How Firm A Foundation – Snippet 23
For a moment, he expected Clyntahn to launch a fresh verbal assault. But then the other man made himself inhale deeply. He nodded once, curtly, and thrust himself back in his chair.
“That much I’ll give you,” he said grudgingly. “If it does turn out, though, that all this resulted from someone’s carelessness or stupidity, there will be consequences.”
He wasn’t looking at Maigwair as he spoke, but Duchairn saw the Captain General’s eyes flicker with an anger of their own. It was just like Clinton to conveniently misremember who’d originally come up with a plan that hadn’t worked out. The frightening thing, as far as Duchairn was concerned, was that he was almost certain the Grand Inquisitor honestly did remember things the way he described them. Not at first, perhaps, but given even a little time he could genuinely convince himself the truth was what he wanted the truth to be.
Which is how we all got into this mess in the first place, the Treasurer thought bitterly. Well, that and the fact that not one of the rest of us had the guts, the gumption, or the mother wit to recognize where all four of us were headed and drag the fool to a stop.
“Something we are going to have to think about, and quickly, though,” he continued out loud, “are the consequences of what’s happened. The purely military consequences are beyond my purview, I’m afraid. The fiscal consequences, however, fall squarely into my lap, and they’re going to be ugly.”
Trynair looked glum, Maigwair looked worried, and Clyntahn looked irritated, but none of them disagreed with him.
“We poured literally millions of marks into building those ships,” Duchairn continued unflinchingly. “Now that entire investment’s gone. Worse, I think we have to assume that at least a great many of the ships we’ve lost will be taken into Charisian service. Not only are we confronted with the need to replace our own losses, but we’ve just given the Charisians the equivalent of all that money in the hulls they’re not going to have to build and the guns they’re not going to have to cast after all. We still have the Desnairian and Dohlaran navies, but if the Charisians can find the crews to man all the galleons they have now, they’ll have a crushing advantage over Desnair or Dohlar in isolation. In fact, they’ll probably outnumber all our forces combined, even if we include our own unfinished construction and the ships Harchong hasn’t finished yet. Frankly, I’m not at all sure we can recover from that position anytime soon.”
“Then you’ll just have to find a way for us to do it anyway,” Clyntahn said flatly. “We can’t get at the bastards without a fleet, and I think it’s just become obvious we’re going to need an even bigger fleet than we thought we did.”
“It’s easy to say ‘find a way to do it anyway,’ Zhaspahr,” Duchairn replied. “Actually accomplishing it is a bit more difficult. I’m Mother Church’s treasurer. I know how deeply we’ve dipped into our reserves, and I know how our revenue stream’s suffered since we’ve lost all tithes from Charis, Emerald, Chisholm, and now Corisande and Tarot.” He carefully refrained from mentioning the subsequent importance of any places with names like Siddarmark or Silkiah. “I won’t go so far as to say our coffers are empty, but I will say I can see their bottoms entirely too clearly. We don’t have the funds to replace even what we’ve just lost, far less build ‘an even bigger fleet.'”
“If we can’t build a big enough fleet, Mother Church loses everything,” Clyntahn shot back. “Do you want to face God and explain that we were too busy pinching coins to find the marks to save His Church from heresy, blasphemy, and apostasy?”
“No, I don’t.” And I don’t want to face the Inquisition because that’s what you think I’m doing, either, Zhaspahr. “On the other hand, I can’t simply wave my hands and magically refill the treasury.”
“Surely you’ve been thinking about this contingency for some time, though, Rhobair?” Trynair put in a pacific tone. “I know you like to be beforehand in solving problems, and you must’ve seen this one coming for some time.”
“Of course I have. In fact, I’ve been mentioning it to all of you at regular intervals,” Duchairn observed a bit tartly. “And I do see a few things we can do — none of which, unfortunately, are going to be pleasant. One thing, I’m afraid, is that we may find ourselves borrowing money from secular lords and secular banks instead of the other way round.”
Trynair grimaced, and Maigwair looked acutely unhappy. Loans to secular princes and nobles were one of Mother Church’s most effective means of keeping them compliant. Clearly, neither of them looked forward to finding that shoe on the other foot. Clyntahn’s set, determined expression never wavered, however.
