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Dances With Unicorns

My hobbies include Bicycling, Digital art, Exercise walking, Japanese visual arts, Minnesota history, Model Railroading, Photography, Passenger train advocate, and Writing nonfiction and fiction.

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My “Ponies After People” essay · 2:29pm Jun 22nd, 2019

With the disappearance of the United States federal government and state governments, all antitrust laws have disappeared as well. Imagine you are a greedy pony character that becomes a very wealthy robber baron in a new Gilded Age. This new Gilded Age creates a high concentration of wealth for the few, while creating an era of abject poverty and inequality for millions, along with many other problems.

That means you can own your railroads, with railroad cafes, hotels, and mail services. You can own the passenger bus and freight trucking services to towns and villages that have yet to be connected to your railway network to charge whatever excessive prices you want for your services.

You can own the coal and iron ore mines. You can own the steel mills. You want to run your dangerous machines using foal labor, ten to twelve hours each day, seven days each week? How about making labor unions illegal in your businesses? What about dumping your toxic slag filled with arsenic, mercury, and lead created during smelting for metals into the nearest river, never caring about the downstream ponies that get sick, crippled for life, or dead? What about air that is dangerous to breathe or rivers so toxic that these catch fire? Nothing will stop you from doing that and so much more, as the laws that prevented such extremes are long gone.

You can own industries that use steel such as aircraft assembly plants and shipyards. You can own airlines and shipping companies. You can own the banks that take the profits from one business to build or improve another company that you own.

All the companies you own can have company towns, schools, and retirement homes that you also own. You can pay half to all of your employee wages in company scrip that can only be exchanged in company stores that you also own. How does that laissez-faire business model, based on actual history, sound to you?

So, are you sure you want the United States federal and state governments to disappear forever, forcing the labor ponies to refight all those battles for the rights to fair wages for fair work, ending foal labor, establishing an eight hour day with overtime day, having safe working conditions, the right to create labor unions, and so on?

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Comments ( 1 )

I think this may depend on how long exactly after the Event this happens. In my opinion, a lot of time would have to elapse for the rise of robber barons like that to be possible.

Why? Because were this to happen shortly after the Event, the survivors could just as well take their chances and go live in one of the hundreds of empty town available to scavenge from. Granted, amenities-wise this is a lot less comfortable but if your robber barons go the way of child labour and gruelling work hours, no amount of fancy company stores would convince them to stay.

As for overt violence, this might work short-term to get the first batch of leavers to stay (or worse); but in the long run this will just serve as an eye-opener for the rest and encourage them to either leave or go 1789 on the wannabe tyrant. Oppresion and bans on groups like trade unions wouldn't help either, as the workers would just move on to more covert types of action and maybe even have some of the machinery suffer from 'technical failures'.

But as for your last question? Yes, chances are they will have to refight those battles, if not because of robber barons then because the manpower shortage following the Event will force even the most ethical of organisations to push their workers to clock in more worktime.

And the environmental regulations? Maybe they won't start dumping arsenic in the water or anything that would have direct, visible consequences; but some of the stuff like MARPOL IV to VI (respectively: sewage, garbage and gas emissions) that have a less visible effect will eventually be thrown out of the proverbial window.

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