Choosing a Nation: Money

March 29, 2010

A question your Ultimate Answer often fields from aspiring autocrats is: how to get started on the path to successful overlord? To be sure, citizens, it is a rocky road, fraught with peril, decent falafel too rarely encountered. But in My infinite wisdom, I have observed some key factors that may prove useful to you in your mad quest for power. However, this information is obviously forbidden to citizens of the Independent Republic of Josi, so upon pain of death, I insist that you peons turn your gaze from this series of dictatorial tips. Any bid for control you make in this Republic is doomed to failure. My people are everywhere.

(Your sister has been working for Me since she was five. I won your cousin over when he was still in the womb. Do not trifle with Me, peasant. Click on to some other Dictator-sanctioned website: either the weather or the fuzzy cat sweater site.)

(Don’t think I don’t know that you are still reading this, citizen. Move on to the fuzzy kitty sweaters before My secret forces are knocking on your door)

Well, now that we’re alone, fellow autocratically-inspired, let’s take a look at some key factors in selecting the nation for your brilliant and sure-to-be-successful coup. You have the drive, the insane lust for power, the fierce lack of interest in the well-being of others, and tyrannical urges that you can neither explain nor suppress: you are ready to lead a nation. And yet, you have no nation to lead. Clearly, this is a problem for you, grasshopper. If you are ambitious, organized and already have a cult-like devoted following, you may just want to take the secession route. However, this is not always an option for a young would-be dictator. A more practical route to unlimited control over the lives of others is to take over a country that is already firmly established. But what country? A dilemma, to be sure, which is where your Cold Logic steps in to offer up some words of wisdom.

What makes a country desirable, in terms of ruling over its citizens mercilessly and profiting off their labours to lead a life of unimagined luxury? If “money” did not jump into your head, you are not worthy of the title of even “aspiring dictator”. As the ruthless commander of a nation, you naturally must love authority, but you must also show the peasants your superiority and persuade them of your qualifications to quash their hopes and dreams, and that takes money. To be large, you must live large. No dictatorial residence is complete without an abundance of rare animal skins covering the floors and walls, diamond chandeliers and human sushi buffets.

To get the necessary sums, you can of course tax the citizenry until the fruits of their hard work go straight into your coffers, and this is definitely something you should do. However, squeezing blood from a stone takes time. Make your life easier by taking control of a nation that already has money. This way, once you succeed in overthrowing the democratically elected leaders, you’ll already be rich. No need to wait for the paltry taxes you can squeeze out of the surviving citizens.

Some more experienced dictators may scoff that there is no challenge in this and their criticism is indeed valid. The citizens of rich countries are, by and large, weak and unwilling to take up arms, leading to disappointingly bloodless coups. And having a large start-up fund reduces the need for creative spending. But for a young dictator, a rich country is the perfect opportunity to learn the ways of domination and oppression. Once you learn what you need in this nurturing environment, you’ll be able to move on to more challenging countries, ones which are not so rich, with citizens who are willing to shed blood to protect their so-called liberty.

And of course, there are other factors involved in selecting the perfect country for domination. Some nations, although rich, may not be an ideal target for the younger dictator. Your Thought Expander will take a closer look at these some other time when She is not bored by your presence.

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