“You said that was one thing,” Trynair said. “What other options have you been considering?”
He clearly hoped for something less extreme, but Duchairn shook his head almost gently.
“Zahmsyn, that’s the least painful option open to us, and we’re probably going to have to do it anyway, no matter what other avenues we turn to.”
“Surely you’re not serious!” Trynair protested.
“Zahmsyn, I’m telling you we’ve spent millions on the fleet. Millions. Just to give you an idea what I’m talking about, each of those galleons cost us around us almost two hundred and seventy thousand marks. That’s for the ships we built here in the Temple Lands; the ones we built in Harchong cost Mother Church well over three hundred thousand apiece, once we got finished paying all the graft that got loaded into the price.”
He saw Clyntahn’s eyes flash at the reference to Harchongese corruption, but there was no point trying to ignore ugly realities, and he went on grimly.
“Dohlaran and Desnarian-built ships come in somewhere between the two extremes, and that price doesn’t include the guns. For one of our fifty-gun galleons, the artillery would add roughly another twenty-thousand marks, so we might as well call it three hundred thousand a ship by the time we add powder, shot, muskets, cutlasses, boarding pikes, provisions, and all the other ‘incidentals.’ Again, those are the numbers for the ships we built right here, not for Harchong or one of the other realms, and between our Navy and Harchong’s we’ve just lost somewhere around a hundred and thirty ships. That’s the next best thing to forty million marks just for the ships Zhamsyn, and don’t forget that we’ve actually paid for building or converting over four hundred ships, including the ones we’ve lost. That puts Mother Church’s total investment in them up to at least a hundred and forty million marks, and bad as that number is, it doesn’t even begin to count the full cost, because it doesn’t allow for building the shipyards and foundries to build and arm them in the first place. It doesn’t count workers’ wages, the costs of assembling work forces, paying the crews, buying extra canvas for sails, building ropeworks, buying replacement spars. And it also doesn’t count all the jihad’s other expenses, like subsidies to help build the secular realms’ armies, the interest we’ve forgiven on Rahnyld of Dohlar’s loans, or dozens of others my clerks could list for us.”
He paused to let those numbers sink in and saw shock on Trynair’s face. Maigwair looked even more unhappy but much less surprised than the Chancellor. Of course, he’d had to live with those figures from the very beginning, but Duchairn found himself wondering if Trynair had ever really looked at them at all. And even Maigwair’s awareness was probably more theoretical than real, No vicar had any real experience of what those kinds of numbers would have meant to someone in the real world, where a Siddarmarkian coal miner earned no more than a mark a day and even a skilled worker, like one of their own ship carpenters, earned no more than a mark and a half.
Clyntahn isn’t going to understand the realities of not having enough money. That’ll probably lead him into dumb decisions that widen the gulf between the Church hierarchy and the people even more. This could become an accellerating slide, with resentment against the Group of 4 growing faster and faster and Clyntahn getting more and more frustrated at his inability to simply chop off the head of the growing rebellion. It’ll be a hydra – everyone he murders inspires three more angry subjects to rebel in their hearts, and two others to do so actively.
All that money must have been pumped into the economy. It will be very inflationary. Some people will be making fortunes out of this. Others will just find prices going up while their own income does not.
Too bad for the Church that they aren’t likely to stop digging themselves even deeper anytime soon.
I find myself respecting Duchairn more and more as the series goes on. If any part of the CoGA is worth salvaging, it’ll likely be because of his increased determination to face the truth, no matter how painful it is.
Another thing is, if he’s willing to face the unpleasant reality of just how deep the hole they’re in is, then it suggests he might be able to face the far more unpleasant reality of the truth behind the CoGA, at least somewhere down the line.
And Duchairn doesn’t talk about the “cost” of training the seamen and their officers, who are also lost to the church. Loses which can’t be replaced by coin, but only by time and training. I’m thinking that most of the “trainers” were with the fleet, not at home training new seamen. And the church hasn’t learned anything (good or bad) about fighting Charis, because no one got back to report. They don’t even have a bad example to learn from. A BIG winner here is Adm. Thrisk, because he isn’t losing seamen as is Charis(they keep winning battles and losing elite crew), nor is he losing ships as is the church. AND he’s the only one to have won a battle against Charis, and the only one to have been able to learn any lessons from his battles. His stock, at least with the church, has to be high.
