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TFT *SPOILERS* thoughts, discussions, and future speculation

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: TFT *SPOILERS* thoughts, discussions, and future specula
Post by Julia Minor   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:51 am

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PeterZ wrote:
The Wiemar republic tried to inflate their way out of their debt. Theirs was a problem of too much currency inflating prices faster than production could meet. Siddermark is facing a destruction of capital and so the reduction of the money supply with which to engage economically. The US Great Depression is a better model for that.

The US lost confidence as wealth created with investments using 90% borrowing began to plummet and forcing people to sell valuable assets to make their margin calls. Prices fell independently of the value of the assets.

In Siddermark theft and the destruction of records took away the assets required to create the canal which would return value to the owners of the stock certificates held by the public. The banks used margin and so were doubly hammered when they tried to overcome their losses with their other assets. 70% of the now worthless investments was borrowed, so the banks had to cover that amount from their other healthy investments. Selling those investments created a fire sale with prices of everything dropping below their actual value.


The bits about mandatory loyalty oaths to regain citizenship (and the powers that be not bothering to process oaths from Temple Loyalists ::waves to the ghost of Robert E. Lee:: ) link up closely with the immediate post-ACW period. But you're right about the parallels between the 1929 stock market crash and what's going on in Siddarmark, especially the ridiculous margins being offered on stock.
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Re: TFT *SPOILERS* thoughts, discussions, and future specula
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:40 pm

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Joat42 wrote:What I don't get is why Charis didn't do more to prop up Siddarmark. It would have been easy for them to manipulate the markets and the election to keep a friendly protector in power.

There is no rational argument for not doing it from what I can see, unless they would be so clumsy at it to tip their hand and have a political backlash.

They fabricated evidence to get what they want in the earlier books, why not now?

The whole thing with Siddarmark's economic implosion seems contrived and all the hand wringing in Charis about the problems doesn't make any sense.

The problem was one of confidence. Myllyr had confidence in his advisors. Those relatively honest advisors had confidence in their advisors and agents. Charis did inform Myllyr about the evidence suggesting the corruption. Myllyr did not act because he did not think the accusations had merrit. Forcing the issue would be forcing Myllyr to act as Charis wanted. Supplying evidence from the seijin network may have convinced Myllyr, but it would have also reveal to quite a few people that the seijins are interfering in Siddermarkian internal affairs. Besides providing evidence that seijins are extremely supernatiral, the process would rub many common Siddermarkians' noses in their dependence on Charis. That seems to be problematic.

Also, Siddermark needs to voluntarily accept industrialization on an individual level. Obviously forcing them into industrialization using economic levers controled by outside forces raises many more emotional objections than it overcomes.
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Re: TFT *SPOILERS* thoughts, discussions, and future specula
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:05 pm

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PeterZ wrote:
The Wiemar republic tried to inflate their way out of their debt. Theirs was a problem of too much currency inflating prices faster than production could meet. Siddermark is facing a destruction of capital and so the reduction of the money supply with which to engage economically. The US Great Depression is a better model for that.

The US lost confidence as wealth created with investments using 90% borrowing began to plummet and forcing people to sell valuable assets to make their margin calls. Prices fell independently of the value of the assets.

In Siddermark theft and the destruction of records took away the assets required to create the canal which would return value to the owners of the stock certificates held by the public. The banks used margin and so were doubly hammered when they tried to overcome their losses with their other assets. 70% of the now worthless investments was borrowed, so the banks had to cover that amount from their other healthy investments. Selling those investments created a fire sale with prices of everything dropping below their actual value.
Julia Minor wrote:
The bits about mandatory loyalty oaths to regain citizenship (and the powers that be not bothering to process oaths from Temple Loyalists ::waves to the ghost of Robert E. Lee:: ) link up closely with the immediate post-ACW period. But you're right about the parallels between the 1929 stock market crash and what's going on in Siddarmark, especially the ridiculous margins being offered on stock.

I would also bring your attention to the actions of Woodrow Wilson and Warren Harding in WWI period and slightly after. Wilson nationalized the RR and Harding had the Teapot Dome scandal as well as several poorly handled labor strikes. All those actions, the WWI debt and the Fed's sharp rate increases led to the Depression of 1920-1921. One might argue that correction was necessary to clear the way for the growth exhibited in Coolidge's administration. A dismal science argument if ever there was one.

