Sunday, June 12, 2005

Power in the NationStates Community.

What is power in NationStates? The Mighty Pump of USK recently did a scientific survey of the most powerful members of the NS community according to the most active members of NS. Five surveys were recorded from the ADN the UoS, the RLA, the EAA and so on. I don't know all of the organisations which were included or excluded but I imagine it excluded all organisations which don't have a truly global perspective (i.e. couldn't for example name the leaders of the ADN, the RLA, the UoS, the EAA or DEN).

The top ten results for most powerful were as follows (and listed is each player plus their prime roles):

1. Pope Hope ----------- Director of the ADN
2. Blackbird ------------ Co-founder of the RLA
3. Unlimited ------------ Delegate of the Pacific
4. Moldavi -------------- Founder of New Sparrow
5. EuroSoviets --------- Co-founder of the RLA
6. Gen. T Franks ------- DEN
7. Unistrut ------------- Former Deputy Director of the ADN, arse-at-large
8. Grub ----------------- Commander of TITO
9. The Red Factions -- Former Field Marshal of DEN
10. Gates the God ----- Founder of Gatesville.

It makes for really fascinating reading. The Director of the ADN is still the most powerful character in NationStates apparently. Blackbird, Secretary of State at the ADN and Director of Intelligence at the RLA is second most powerful - and yet he has not a soldier under his command. Of course that forgets the network of spies under his command. It seems that information translates into power. Moldavi is a hard one to categorise. Ousted from the PRP and The North Pacific, he has only his region New Sparrow and his part in the Union of Sovereigns to explain his position.

People like General Franks, Grub, EuroSoviets, Gates the God etc are more easy to categorise - each of them command soldiers. But the top five players on this list are not exclusively military commanders. In theory each of them can call on troops - but only two occupy military roles, one as Commander of the RLAF, the other as Commander of SECO. I think this lays out for us where real power lies in the NS world. It is political.

The word 'politician' is often bandied around as a slur in NationStates. Most usually, in my opinion, by the ADN, the very people who are themselves most accused by the rest of the world of playing political games for their own benefit. I think the word has an undeserved reputation attached to it. Politics is simply the mediation of a community. Politics is government. The word politics comes from polis, the basic ancient Greek political unit - the city-state. It pertains to all aspects, social included, relating to the governance of any entity, whether a region or an alliance of regions.

At the ADN, it was thrown at me an awful lot. This was because I used the representative political arms of the ADN - the House of Representatives and the Senate - to try to change the ADN. Lots of people assumed change was the equivalent of handing me power. They opposed change by opposing me personally. I'll be the first to admit it is easier to slander me than it is to attack my ideas or those of my friends such as Xha'dam, who did an excellent job steering the ADN House of Representatives, dissenters and all, through the constitutional crises regarding the Vice Presidency of the ADN.

Roles in Intelligence and roles in the military feed into politics. These respectively allow one to know what is going on in the world and allow one to directly control what is going on in the world. Both of those are currency. When I say 'the world' I can of course be referring to any arena up to and including the entire global community of NS. For organisations such as the RKKA, the arena is smaller but within the arena there are still those who have power based on what they know and what they can do. Everything is just a matter of scale.

It has always been amusing, from my point of view, when people who work on different scales meet. The RKKA and the RLA virtually detest the sight of one another for exactly the same reason - both think the other too arrogant. The difference is of course that the RLA is not arrogant, it is just much bigger, better organised and more powerful than the RKKA and has no intention of compromising its position on invaders to suit a smaller, less powerful organisation just because that organisation happens to call itself socialist. The first war that the ASE got into was a dismal affair with a region that worked off a different scale and refused to back down after issuing some threats which it patently couldn't carry out; the attitude of certain members of the RKKA is much like this. Because they can talk to the UoS and RLA 'leaders' they try to punch above their weight - and get annoyed when the rest of us consider it merely irritating.

The original question was what is power? Power then is knowledge. The difference between the RLA and the RKKA is knowledge. Accurate knowledge of game mechanics. Accurate knowledge of how the major power blocs interact, what relationship they bear to one another and how that can change rapidly by the application of pressure at a point. Accurate knowledge of who to contact for something you need done. It was from this that the power of the Meritocracy came in my opinion. Never a military set of regions, the Meritocracy had a collection of some of the most active members of NS - people who knew the inner workings of the highest levels of the game.

No such collection exists anymore. Power is never pure information any longer. The factionalisation of NationStates and the relative decline in status and power of the great hegemon, the ADN, has meant that one cannot rely on others to do things; combined with knowledge must be the ability to bring force to bear. When regarding invader-defender relations, force is most commonly military in nature. When regarding defender-defender relations, force is almost always a propaganda victory, such as that Unistrut handed the RLA when he exposed our operations in DEN. The difference between the RKKA and RLA is not just knowledge, it is force. The RLA military is better trained and bigger than the forces of the RKKA.

I draw conclusions based on the parts of NationStates that I know best - but the same comparisons, if the two could be juxtaposed from their respective time periods, could be drawn of CEO/ACCEL and the Atlantic Central Command. This is also true for the MASS Alliance and the ADN, when comparing both organisations in the days of the Atlantic Alliance.

I would like to conclude with some thoughts that may interest any reader.

Power is sometimes transitory. At times certain players have been further up that list, at times they have been further down. Moldavi, for example, I believe to be on a downward slope, while Pope Hope and Blackbird have reached their respective peaks. Unlimited, however, is a constant and will only change in relation to others - his position looking higher when others are weaker due to some failure and his position looking lesser when others are stronger due to some notable deed. Power therefore also has a foundation.

Power will increase and decrease rapidly according to success or failures, but long term, the power of everyone on that list is based on the strength of their community - the knowledge funnelled to the person on the list by those they rely on, the soldiers who come when that person calls. Those factors give a person influence and prestige and I think we should never forget the people who make up our community, whether they get on some list or not.

4 Comments:

Blogger Anarchotopia said...

Scientific survey? Care to detail his methodology?!

3:38 AM  
Blogger Moldavi said...

I think it is a nice article, ES.

A point of clarification, Pierconium is still quite active in the People's Republic of the Pacific.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Yeah - he sent five surveys to each of the Pacifics, to the ADN, the EAA and various other organisations. I'd be pretty confident in stating that this article is scientifically accurate under the title I gave it - which is as is mentioned in the article the most powerful people according to the more active and better known players.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Paranoidm said...

Does that post say that Unistrut's "arse is large" ?!?

6:05 PM  

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