I will be interested in Duchairn’s other solutions.
@1,2,3 Peter, Mike, and Jeff: If one of Merlin’s SNARCs managed to pick up and transmit that conversation, it could do wonders for the morale of Cayleb, Sharleyan, and the rest of the inner circle!
And yes, Jeff, Duchairn may, indeed, be savable. Maybe even another Norman, ..er.. Nahrmahn.
We finally get Clyntan spelled as Clinton! Now if Weber hadn’t saddled us with the wacky spelling conventions for names (which he’s admitted was a mistake) these books would be a lot more readable. At least I wouldn’t have to check my spelling with the text every time I comment!
I wish they’d release an edition (electronic at least) with normal spelling for names. Note that the names of PLACES are normal. I guess the archangels knew how to spell… ;)
It’s worth pointing out the massive power shift of the church going from being a massive lender (and raking in all that lovely usury) to a major borrower. Remember the Golden rule: “He who has the gold makes the rules.”
I’d guess there aren’t that many countries who aren’t in debt to the COGA, and those that loan money to the church aren’t going to be nearly as compliant to future demands. Would Rahnyld of Dohlar have been so eager to send his navy to oblivion if he hadn’t been so indebted to the church and gotten his interest payments waived in return? Won’t he be just a wee bit tempted to threaten a default to get better rates now that the church is nearly broke?
I can imagine responses by “loaning countries” in the future: “You want to do WHAT? Sorry, we won’t loan you money to do that. And since you’re trying to borrow more money, we’re lowering your credit rating and jacking up your interest rate by 10%. Don’t worry, we’ll just take it out of tithes before we pay them. That doesn’t cover it? The church owns a lot of real estate around here. We’ll just take some of that as payment…”
The COGA has lost moral control, military control, and now monetary control. All they have left is the terror of the inquisition and using that will lead to outright rebellion, the end of the Group of Four, and at LEAST a cleansing of the corrupt church hierarchy – especially after the wholesale slaughter of the Circle and their relatives. (But we don’t want a cleansing, do we?) They’ve lost already, they just haven’t realized it yet.
The avalanche has started and the COGA is toast!
@5 – Bret Hooper
That conversation took place inside the Temple, unfortunately, so there aren’t any SNARCs recording it.
@6 — Nimitz13
This isn’t the first time that DW has “misspelled” Clyntahn’s name. For the sake of consistency, I hope his editors pick up on it and correct it.
I like those “wacky spelling conventions for names” better than random names. I’m not a native english speaker but I enjoy trying to find the true name behind the deformation.
On an other subject I think the church is far from defeated, Charis has been wining becouse they are on the defensive and they have a “wall made of wood” in theyr navy. Now, were the church to stay calm and end those headlong attacks by sea and prepare themselves in the land they could, even against Merlin’s “inventions”, get temselves in a better position.
At least until Merlin decides to tell the truth and advance Charis beyound the proscriptions, then all hell breaks lose.
Disclaimer: as I said not native english.
@2 Plus I suspect we can expect a “double tithe” this year on top of everything else.
It looks as though Clyntyn will be forced to use the Church loyalists as guerillas / terrorists to attack both the Charisian Empire and to bring The Republic into line, as there is no way he can do that using conventional military. He may try to land “special forces” to accomplish that as well – time for Charis to increase security at all it’s critical sites, such as Delferact. Blowing up the base of one of the accumulators will cause untold damage. If Clytyhn gets access to true high explosive, instead of gunpowder, then he won’t need multiple wagonloads of gunpowder to do it.
It also bodes ill for Irys and co, as the Prince is now worth more to the Church dead at the hands of Charisian assassins than alive. I would guess that she will recognize who really killed her father and brother, and hey will have to escape to Charis.