I think that this period will contrast with what Hygyns is about to do in Siddermark. Depending on how Hygyns handles the relief payments, he can either jumpstart the economy or continue to depress confidence to engage in private economic activity. Given the level of corruption of the Siddermarkian Oligarchs, engaging in aconomic activity without greasing the right palms will be swimming with hungry sharks. I have very little hope of a sharp, deep and short depression as was the case in 1920-1921. This will be long, deep and brutal.
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Re: TFT *SPOILERS* thoughts, discussions, and future specula
Post by Joat42   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:17 pm

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PeterZ wrote:
Joat42 wrote:What I don't get is why Charis didn't do more to prop up Siddarmark. It would have been easy for them to manipulate the markets and the election to keep a friendly protector in power.

There is no rational argument for not doing it from what I can see, unless they would be so clumsy at it to tip their hand and have a political backlash.

They fabricated evidence to get what they want in the earlier books, why not now?

The whole thing with Siddarmark's economic implosion seems contrived and all the hand wringing in Charis about the problems doesn't make any sense.

The problem was one of confidence. Myllyr had confidence in his advisors. Those relatively honest advisors had confidence in their advisors and agents. Charis did inform Myllyr about the evidence suggesting the corruption. Myllyr did not act because he did not think the accusations had merrit. Forcing the issue would be forcing Myllyr to act as Charis wanted. Supplying evidence from the seijin network may have convinced Myllyr, but it would have also reveal to quite a few people that the seijins are interfering in Siddermarkian internal affairs. Besides providing evidence that seijins are extremely supernatiral, the process would rub many common Siddermarkians' noses in their dependence on Charis. That seems to be problematic.

Also, Siddermark needs to voluntarily accept industrialization on an individual level. Obviously forcing them into industrialization using economic levers controled by outside forces raises many more emotional objections than it overcomes.

But the point is they didn't do squat even though they knew the graft and other shenanigans where happening which jeopardized the plan. If they wanted Siddarmark to succeed they could have invested more resources and surveillance to nudge them along behind the scene - instead there where a lot hand wringing and nothing else.

Compare that to the support they poured into Harchong, although the political situation there where much simpler which allowed them to be more hands on.

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: TFT *SPOILERS* thoughts, discussions, and future specula
Post by ericth   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:20 pm

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isaac_newton wrote:BTW if the Siddar Loyalists retain power over the long term, force-feeding their anti Charis agenda, then I can see South Harchong, Desnair & Siddermark becoming allies or at least friendly to each other.
:-(


I believe it was at the November signing for Uncompromising Honor when RFC said that unless Charis is very lucky they could see themselves facing an alliance just as you describe.
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The Key...
Post by Joat42   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:29 pm

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In the opening chapter Nahrman posits that something has gone wrong with the Archangels plan and it seems "nobody is home" which is why the OBS doesn't do anything and the Temple didn't react to Merlins presence.

What if the Key is just that, the key component to awaken the OBS and the Temple. It's entirely possible it is housing the AI that's supposed to control everything and the current system is just running on automatic backups.

How and why is another question, maybe Schueler didn't agree which the other survivors and this was his way to derail the plan.

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: TFT *SPOILERS* thoughts, discussions, and future specula
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:30 pm

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Joat42 wrote:What I don't get is why Charis didn't do more to prop up Siddarmark. It would have been easy for them to manipulate the markets and the election to keep a friendly protector in power.

There is no rational argument for not doing it from what I can see, unless they would be so clumsy at it to tip their hand and have a political backlash.

They fabricated evidence to get what they want in the earlier books, why not now?

The whole thing with Siddarmark's economic implosion seems contrived and all the hand wringing in Charis about the problems doesn't make any sense.
PeterZ wrote:The problem was one of confidence. Myllyr had confidence in his advisors. Those relatively honest advisors had confidence in their advisors and agents. Charis did inform Myllyr about the evidence suggesting the corruption. Myllyr did not act because he did not think the accusations had merrit. Forcing the issue would be forcing Myllyr to act as Charis wanted. Supplying evidence from the seijin network may have convinced Myllyr, but it would have also reveal to quite a few people that the seijins are interfering in Siddermarkian internal affairs. Besides providing evidence that seijins are extremely supernatiral, the process would rub many common Siddermarkians' noses in their dependence on Charis. That seems to be problematic.

Also, Siddermark needs to voluntarily accept industrialization on an individual level. Obviously forcing them into industrialization using economic levers controled by outside forces raises many more emotional objections than it overcomes.
Joat42 wrote:But the point is they didn't do squat even though they knew the graft and other shenanigans where happening which jeopardized the plan. If they wanted Siddarmark to succeed they could have invested more resources and surveillance to nudge them along behind the scene - instead there where a lot hand wringing and nothing else.

