Caldari Corporatism: Profit and Social Benefit

In seeking to vilify the Caldari State its detractors will often resort to an assortment of negative tropes in order to control the propaganda narrative and promulgate misinformation. Prevalent among these tropes is the stereotype that the existence of Caldari corporations functioning under a mode of finance capitalism has to result in exploitative labour practices existing under an adversarial and repressive system pursuing profit as the sole imperative: “wage slaves” versus “elites”.

While it is understandable such a trope would arise in a society such as the Federation where capitalism and corporations are operated solely for profit and it is the responsibility of government to deliver social services and benefits; applying it to Caldari corporates is an egregious misunderstanding that is impossible to reconcile with Caldari history, culture, and corporate practice.

The portrayal of Caldari corporates as purely driven by the profit motive is a disingenuous one. A compelling fiction designed by those who desire a narrative in which a majority of Caldari are somehow held captive against their will by the elites of management – conveniently such a narrative also often requires the “liberation” of Caldari from their economic and political system which makes it a very Gallente invention. Under further scrutiny, such a narrative falls apart.

While Caldari corporates do pursue the profitability of its enterprises, the requirements of pursuing the narrative that portrays them as greedy or self-serving usually ignores why profitability is necessary and where or how corporate profits are invested. Profitability has to be ensured on the whole by a Caldari corporate since taxation is either minimal or non-existent and enterprise profits become the most important source of revenue to repay debts and loans.

As to where Caldari corporate profits go, far from the stereotype of into the pockets of Executives, the vast majority is used to pay for services that aren’t profitable but which provide tangible social benefits: colonial development, infrastructure, healthcare, education, housing, law enforcement, and defence, all remain unprofitable but provide for a social good. It is the belief in a collective social greater good that remains the primary motive factor behind Caldari corporates. It is also a belief that is in stark contradiction to the portrayal of Caldari corporate greed or individual self-interest by foreign provocateurs.

It is the pursuit of social benefits and not profits as a primary motivation that remain the source of the success of the political and economic model of Caldari corporates. A citizenry that is well cared and provided for, with unparalleled access to services will always be more productive than whose who are not. This can be seen in the continued GDP growth of the Caldari State as a whole over the past two centuries and whose per-person productivity is unmatched in the cluster at present. Equally, the provision of social benefits remains a continued source of Company loyalty and social cohesion. Every corporate citizen can be assured that their labours will provide not just for themselves but for others with tangible benefits.

The behaviour of Caldari Executives and Great Families is also at odds with common tropes of their exploitative or selfish behaviour. Haatakan Oiritsuu, CEO of Kaalakiota invested a great portion of her personal wealth back into the Company during a period where it was uncertain whether it could even remain solvent. By most accounts this saved billions of jobs and curtailed potential economic disaster. Instead of acting out of greed or self-interest, CEO Oiritsuu acted in accordance with providing for the social benefit and not her own personal benefit. This is in line with the role Executives and Great Families play in Caldari society. They may be wealthy and well remunerated but they are among the most talented of Caldari citizens and will often use such talents to pursue entrepreneurship and create new business and industries or use their wealth to intervene directly when required for the social good.

As can be seen, applying Gallente standards of corporate conduct and capitalism to the Caldari State will always present erroneous contradictions without basis in reality. While individual self-interest might drive Gallente corporates to exploitative and selfish practices, this is not the case in the Caldari State. Instead of exploiting its citizenry, Caldari corporates intervene most directly to ensure the proper welfare of its people and their continued happiness and prosperity, now and into the future.

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I’ve always seen the ‘profit motive’ of the Caldari Megas as a way to quantify the economic capacity of each Mega to look after the well-being of their people. It’s certainly not the ‘wealth for the sake of being wealthy’ kind of capitalism the Federation’s corporate entities often pursue.

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Yes, I would concur with such an opinion. Capitalism for Caldari corporates is less about short-term individual profits as much as it is about efficiency and promoting growth, productivity, and fiscal responsibility in the long term in the interests of their citizens.

A belief otherwise can be countered by pointing out as an example, the colonial settlement of Black Rise. The associated costs of planetary terraforming, infrastructure development, urban construction, and transportation by Kaalakiota represents a massive investment that likely will not see a single profitable return for decades, if not centuries from now. Many of the Executives and managers who planned the Black Rise colonies likely will not even be alive by the time the region reaches full parity with other State districts.