Further, Thursk will probably be blamed for failing to see the new Charisian weapon by his political foes (unfair or not). If he refuses to lead a frontal attack on the ICN, because it will throw away the lives of his sailors for nothing, then a far less competent commander may replace him.
One more thought – could Clyntyhn have learned of shells from interrogation of Charisian prisoners? That might also start exposing Merlin’s activities.
I’d be willing to bet Clyntyn is going to want to put Duchairns’ charity work on the chopping block. Oh, and can anyone spell “slave labor” equals “tithe”? Things are about to get very nasty in the Temple Lands…
Do they use the gold standard or is it fiat/paper currency. Would it be crass to suggest quantitative easing? The smoke rising from the temple is the printing presses working overtime!
What? Inflation? We can deal with that after the heretics are defeated. Meanwhile, everyone who’s on a fixed income finds that money doesn’t buy what it used to.
@6 while MWW has admitted the name spelling was a mistake it’s typical of him, he wanted a graphic way of demonstrating how the pronounced language would shift w/o recordings while the written didn’t
@8 Robert Woodman: Mea culpa: Thanks for the correction. But surely Merlin could have some DDSNARCs (Digital Delay) made that would digitally record meetings in the temple, fly out & away, and then beam the recording to OWL.
Maggie, if work plus time equals revenue , then certainly labor can be tithed. If the labor of individuals, nay the individuals themselves in Harchong, is recognized as a transferable asset, then tithes can be paid in slaves or portions of their labor.
For the other unpleasant alternatives;
-Reducing the pay for all Church and Temple Land workers
-Stopping the charitable spending
-Double tithes or special jihad tithes come to mind
-Confiscating property from criminals (from treason to corruption)
-Borrowing and then renigging or flat out taking
All this adds up to massive uncertainty and the likely slowing down of the velocity of money in the private sector until it crawls. Where will the wealthly smuggle their wealth before it gets confiscated? A guess..anyone…anyone?
PeterZ, I can see Clyntahn telling Duchairn that all of the poor unfortunates who needed charity are going to be gainfully employed as unpaid workers for The Cause. As a result, no need for charity. This would help push D over the edge.
I can see Siddarmark becoming a new Switzerland…
@14 You’re right, I should have mentioned that the written language didn’t change because the basis for it was the Writ and the Testimonies, while the spelling of words not appearing in “scripture,” shifted over time. MWW picked names to demonstrate that.
@9 It IS fun to pick out the real names – Paitryck Hainree for example, although that one made me groan. Once you figure them out though, they’re just a pain! I often find myself associating the name to the person it identifies without sounding it out, so the books “lose” a lot in translation.
@13 They use a gold/silver standard – hence the Charisian privateers capturing church galleons loaded with gold and silver bullion in book 2 and Dohlarian gold mines working overtime now.
“Letters of Credit” were used in place of future or unreachable income flows, specifically when the local Archbishop agreed that the church would back Hecktor in rebuilding his fleet and defenses in Corisande in book 2. It was assumed this paper credit would be repaid in gold later, and both Hektor and the church figured they’d end up unpaid if he was conquered and that they’d likely trade at a discount to gold until paid in full.
Inflation would indeed explode if the church suddenly issues paper “gold certificates” or some such nonsense – LOVE the image of smoke rising from the temple printing presses! And since Charisian traders won’t accept church paper…
It is fairly clear they use metallic currency and do not know that so soon as economic growth starts they will have the automatic consequence, periodic severe depressions as we had in the 19th century.
The church’s tax rate is fixed by God, a feature of the church that some Americans would find attractive.
The “Holy Truce of God” to negotiate Charis’s surrender — well, you can always be hopeful–might be an option for mainland recovery.
I’m surprised that Harchongese galleys cost so little more than other ones. They must be total amateurs at graft and curruption.
