Friday, 24 October 2014
"...had begun as a warehouse apprentice at the age of twelve..."
-Poul Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (New York, 2009), p. 346.
Have social conditions retrogressed that far? A technological economy needs literate, numerate, computer-literate and healthy workers and consumers. I would expect the Solar government to provide universal compulsory school education and the Polesotechnic League corporations to pay taxes for public schools rather than to fund and administer elementary training of their employees.
The forty three installments of Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization are our only window on this fictitious universe but we can make reasonable inferences from the texts. Van Rijn asks rhetorically and scornfully whether the urban masses are free. They can be if they understand and make decisions about their lives and careers, even though they are not all merchant princes; not everyone can be or wants to be that!
I would like to read a novel about ordinary life on Earth in the Solar Commonwealth period. For some reflections on the period, see here and here.