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There have actually been a few studies done on the subject, but none of them have been anywhere nearly as comprehensive or thorough as I’d like.

What I can say for certain is that a great deal of Caldari corporate training focuses on keeping the individual from getting too full of themselves, because once that happens they can quickly go from a major asset to a severe liability. There’s also a focus on long-term planning, as well as building strong reputations so that a single hiccup or dud won’t significantly damage confidence in the product or service.

Still, there’s a lot of nuance to all of this. Humans are still subject to instincts that can be more of a hindrance in the current era than they are a help, and not everyone keeps the reptile part of their brains leashed and muzzled like they ought to. This causes problems in the Caldari State, though not to the extent it does in the Federation.

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Grooming a population for future efficiency of profit in the long-term rather than a short-term—including all the societal benefits that are paid out to ensure that workers become and remain efficient—is still a profit motive.

The only difference is in length of foresight.

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I never denied Caldari corporates seek profitability, only that profit in the State is a means to an end: revenue raising to provide social benefits to Caldari corporate citizenry, not as an end in and of itself.

Corporatism in the State is practised as a collective enterprise with collective benefits. This is in accordance with Caldari traditions and cultural norms and conventions favouring communal objectives over individual gain. The pursuit of capitalism-with-Caldari-characteristics is how State corporations maintain social cohesion, political legitimacy, and citizen loyalty which then directly translates to increased productivity and emotional fulfillment for its citizenry.

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Gesakaarin-haan describes State priorities correctly, Mr. Quatrevaux-- at least, that’s the way it works when it’s working the way it should. The State’s at its strongest when those trusted with power wield it on behalf of the Caldari people, for the good of the Caldari people. It’s weakest when they forget a government’s duty to its people and think of themselves only as running for-profit corporations.

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It does sound quite idealistic, and appears to ignore several societal notions endemic to the State—the strict social ladder, for one, not to mention the perils of falling outside of the proscribed system or trying to innovate within it.

Conversely, the idea behind Gallente capitalism is that anyone should be successful at a chosen field and provide for their nation through that work. Obviously our system doesn’t work as intended either—it’s plagued by prejudices and power plays from the top down, just to start—but at least we don’t attempt a pretense of “this is for the good of everyone”.

It would be pretentious to pursue the greater good of everyone. Fortunately, Caldari corporates do not adhere to such a pretense and seek only the greater good for their own Caldari citizens.

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For some one to ‘fall outside the system’ it would either have to be through personal choice or some sort of massive systemic failure. Even criminals are still considered as ‘part of the system’.

If it is indeed through the actions and choices of an individual, then there is little that can be adressed. If it is a result of a faiulre in the system, then it must be statistically insignificant becuase other wise it would cause a series of cascading failures within said system.

As it stands, there is more poverty and inequality among the Federation than there is in the State precisely because the Federation places the individual above the community.

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So, you might be mistaking a few qualities of the State system, Mr. Quatrevaux. The State’s caste system is actually highly mobile; demonstrated merit leads to promotion, and not necessarily slowly. Merit is to be rewarded, including and maybe especially when it involves innovation within the system. The only caste a child of laborers can’t aspire to is the Chief Executive, and that’s because that caste consists wholly of people descended from national heroes.

The State does have its troubles and flaws. Sometimes those who lead forget why and for whose sake they lead, which predictably leads to abuses. Probably the State won’t remember Tibus Heth’s regime fondly, but he did bring in some needed reforms-- and probably in another few generations at the latest, reforms like those will be needed again. Also, arranged marriage is of course the norm, and mixing bloodlines is frowned on-- informally; if mixed blood were an absolute bar to promotion I could never have become a capsuleer. But, the policy’s still clear.

Then, also, you’re not wrong about what happens to those who lose their corporate citizenship. The Caldari only concern themselves with the welfare of those who are someway “of” the Caldari or to whom they otherwise owe some form of duty, so losing your place and becoming a “nonentity” is kind of like having your personhood stripped. In effect, a “nonentity” has been told to go and die, and many do; suicide is considered the honorable response.