@16 – Peter Z, you dangle that lovely fishook so well that of course I’ll bit the bait!! Charis could gain indirectly from wealthy mainlanders sureptitiously moving wealth to places like Chisholm and Tarot and Zebediah and Corisande. Further, there will be people who wouldn’t have considered emigrating to Charis before but who now will consider it, since Charis has just grown wealthier and more secure at a single stroke. These will be people with economic understanding, who grasp how deep the Church’s trouble really is and also understand what the Go4 is likely to do to get out of it. And then there’s the intellectual angle – thousands of mechanical engineers, etc. are probably all thinking hard about Charis’ new knowledge, and experimenting with it in secret. Some will run afoul of Intendants and have to flee somewhere. Charis could benefit in a whole lot of ways from the mess the Go4 is making.
@11 I don’t think that Clyntahn is going to have to worry about guerrillas, because as soon as Charis consolidates their gains (both of navy and empire), that Chisholmian-cored Chairisian Imperial Army will be visiting one mainland realm or another. And before long, Charisian foundries will be arming Siddarmarkian pikemen. As I’ve mentioned, I suspect that Siddarmark was home to one of Shan-wei’s hidden enclaves, much like Tellesberg’s “St. Jher—” (sp?)
Frankly, whether anyone realizes it or not, Thirsk’s navy just became all but irrelevant. Once Charis gets a toehold on the mainland, it won’t be the GoF taking the fight to Charis.
@17 & 18 I think you are right, Maggie. All the gold will flow to Switzerland….er Siddermark. What happens then? Assuming the sharpies in Siddermark are really smart, they may just offer gold backed letters of credit. Some meathod where the CoGA can not get to the underlying wealth but participants can engage in commerce. Contratcs that allow for transaction where both parites to exchange but protects against third parties accessing the store wealth.
Pikemen, mercenaries and now (potentially) complicated tax havens? Switzerland it seems to be.
If 9) Valinor speaks English as well as he writes then he speaks better than 90% of native speakers.
The only non-Charisan country that has any money is Sidamark. Think about it!
They could also reform there customs collectors. Very painful and lots of resistance.
I still think that Irys, Coris, and prince Davin will try to escape when they realize that they have made a mistake.
When the CoGA goes down it will go down quickly. Mistakes like theirs then to snow-ball.
I think Maggieâ€™s right that Clyntyhn will press to terminate Duchairnsâ€™ charity projects. Wondering if Duchairn will be able to indirectly use it to his advantage later if and when the poor masses of Zion revolt. Iâ€™m just waiting for Clyntyhnâ€™s reaction when he realizes that Siddarmark will likely be one of the secular kingdomâ€™s he has to borrow from. Even more interesting is what he might do if that kingdom decides to use it as leverage to counter any future decrees the Go4 might issue as the war with Charis deteriorates further.
Jeff is right that Thirskâ€™s navy is almost useless as it canâ€™t fight shell armed warships without the same munitions. In fact once Thirsk learns of the Church fleetâ€™s defeat heâ€™ll not want to put to sea at all. I donâ€™t think Clyntyhn will be stupid enough to suggest such a thing, but that could certainly give Thirsk a reason to jump to the other side. I like the character and his past thoughts of possibly being on the wrong side give me hope heâ€™ll eventually join Charis. Then there is the other matter of the Charisian prisoners heâ€™s holding. We don’t know what orders he’s been given in regards to them.
@19 George, the level of corruption is huge but the pool of people getting that large cut is small. Most of the participants are slave labor or close to it in Harchong. Now the other places have smaller but much more frequent cuts. Look at the wealth concentrations or those as implied in text ev anyway as supporting evidence for the logic.
@20 I think you may be right, Peter, but only through Siddermark. Charis is simply too outre for conservative mainland sensibilities. What will happen is that no matter what the CoGA does, a significant portion of their economic activity WILL flow into Charis one way or another. Which will act to REDUCE inflationary pressures, much like China has done for the US in the last 10 years or so.
@15 The problem isn’t the broadcast, it’s the power source of the snarc. I’m sure that Merlin could have a listenign device ride into the Temple on someone’s shoulder, powered down, operating simply in passive recording mode, and retrieve it when that person left–but he would still be worried that any sensors inside the Temple would pick up the power source.
On thought that struck me about Duchairn’s trips outside the Temple to the charities wasn’t that he was vulnerable, but that if he could slip his guards, Merlin (or one of his fellowhood of seijins) would have a potential avenue to make contact.
