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> Corporate Law - Aztech law?, what is it all about?
FriendoftheDork
post Sep 2 2007, 06:03 AM
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OK, we've heard it all - megacorps have extraterritoriality and UCAS laws don't apply to anyone inside the Aztechnology pyramid or the Renraku Arcology (before deus).

So what laws does apply? Well there's corporate law, probably laws regarding corporations issed from the Corporate Court, but what laws regulate corporate citizens? What rights does UCAS citizens have on Aztech land, or Ares land for that matter?

Ok I realize you can't really know the entire system of law, that would take a lifetime just to invent if not read (most countries legal systems are vastly complex), but to have some general ideas would be nice. For instance both the BBB and various scourcebooks have given me some idea of UCAS law (heavily based off current american laws), and even in 2070 there is something called due process and rights (flouted at times, but still there). (I really use too much paranthesis don't I?)

So what impression have you got of the internal laws of certain megacorps from scourcebooks and fiction (old or new)?

Well from the way certain corps are described their laws could be similar to any despotic state, but some factors in the game world makes this seems unlikely to me. First of all, although megacorps has the power of nations, they don't have the amount of citizens or land a strong nation usually has. Instead, they rely mostly on business with citizens of other nations and corps as well as their own. Since they are dependent on people to buy their stuff, they need to invest heavily in propag... erhh good public relations. Aztechnology, the probably the corp with the worst rep among shadowrunners has legendary "spin doctors" (from man and machine 3rd ed) that probably fools enough people.

So given that the megas actually care what people think about them (the people who can buy their stuff at least), it makes sense for them to have nice sounding internal laws (that still gives their stockholders and exectutives alot of power), and do things like charity etc. Don't corps today already do this? It's not that far shot between a commercial and propagand after all.

But back to the issue.. if any UCAS citizen walking the halls of Aztech's pyramid and buying stuff could be gunned down by any Aztech citizen or even a high-up executive, the public relations with UCAS would drop pretty fast (more than it already has), so it makes sense to give even foreigners some rights. Besides, dead people can't shop :)

What else... i figure corp laws are pretty much similar to the laws in modern societies today - similar but with a few exceptions (important ones). The constitution of Iran today is not that different than the US one (but the practice is), and when you look at western european constitutions their almost identical apart from some being monarchies and some republics. Basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom from opression etc. will probably exist in most if not all top 10 corps. Remember, just there being a law doesen't mean a government can't break it and get away with it.

But the fact remains that most corps don't want people to know about inethical research, political murders, and excessive polution - things shadowrunners sometimes are sent to expose (to their employer). Sure, Lone Star or the feds can't start arresting Aztech executives for anything on their land, but the media is bound to hear about it and sales WILL drop when such a scandal ocurrs - besides forces inside the corp itself will probably want action to be taken, if none other than shareholders.

Ok It's 8am and I've been up all night so I might have been repeating myself a bit here, but I think I'm done justifying the fact that corps have laws to, and not just "pay tax and obey your superviser."

So, what do you think? What laws have to read about, or what do you assume is common?How different would Ares law be from UCAS law?
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Gelare
post Sep 2 2007, 06:21 AM
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QUOTE (FriendoftheDork)
So what laws does apply? Well there's corporate law, probably laws regarding corporations issed from the Corporate Court, but what laws regulate corporate citizens?

Think of whatever rulings the Corporate Court hands down as federal laws, as they apply to all the megacorps (who follow these laws under pain of Omega Order and Thor Shot platforms), and think of internal laws passed by each corporation as state laws (which are enforced by Red Samurai guards or whatever).
QUOTE
What rights does UCAS citizens have on Aztech land, or Ares land for that matter?

I'm thinking it over and I'm not quite sure, but I think the rough answer is, "However much the security forces feel you should have at the time, and however little they feel they can justify to their superiors should things turn out badly."
QUOTE
Well from the way certain corps are described their laws could be similar to any despotic state, but some factors in the game world makes this seems unlikely to me. First of all, although megacorps has the power of nations, they don't have the amount of citizens or land a strong nation usually has. Instead, they rely mostly on business with citizens of other nations and corps as well as their own. Since they are dependent on people to buy their stuff, they need to invest heavily in propag... erhh good public relations. Aztechnology, the probably the corp with the worst rep among shadowrunners has legendary "spin doctors" (from man and machine 3rd ed) that probably fools enough people.

So given that the megas actually care what people think about them (the people who can buy their stuff at least), it makes sense for them to have nice sounding internal laws (that still gives their stockholders and exectutives alot of power), and do things like charity etc. Don't corps today already do this? It's not that far shot between a commercial and propagand after all.

But back to the issue.. if any UCAS citizen walking the halls of Aztech's pyramid and buying stuff could be gunned down by any Aztech citizen or even a high-up executive, the public relations with UCAS would drop pretty fast (more than it already has), so it makes sense to give even foreigners some rights. Besides, dead people can't shop :)

You've basically hit the nail on the head, here. Aztechnology doesn't go around gunning down UCAS citizens on its own territory because there's no reason for them to. If Aztechnology regularly does things to piss off UCAS citizens, you can bet the UCAS government will start making their life very, very miserable. The UCAS might have lost a lot of power over the years, but they've still got teeth, and they're always itching for the chance to prove it. Anyway, it's good for business if Aztechnology is nice to UCAS people, and so they are.
QUOTE
Basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom from opression etc. will probably exist in most if not all top 10 corps. Remember, just there being a law doesen't mean a government can't break it and get away with it.

This is one useful lesson I learned from D&D: "Lawful Good" does not mean "Freedom of Speech". Not even close. I'd bet that Ares Macrotech has freedom of speech, and the rest of them straight up don't, with varying degrees of censorship laws. The Japanacorps probably keep a pretty tight lid on things, I'd bet.
QUOTE
But the fact remains that most corps don't want people to know about inethical research, political murders, and excessive polution - things shadowrunners sometimes are sent to expose (to their employer). Sure, Lone Star or the feds can't start arresting Aztech executives for anything on their land, but the media is bound to hear about it and sales WILL drop when such a scandal ocurrs - besides forces inside the corp itself will probably want action to be taken, if none other than shareholders.