Compare that to the support they poured into Harchong, although the political situation there where much simpler which allowed them to be more hands on.

Harchong was willing. They believed that charis was acxtually trying to help. Siddermark did not believe that Charis wanted to help as much as they wanted to take advantage of circumstances. Had Greygohr not died or Henrai for that matter, they could have pulled it off. Siddermark could have pulled themselves out of the muck. Charis could not have acted without making it obvious that Siddermark DID NOT solve their own problems. Engaing in the tech necessary to manipulate events would have danced too close to people claiming demonic aid. Also, at one point each sovereign country has to make its own decisions and live with the consequences.
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Re: TFT *SPOILERS* thoughts, discussions, and future specula
Post by noblehunter   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:34 pm

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I seem to remember a conversation from the first arc of the series that Merlin was justifying a lot of meddling during the Jihad as wartime exigencies and that he'd have to scale back so as to ensure it doesn't become a habit. I think this view helps explain Merlin et al.'s unwillingness to take covert actions in Siddarmark.
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Re: TFT *SPOILERS* thoughts, discussions, and future specula
Post by FriarBob   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:51 pm

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PeterZ wrote:February of 916 has Howsmyn cataloging the losses in Siddermark. There are manufactories owned by Charisians in place. Those manufactories supplied the Trans Siddermark RR. That includes making automotives. There weren't many of them, but they were built within the last 3-4 years of the story. That means latest generation compressor turbines and pneumatics in addition to the latest steel mills. These manufactories were not widespread but whatever partially owned Charisian owned enterprises there were was top of the line tech.


OK it's going back several pages now but I missed this mistake earlier.

Sorry PZ, but it is a mistake. That they are *probably* higher tech than what Harchong and/or (especially) Desnair can come up with is quite likely. That they are "top of the line" is simply unproven.

And while the automotives clearly had to be built somewhere, we have simply NO evidence one way or another for where they were built. Desnair was clearly buying some but intending to build the rest. Siddarmark said jack squat about it. Maybe they bought them. Maybe they built them. Maybe they built them in locally-owned manufactories. We simply have no evidence one way or another here.

There's also zero "proof" that the steel-mills were Charis-owned. The text is that the depression "will pretty much finish off" the Canal Consortium (for obvious reasons primarily dealing with money, not industry), but they don't know yet what will happen with the TSRR. In many ways that's (sorta) proof that they were NOT primarily Charisian industries. No doubt there were some of course, but not all. If they were, then obviously those industries would be seized, and the corruption and mismanagement to come would obviously sink the TSRR too. Now embezzlement and fraud will have "no limits" which means more iron rails instead of steel and people getting hurt or dying and all sorts of other bad stuff, but the TSRR is actually "not dead yet" in more or less a Monty Python sort of vibe.

And finally on the TSRR we have no proof the industries were actually built in the last 3-4 years. The TSRR itself was, duh. The industries no doubt had to be expanded for this. But built? Maybe, yet not proven. And remember that they were buying rail from local (and corrupt) suppliers. Despite the fact they needed a LOT of rail, the corrupt procurement process (combined with prejudice and stupidity) very likely actually means they did not build new Charisian-owned (or even semi-funded) steel mills for this. Which means that those top-of-the line turbines you envision probably were actually not there after all. Not, at least, in large numbers.

Then we have all the stuff about Mantorah, which was Charisian style industries. Not Charisian owned. And we also have that this happened because the Charisian Quarter was so devastated by the Sword. Which means it started 15 years ago, not 3 or 4. So the odds of that being fully up to date are also... remote, to say the least. Better than Desnair, very likely. Fully up to date, not likely. Not even slightly so.

PeterZ wrote:The Siddermarkians working there are trained and their output has no internal customers to supply because of the economic depression. South Harchong industrialists would be foolish NOT to seek out those manufactories after their break with Charis.


This part, however, I agree. They would be stupid not to seek out people they can hire to help them improve. But despite it being so stupid, I'm not convinced they'll do it. After their Emperor cut of his nose to spite his face, they may be afraid he'll accuse them of being 'traitors to me and God' (in that priority order, heh) and making them the next round of executions.
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Re: TFT *SPOILERS* thoughts, discussions, and future specula
Post by Kufat   » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:06 pm

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I really liked this one and I'm sure I'll be rereading it, but it felt a bit like a collection of B-plots. I enjoyed meeting all of the new characters and seeing the latest events in the lives of the ones we already knew, but it seems like the central plot of the series was only significantly advanced in the very last chapter.
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