The Tradepact of the Consortiums Document in Creus | World Anvil
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The Tradepact of the Consortiums

The journal headline was a full width splash of ink across the broadsheet, and shouted its headline to the world.   "PRINCEPS SHUTS DOWN UTC MATCHMAKING SERVICE"
"Deemed hostile to the Etoilean interest"   Lily sighed at the headline. "About damned time." She picked up the journal.   "Sorry, I suppose I haven't been keeping up. What's wrong with a matchmaking service?" Alistair tried to read the journal article over her shoulder. "Oh no. An adultery service? Why?"   The guardswoman handed him the journal. "People will pay good money for discretion, I guess. Not my area of work, but I hear that this has caused all sorts of drama in noble circles. Overly adventurous noblemen paying for the privilege of 'slumming it' with the peasantry and other such nonsense."   "As a single man I suppose I don't have a good frame of reference, but I assume when you marry you've figured out who you're sticking with for the long haul." Alistair closed the journal and tossed it on the table. "Still, it had to have been really bad for the Princeps to step in."   "My understanding, based off the rumors, is not so much that the adultery business was immoral, but that it was conducted in secret without the Principality's knowledge. Violation of tradepact." Lily made a mocking gesture with her hands. "It's fine as long as they know about it, right?"   "They?" Alistair pointed at her breastplate, embossed with the Sun of Etoile. "We're both part of the state, here."   "You know what I mean. Stop being daft." Lily poked his finger. "There's us peons doing our jobs, and there's the Principality, the movers and shakers. Stuff like the Tradepact is a big deal to those folks."


The Tradepact of the Consortiums is the foundational document for large merchantry organizations in the Principality of Etoile, defining a set of laws and responsibilities between major Consortiums and the State. In it, the Consortiums promise to abide by a set of rules outlined by the Principality, in exchange for the knowledge that, within the rules, they can take unlimited action and not be subject to arbitrary penalties or state subsumption.

Document Structure


The Tradepact is broken up into three sections - the preambular, the binding, and the clauses of operation. The preambular notes the history of commerce across Saibh and lists many complaints, including the instability of merchant traffic and political intervention in merchant affairs (as well as the reverse). The binding is a general restatement of the authority of the new Principality of Etoile, and both asserts the dominance of Etoilean law as well as defines the repercussions of violating the pact.   The clauses of operation are more extensive, and go into fine legal detail, but can be summed into four basic points:  
  • Private merchant operations of a sufficent size may be referred to as Consortiums. At that size, their signature to the Tradepact is mandatory for continued operations. All private merchantries recognize the supremacy of the Principality of Etoile, regardless of size, but the Tradepact imposes additional laws.
  • Consortiums are permitted to organize how they wish and engage in most realms of business, as long as no individual act done by the consortium as a whole or at the individual level are otherwise illegal, and as long as the employees of each Consortium are free to leave (banning labor bondage). This covers criminal activity and political activity. This has one important exception, explained below.
  • In return, Consortiums are expected to support the state in ways beyond simply paying taxes on revenue - they are expected to provide services to the Principality on request as well as to all of its Officers, and may not turn down requests from the Principality barring extreme circumstance. In addition, the Principality is always granted an ownership stake in the Consortium itself, though it is normative for the state to not directly influence Consortium operations.
  • Consortium operations are also further tied to societal growth. While ordinary small businesses may content themselves with self-enrichment, all major Consortium interests must be balanced with the health and growth of Etoilean society and the principle of Progress. Business activity that has a negative effect on society must be presented to the Principality for approval prior to operations (this is why the Scarlet Block is specially restricted to its area of operations in the Etoile Capital City). Activity deemed counter to Progress may be restricted or banned outright at any time.
  • In effect, the Tradepact strongly links the economic mission of the Consortiums with the social direction of Etoile as defined by the Principality, and prevents Consortium business interests from working against the Principality.

    Publication Status

    Scrivener copies of this document are publicly available at any legal hall, but the original four signed copies are on display at the Minister's Hall and at The Great Pavilion of the Joint Consortiums.

    Legal status

    The Tradepact is fully binding within the territories controlled by the Principality. While technically actions that take place outside Principality territory are not subject to the rules and bylaws of the Tradepact, the majority of such actions are political in nature (opening trade with islander societies, etc), and may incur the ire of the Princeps.

    Historical Details


    Historically, private accumulation of large amounts of wealth was risky. Large private merchantry businesses always were in danger of becoming political actors; many kings in pre-Unification history were overthrown by wealthy interests exerting political power through their wealth. As a result, many overly wealthy merchants found themselves subject to the paranoia of their petty kings, with their businesses being seized by the state and their wealth lost. This naturally inhibited economic growth and prevented the formation of any large private business organizations.   The First Princeps was well aware of this conundrum, and formulated the Tradepact of the Consortiums as a way to both encourage private enterprise and limit its ability to convert material wealth into political power. At the height of his own power immediately after The War of Unification, the First Princeps summoned many of the wealthiest merchant 'princes' of his new nation and held a summit in the Etoile Capital City in his under-construction Palace.   The precise details of the negotiation have never been made public, but the end of the summit heralded a new era in enterprise, leading to the quick formation of the now-familiar trade consortiums. Vast business interests, comprising of well over five thousand individual employees and with hundreds of millions of Florin in revenue, began to dominate the landscape of commerce, promising newer and cheaper goods as well as rapid advancement in the Etoilean lifestyle.


    While the reaction to the Tradepact was very positive at the outset, the Consortiums themselves elicit mixed feelings in the modern Etoilean era. While it is true that the massive manufactories have improved the standard of living and made goods cheaper, it is largely impossible now for a single would-be merchant to go into a business without being subject to fierce competition from whatever consortium is also in that line of business. As such, the majority of businesses are members of or owned by larger Consortium groups, and the independent merchants are few and far between.   While the restrictions of the Tradepact explicitly bar the Consortiums from interfering in politics or taking political action, the very nature of a large organization that employs thousands of people and determines how much they are paid, where they work, what they learn, et cetera, is arguably fundamentally political. Many observers note the vast power that the Consortiums can deploy through their business actions, despite their 'apolitical' status.
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