Again, totally correct. Sure, legally they can make cyberzombies and practice blood magic. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea for them to be advertising it all over the place.

As a final note, I'm no legal expert, but it helps to think of the megacorps as other countries. If I go drive over to the French Embassy in the U.S. and walk in, what rights do I have? Can I be gunned down by any random French diplomat walking by? If I committed a crime and run into the French embassy to avoid getting caught, do you think I'll be extradited so fast it'll make my head spin? I'm sure there's loads of nuances that comparison doesn't cover, but it's a decent starting point. So, good luck with that.
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Cthulhudreams
post Sep 2 2007, 06:48 AM
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What I am curious about is how does the banking system work.

Heck, is there even a banking system? How does that work in the context of the big 10? It would seem that it doesn't.

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Draconis
post Sep 2 2007, 07:44 AM
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QUOTE (FriendoftheDork)
OK, we've heard it all - megacorps have extraterritoriality and UCAS laws don't apply to anyone inside the Aztechnology pyramid or the Renraku Arcology (before deus).

So what laws does apply? Well there's corporate law, probably laws regarding corporations issed from the Corporate Court, but what laws regulate corporate citizens? What rights does UCAS citizens have on Aztech land, or Ares land for that matter?

Ok I realize you can't really know the entire system of law, that would take a lifetime just to invent if not read (most countries legal systems are vastly complex), but to have some general ideas would be nice. For instance both the BBB and various scourcebooks have given me some idea of UCAS law (heavily based off current american laws), and even in 2070 there is something called due process and rights (flouted at times, but still there). (I really use too much paranthesis don't I?)

So what impression have you got of the internal laws of certain megacorps from scourcebooks and fiction (old or new)?

Well from the way certain corps are described their laws could be similar to any despotic state, but some factors in the game world makes this seems unlikely to me. First of all, although megacorps has the power of nations, they don't have the amount of citizens or land a strong nation usually has. Instead, they rely mostly on business with citizens of other nations and corps as well as their own. Since they are dependent on people to buy their stuff, they need to invest heavily in propag... erhh good public relations. Aztechnology, the probably the corp with the worst rep among shadowrunners has legendary "spin doctors" (from man and machine 3rd ed) that probably fools enough people.

So given that the megas actually care what people think about them (the people who can buy their stuff at least), it makes sense for them to have nice sounding internal laws (that still gives their stockholders and exectutives alot of power), and do things like charity etc. Don't corps today already do this? It's not that far shot between a commercial and propagand after all.

But back to the issue.. if any UCAS citizen walking the halls of Aztech's pyramid and buying stuff could be gunned down by any Aztech citizen or even a high-up executive, the public relations with UCAS would drop pretty fast (more than it already has), so it makes sense to give even foreigners some rights. Besides, dead people can't shop :)

What else... i figure corp laws are pretty much similar to the laws in modern societies today - similar but with a few exceptions (important ones). The constitution of Iran today is not that different than the US one (but the practice is), and when you look at western european constitutions their almost identical apart from some being monarchies and some republics. Basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom from opression etc. will probably exist in most if not all top 10 corps. Remember, just there being a law doesen't mean a government can't break it and get away with it.

But the fact remains that most corps don't want people to know about inethical research, political murders, and excessive polution - things shadowrunners sometimes are sent to expose (to their employer). Sure, Lone Star or the feds can't start arresting Aztech executives for anything on their land, but the media is bound to hear about it and sales WILL drop when such a scandal ocurrs - besides forces inside the corp itself will probably want action to be taken, if none other than shareholders.

Ok It's 8am and I've been up all night so I might have been repeating myself a bit here, but I think I'm done justifying the fact that corps have laws to, and not just "pay tax and obey your superviser."

So, what do you think? What laws have to read about, or what do you assume is common?How different would Ares law be from UCAS law?

You realize you're talking about entities that are above governments? The only reason they don't run countries is the hassle of day to day operations. So pretty much anything goes. They can come up with any set of sugar coated "laws" on paper for show then go about violating every last one in day to day operations. Got a problem? Oops your ass has been disappeared. There's your due process.

Your "Rights" end at that line of company property demarkation. And if they really want your ass even beyond.

The only laws you should be concerned about is how corporations play nice with each other. Anything else is moot.

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PBTHHHHT
post Sep 2 2007, 08:19 AM
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Heh, now you're starting to enter my problem where I just toss my hands up and just go with the flow. Though really, one of the best things to do is read up on conflicts of law.

For many of this to work, the corporations with their 'extraterritoriality' would have made treaties with the nations that they are in and you better believe there are provisions in there to cover the bases of scenarios, that or they better get some new lawyers.
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Demonseed Elite
post Sep 2 2007, 11:37 AM
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Very likely there is a vague body of corporate-national law similar to international law today. It is probably part of the framework of the Business Recognition Accords. On top of that, as was just mentioned, corporations probably have many treaties with individual nations in which they do business.
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Backgammon
post Sep 2 2007, 02:31 PM
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QUOTE (Cthulhudreams)
What I am curious about is how does the banking system work.

Heck, is there even a banking system? How does that work in the context of the big 10? It would seem that it doesn't.

Why wouldn't it work?

Banks lend money to whatever corporation, and between themselves. The Zurich-Orbital Bank is the central bank that then lends to to the banks - or the megacorps.
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Thomas
post Sep 2 2007, 03:53 PM
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QUOTE (Backgammon)
QUOTE (Cthulhudreams @ Sep 2 2007, 02:48 AM)
What I am curious about is how does the banking system work.

Heck, is there even a banking system? How does that work in the context of the big 10? It would seem that it doesn't.

Why wouldn't it work?

Banks lend money to whatever corporation, and between themselves. The Zurich-Orbital Bank is the central bank that then lends to to the banks - or the megacorps.

…and the value of corp scrip is tied to the value of the corp. So if I give you 100 nuyen in Azzie scrip, it might be 50 C.A.S dollars or whatever.

Remember, thirty-five thousand zuleks is about 1.58 :nuyen:
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FriendoftheDork
post Sep 2 2007, 06:03 PM
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QUOTE (Gelare)
QUOTE (FriendoftheDork)

Basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom from opression etc. will probably exist in most if not all top 10 corps. Remember, just there being a law doesen't mean a government can't break it and get away with it.


