The Political Economy of Planet Pickle

A utopian tale about finding shared values.

A story about searching socio-political harmony on a planet with competing political ideologies.

Like most other planets, and for most of history, planet Pickle experienced great uncertainty.

Early evidence of pickle use discovered in caves in the eastern mountains of Pickle Peaks around the 6th century BF (Before Fermentation). Pickling tools found on site gave scientists a peak into what life might have looked like when fresh food was still consumed.

The development of fermentation and the discovery of the wild pickle fields contributed to the current state of pickle dependency and the near complete eradication of fresh food or anything else that wasn’t fermented.

As pickles became widespread in some regions, inhabitants of planet Pickle were concerned that pickle harvesting, and manufacturing would not keep up with the demand. There was growing concern that returning to consumption of fresh foods would threaten progress and burden future generations.

It took hundreds of years to establish economic rules for pickle trade between the four distinct regions of the planet and develop a complex network of distribution.

But even after the economic system was established and farming technology developed in an effort to secure pickle supply, the picklers continued to experience uncertainty.

(also known as pickleworry)

Pickleworry grew as did the repugnant scent of fermentation in all regions of the planet. The awful smell became a taboo issue, and it was rarely mentioned. Inhabitants learned to live with it, and when asked – always said they loved it.

Historically, the compass of political ideologies on Pickle planet consists of four major winds and several minor breezes, all broadly aligned to their geographic regions of interest and local cultures.

The general vibe of the four different regional ideologies is as follows:

  1. North – The Northists live in a technocratic oligarchy run by anarcho-capitalists who believe in governance thorough science and technology.
  2. South – The Southists are conservative picklgelists who can tolerate other religions and ways of life, as long as they are allowed to preach about ghosts and scare little children.
  3. East – The Eastists are secular Marxists communists who aspire not to murder anyone.
  4. West – The Westists are hoping to be an altruistic aristocracy through a democratic process.

Stable trade has been developing for almost a century. Gross Pickle Product (GPP) figures of the entire planet suggest that there are enough pickles circulated in the economy annually to respectfully sustain 5 pickle planets.

Competing ideas emerged as the pickle climate was changing the process of fermentation, and the smell was becoming unbearable – threatening to change the lives of Picklers forever.

Cooperation, compromise and compassion were required for the picklers to fully realise their potential and achieve certainty forever.

The geo-political summary of the planet by regions is described in the following chapters.

  1. The Northists of the icy tundra

The north was mostly a frozen landscape with very little sun except where it bordered with the southern desert, western ocean and eastern mountains. It also have the largest area of built environment on the planet since the industrial pickle revolution begun.

The Northists leadership comprised of a small number of visionary megalomaniacs who used their pickle status to assert influence and compliance. 

They were not elected but assumed their positions of power when other picklers were too busy trying to survive.

When the region finally prospered, everyone was too fearful or lazy to challenge their leaders and were generally happy with their share of pickles calculated by the Chief of Pickle Distribution Office (CPD).

Despite the ability to produce more pickles than what was required, Inhabitants given just enough pickles to survive and encouraged to compete over excess pickles. The more pickles one had, the better their chances to influence decisions made by the leadership, travel abroad and afford pickle insurance.  

Due to what is known about the history of general scarcity and low yield of pickles over the years, the pickle economy of the north relied primarily on pillaging other areas of pickle planet and, later when pillaging was no longer accepted, Importation (often using ruthless and exploitative business tactics.)

Scarcity, land conditions and lack of trust from other regions drove the Northists to be innovators in the field of pickle technology. They invented ways to preserve pickles for hundreds of years and later, genetically clone pickles. This provided a safety net and Northists became known as the smartest Picklers on the planet because they secured their pickle supply for years to come.

The region is known for excellent scientists and not very popular holiday Pickloos  (They had such a huge surplus of pickles that they began experimenting with pickles as a construction material for structures once made of ice). The Pickloos was a version of the earthly Igloo but with better thermal properties and edible elements which would grow back with help from the sun.

But sun was the only noticeable scarcity in the region people were still complaining about. The Northists craved the sun’s warmth. This longing was the driving force behind their effort to maintain strong ties with the rest of the major winds of the political economy on planet pickle, particularly with the Southists for the purpose of vacationing, and importation of small jars of bottled desert air and sunshine, which they believed contained healing properties which could not be explained by their advanced science.