@15 – Bret Hooper, @26 – JeffM
Jeff is correct that it is the power source of the SNARCs that Merlin worries could be deteted.
I wonder why he hasn’t actively tried to suborn people in the Temple to turn spy. Perhaps Prince Nahrman and Madame Anzhelyk (sp?) can work this out successfully.
Robert H, IMO trying to suborn people in the Temple could difficult/dangerous.
I don’t remember any non-Church people working in the Temple and I suspect that any Church people working there has been closely “vetted” before they are allowed to work there.
Blackmailing them might work but that depends on the threat of punishment being real.
As it is, we’ve seen the corruption of the Church meaning that real punishment doesn’t happen that often.
Drak, is the CoGA close enough to being broke that I can claim being correct in that bit of speculation?
I want an independent opinion on the matter. I tend to discount mulligans if I leave the scoring to myself.
RHW, does Ducharin count? I think he is ripe for contact, if the SNARKs can determine whether his entourage is actually his and not Magwair’s. Odds are good that Ducharin will deal with anyone that gets Clyntahn out of the way and opens the CoGA to true reform.
I won’t call the Church broke *yet*.
I’d say they are closer to being broke than Ducharin likes.
I agree with your point. However, I don’t think it restrains the level of theft. You may recall billions in paper currency being flown into Iraq and vanishing. There are countries where all the profits of the national resource and foreign aid end up in Switzerland.
On a more local level, I recall a study by a state university civil engineering department of construction projects in two states. The two states abut and have similar geography. They were both run by the same political party. They had similar approaches toward unionization and public pensions, not to mention similar pay scales.
Controlling for size of project, bridge and highway work in Massachusetts was about twice as expensive as bridge and highway work in Connecticut.
The Harchongese are padding by 10%. Amateurs! Rank amateurs!
On the other note, Thirsk and his opposite number in the others intact fleet are going to be presented with the claim that Charis won because their cannon balls explode. Charis has not yet converted from powder shells to white phosphorous shells, as was being set up in the last book.
Thirsk has to guess whether Charis has explosive shells, or whether the Harchong Admirals made Duke Malikai look like a great naval genius. He also has to decide what to do if he is given an insane order, like sortying immediately and sailing straight at Charis.
@28 – Drak
I agree that suborning people who work in the Temple could be extremely dangerous. OTOH, in our present day and time, “intelligence experts” generally believe that HumInt is better than ElInt. If it were me, I’d be looking for a way into the Temple by any means I could, including people.
@29 – PeterZ
If Merlin could ID Duchairn and get him away from his Temple “babysitters”, Duchairn and Merlin could talk about Temple business while Duchairn went about doing charitable works. However, remember, Merline doesn’t want his SNARCs anywhere near the Temple.
Recall that Earl Thirsk was offered a job in Tarot after the disaster at Armageddon Reef, but that he regretfully declined because of his concern for his remaining family in Dohlar. If he can manage to spirit them away from the clutches of his enemies and the Inquisition, he’ll jump ship soon enough. Especially if he can see that politics is making his head’s position uncertain.
I wonder if getting a SNARC in the temple might be a good idea. I mean, if it gets detected what could happen? A rock falling on the Temple? If not, the only bad thing that could happen is that it awakens something wich tells the church that someting is happening… and that’s not so big of a problem.
What really matters is what is beneath the temple. If it is a true AI I don’t see a reason why it should be dormant when we know that te Temple has functioning power. Then if it is a “true” AI it should be sufficiently equiped to deploy some SNARCs of it’s own or at least control the defence system and its detection equipment.
I know, if I were an IA protecting the church I would spy on my enemies, and the first would be the king of Charis… who speaks constantly with a PICA and other people wirelesly…
If it is not an AI then whatever is beneath the Temple is of no consequence, becouse then Merlin will have Intel of what is happening inside and potentially beeing able to avert desaster attacking the temple before the Go4 can act on some kind of warning… I can’t get out of my head the possible aplications of an assault shuttle loaded with Charissan marines armed with future weapons.