This is one useful lesson I learned from D&D: "Lawful Good" does not mean "Freedom of Speech". Not even close. I'd bet that Ares Macrotech has freedom of speech, and the rest of them straight up don't, with varying degrees of censorship laws. The Japanacorps probably keep a pretty tight lid on things, I'd bet.


As a final note, I'm no legal expert, but it helps to think of the megacorps as other countries. If I go drive over to the French Embassy in the U.S. and walk in, what rights do I have? Can I be gunned down by any random French diplomat walking by? If I committed a crime and run into the French embassy to avoid getting caught, do you think I'll be extradited so fast it'll make my head spin? I'm sure there's loads of nuances that comparison doesn't cover, but it's a decent starting point. So, good luck with that.

I wouldn't bring in D&D aligments here, that has no place in a sci-fi RPGS set in such a near future. The world has changed, but not THAT much.

Freedom of speech has been a virtue since the american and french revolutions, and most nations in the world pretend to has it. That doesen't mean you can say whatever you want without any form of cencorship. Even out most democratic nations today doesen't have that, and shouldn't.

However, I would think that a certain degree of freedom would be welcomed by the megacorps, and that it would naturally evolve from the corporation culture today. However, corp loyalty rules would prevent workers and citizens to speak ill of their corp to outsiders, or reveal classified information. They may or may not have rules that allow or even require workers to report rules infractions of their coworkers and even superiors to their higher authorities, I guess this would vary from corp to corp, although most likely the highest authority (board of directors?

Exactly how "free" a japanacorp worker would be can be argued, but I'd imagine even they would have some notion of freedom of speech. If their workers are punished for making legitimate complains on how a work process is done, then it will mean people will shut up about potential failings and the corp will suffer as a result. Of course, loyalty will be valued alot higher, and general discord and rebellion will not be tolerated.

But the "western" corps have grown up in a pretty liberal society, and I can't see how their employees would accept to have all their former rights absolved, or peope wouldn't have left their previous nations in the first place. Despite the notions of "wageslaves" there MUST be some advantage in working for a corp, even Renraku and Aztechnology. And since their laws are likely to be public and made by the Board (who in turn are elected by the shareholders), there would be laws that gave some rights to workers as well as those limited or harshly punishing corruption.

And good point about the embassy, they're likely to have extradition laws as well at least the corps and nations on good footing (and despite everything USA and France are that compared to US and Iran).
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FriendoftheDork
post Sep 2 2007, 06:16 PM
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QUOTE (Draconis)
You realize you're talking about entities that are above governments? The only reason they don't run countries is the hassle of day to day operations. So pretty much anything goes. They can come up with any set of sugar coated "laws" on paper for show then go about violating every last one in day to day operations. Got a problem? Oops your ass has been disappeared. There's your due process.

Your "Rights" end at that line of company property demarkation. And if they really want your ass even beyond.

The only laws you should be concerned about is how corporations play nice with each other. Anything else is moot.

Above governments? No, I disagree. More powerful than current 2070 governments, yes, but they are like governments unto themselves.

The problem with your model is that it is ultimately a world despotism. Sure, I bet that's what the neoanarchists say, but such a system would be highly ineffective, less profitable, and would result in alot of unrest that can only be put down by brutal force. Sure, that worked for the ancient civilization and most medieval ones as well, but history has tought us that it doesen't work very well in the long run. Not to mention that repressed workers will not be as productive, and alhough people can be forced to work to death that means squandering resources.

Corps thinks of people as resources and does not throw them away needlessly. And although people can be disappeared, if this happens too much people will learn of it and give them more reason to rebell, overtly or invertly.

Not to mention the public relations nightmare of having corporate tanks drive over peaceful protesters, don't you remember what happened in China?

No, corps can't do whatever they want without fear of consequences, they are not all-powerful and ultimately they are humans, not monsters, and alot of these will have some ethics. Although the major stockholders of Aztech can be downright bad people (if they are people), the corp is huge and all the decision making does not rest with one or two people, but thousands.


But the problem is not "what can corps to do shadowrunners that piss them off." Here they can do almost what they want, with the law on their side. The issue is how does internal law work, what can the workers do, and what can foreign nationals do?


And as for the bank question, I don't have a problem with that Zürich Orbital and the Corporate court actually make sense as long as you realize the major corps WANTS it to be this way. Although their power is lessened, it is increased towards the lesser corps - it's actually the smallest companies that benefit the least from it, and even they benefit usually.
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Gelare
post Sep 2 2007, 06:27 PM
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QUOTE (FriendoftheDork)
QUOTE (Gelare @ Sep 2 2007, 07:21 AM)
QUOTE (FriendoftheDork)

Basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom from opression etc. will probably exist in most if not all top 10 corps. Remember, just there being a law doesen't mean a government can't break it and get away with it.


This is one useful lesson I learned from D&D: "Lawful Good" does not mean "Freedom of Speech". Not even close. I'd bet that Ares Macrotech has freedom of speech, and the rest of them straight up don't, with varying degrees of censorship laws. The Japanacorps probably keep a pretty tight lid on things, I'd bet.


As a final note, I'm no legal expert, but it helps to think of the megacorps as other countries. If I go drive over to the French Embassy in the U.S. and walk in, what rights do I have? Can I be gunned down by any random French diplomat walking by? If I committed a crime and run into the French embassy to avoid getting caught, do you think I'll be extradited so fast it'll make my head spin? I'm sure there's loads of nuances that comparison doesn't cover, but it's a decent starting point. So, good luck with that.

I wouldn't bring in D&D aligments here, that has no place in a sci-fi RPGS set in such a near future. The world has changed, but not THAT much.

I don't mean to say that it's a good example, but it is some kind of example. The U.S. has the most liberal free speech laws in the world, but even here there are plenty of things that you straight up can't do: shouting "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater, anything having anything to do with terrorism, obscene or vulgar things outside of an FCC-regulated number of hours (won't somebody please think of the children?). If you don't believe me, there was a court case for the first one, they're inventing loads of new crimes to describe the second one, and the third one is the reason Howard Stern escaped to satellite radio.
Anyway, places in Europe have more laws on what can and cannot be said, and most other countries either have explicit laws about what can and can't be said, or they have firing squads that are happy to explain what can and can't be said. Most countries on this Earth would fall under, or would try to fall under, "Lawful Good," and no place has completely free freedom of speech (for good reason, I might add).
QUOTE
Freedom of speech has been a virtue since the american and french revolutions, and most nations in the world pretend to has it. That doesen't mean you can say whatever you want without any form of cencorship. Even out most democratic nations today doesen't have that, and shouldn't.

