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MrEwok

My Optimistic Coruscant

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Reading the RPG Day Edge of Empire mod "Under the Black Sun"  I have had my suspicions confirmed that Coruscant has a seedy underbelly.  This is also the case in a book I am reading called Fatal Alliance. 

 

I must say I am disappointed that the Capital Planet, the shining City on a hill (or planet on a hill...?) has to stoop to such an extent.  I would see an ideal society.  A market place supplied off world and with no prohibitions.

 

The criminal organizations would be on the supply end, off world.  Coruscant would be the home of the 1% and their most trusted workers.  That the emperor would keep information from Coruscant citizens is a small price to pay for peace on the Capital Planet and life on paradise.

 

Why am I wrong?

 

Mr. Ewok

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In Ep II we got to see a glimpse of the underbelly when Anakin and Obi Wan were chasing down Zam Wessell. I think it works for a few reasons.

 

Canonically we only get to experience Coruscant at the height of the Republic's golden age. Which is exactly how you described, but it also serves as a metaphore. Even at its pinnacle, the republic and the Jedi were corrupted. Coruscant serves as a reflection of the Senate.

 

The planet isn't entirely philosophers,  business persons, and politicians. In the clone wars we see warehouses, construction yards, and diners. That means there are many blue collar workers that struggle to make a living. It stands to reason some enterprising criminals would establish black markets and such.

 

When the Empire took over and the corruption of the politics became explicit, this would make the job of marketeers even easier. Just pay a steep fine and those law enforcers would look the other way. Heck, throw in a few extra and they'll help unload the ships.

 

Finally, an entire planet so densely populated is sure to have some intrigue and seediness going on.

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There are always going to be illicit people on every world and Coruscant is home to trillions of them. Somebody's got to handle the transportation and sale of those goods and the dealers/brokers/fencers that operate on-planet will have the best access to all those customers.

 

You think the residents of New York City and Sunny Town, Pennsylvania all drive over to Jersey to get their fix or pawn hot items?

 

For the record, the Republic was a long ways away from its Golden Age in the decade leading up to the Clone Wars. Multiple megacorporations literally owned senate seats and free reign of the rim was all but left to trade guilds and the Hutts. An era where galactic crime and corruption are under control in all regions has yet to be filmed.

 

Yet even under the Empire's surveillance-heavy police state a planet-wide city like Imperial Center is too big to effectively stamp out illegal activity, especially in the lover levels. Why keep the black market off world when you just need to bring in the goods under cover of the sheer volume of space traffic and hide down where local law enforcement won't go?

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For the record, the Republic was a long ways away from its Golden Age in the decade leading up to the Clone Wars. Multiple megacorporations literally owned senate seats and free reign of the rim was all but left to trade guilds and the Hutts. An era where galactic crime and corruption are under control in all regions has yet to be filmed.

To clarify, it was Uncle George who told us what we saw in the time leading up to the Clone Wars was the Golden Age. That's why I label it as such.

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Reading the RPG Day Edge of Empire mod "Under the Black Sun"  I have had my suspicions confirmed that Coruscant has a seedy underbelly.  This is also the case in a book I am reading called Fatal Alliance. 

 

I must say I am disappointed that the Capital Planet, the shining City on a hill (or planet on a hill...?) has to stoop to such an extent.  I would see an ideal society.  A market place supplied off world and with no prohibitions.

 

The criminal organizations would be on the supply end, off world.  Coruscant would be the home of the 1% and their most trusted workers.  That the emperor would keep information from Coruscant citizens is a small price to pay for peace on the Capital Planet and life on paradise.

 

Why am I wrong?

 

Mr. Ewok

Because all those people that make up the 1% still need the other 99%. Cooks, cleaners, drivers, stores of all kinds (clothing, food, etc...) and all those people need people as well. Just look at any capital city on Earth and you can see that they contain everything from the blue collar workers all the way up to the wealthy elite. Coruscant is no different. And just because some high and mighty law is put in place to make something illegal doesn't mean people will stop. Just look at what happened in the US under prohibition (and since then the War on Drugs).

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Uncle George also said Jedi Masters don't use lightsabers but he tends to change his mind several times between the writing the script and re-releasing the movies.

 

I get what you were going for, though. Relatively speaking yes, the Republic was in a golden age compared to the previous millennium's dark age during the Sith Wars and from the aftermath of the Clone Wars leading to the Empire.

 

But I think the biggest shortcoming of presenting Coruscant/Imperial Center as 100% clean-cut isn't accuracy or believably but variety and story options.

