Capellan Caste System
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The Capellan Caste System is a social class system within the Capellan Confederation based primarily on one's occupation. Unlike comparable social structures in other societies, the Capellan castes are a more free and informal system, designed less to enforce stratification than to instill goodwill and conformity among citizens of the Confederation.
The caste system "officially" began when Chancellor Franco Liao, founder of the Confederation, created an incentive program for workers in the arms industry. In the years afterwards similar privileges were granted to workers in other vital industries until eventually the various incentive programs coalesced into a more structured social system, one whose main purpose became to promote communal harmony between social peers and relieve the burdens of living in an authoritarian state. For its part the government came to recognize the caste system and set its domestic policies around the castes.
On every planet each caste is headed by a leader who, while having no official government powers, is able to use their position to influence the state on behalf of their caste. Likewise caste leaders can exert significant influence over their fellow caste members' thoughts and feelings. In one of the only instances of democracy within the Confederation, caste leaders are chosen by popular vote from among the people.
Entrance into a caste is not determined by birth but by one's aptitude and the approval of the caste's leader, allowing people to switch castes so long as they meet the necessary qualifications. Beyond any special caste-specific privileges, each caste operates a type of social safety net, with members helping each other in matters of employment, medical and financial aid, even protection from state prosecution. It is considered a serious breach for a caste member to deny "caste rights" to a fellow member; instances of offenders even being stoned to death for such a crime are not unknown.
The bureaucrat caste, membership in the Directorship is reserved for government administrators and civil servants up to the planetary level. Given its position in society, and in spite of its relatively small base, the Directorship is one of the most influential castes. Many nobles from the House of Scions are also members of the Directorship, and the two bodies have a close working relationship with each other. Of all Capellan society, those of the bureaucratic caste take the most pride in achieving the idealized Asian aesthetic through proper breeding. Though only constituting a small percentage of the total population, people of ethnic Asian heritage are most associated with positions of leadership within the Confederation.
Scientists, technicians and religious leaders make up the Intelligentsia caste. The literal brains of the Confederation, the Intelligentsia are vital for the continued development of the state, and as such are accorded the highest respect, with many being granted noble titles or large estates. The Intelligentsia are afforded the most flexible living conditions and (short of the nobility) enjoy the highest salaries of any caste.
The Supporters encompass a wide range of professional, white-collar occupations, such as industrialists and the judiciary. The largest portion, and the most widely-respected, of the Supporters caste though are educators. Given their role within Capellan society, educators are considered the cornerstone of the Confederation...provided they maintain the proper political outlook.
Everyone from painters and sculptors to actors and writers make up the Artists caste. While venerated for their works, Artists receive the lowest salaries and benefits of any caste (excepting Servitors). There are several state-sponsored endowment programs designed to alleviate this burden, so long as the artist's work falls within the guidelines of acceptability. In this way the state is able to influence artistic output while not formally interfering in anyone's right to freedom of expression.
Originally a subcaste of the Intelligentsia, the Entitled are medical personnel and other health care professionals. Due to the nature of their work, the Entitled are the only caste who have carte blanche to travel anywhere within the Confederation. Because of the potential for abuse of this right, the Entitled tend to be followed very closely by the Maskirovka to monitor any subversive activity.
The Commonality constitute the bulk of Capellan citizens, made up of both skilled and unskilled laborers. On account of their sheer size and vital role in the Confederation's industries, the Commonality is able to negotiate frequently with planetary leaders on matters of wages, price controls, and holidays. Behind this perception of self-determination though, the Commonality often finds itself under the thumb of the Directorship caste.
For most of Capellan history the Servitors were an unofficial caste, though after the start of the Succession Wars they quickly became the largest segment of Capellan society. Servitors are noncitizens, whether because they failed their citizenship requirement, lost it as punishment or were recently liberated from a neighboring Successor State, who perform the tasks that Capellan citizens are unwilling to do. Servitors have no rights, and historically could be the legal property of any Capellan noble willing to afford the expense. Technically after ten years of service a servitor could become a citizen, but those who escaped this existence were few and far between. The only consolation for servitors was that their children were regarded the same as any other child of the Confederation and had every opportunity to become citizens themselves.
The plight of servitors significantly changed in 3052 when Sun-Tzu Liao became Chancellor. One of his firsts acts was to abolish servitor slavery, make it easier for them to earn their citizenship, and set up a formal caste system for them. The servitors repaid this kindness by becoming among the Chancellor's most ardent supporters and fully embracing his Xin Sheng policy.
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 110-111
- Handbook House Liao, p. 115-116
- Binding Force, Prologue
- The Killing Fields, Ch. 10