Yep.
QUOTE
However, I would think that a certain degree of freedom would be welcomed by the megacorps, and that it would naturally evolve from the corporation culture today. However, corp loyalty rules would prevent workers and citizens to speak ill of their corp to outsiders, or reveal classified information. They may or may not have rules that allow or even require workers to report rules infractions of their coworkers and even superiors to their higher authorities, I guess this would vary from corp to corp, although most likely the highest authority (board of directors?

Not being allowed to speak ill of your company/country seems like some pretty harsh censorship, if you ask me. A certain degree of freedom, sure: exactly as much as it takes to keep the wageslaves placated, and no more.
QUOTE
Exactly how "free" a japanacorp worker would be can be argued, but I'd imagine even they would have some notion of freedom of speech. If their workers are punished for making legitimate complains on how a work process is done, then it will mean people will shut up about potential failings and the corp will suffer as a result. Of course, loyalty will be valued alot higher, and general discord and rebellion will not be tolerated.

Yeah, they'd have some notion of freedom of speech, but the corporate culture would also severely look down upon anybody who spoke ill of their great company, more so than it would at, say, Ares.
QUOTE
But the "western" corps have grown up in a pretty liberal society, and I can't see how their employees would accept to have all their former rights absolved, or peope wouldn't have left their previous nations in the first place.

Right. Like I said, Ares probably has more freedoms for its citizens than Mitsuhama. I thought about Saeder-Krupp for a while, and decided that the dragon who runs it probably isn't a big fan of criticism.
QUOTE
Despite the notions of "wageslaves" there MUST be some advantage in working for a corp, even Renraku and Aztechnology.

There is: a nice, safe, comfortable life, with all the warm fuzzies that corporate propaganda can bring. Trust me, I'm new at this game, but the more fluff I read, the more I find that wageslave is an accurate term.
QUOTE
And since their laws are likely to be public and made by the Board (who in turn are elected by the shareholders), there would be laws that gave some rights to workers as well as those limited or harshly punishing corruption.

Corruption? Ahahahahahaha! :rotfl: Sure, the laws might exist, but they're never, ever enforced on the higher-ups unless the higher-higher-ups want to make an example out of someone. At any rate, I'm not sure how corporate law would be made, but I'm quite sure Damien Knight never got elected to anything by anyone, yet he still calls the shots.
QUOTE
And good point about the embassy, they're likely to have extradition laws as well at least the corps and nations on good footing (and despite everything USA and France are that compared to US and Iran).

They do have extradition laws. I forget where I read it, but they do. It's a common thing, really, with the corps having different levels of cooperation with the authorities. If a criminal with an Aztechnology SIN gives Lone Star the slip and makes it onto Aztechnology territory, Lone Star will file the paperwork and will likely have to wait quite some time to have that person extradited, if Aztechnology will give them up at all. Now, if you're running in a city with cops provided by Knight Errant, and you try to run onto Ares Macrotech property to escape, game over, omae.
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knasser
post Sep 2 2007, 07:56 PM
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QUOTE (Gelare)
Right.  Like I said, Ares probably has more freedoms for its citizens than Mitsuhama.  I thought about Saeder-Krupp for a while, and decided that the dragon who runs it probably isn't a big fan of criticism.


I don't know where this idea that Ares are good guys is coming from (could it be that they're a local company for many players / developers?), but it was that last part that got my attention. I think of all the megacorps, Saeder-Krupp would have the highest levels of free speech, mainly because Lofwyr is just so supremely confident in his position. I can't see him being worried about being toppled from this big dragony perch and I'd guess that if nothing else, he would be smart enough to appreciate the value of honest feedback from the troops. And given he's secure, I'd think his reptilian intellect would like seeing incompetence brought low without being sheltered by hierarchy and power.

I think the nail was hit when you said that criticism to outside parties would be what got an employee into trouble. A society (or company) where people can criticise or speak freely, is a healthy society relative to one where they can not. And intelligent people have to know that. Lofwyr might be the one that I see being least concerned by open discussion within the corp, but I think all the upper management would accept a fair degree of openness for the sake of the whole.

Free speech has to be clamped down on by those who want power beyond that which people are willing to give freely, either to prevent an awareness growing of the excess power they hold, or to keep opposition from becoming established. Neither of these appear to apply in quite the same way to a megacorp. The power structure is clear to everyone and whilst those at the top have wealth far in excess of the people at the bottom, everyone can see that they are working for it and often have mostly earned their way to it. Progression can also be had by anyone willing to work hard, so the discontented have a legitimate path to fulfilment and don't need to start a popular people's front. Nor in the context of the wider world, could there be a revolution in a megacorp.

The closest that it would come to would be a strike. That would be what the megacorps feared the most from open discussion. But I don't see that happening in the core parts of a megacorp. In subsiduary companies and chains, quite possibly, but I think this brings us back to the issue of inside vs. outside talk. Within a team, open communication is a good and healthy thing and most people know that. But anyone who breaks ranks and starts bad-mouthing his team-mates to the other side, is asking for trouble. And in that regard, I don't think there would need to be many laws in place to deal with it (though there would be) - "justice" would be rendered quickly and efficiently by the traitor's co-workers. The "best" sort of censorship is self-censorship. A government can tell you that America Is Best, but it's not half as effective at keeping your critical mouth shut as being surrounded by a bunch of rabid patriots.