 

Telling your party "yes, you can sell those spare items you 'acquired' in the last encounter, but it'll be tough to find the right people who won't be suspicious" is better than "No, you'll have to travel to another system. The Empire has cracked down on all unlicensed street vending and seedy pawnshops, even down in the alien quarters where the sun never shines."

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If there's one recurring theme in Star Wars, in my opinion, it is *income inequality*.

 

You never see a 'middle class' in Star Wars, you tend to see the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor.

 

Coruscant would be no different. Considering there are many many billions of people on Coruscant, there is only so much wealth to go around and the ones who have it hoard it as much as possible.

 

This leaves plenty of poverty and opportunity for crime and the underworld.

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If there's one recurring theme in Star Wars, in my opinion, it is *income inequality*.

 

You never see a 'middle class' in Star Wars, you tend to see the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor.

 

Coruscant would be no different. Considering there are many many billions of people on Coruscant, there is only so much wealth to go around and the ones who have it hoard it as much as possible.

 

This leaves plenty of poverty and opportunity for crime and the underworld.

You don't see the middle class because they are the ones just doing their day-to-day jobs as managers, engineers, etc... and so won't be seen mixing with the rich elite or slumming with the poor.

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Reading the RPG Day Edge of Empire mod "Under the Black Sun"  I have had my suspicions confirmed that Coruscant has a seedy underbelly.  This is also the case in a book I am reading called Fatal Alliance.

 

The Clone Wars animated shows goes into this quite a bit.  It looks like most of the people on the planet live their lives underground and never see the sun.  Ahsoka's comment "I would have thought working for the Jedi would have paid better" is pretty indicative.

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I must say I am disappointed that the Capital Planet, the shining City on a hill (or planet on a hill...?) has to stoop to such an extent.  I would see an ideal society.  A market place supplied off world and with no prohibitions.

 

The criminal organizations would be on the supply end, off world.  Coruscant would be the home of the 1% and their most trusted workers.  That the emperor would keep information from Coruscant citizens is a small price to pay for peace on the Capital Planet and life on paradise.

 

Why am I wrong?

Yes, quite wrong. (not trying to discourage you. though)  Where living beings are concerned, utopia will just never exist and the naive always think they can have it if they have enough money or power.  Not trying to push political buttons here, so don't flame me, but you always hear our president hint that if only he had the power in himself to solve all of these great problems.....but alas.... it's just not realistic and does not take into account human nature as we see with some policies passed when they had the filibuster-proof majority for two years.  I wouldn't think that living beings would be able to live in such an ideal state as you seem to describe. Maybe it would APPEAR as such, but it would never truly exist (even in sci-fi fantasy).   

 

In a different way, Hitler eliminated all opposition and had sort of an utopian state (albeit, evil "ideal state", as you say), and STILL had assassination attempts from within the ranks all over the place.  The problem with an "ideal state" is that everyone wants to run it. And when one someone runs it, someone else thinks they're doing it all wrong and want the power for themselves. ...and not always in an evil way. They believe THEIR side is right (re: US politics) and they are the good guys with the better idea who are trying to take over for the betterment of society.  Even if things are going superbly, one party thinks they can do better.  Palpatine wanted to "bring peace and order" to the Galaxy and just needed the power to do it.  So achieving an "ideal state" is often used as an excuse for self-promotion. 

 

Cosmetically... 

To play it out, think of Washington D.C.  Looks nice to tour around and see the buildings, monuments, and see 'important' people in-office. Just don't walk 'through' D.C. from one end to another at night and don't listen in on those meetings behind closed doors and away from the cameras!  

 

I actually kind of like that the surface-dwellers are where the more affluent live and the further you get from the surface, the less civilized you get. 

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If there's one recurring theme in Star Wars, in my opinion, it is *income inequality*.

 

You never see a 'middle class' in Star Wars, you tend to see the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor.

 

Coruscant would be no different. Considering there are many many billions of people on Coruscant, there is only so much wealth to go around and the ones who have it hoard it as much as possible.

 

This leaves plenty of poverty and opportunity for crime and the underworld.

You don't see the middle class because they are the ones just doing their day-to-day jobs as managers, engineers, etc... and so won't be seen mixing with the rich elite or slumming with the poor.

 

I see middle class all over in Star Wars. Han Solo, middle class businessman smuggler.  Owed a little money.  Luke was on a middle class farm on Tatooine with vehicles, droids, and all sorts of technological devices. He was even considering going to the academy.  Jawas? Middle class merchants.  Obi-wan? Retired, set up doing well.  Lots of employed middle class bounty hunters going around.  Cloud City? Nothing but middle class (except for those little guys running the carbonite freezing station).  In all of the others, there always seems to be thriving businesses in operation in all of the scenes. No boarded-up businesses and starving people in the streets that I saw.  

