"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Travel
March 16, 2007

The Federation of Grosonia

I’ve been having some fun with the nation-building game, NationStates. A few weeks back my fledging little country had a UN description like this, The Federation of Grosonia is a very large, environmentally stunning nation, notable for its burgeoning pig population. Its hard-nosed, hard-working population of 156 million have some civil rights, but not too […]

I’ve been having some fun with the nation-building game, NationStates. A few weeks back my fledging little country had a UN description like this,

The Federation of Grosonia is a very large, environmentally stunning nation, notable for its burgeoning pig population. Its hard-nosed, hard-working population of 156 million have some civil rights, but not too many, enjoy the freedom to spend their money however they like, to a point, and take part in free and open elections, although not too often.

It is difficult to tell where the omnipresent government stops and the rest of society begins, but it concentrates mainly on Education, although Social Welfare and Healthcare are secondary priorities. The average income tax rate is 45%, but much higher for the wealthy. A very small private sector is dominated by the Book Publishing industry.

Schoolchildren have twice-weekly sex education classes, there’s a shortage of swinging hot spots as land development grinds to a halt, reporters often lose their jobs over fact-checking errors, and the average commuter spends four hours a day driving to and from work. Crime — especially youth-related — is totally unknown. Grosonia’s national animal is the pig, which frolics freely in the nation’s many lush forests, and its currency is the Huevo.

But in a few weeks, with some policy changes, it now looks like this,

The Federation of Grosonia is a huge, environmentally stunning nation, notable for its punitive income tax rates. Its hard-nosed population of 227 million are fiercely patriotic and enjoy great social equality; they tend to view other, more capitalist countries as somewhat immoral and corrupt.

It is difficult to tell where the omnipresent government stops and the rest of society begins, but it is mainly concerned with Education, although Social Welfare and Healthcare are secondary priorities. The average income tax rate is 65%, and even higher for the wealthy. A very small private sector is dominated by the Book Publishing industry.

Abortion is only legal in unusual circumstances, legislation sometimes has to battle through weeks of filibustering to pass, expensive lawyers are hired to defend citizens in court for public urination charges against their pets, and anti-government web sites are springing up. Crime — especially youth-related — is totally unknown

The game proceeds by asking you a question a day, on some social, economic or poltical issue and then builds your country according to the response you give. Today’s question really caught my eye,

Secularists have been urging for the government to impose an income tax on religious organizations in Grosonia for some time now, and the issue has finally made it’s way to the upper levels of the government.

The Debate

Self-appointed civil rights spokesman Elizabeth Fellow declares, “Churches are business organizations with a large income. It’s unfair that they don’t have to pay the same taxes that everyone else does. If they really do spend on any money on charity, let them write it off as a deduction just like corporations do. There’s no reason that so-called clergy should be chauffeured around in limos tax-free, when we desperately need funds for public works.”

“Freedom of conscience is foremost among liberties,” says Reverend Hope Jones. “Churches have been exempted from taxation because it is wrong for the government to infringe on the right of people to worship as they please, and that includes charging them for the right to worship. Besides, churches are non-profit organizations that put all their funds back into the community.”

The Honorable Jean-Paul Hendrikson, Minister of Minding Other People’s Business, has an idea: “This religion thing is such a great racket, why don’t we make it a government monopoly? We’ll ban all religions except the Church of Grosonia, and make attendance and donations compulsory. I’ll start writing the Holy Scriptures right away!”

Which option would you choose? Which do you suspect I might have chosen?

[tags] NationStates [/tags]

Responses
brodie 16 years ago

Fernando – I think this is a debate that will happen in the UK for real quite soon, and in answer to your question Hmmmm..I’m still thinking on that one!

Toni 16 years ago

I *suspect* church has just become a state monopoly for Grosonia, but we’ll have to wait and see.

🙂

Paul 16 years ago

i was a nationstate junkie for awhile 🙂

personally i would have gone for 1, be good to see the tax bills 🙂

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Thanks for the comments. I’m waiting for any more comments before revealing my hand.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Enough of a wait – I opted for churches to be subject to taxation. I’ve never entirely felt comfortable with churches having tax-free status for all their activities and often it distorts the true costs and benefits of church activities. From my point of view, churches that are really missional and socially transformative would have far less to fear from this than churches that are holy social clubs and veiled business empires.

Toni 16 years ago

Good man.

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