That's my take on it, anyway. It's not to say that there wont be managers that will jump on you for criticising them (loads of them, I'm sure), but institutional censorship would be known to be harmful (particularly to such astute students of primate behaviour as a Great Dragon). But I think what happens in Mitsuhama, stays in Mitsuhama. ;)

-K.
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Draconis
post Sep 2 2007, 09:00 PM
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QUOTE (FriendoftheDork @ Sep 2 2007, 06:16 PM)

The problem with your model is that it is ultimately a world despotism. Sure, I bet that's what the neoanarchists say, but such a system would be highly ineffective, less profitable, and would result in alot of unrest that can only be put down by brutal force. Sure, that worked for the ancient civilization and most medieval ones as well, but history has tought us that it doesen't work very well in the long run. Not to mention that repressed workers will not be as productive, and alhough people can be forced to work to death that means squandering resources.

Corps thinks of people as resources and does not throw them away needlessly. And although people can be disappeared, if this happens too much people will learn of it and give them more reason to rebell, overtly or invertly.

Not to mention the public relations nightmare of having corporate tanks drive over peaceful protesters, don't you remember what happened in China?

No, corps can't do whatever they want without fear of consequences, they are not all-powerful and ultimately they are humans, not monsters, and alot of these will have some ethics. Although the major stockholders of Aztech can be downright bad people (if they are people), the corp is huge and all the decision making does not rest with one or two people, but thousands.


But the problem is not "what can corps to do shadowrunners that piss them off." Here they can do almost what they want, with the law on their side. The issue is how does internal law work, what can the workers do, and what can foreign nationals do?


And as for the bank question, I don't have a problem with that Zürich Orbital and the Corporate court actually make sense as long as you realize the major corps WANTS it to be this way. Although their power is lessened, it is increased towards the lesser corps - it's actually the smallest companies that benefit the least from it, and even they benefit usually.

It is despotism but it's concealed behind the warm fuzzy facade of democratic capitalism.
The best control is when people don't even realize they're controlled.

I think you're picturing some kind of system where there's a large man beating on a drum in the office while another walks the cubicles with a bullwhip keeping people in line.
So when Bob the corporate drone points out to his immediate supervisor that the new multibillion nuyen project he's working on will kill hundreds of puppies and kids and he's got a problem with that he's going to be dragged off in manacles to the dungeon.

No what's more likely is on monday when everyone comes back to work the immediate supervisor will inform the staff that Bob has been working really hard lately and the stress of the job has gotten to him so he requested a transfer to the remote china division. While in actuality Bob is now a wonderful new part of the New Jersey landfill.

See you can do whatever you like as long as you're not caught and when you are caught you throw some money around do a little wetwork and magically the problem goes away.

I recommend the movies Brazil (1985) and Robocop that wonderfully illustrate this better then I have the time or space to.

Oh yes I remember what happened in China, don't run over students with tanks in the streets while on camera. Drag them off at night while they're sleeping and put a bullet in them then. Things are so much more tidy that way.

Decision making doesn't rest with one or two people? Hmm I'm sure Lofwyr would beg to differ. Also ethics tend to take a back seat to corporate policies and values. Profit is your new god bitch so on your knees. :)
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hyzmarca
post Sep 2 2007, 09:07 PM
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The megacorp system is a neo-feudal system that represents a return to age-old legal principals that had been abandoned.

The most important principal of the Sixth World economy is bonded labor, also known as indentured servitude. Under this system, an individual agrees to work for a set period of time, usually in exchange for something of value. While the bonded worker is required to do the bond-owners bidding, within reason, he benefits from guaranteed room and board, as well as a measure of security.

In the United States, bonded labor was outlawed by the 13th Amendment, which also outlawed chattel slavery.

However, bonded labor is not equivalent to chattel slavery. It is a system of absolute trust and dependency between employer and employee which cannot be revoked without the mutual consent of both.

Most businesses in the Sixth World use bonded labor. The Business Recognition Accords make employment contracts completely enforceable, within reason, and specific performance is the most common remedy for contract violations. Individuals fleeing megacorp territory to escape the terms of an employment contract will be arrested, extradited, and tried in a Contract Court.

But, of course, the bonded laborer receives physical and financial security from the megacorp. All of his needs are met. More importantly, they are met in style. As long as employees honor their contracts, they will receive free high-quality housing, free food, competitive pay, entertainment, everything a person might need. At the very least, they'll have middle lifestyles. This is far better than SINless street people.

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FriendoftheDork
post Sep 2 2007, 09:13 PM
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QUOTE (Gelare)
I don't mean to say that it's a good example, but it is some kind of example. The U.S. has the most liberal free speech laws in the world, but even here there are plenty of things that you straight up can't do: shouting "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater, anything having anything to do with terrorism, obscene or vulgar things outside of an FCC-regulated number of hours (won't somebody please think of the children?). If you don't believe me, there was a court case for the first one, they're inventing loads of new crimes to describe the second one, and the third one is the reason Howard Stern escaped to satellite radio.
Anyway, places in Europe have more laws on what can and cannot be said, and most other countries either have explicit laws about what can and can't be said, or they have firing squads that are happy to explain what can and can't be said. Most countries on this Earth would fall under, or would try to fall under, "Lawful Good," and no place has completely free freedom of speech (for good reason, I might add).
QUOTE
Freedom of speech has been a virtue since the american and french revolutions, and most nations in the world pretend to has it. That doesen't mean you can say whatever you want without any form of cencorship. Even out most democratic nations today doesen't have that, and shouldn't.

Yep.
QUOTE
However, I would think that a certain degree of freedom would be welcomed by the megacorps, and that it would naturally evolve from the corporation culture today. However, corp loyalty rules would prevent workers and citizens to speak ill of their corp to outsiders, or reveal classified information. They may or may not have rules that allow or even require workers to report rules infractions of their coworkers and even superiors to their higher authorities, I guess this would vary from corp to corp, although most likely the highest authority (board of directors?

Not being allowed to speak ill of your company/country seems like some pretty harsh censorship, if you ask me. A certain degree of freedom, sure: exactly as much as it takes to keep the wageslaves placated, and no more.
QUOTE
Exactly how "free" a japanacorp worker would be can be argued, but I'd imagine even they would have some notion of freedom of speech. If their workers are punished for making legitimate complains on how a work process is done, then it will mean people will shut up about potential failings and the corp will suffer as a result. Of course, loyalty will be valued alot higher, and general discord and rebellion will not be tolerated.

