laborers if they welcome their new overlords, and into chattel slaves if resistant. However, there are limits to this, since many peasant communities prefer being helots to proletarians, and their first-order preference, being small property holders, is not preferred by the Company – in the view of Cheliax’s economists, small property ownership encourages idleness and sloth, since if given the choice lazy freeholders will just work as much as necessary to feed themselves and no more. (Just look at New Andoran, which grows outward, but not upward, for just that reason.) The Company will ocassionally set up roof or head taxes to force such peasants to participate in the cash economy in some way. (However, most free peasant communities are already located in the mountains or other areas where it is difficult for troops to reach.)

Unlike the Ulfar and Tlecaxana elites, the Chelish don’t care about the prestige of taking control over land or people for its own sake, only to the extent that it actually earns them wealth or protection for the same. For that reason, its extent of actual control is extremely uneven, prioritizing lines of communication and transport, strategic checkpoints, and areas with mineral deposits or especially suited to particular cash crops. Most other areas are barely (directly) affected, except to the extent that social conflict is opened up because certain groups see it in their interest to convert to the new system.

Once incorporated into the Company, these old-now-new elites are expected to resolve their differences peacefully. In practice of course they may assassinate each other (which is de rigeur among the new capitalist elites anyway,) but raising private armies beyond that necessary to police labor on their own estates is extremely frowned upon and may get you hanged. (The EAC would like to have an inland military strong enough for landholders to be able to rely on it to protect their persons and property entirely, without relying on private security forces at all, but currently has to settle for a force that can defeat any serious military challenge, but can’t realistically police everywhere.) Although majority company ownership is in the hands of mainland Cheliax, most of the posts within it are staffed by creoles (except at the very top) and local shareholders are frequently consulted about policy. While under the old system noble blood was extremely important formally and informally, now it is “only” important for access to many important social networks, and in no way a prerequisite to Company ownership or posts.

A significant number of posts/offices within the company are venal and can be bought, sold, and inherited. (The Colonial Postmaster General, for instance, is an infant who has never set foot in Arcadia, although to be fair his aunt is a very hard-working bureaucrat in Anchor’s End.) However, now that it is a little less strapped for cash, the Company’s Directors are trying to cut down on this, and its right to revoke venal officeholding for negligence of duties (once mostly a formality) is being exercised more often.

East Arcadia Company

Arcadian Knights Oligopsony