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The Worthies

The city of Stolc is governed by its most highly valuated citizens, a group collectively known as the Worthies.  It is not an elected body; anyone with a valuation high enough to have earned the title of Worthy is automatically included.


While a hierarchy does exist among the Worthies, it is of little practical use.  The members' rankings are based entirely on their relative valuation, and therefore are constantly in flux.  No one is too sure at any given time how they stand compared to another Worthy.  That uncertainty contributes to a sense of egalitarianism within the group.

Public Agenda

Rather than holding meetings, the Worthies present and debate policies in writing in a public forum known as the Worthies' Wall.  Any Worthy can post an idea or opinion by writing it on one of the Wall's notice boards.  Other Worthies can show their support or dissent by posting their own comments, or by simply adding their name under the writer's.  When a sufficient number of Worthies approve an idea, it is adopted as policy.  There is no process for getting input from the general public.  The people's only recourse to correct an unpopular policy is to reduce their respect for the Worthies who suggested and signed off on it, thereby possibly lowering their valuation below the threshold for membership.


Galtern's island-wide value-based economy grew naturally out of the atoll evacuations that resulted in thousands of displaced people residing in dozens of camps.  Even groups that had a centuries-long history of choosing leaders by election or trial found it expedient, in dealing with the short-term exigencies of camp life, to simply point to someone generally agreed to be an all-around decent and useful person, and have them negotiate for the group's supplies.  Once they moved to permanent settlements, many groups returned to choosing leaders the old way, but those who remained and established the city of Stolc continued to use the system of appointment by general approval.
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