Yeah, they'd have some notion of freedom of speech, but the corporate culture would also severely look down upon anybody who spoke ill of their great company, more so than it would at, say, Ares.
QUOTE
But the "western" corps have grown up in a pretty liberal society, and I can't see how their employees would accept to have all their former rights absolved, or peope wouldn't have left their previous nations in the first place.

Right. Like I said, Ares probably has more freedoms for its citizens than Mitsuhama. I thought about Saeder-Krupp for a while, and decided that the dragon who runs it probably isn't a big fan of criticism.
QUOTE
Despite the notions of "wageslaves" there MUST be some advantage in working for a corp, even Renraku and Aztechnology.

There is: a nice, safe, comfortable life, with all the warm fuzzies that corporate propaganda can bring. Trust me, I'm new at this game, but the more fluff I read, the more I find that wageslave is an accurate term.
QUOTE
And since their laws are likely to be public and made by the Board (who in turn are elected by the shareholders), there would be laws that gave some rights to workers as well as those limited or harshly punishing corruption.

Corruption? Ahahahahahaha! :rotfl: Sure, the laws might exist, but they're never, ever enforced on the higher-ups unless the higher-higher-ups want to make an example out of someone. At any rate, I'm not sure how corporate law would be made, but I'm quite sure Damien Knight never got elected to anything by anyone, yet he still calls the shots.
QUOTE
And good point about the embassy, they're likely to have extradition laws as well at least the corps and nations on good footing (and despite everything USA and France are that compared to US and Iran).

They do have extradition laws. I forget where I read it, but they do. It's a common thing, really, with the corps having different levels of cooperation with the authorities. If a criminal with an Aztechnology SIN gives Lone Star the slip and makes it onto Aztechnology territory, Lone Star will file the paperwork and will likely have to wait quite some time to have that person extradited, if Aztechnology will give them up at all. Now, if you're running in a city with cops provided by Knight Errant, and you try to run onto Ares Macrotech property to escape, game over, omae.

Well I may disagree about US having the most liberal free speech laws, at least in practice. For instance, nudity and profanity seems alot more heavily cencored in US media than in Norwegian one. Here you can swear on national TV in prime time with no problem. Violence is more heavily cencored though I think.

But anyway let's not digress: I think we agree on several things, but I might not have made myself clear when I said "not speak Ill of their company to outsiders." Knasser you read my intent perferctly, and you said what I meant quite eloquently.

As for cencorship laws, those would mainly apply to executives, supervisors and managers, not CEOs or board members. They less money lost on the way means the more their stocks will be worth and the better official pay can the CEO and COO get. Corruption won't pay when you get that high up, except perhaps defrauding the corporate court (and that's risky business!).

Damien night WAS elected, but and he voted for himself alot being the major shareholder. Sure it took some pretty smart moves to get him were he is now, but he doesen't need to break any laws or secretly siphon off more money to himself - he's rich bitch!

I think the term Wageslave has been coined by Shadowrunners, and that this is their viewpoint and nothing more. I doubt the workers themselves think of themselves as that. Although many have contracts that cannot be legally terminated and may not be allowed to leave their corp territory or work for other corps/nations, they still demand and get their share. A paid worker is not a slave, even though he's not free either. And why would he want to be? And as Knasser pointed out, he CAN work himself up and not be downtrodden and opressed all his life. And of course if the corps spend alot of money on provided a potential worker with education and a safety net, they don't want him leaving and using their investment another place do they? So he'll have contracts to avoid that. Sure - forever working for a corp or being SINless on the streets doesen't seem like apealing options to us, but when the former can be a comfortable, interesting and safe life, it may not seem so bad. After all, people want bread and circus and safety, not freedom.



Oh and Knasser: Good point about Lofwyr and the impossibility of old-style revolution. Hostile takeovers seems more likely, and you don't need the common worker to pull that off.

In the end it's up to the GM to present his world and interpret the little information we have. My world may be a bit less dystopian, as that makes more sense to me, but it's surely no utopia and is as fucked up as out own world, if not more. Still the more I read the more similar it seems.
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FriendoftheDork
post Sep 2 2007, 09:59 PM
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QUOTE (Draconis)
QUOTE (FriendoftheDork @ Sep 2 2007, 06:16 PM)

The problem with your model is that it is ultimately a world despotism. Sure, I bet that's what the neoanarchists say, but such a system would be highly ineffective, less profitable, and would result in alot of unrest that can only be put down by brutal force. Sure, that worked for the ancient civilization and most medieval ones as well, but history has tought us that it doesen't work very well in the long run. Not to mention that repressed workers will not be as productive, and alhough people can be forced to work to death that means squandering resources.

Corps thinks of people as resources and does not throw them away needlessly. And although people can be disappeared, if this happens too much people will learn of it and give them more reason to rebell, overtly or invertly.

Not to mention the public relations nightmare of having corporate tanks drive over peaceful protesters, don't you remember what happened in China?

No, corps can't do whatever they want without fear of consequences, they are not all-powerful and ultimately they are humans, not monsters, and alot of these will have some ethics. Although the major stockholders of Aztech can be downright bad people (if they are people), the corp is huge and all the decision making does not rest with one or two people, but thousands.


But the problem is not "what can corps to do shadowrunners that piss them off." Here they can do almost what they want, with the law on their side. The issue is how does internal law work, what can the workers do, and what can foreign nationals do?


And as for the bank question, I don't have a problem with that Zürich Orbital and the Corporate court actually make sense as long as you realize the major corps WANTS it to be this way. Although their power is lessened, it is increased towards the lesser corps - it's actually the smallest companies that benefit the least from it, and even they benefit usually.

It is despotism but it's concealed behind the warm fuzzy facade of democratic capitalism.
The best control is when people don't even realize they're controlled.

I think you're picturing some kind of system where there's a large man beating on a drum in the office while another walks the cubicles with a bullwhip keeping people in line.
So when Bob the corporate drone points out to his immediate supervisor that the new multibillion nuyen project he's working on will kill hundreds of puppies and kids and he's got a problem with that he's going to be dragged off in manacles to the dungeon.

No what's more likely is on monday when everyone comes back to work the immediate supervisor will inform the staff that Bob has been working really hard lately and the stress of the job has gotten to him so he requested a transfer to the remote china division. While in actuality Bob is now a wonderful new part of the New Jersey landfill.

