Talk:Morporkian Empire

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Surely not Uzbekistan, although that would account for the delayed pay. (Ushistan is nearby Smale.) --Old Dickens 14:03, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Sorry I couldn't remember where that quote was and so I just wrote down what I remembered.Feel free to change it if you find the real one or get more accurate geography.

Thanks for your vigilance.--Beligaronia 07:17, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Roundworld Parallel?

Towards the end of Making Money, Vetinari impatiently squashes Downey's dreams of a resurgent Ankh-Morporkian empire with the words "We've only just got over having the last one".

Is the intended parallel here the 20th century decline and fall of the British Empire, a thing still lamented by older and more reactionary (ie, Downey-like) British people?

The collapse of the British Empire was precipitated by two ruinously disastrous world wars. As we ended up on the winning side in both, we didn't qualify for the Marshall Plan of massive American aid that rebuilt the shattered economies of Germany and Japan (and set the foundations for both our defeated enemies - and very nearly the Italians as well - economically eclipsing Great Britain). We just had to painfully and agonisingly do for ourselves what American aid was doing for others. Part of this rebuilding process involved divesting ourselves of Empire and dreams of world superpower status. any objective observer might have thought that this was the end and Britain would end up in the ranks of dirt-poor countries like Spain and Portugal: formerly world superpowers with massive empires but with nothing left to show for it. The other hidden danger inherent in being an ex-colonial power with diminished status, descending into comparative poverty and powerlessness on the world stage, is the very real danger of becoming a right-wing dictatorship, taken over by reactionary army officers of the sort who bemoan our "once-great nation!" and see it as their duty to prevent the country going to the dogs, by taking it over and running it properly themselves. As indeed happened in places like Portugal, as the last of their Empire slipped away in a series of humiliating defeats and ruinous wars. (Apparently Britain was inches away from such a fate in the late 60's and early 70's, but will this story ever be told truthfully and in full...)

Yet by the end of the 20th century the British were the fifth or sixth richest and most powerful nation on Earth, having clawed a lot of it back by other routes without anyone really noticing. Apart from India and one or two other bits, the British Empire had in fact ceased to be a paying proposition by 1950 and was a financial liability: being able to hand it over to the natives as quickly and decently as possible was at the core of British financial policy for several post-war administrations! (Much to the rage and empurpled fury of reactionaries...)

Is this the analogue for post-imperial Ankh-Morpork? The wars, once far away and ending in net profit, get nearer and nearer to home as the empire diminishes, necessitating more expense and less profit. (Reading between the lines, small countries like Llamedos would have been the equivalent of Ireland or the Boer nation: continual insurrection and expense, until divested.) Resulting in a rump state which, by the time Vetinari takes office, really is bankrupt and on its uppers! Vetinari brings new riches in by other routes and philosophies: of course he would be appalled by the idea of renewed Empire and expensive warfare. --

A cautionary note: Great Britain is getting into the habit of revisiting old colonies and old Imperial wars. Not long ago, we intervened in Sierra Leone, formerly one of ours, with overwhelming military force. Iraq was formerly a de facto part of the British Empire. And currently, the British army is fighting what cynical and historically-minded officers are calling "The Fifth Afghanistan War". Where to next...

AgProv 10:52, 1 September 2008 (UTC)