Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Microstory 1418: Take As Needed

For a few months, adhocracy in Springfield was successful. Some were responsible for transporting water, while others tended the garden. Some were responsible for preparing the food, which they then handed off to the distributors, to make sure everyone had their fair share, and only that. The families of the future source mages continued to live on the perimeter of the habitable zone, and protected the town from time monsters. They were the only ones exempt from contributing to food production responsibilities. Only a few families chose to isolate themselves from the community. They either already had their own backyard gardens, or built them after the Deathfall, so they wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else. They were allowed to transport as much water from Watershed as they could carry, but they weren’t sent there with a special child for protection. They had only themselves to rely on, but they were still required to follow the basic laws. There was no constitution, and though they figured town probably had a charter written up at some point in its history, it didn’t survive until today. No, the laws they needed to follow were the basic ones that everyone over the age of ten understood. They didn’t have to go out of their way to help people, but they weren’t allowed to harm them either, and the line between these conditions was often thin. Whatever belonged to any given individual was theirs to do with what they wanted, and no one had the right to take that from them. Unfortunately, this didn’t mean there weren’t complications. For instance, not all families treated each other with respect, and they were often found fighting amongst themselves. Inter-family relationships created a new level of complexity that put some ownership into question. Who would handle these internal disputes? The Baby Barrier was there to keep threats out, but there was no one on the inside who was in charge of making sure everyone was safe from each other.

They realized that the adhocracy was a nice idea, but the reason bureaucracy was more common was because it allowed policies to be carried out and enforced. They needed a more formal system, so people knew what was expected of them. The bureau-adhocracy. That was a mouthful, though, so they kept the name as it was. Now there was a police contingency, which settled disputes, and conflicts as an unbiased third party, and actively prevented people from breaking the rules. These modifications to the system changed over time. Month by month, year by year, a real system grew from the simple peace. Leaders began to reemerge, and people started to want someone to tell them what to do. This was working just fine, but society wasn’t going anywhere. Nobody shared art, or ideas. They were still limited to a small perimeter of protection, yet each family was somehow also so isolated from everyone else. There were other considerations too. People weren’t taking showers or baths anymore, because transporting water was such an arduous task. If they wanted to develop a piping system of some kind, well, that was going to take a lot more organization, and an adhocracy wouldn’t cut it. Yes, the Springfielders wanted their town back, and they wanted to thrive. So by the end of the era, the Adhocracy was not really an adhocracy anymore. They elected officials, and drew up a real charter. But they kept the name. They were worried that, if they started calling the government something else—whether accurate or not—dissenting voices would rage against it, just because some people don’t like to be told what to do. That wasn’t to say there weren’t disagreements, or that this would all last forever. By the year 2025, technology advanced enough to make the so-called Baby Barrier obsolete, and this caused Springfield to split in two.

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