See you can do whatever you like as long as you're not caught and when you are caught you throw some money around do a little wetwork and magically the problem goes away.

I recommend the movies Brazil (1985) and Robocop that wonderfully illustrate this better then I have the time or space to.

Oh yes I remember what happened in China, don't run over students with tanks in the streets while on camera. Drag them off at night while they're sleeping and put a bullet in them then. Things are so much more tidy that way.

Decision making doesn't rest with one or two people? Hmm I'm sure Lofwyr would beg to differ. Also ethics tend to take a back seat to corporate policies and values. Profit is your new god bitch so on your knees. :)

If it's concealed enough it's no longer despotism. And Oligarchy would probably be a better term anyway.

Do the people rule? No. They don't today either! It's as you said, concealed behind the warm fuzzy facade of democratic capitalism.

As for your example, that seems overly wasteful. Sure, if the project was important and secret enough, and Bob has shown that he might go public with it or even worse, defect then yes he's probably going to be removed somehow. However, if every day some college suffers a horrible accent or is mysteriously transferred and stop responding on their myspace account (or whatever), people are going to wonder. They might not speak it aloud, but sooner or later everyone will know it if this is the norm. Which means they're more likely not to speak their mind but rather shut up, smile and say "yes sir!" while secretly leaking info to a competitor in exchange for extraction. And this is where the Shadowrunners come into play.

While such a situation happens, it's fairly rare and not something the higher up want to encourage in their ranks. And most supervisors don't have access to hit squads, but they do have access to filing complaints that results in Bob getting less pay, less priveleges. Its' far easier to bribe bob than to kill him, and alot less messy. After all, after getting his new car for being part of the project, he might realize that there are enough puppies in the world, and that children die every day - this way it'll be for a good cause.

But most workers don't work on shadow projects that are likely to get you killed, and I suspect workers will be put through a few loyalty tests before even being allowed on that team. Most workers will probably not do anything worse than help create products that are unhealthy, are documented to cause cancer, or outright WMDs. And do you really think many workers for Macdonalds, Marlboro or Lockheed-Martin have any problems with this?

Basicaly, having to disappear anyone will be extremely rare, but exceptions occurrs.

You can do what you want as long as you're not caught, but I expect Damien Knight wouldn't be too pleased if some supervisor in his company starting hiring hitmen to take out his employers for asking questions. He'll expect them to bullshit the employee into believing what he's doing is right after all. And dead bodies tend to cause more problems than they're worth.

I haven't seen Brazil, but Robocop was a fun cyberpunk movie, but hardly realistic. Also, I liked 1984 but I don't want to play in that world as it's really over the top. The real world is scary enough for me.

Lofwyr can do alot more than a human, true, but he needs a hierarchy as well, and those people make decisions not important enough that Lofwyr needs to hear about it. I'll expect he even has Ethics officers like some corps have today, all in good show. Profit has always been god, and good public relations provide better profits.
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hyzmarca
post Sep 2 2007, 11:20 PM
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A megacorporation is a democratic republic, but suffrage is determined by ownership. Those who own stocks can vote. The vast majority of megacorps would give their employees stock options, as do many modern businesses, because it is easy, cheap, and it gives the employee a financial incentive to ensure that the corporation does well.
I would imagine that most corporate citizens have voting rights for this reason. However, instead of the antiquated one-vote-per-person system, a one-vote-per-stock system is used, so the votes of major investors hold far more weight than those of the average employee.
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kzt
post Sep 3 2007, 12:06 AM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
However, instead of the antiquated one-vote-per-person system, a one-vote-per-stock system is used, so the votes of major investors hold far more weight than those of the average employee.

The reality, ignored like so much else by SR, is that the major shareholders in most corps are financial companies who buy it for their investors/clients. To take a random example, 79% of General Dynamics stock is held by "Institutional & Mutual Fund Owners", with 709 different institutions holding shares.
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Draconis
post Sep 3 2007, 12:28 AM
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Ooo let's argue semantics. Use whatever term you feel comfortable with, I don't feel the need to append representative to democracy.

Yes yes wasteful blah blah. It's an extreme example to illustrate a point. Does it happen every day? Nah, you'd run out of employees. Does it happen when necessary? Hell yes. And I'm not just talking killing the problem. You really could just transfer his ass to the siberian division if said employee has no proof. You're missing the point, as soon as any Bob the employee becomes more of a liability than a resource they will HANDLE you.

How do I know? I'm talking from experience. This happens fucking today, right this minute, right now. They won't kill your ass as that's still illegal, at the moment. But there are other options.
I've watched it happen. Hell I even instigated it once.
Corporate culture, especially AAA territory is no picnic.

I have no idea what touchy feely corporations you've been privy to, but are they hiring? :P
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FriendoftheDork
post Sep 3 2007, 12:34 AM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
A megacorporation is a democratic republic, but suffrage is determined by ownership. Those who own stocks can vote. The vast majority of megacorps would give their employees stock options, as do many modern businesses, because it is easy, cheap, and it gives the employee a financial incentive to ensure that the corporation does well.
I would imagine that most corporate citizens have voting rights for this reason. However, instead of the antiquated one-vote-per-person system, a one-vote-per-stock system is used, so the votes of major investors hold far more weight than those of the average employee.

Yup this is my impression also.

Kzt: Are you saying you want SR world to be like the real one? Although you're probably right about RL, it's not mind boggling that a few individuals can have a majority in shares in a 2070 megacorp. Note, they probably wouldn't have more than 50% (More likely no more than 20%), but they would still have alot more to say than those owning only a few shares.
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FriendoftheDork
post Sep 3 2007, 12:48 AM
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QUOTE (Draconis)
Ooo let's argue semantics. Use whatever term you feel comfortable with, I don't feel the need to append representative to democracy.

Yes yes wasteful blah blah. It's an extreme example to illustrate a point. Does it happen every day? Nah, you'd run out of employees. Does it happen when necessary? Hell yes. And I'm not just talking killing the problem. You really could just transfer his ass to the siberian division if said employee has no proof. You're missing the point, as soon as any Bob the employee becomes more of a liability than a resource they will HANDLE you.