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That's an interesting perspective, I hadn't thought of those characters in that way.

 

Personally I still feel it's just part of the political narrative woven throughout Star Wars, a narrative about a society that seems to be indelibly corrupt. One of the symptoms of that corruption is huge wealth inequality. Han Solo seems itinerant to me, he doesn't seem middle class. I think the Lars family were poor people in a very poor society. I also read Cloud City as being populated by the very wealthy.

 

I see the representations of the very rich and/or powerful in the political figures of Star Wars and in the crime lords. Tyrants like Jabba the Hutt dominate a huge proportion of the planet of Tatooine. Politicians are out of touch with the suffering of the common people because they take advantage of the system to enrich themselves.

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This thread has me considering making an NPC from somewhere mid-rim. As a child he or she visited coruscant in all its splendor. He or she grew up in support of the Republic and then the empire. Finally their rose-tinted glasses were shattered when they later had to visit Coruscant as an adult and experienced the lower levels for himself.

 

"How could Emperor Palpatine let his own people suffer like this? How can he allow such corruption in the heart of his empire?!"

Edited by kaosoe

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Also, law of averages.

 

In a planet of Three Trillion Beings (yes, Trillion) the numbers are WAY against you for having a society that is a utopia.  Nevermind the fact that the majority of that population lives below the highest districts, and as has been stated may never see the sky.  That's going to engender a lot of social and class warfare.  Warfare that keeps this population of three trillion beings from dealing with the larger picture, like the fact that the Empire is evil and using fear to control the galaxy. 

 

Seriously, if Coruscant's populace ever got organized there's nothing the Empire could do to stop an overthrow of the upper class.  Keep the masses distracted with each other and they'll bring themselves down.

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In stories I have heard form the way back when, Coruscant was such a Utopia, but the someone put the two biggest criminal entrerprises in the mulitiverse on the planet and its all downhill from there.

Those ofcourse being the Senate, and Empire Administration. :)

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In stories I have heard form the way back when, Coruscant was such a Utopia, but the someone put the two biggest criminal entrerprises in the mulitiverse on the planet and its all downhill from there.

Those ofcourse being the Senate, and Empire Administration. :)

Except those "seedy underbellies" exist everywhere, just like they do in our world. The only way for Coruscant to be an utopia would be for no one to be living there... and even then it wouldn't really be an utopia as whatever life that was living there would be in a state of competition with each other. Even plants fight each other for survival.

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I guess it depends on each table, but I'd advise against making the Empire anything 'utopian'. At best, it's a dystopian 1984-style dictatorship, repressive but 'at least the trains run on time'.

 

For our game, Coruscant is a disputed zone, with much of it in civil war.  Emperor Tarkin has decamped to the Death Star due to the unrest.  Imperial propaganda says everything is under control, but nobody believes that any more.  Statues are being toppled, independent governments are being set up (not all of them better than the Empire was).

 

If anyone's really thriving here, it's Black Sun, outwardly legitimate as the head of the 'Scum & Villainy' faction which also incorporates the Hutts, Mandolorians and various pirate fleets. If Coruscant gets free elections, Xizor would be favourite to become ruler.    

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Thanks for all the great replies!  I understand the nature of things, especially where ever you have big cities you have crime.  Likely because the number of opportunities and rewards for crime out number the resources to police it more than in a smaller settlement.

 

Thanks again!  MrEwok

 

 

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There are the lowly populated basically frontier worlds, the middling worlds, and then there are the vastly overpopulated worlds. Those have so many people that it is just... not even the Emperor can herd that many cats. Any why would he want to? You can't change it without bombing it flat and starting over, and what is the point to that?

 

They are there, there are too many of them, and they are never going anywhere else. Not only that... they like it there.

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I Also Think About The Empire Itself. Many Non Humans That HadHigh Paying Jobs Lost Them And Would Have Become Desperate. Its Easy To Keep Your Morals When Your Family Isn't Starving. Non Humans We're Drummed Out Of The Military. Our Own History Shows That Without Skills To Fall Back On, Piracy And Gangs andWhat They Will Turn To. Courscant Would See This On At Great Extremes. It Was A Melting Pot Of Species And Cultures. Shops Would Have Been Closed OrGiven To Humans. Aliens Would Have Been Kicked Out Of Their Homes For Humans To Live In. AlsO Coruscant Is A Hub For Trading And A Financial Center. Why Did Al Capone Take Chicago. WhyIs The Mafia In New York And Boston. Making It Sci Fi Doesn't Change Nature And opportunity.

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