"Kosha peyu akeh syemtope", said the Savaj Emperor over four hundred years ago about the "peoples' empire" that dominated more than just the lands of modern Utania. Translated it says "Welcome to the land of plenty and more".
Utanians have only a year ago gained their freedom, two years since the Guwimithian Empire that ruled them for 300 years collapsed, but their expectations are high amongst original inhabitants, the Utani. The non-Utani that dominated the dependency economy, through the patronage of Guwimithian courtiers, made millions, and represent more than 95% of the wealthiest 10% of the country. Now, the Utani live in expectation that it is their turn at these same riches.
Instead, urban Utani, deprived their traditional land holdings, work in factories earning C3,000 a year, while the corporations they work for make millions for the enormously better-off non-Utani minority shareholders. Meanwhile, their rural cousins are living on C200 a year each working their lands, while the agricultural corporations, such as Belson Corporation, make millions in profits each year. The Shareholder magazine for Belson proudly reported last year that it made more profit in apple sales last year than it gave to the actual Utani growers.
Utani community farmers are largely held back by the exploitative contracts Belson and others force them to sign. With little command of written ingallish legalese, Utani communities simply sign for the C200 per person they typically make from such deals. In the past ten years, rural Utani communities are becoming increasingly supported by educated Utani lawyers and organisers who have faced brutal repression to negotiate better contracts.
Meanwhile, the government itself is a major shareholder in a large number of the corporations responsible for such rip-offs, such as Belson. They are expected to make C10 billion in dividends from those companies they part-own this year
It is a situation that the Yannists, a loose collective of Utani in the north of the country, say is the root of capitalism and development, and want nothing of it. They argue the Utani people should return to their roots, live in their farming communities and leave the problems of capitalism to the non-Utani. Their concerns caused them to take part in the terrorist action against Zartlam oil exploration vessels in 299 that prompted the end of the Guwimithian Empire. Remaining armed, they vow to fight any attempt to develop the Ramal-Utani of the north-west. In addition, their are recent signs their cousins in neighbouring South Bay are fighting a rebel war with authorities and paramilitaries there.
So, has the government improved matters? President Okarvits appears to have made little actual effort toward the economic freedom of the Utani, but has made considerable progress down-playing the white-vs-brown ethnic/economic war that politely simmers in the country. He has also made moves to redress the terrible ecological damage to the country by the Guwimithian overlords who ordered mass farms to replace jungle and forest in much of the country.
To date, however, his moves toward a real solution for the country's ills have been tepid at best, kow-towing instead to whatever faction in his government appears most powerful. He doesn't appear to know whether he is a militarist -- he has proposed spending C10 billion of a C27 billion budget on military hardware -- or an anti-militarist -- opposing former President Hope's military occupation of the I'ana archipelago. He has only recently decided to largely exempt poor rural communities of income tax through a progressive cooperatives law.
President Okarvits appears to have everything laid out before him -- highly respected, immense popular support, government parties that listen to his every word, a nation with little debt and good natural resources -- yet doesn't quite know what to do with it all, what strategy to take to solving the country's ills.
If indeed Utania is going to once again be the country of "plenty and more", then its leaders will need to take decisive action before the clock runs out and Utani decide to rectify the situation by force.
<tech> The New Internationalist </tech>
Leader President George Okarvits
Economy GDP per capita C3,551 (C6,640 Morania, C13,600 Caboteniasa, C22,000 Christiana). The Utanian economy is growing, but heavily reliant on environmentally-destructive agriculture, and heavily dominated by large corporations. Wealth distribution is heavily weighted toward the east coast cities, and the country has a large rural poor.
Monetary unit Pund
Main exports Agricultural produce, copper, diamonds
Main imports petroleum, machinery, transport equipment
People 46.9 million. Population growth rate 3.47% per annum.
Health Infant mortality 38.7 per 1,000 births.
Environment Mass deforestation severe, with 80% of the natural habitat destroyed.
Culture Ethnic make-up: Utani 76.5%, others 23.5%.
Religion Predominately Cruistian, 90+%.
Language Ingallish and Utani are the official languages, the former spoken by the economically powerful.
Utania has never been profiled before. The Guwimithian Empire was last profiled in 289.
High concentration of wealth on the east coast where non-Utani live. Agricultural corporations exploit farming communities. Richest 10% earn 40% of income; poorest 50% earn 15.3%.
Dependent on external pharmaceutical and oil sources, but self-sufficient for food and most other goods.
While the laws are good, practice in some areas is poor and discriminatory. Poor rural women's health services.
89% but Ingallish literacy, the language of wealth, only 45%. Utani literacy 68%. Only 83% for women.
Poor understanding of rights amongst poor rural Utani. Paternalist and moralist regime in Nystonia state.
68 years compares reasonably worldwide. Poverty, workplace accidents and poor health facilities outside major cities.
President Okarvits is a respected and loved leader, but his administration has, after a year, achieved little to alleviate the position of the poor, rural Utani communities, or to improve the poor level of health services. To date he has spent well-needed funds on building military strength. While the country is significantly better off independent than under the Guwimithian Empire, much more will need to be done, or a revolution by poor Utani against wealthy non-Utani may result.