@RHW. Robert, I wanted to imply that DW would confirm Ducharin’s having coopted his “babysitters” or not through the SNARC’s. I think that the description Hauwerd Wylsyn’s death suggests Cpt. Phandys (sp? leader of the guardsmen that killed him) may be open to Rohbair’s overtures.
What I find most interesting out of this is that a skilled laborer is only making 50% more than an unskilled laborer. That differential seems low to me. I would have expected it to be 2-4 times as much, maybe even more, especially considering the extra demand that has been introduced in to the economic system at this point. For those of you out there who are better informed than I am would this have been normal historically speaking or is this something that has evolved to help stabilize the social situation and limit the amount of upward mobility that is present. To me it seems like 50% is a very small return for what is probably several years worth of extra training.
@36 That was consistent with wages differentials in England between 1450-1700. Where craftsmen made 50% than farm laborers. My view has been that access to capital drove the parity. Master Craftsmen who had saved and could open the own shops no longer earned a wage. They were business owners and paid wages. Craftsmen who had no capital worked for such business owners or governemnt enterprises like the navy.
@36, another point is that for much of history 90% or so of all production went to subsistence.
Poor and unskilled still needs at least that much, so 90% of average total income at the minimum.
50% more would be 135% of average income. Which is pretty good and if there are many skilled workers getting that much then lots of people are below subsistence.
Theres an oddity that subsistence level workers probably support fewer dependents on average so maybe they can get by on noticably less than 90% of average income, but the difference between “barely enough to live on” and “50% more than barely enough to live on” is a VERY substantial difference to the person living that way.
I suddenly realized that Duchairn didnâ€™t mention all the gold the Church spent on the galley fleet they built before switching to galleons. Iâ€™ll have to dig through the last book or two to find the number, but even if they were say half the cost of a galley, they must have spend tens of millions of gold marks on them. Money that they canâ€™t get back. Maybe it will be covered in future snippets or in the new book, but Iâ€™ve not seen any details on how much the Church has spent on R&D. I suppose it has been trivial to this point as they sort of reverse engineered most of the obvious Charisian improvements in ships and cannons, but to develop exploding shells (once they figure out thatâ€™s what was used on their fleet). It will take a bit of money and time to do the research and then develop the manufacturing process and facilities not to mention the trained artisans and skilled workers. The Church will be increasingly hard pressed for the revenues to match each new Charisian innovation they discover from battle. I almost forgot they still donâ€™t have a good appreciation for the changes that have been made to firearms (i.e. rifles) and the tactics. The Church, thus far, is in the bad position of always having to react to each Charisian innovation.
@39 Good points. The Charisians also have the advantage of Merlin behind the scene advising against blind alleys. Just in regard to shells I wonder how many cannon and people will be destroyed by premature explosions from faulty fuse designs plus the propensity of uncorned powder inside shells to explode under acceleration when fired.
@35 – PeterZ
I went back and reread the death of Hauwerd Wylsynn and his battle with Captain Phandys. There very well could be some foreshadowing that Captain Phandys is amenable to what Duchairn is trying to do. On the whole, though, I think the jury’s still out on this one. It would be interesting, though, to see Clyntahn brought down by his own guardsmen, led by Captain Phandys.
Indeed, Robert. Consider one more thing that I read elsewhere, why did Hauwerd go to Cpt Phandys and tip him off the prior evening? Is there a name or names on the note/letter Hauwerd gave Rohbair? Is Hauwerd Esther McQueen to Rohbair’s Tom Theisman? Is Cpt Phandys the equivilent of the commander of the fleet in Haven system post Buttercup?
I suspect this is not nearly so similar when all is said and done. Where will the similarities begin to fall apart is what interests me.
PeterZ and Doug Lampert Thanks for the information. It is always amazing to me the information that people on this site have available.
Go4 still hasn’t gotten the details from the big defeat. Harchong ransoms, especially for the majority that surrendered without even an honor shot, are going to drive Clyntahn nuts; especially with CoGA’s economic situation.
Thirsk like Siddamark and now Silkiah have Swords of Damocles overhead with Clyntahn slavering to cut the cord. How long can the other three restrain him?
How long do you think it will be until the Go4 figures out the con game run on Desnair and Clyntahn acts out?