The practice has ancient roots: during a hard Caldari Prime winter, it might become necessary to cast even dearly beloved relatives, such as one’s own parents, out to “take a long walk in the snow.” I understand why the Caldari feel it’s still appropriate, but it still seems cruel. It’s not like they’re still stuck starving on Caldari Prime.

For context, I don’t expect Gesakaarin-haan, much less his … sister? … Veik, to agree with me that the problems I see are problems, and it’s true that my views aren’t popular. In Caldari terms, I’m jaalan, a dissident, and aside from being a half-blood I also identify as Achura, a member of a client society, rather than properly Caldari, so I’m kind of half an outsider as well as an expatriate: not someone strongly-placed to criticize.

Anyway, basically, the modern Caldari State is racing furiously into the future, driven by an obsession with the past. If it weren’t so fixated on history, maybe it would be less myopic about the present-- but, also, maybe it wouldn’t really be Caldari anymore to begin with.

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Natasiya Veikitamo is my wife.

That being said, the State and Caldari corporates are far from perfect systems – there would not have been a popular revolt seeking reforms due to nepotism and corruption in order to restore the meritocracy if it was. However, it is a system structured in accordance with Caldari beliefs and cultural norms. My principles and that of many other of my fellow citizens are informed by those beliefs and norms. The pursuit of the greater good and collective benefit is not just lip-service but a core belief for me.

Criticism of the State by its detractors all too often takes a frankly nihilistic and cynical view which ignores the importance of Caldari culture, principles, and beliefs to inform the lives of its citizens whether they’re a factory labourer or Megacorp CEO.

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Or it could be because the Federation has more people, has different statistical criteria for welfare, and accomodates a significant Matari population that has yet to integrate completely; whereas those who can be considered poor in the State might not appear on the records.

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… Uh. Okay.

Respectfully, Gesakaarin-haan, I’m not sure how it’s cynical or nihilistic to suggest that ejecting people from your society when you don’t actually need to is maybe unkind, or that a system of arranged marriages based not even on blood but on physical appearance is a strange arrangement unless there’s some kind of effort underway to create even more distinct “breeds” of humans-- not at all a stated goal of the State.

Really, it seems frankly more nihilistic and cynical to say, “this is how we do things because we do them this way, and the way we live informs our lives”-- nihilistic because it doesn’t consider meaning or utility important, cynical because it presumes that people will find tradition for tradition’s sake deeply important whether there’s a purpose to it anymore or not.

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“It’s wrong, harmful, and/or inhumane, but it’s okay because it’s a part of our culture.”

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“It’s just as ruthless and inhumane, but I’m exploiting people’s instinctive dislike of hypocrisy by pretending it’s less bad if we’re cheekily honest about it?”

Only in your inflamed imagination, little troll.

Non-entities represent those who by their own actions refuse to fit in and contribute to Caldari society. Those who refuse to conform to the needs of Caldari society should not be afforded the benefits of Caldari society.

The people who determine corporate marriages are Caldari. Caldari culture has never featured ethnic intermarriage. As such, it is a maintained tradition that remains socially acceptable.

Meaning and utility are derived from culture and traditions. Just because you or other minorities might disagree with the nature of Caldari culture and the resulting economic, political, and social systems that have arisen from that culture does not diminish the value or importance it plays in informing the lives of State citizens.

What you might consider wrong, harmful, or inhumane is socially acceptable to others who do not share your value system but their own.

Blithely ignoring those who were let go for other reasons. Like, “We’re shutting down this factory and you’re not worth the cost of shipping offworld.”

Might happen less, now, after Heth’s reforms. Hopefully. Those reforms were needed for a reason.

Maybe-- but isn’t it curious that ethnicity’s not what the matchmaking system’s based on? It’s so much weirder than just matching one Civire to another. I mean, usually the two matched will be of the same ethnicity, but …

You’re talking in circles, Gesakaarin-haan. It’s not even a big circle. Aside from telling me I’m an outsider (fine, I’ll own that), it boils down to:

“Our traditions are important. They’re important because they’re our traditions. Our traditions are important,” etc.

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If this thread had any point to it other than to blithely defend against some perceived attack, Gesakaarin would spend some time explaining why these traditions are important.

But it doesn’t, and so we find ourselves simply watching a supercilious pedant unsuccessfully tugging at the stick he’s jammed up his own ass.