How do I know? I'm talking from experience. This happens fucking today, right this minute, right now. They won't kill your ass as that's still illegal, at the moment. But there are other options.
I've watched it happen. Hell I even instigated it once.
Corporate culture, especially AAA territory is no picnic.

I have no idea what touchy feely corporations you've been privy to, but are they hiring? :P

Look let's keep this civil alright?

Sure, the various powerful people in the corp has ways to fuck you over if you become a liability somehow. Was that you're point?

My point was that these corps will have rules that prevent a corp citizen to kill another. Ok they might have the death penalty, but people aren't taken aside to be shot if someone feels like it. Call it "touchy feely" if you want, but I call it realistic.

What they can do is black operations. The corps are bound to have assassins and goon squad at the higher levels. And if they don't have that, they have Mr. Johnsons that provide it. Still, by doing this they are breaking the corp law IMO, so therefore they do it covertly.

That it's illegal to kill your ass doesen't mean they can't do it, only that they won't do it openly.
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kzt
post Sep 3 2007, 12:52 AM
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QUOTE (FriendoftheDork)
Note, they probably wouldn't have more than 50% (More likely no more than 20%), but they would still have alot more to say than those owning only a few shares.

It's pretty unusual for an individual to hold a significant percentage of shares in a publically held fortune 500 corp unless he actually created it from nothing. For example, there is no individual who owns 5% or more of Google, despite it being clearly founded by a small team who were made extremely rich by it. 80% is held institutional and mutual funds, the two largest individual holders hold a total of 0.001% of the total shares, (This was an essentially a corp I grabbed at semi-random, and I expected more to be held by individuals.)

If someone really wants to maintain personal control they normally will remain or go private.
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Cthulhudreams
post Sep 3 2007, 01:09 AM
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QUOTE (Backgammon)
QUOTE (Cthulhudreams @ Sep 2 2007, 02:48 AM)
What I am curious about is how does the banking system work.

Heck, is there even a banking system? How does that work in the context of the big 10? It would seem that it doesn't.

Why wouldn't it work?

Banks lend money to whatever corporation, and between themselves. The Zurich-Orbital Bank is the central bank that then lends to to the banks - or the megacorps.

But where are *banks* on the list of AAA corps? As another poster has pointed out, banks and investment instruments own most of everything. these are in turn owned by private citizens.

check out the list of top 10 firms in the world

CODE

1  Citigroup  USA  Banking  146.56  21.54  1,884.32  247.42
2  Bank of America  USA  Banking  116.57  21.13  1,459.74  226.61
3  HSBC  UK  Banking  121.51  16.63  1,860.76  202.29
4  General Electric  USA  Conglomerate  163.39  20.83  697.24  358.98
5  JPMorgan Chase & Co.  USA  Banking  99.30  14.44  1,351.52  170.97
6  American International Group  USA  Insurance  113.19  14.01  979.41  174.47
7  ExxonMobil  USA  Oil and gas  335.09  39.50  223.95  410.65
8  Royal Dutch Shell  Netherlands  Oil and gas  318.85  25.44  232.31  208.25
9  UBS  Switzerland  Diversified Financials  105.59  9.78  1,776.89  116.84
10  ING Group  Netherlands  Insurance  153.44  9.65  1,615.05  93.99


Note the trend? we have 2 resources companies, GE, and 7 financial firms..

So.. where are the banks in shadowrun? Citigroup is the worlds current largest corporation - but none of the AAA are banks?!?!

With none of the big corporations as banks, how do companies raise debt? If the vast majority of private citizens are indentured workers, and the rest are criminals, and the institutional lenders don't exist, where is debt coming form? Even if the institutional lenders do exist, who is buying their debt?

Moving past that basic problem - now we've accepted that banks are not AAA corps (none are listed) how do banks actually conduct a repossession? How does a CAS bank lend money to a Azzie citizen. Once it does, how does it repo? Can it even repo? How does this work for larger organizations?

Banks don't really do business across international lines atm, they set up a local subsidiary and that does the work.

Also - how do govenments raise money? Corp workers are corp citizens which live in extraterritorial areas. Thus cannot be taxed. The corps themselves are tax havens too. But something pays for lone star? what? Do the local governments just charge corps absurd rents for extraterritorial areas?

Also, how does something like the UCAS dollar even hold value? This stuff has historically been secured on the premise that government will stick around and tax citizens forever. But it doens;t have any citizens (because they all left to work for corps) and it doesn't have any stability (how many new countries have their been in north america in the 1900-2000. Now 2000-2070?)

The mega corp scrip is not of equal value either, because hell they go tits up too.

It looks to me like the entire foundation of the modern financial services environment has to have changed at some point. Debt, government bonds, even *money* doesn't seem to really work in the SRverse.
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darthmord
post Sep 3 2007, 02:00 AM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
The most important principal of the Sixth World economy is bonded labor, also known as indentured servitude. Under this system, an individual agrees to work for a set period of time, usually in exchange for something of value. While the bonded worker is required to do the bond-owners bidding, within reason, he benefits from guaranteed room and board, as well as a measure of security.

In the United States, bonded labor was outlawed by the 13th Amendment, which also outlawed chattel slavery.

But, of course, the bonded laborer receives physical and financial security from the megacorp. All of his needs are met. More importantly, they are met in style. As long as employees honor their contracts, they will receive free high-quality housing, free food, competitive pay, entertainment, everything a person might need. At the very least, they'll have middle lifestyles. This is far better than SINless street people.

The two parts I left in the quoted message are very pertinent. Just so you know, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution does NOT make illegal indentured servitude.

Here's a C&P of the 13th...

CODE

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


It only makes illegal slavery and INVOLUNTARY servitude. Voluntary servitude (entering into a contract) is still plenty legal.

Look at the modern day (2007) military. You sign a contract guaranteeing you certain rights, benefits, and privileges. In return, you agree to do the military's bidding (within reason of law).

Indentured servitude is alive and well. In fact, the parts I quoted are almost identical to what the modern day military service member gets.
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darthmord
post Sep 3 2007, 02:08 AM
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From: Running the streets of Southeast Virginia
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I seem to recall some fluff in the last few SR books I've read mentioning that Bank of America was owned by one of the AAA corps.

I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised to find out all the banks are owned by the mega corps.
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RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 4th December 2020 - 02:29 PM

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