The thing that worried the Northist the most was shame. As pickle production was getting out of proportion, Picklers realised, they have no unique culture to be proud of, the natural landscape is covered with factories and despite the prosperity, depression and loneliness spread like a plague.

But Northists enjoyed relative freedom. They were avid travellers (the ones who could afford it) but the relative freedom was directly proportional to the amount of pickles they accumulated. Those who couldn’t afford expensive pickle insurance were powerless to look after themselves at old age and had to resort to unpickled produce as an alternative.

Growing voices in the community expressed their desire to have social welfare systems inspired by the Eastern region. The North was notorious for emphasising individual success which amplified the stress, loneliness and depression experienced by Picklers of the region. The lack of cultural cohesion has been a matter the leadership wanted to resolve but science provided no solutions except turning everyone to emotionless robot clones. The government considered this option seriously but ditched the plan as the community seem to reject the idea, mainly because it meant it would not be possible to go on holidays anymore. 

Those challenges were the forces that drove the Northisht to come to the negotiation table with the rest of the regions in an attempt to sign a new treaty to eliminate uncertainty.

2. The Southists of the Great Desert

“The spirit of the great pickle lies in the south”.

Most of the south is dominated by desert dunes. In some remote areas, the temperatures can be so oppressive that pickle supply must be buried underground or in special cooling facilities obtained from the north.

Despite the harsh conditions, the Southist Picklers are known for their spirit. It is in the south that ancient pickle scrolls were first discovered and adopted as a guiding document for pure living, ethical conduct and moral standards.

Through the traditions of song, dance and consumption of psychedelic pickles, the culture developed to be known as the spiritual centre of planet pickle.

Similar to the Northists, The Southist leadership comprised of a small number of visionary megalomaniacs who used their pickle status to assert influence and compliance.

The Southist leadership was a dynasty of religious picklers. They were known for their generosity, and their ruthlessness against anyone who didn’t follow the scrolls or challenge their power.

Trials were always public and there were no prisons as the only guilty sentence for any offence – was death.

The medical system relied primarily on witchcraft and the misinterpretation of the pickle scrolls as some sort of operations manual for the future. Life expectancy in the desert was the lowest on the planet. The only thing they could sell was jars with desert air and coloured sand for tourists.   

There were never many pickles in the dry desert and the economy relied on the donations from other regions and Picklers coming to bathe in the eternal sun.

In stark contrast to the commodification and rationalisation of pickle economy in the north, The Southists glorified and worshipped the Pickle instead of trying to understand how to develop farming and fermentation methods. The leaders enacted strict religious schedule of ceremonies and rituals meant to keep them in power and maintain the status of the pickle as a gift from the Lord Pickle – a historic character many doubt ever existed.

The education system was heavily censored and the regime prevented inhabitants from access to the Northern deep knowledge on pickle science out of fear they will abandon their pickle faith and migrate to the northern pickle society to adopt what was considered as pickle obscenities.

It was promised that if they follow the pickle faith, a spot in the Eastern pickle haven is promised to them in the afterlife, where pickles are naturally abundant and it’s never too hot.

The Southists leadership tolerated different ideologies from across the planet as long as they were allowed to continue undisturbed with ceremonies seen by others as unethical. such was pickle sacrifice and “pickeling” – a form of public execution performed by throwing pickles on a pickler convicted of blasphemy.

Locals lived humbly under strict rules and pickle rations. Tourism brought some economic prosperity to the region which was mainly enjoyed by the rulers.

An average holiday maker to the south enjoyed the strong sense of community and witnessed the love of pickles expressed in rich musical traditions of songs about pickles, and traditional pickle cooking passed through generations of worshippers, learning to make the most out the scarce landscape. In the south, one discovered the beauty of cherishing each and every pickle as if it was the only pickle on the planet. This was the Southists way of life.

After a series of incidents relating to the misuse of pickles and the wide spread of disease associated with poor fermentation hygiene, Southist leadership reluctantly recognised the terrible toll their censored education system and degrading infrastructure had on the region. They secretly admitted they wanted more certainty and have prepared to make some concessions when talks about the inter-planetary subcommittee for achieving certainty began.

To be continued…

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