Every non-Charisian economy but Silkiah and Siddarmark is tanking and most of them are in debt to CoGA; who are they going to borrow from?
Clyntahn seems to have almost no economics knowledge (terror yes, where money actually comes from very little). Trynair at least, as the diplomat, seems to have somewhat of a handle and Maigwair has consumer knowledge; but IMO Clyntahn hasn’t even done Economics for Dummies (he knows bribery, embezzlement, blackmail, and outright demands to a tee though).
Dohlar and Desnair might be able to convoy and retain some merchant marine, if Clyntahn lets them; but if Clyntahn maintains his boycott ocean trade is going going gone for everyone but Silkiah and Siddarmark (if Clyntahn will let them continue their defiance of his supremacy) IMO anyway!
Clyntahn with his God-complex clearly never learned the rule “Never give an order you know won’t be obeyed.” The embargo had no chance, as Duchairn tried to explain at the time. Now two nations are openly defying it (and laughing at the church) while those who obey it have had a drastic drop in GOP, with their tithes dropping commensurately. Yet he’d like to go to war with Siddarmark right now! How many golden rabbits does he want to kill?
Someone within the temple is going to have to put down this rabid pig. We’re getting hints that Captain Phandys might do the job.
MWW has confirmed that Clyntahn’s election to head the inquisition was fixed, Wylsynn actually won the election. So Clyntahn has been paranoid ever since that this might come out. That explains in part his vicious crackdown on the circle and their familes, although his conviction that the will of God is whatever he thinks it is was enough to doom them anyway.
@42 – PeterZ
That also is an excellent point. I don’t believe that DW will reprise Esther McQueen and Tom Theisman, but the similarities are an interesting point to consider.
@43 – dcchipper
This site frequently reminds me of that oft-repeated maxim “None of us are as smart as all of us.”
Of course, that maxim doesn’t seem to apply to the U.S. government, but that’s for a different forum.
@44 – ET1swaw
Why should Clyntahn know anything about economics? He is God’s vicar doing God’s will! Indeed, for Clyntahn, his will and God’s will are the same thing, are they not? He needs merely to understand how God wants the money spent and then demand that God’s loyal followers hand the money over. Anyone who doesn’t hand the money over is obviously a heretic who should be put to the Question and subjected to the Punishment.
And that is the fundamental problem that the CoGA and the other three members of the Go4 are having, and likely will continue to have to an even greater degree, with Vicar Clyntahn.
@46 – Nimitz13
Your post came in as I as writing mine. Excellent points. Someone will be forced to try and kill Clyntahn. Remember, though, that assassination attempts that fail have extremely dire consequences. Look at the failed assassination attempt on Hitler by his generals and other German citizens. The aftermath of that attempt was simply outrageous and horrible, and it drove Hitler to be even more fanatical in his control (and mis-management) of the German military. What happens if Captain Phandys tries to kill Clyntahn and fails? What happens if the general population in the Temple Lands rises up in rebellion and loses? Clyntahn could go on a rampage of slaughter that would be unprecedented in Safehold’s history.
I meant @45 – Nimitz13. Sorry for the typo.
@46 Robert, I just had an awful thought. What if Rohbair is neither McQueen nor Theisman but……St.Just.
As St. Just was a beaurocrat so is Rohbair. Where St. Just was more passionately amoral, Rohbair is faithfully moral, one might say a zealot. What would Robhbair do to ensure that he executes God’s will as he understands it? What would he do to resist the erosian of the proscritptions? What would he do to defend the CoGA doctrine? What would he do to defend his image of God and what God means to mankind?
Compared to Rohbair Ducharin, St. Just is a piker for only the moral man may plumb the depths of depravity an immoral man merely skims.
@49 – PeterZ
Rohbair as St. Just? Perhaps, but I just don’t buy it. It doesn’t fit with the development of his character up to this point. True, he could justify himself into any position — we all do at times, though few of us ever justify murder and the like — but unless DW starts writing about Rohbair Duchairn differently from how he has written about him so far, I just don’t think that we will see the emergence of a highly pious Oscar St. Just.