Economy of Caphiria
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The economy of Caphiria is the is the world's second largest economy by nominal GDP and the world's third largest economy by purchasing power parity. The economy exhibits the deregulation and minimal subsidization of a laissez-faire capitalist country. However, the extreme intervention of the government in certain markets - like public transit or national defense - is characteristic of state capitalism. On a national level, Caphiria's markets are dominated by monopolies in sparse competition while, locally, small businesses flourish on their social advantage in retail.
Caphiria has the largest economy in the continent of Ixnay and one of the largest in the world. Its diverse industries of manufacturing, technology, management, agriculture and the Caphiravian Stock Exchange, proudly maintaining a Consumer Confidence Rate of 100%, and a Worker Enthusiasm Rate of over 84%. A major factor in Caphiria's economic success has been its foreign investment portfolio, having vested controlling interests in dozens of markets such as real estate, setting up manufacturing plants, welcoming foreign business and having low corporate tax rates.
The modern economy is 49.2% private activity, 42.7% federal-provincial government and a booming 8% black market economy. Meanwhile, a postindustrial economy is indicated by the country's small manufacturing and labor sectors (14%), and large (86%) service sector. The reason for this is that labor intensive jobs can be replaced by automated workers needing one technician where a thousand workers were once necessary. Sectors like agriculture account for a mere 0.01% of the labor force, as farming is nearly totally automated. The state's agricultural output is still $14.1 billion. However, Caphiria has a balanced economy where no single type of job accounts for a disproportionate amount of economic activity. This protects the economy from long-term shortfalls in particular sectors that can result from changes in the structure of the economy.
The Imperial Bank of Caphiria (Uccedonentaria) estimates that Caphiria's GDP is $45 trillion; Caphiria's GDP per capita,$40,909. However, it should be noted that per capita GDP does not necessarily reflect the median or minimum incomes of residents and citizens. Inflating average measures of wealth is the prominent share of Caphiravian capital held by rich business magnates and patricians.
Currency is also regulated via the Imperial Bank, which also serves as the central bank (though it does not maintain power over the financial sector, which has its own regulatory body). Caphiria's fiat currency is the Aureus dollar (₳). It also maintains a legacy currency, the copper Uncia (₡). The legacy currency tends to be used by the less affluent, in rural areas and less developed regions of the nation. Backed by precious metals gives the government yet another avenue in which to expand and diversify their interests further, maintaining strong relationships with foreign traders.
The economy has gone through two major recessions in modern history: the first was from 1998 - 2002 and the second was from 2011 - 2014. Caphiria's natural rate of unemployment fluctuates around 1-3.90%. However, unemployment protection is almost non-existent. The federal government only assists in the search for new jobs, by facilitating communication. General unemployment benefits have never been offered in the history of the the modern Imperium. Also, unlike the former platonic socialist countries, workers unions are absolutely illegal. There are federal regulations that force guilds to provide a high minimum wage and a safe, non abusive work environment for their workers, but there is nothing in the way of health benefits or of allowances for worker strikes. However, severance pay is very large by government law and every Caprivian worker can expect no less than 35 days of paid vacation. Certain institutions such as federal buildings and schools are not allowed to offer so many holidays but still offer about 20 days. With low regulation, no unions, high minimum wage, and no unemployment benefits, Caprivian voluntary unemployment rate is almost the lowest in the world.
Data collected by the Imperial Census Bureau has calculated a per capita GDP of $40,909. A more meaningful quantity, the median pre-tax income of a Caprivian male, is equal to $44,627. However, Caprivian society suffers from an income inequality deeply ingrained into its history and class system. The top 10% of earners control about 65% of the empire's wealth - the top 1% alone more than 44%. Still, a Caprivian citizen has an incredibly high standard of living compared with residents of other states. Every one of them has access to liberal amounts of food, water, electricity, living space and can afford telescreens, cars, computers, books, entertainment, and vacations in the plural. Non-citizens are not so fortunate.
While 15.5% of citizens live below the imperial poverty line, they would not be considered poor by anyone else's standards of poverty. The minimum hourly wage for a Caprivian is $25.50 which, with accounts for an average salary of $53,244. Such earnings would be considered meager for a Caprivian but is well beyond what the poor non-citizens enjoy. Many of the latter do not even live on an income, sustaining themselves on subsistence farming, while those who are part of urban society can expect $10,000 a year if they are fortunate to even hold a steady profession. Their poverty may not reach the lows of subjugated nations elsewhere but theirs is not a lifestyle that could be envied.
Unsurprisingly, the empire's gender gap is enormous. 75% of women who reported working in the year of the last census earned less than a third of what a male would have earned that year. Women are subject to the same minimum hourly wage as men so their lower income comes from a lack of work hours - a social disparity rather than legal inequality. Regularly working females tend to hold jobs for which men are less suited, e.g. designing women's clothes or men consider degrading to their gender, e.g. prostitution. Other jobs typically held only by females will place them underneath men, like the position of secretary, or keep them by the side of a businessman or politician. This reflects the perception Caprivians possess of distinct gender roles in society. Though to be fair, there have been notable examples of women achieving coveted high ranking positions, but this greatly varies upon how progressive the company is. Quicksilver Industries is a prime example, as a female is on their Board of Directors.
For both genders, work can only begin at the age of 16, when boys receive their toga virilis (toga of manhood), and children can acquire citizenship. There is no legal or customary end to a Caprivian's work life. Retirement is as rare an occurrence in modern as it was in ancient society. Only those who are debilitated by a condition, as most of the elderly were before medicine caught up to life expectancy, retire from their careers. The Latin language does not even have a term which exclusively means retirement.
Caphiria's economic development is the bar by which other states measure their own. Not one Caprivian citizen has starved to death from poverty for centuries. Homeless people are unheard of outside the colonies and the lex doma omni has given citizens the option to take low-interest loans so long as that money goes toward buying a house. When citizens or corporations lacked the means to support themselves the Senate's first action for centuries has been to offer low-interest loans. This policy of microfinancing poverty reduces public dependence on hand-outs and bail-outs while still mitigating the short-term damage from widespread private bankruptcies.
Federal expenditure is largely allocated toward developing infrastructure that supports Caprivian citizens. Structures with which the Senate and imperator are involved include viae (roads), aquae (aqueducts), cloacae (sewers), vehiculae (public transport), teleloquum (communications), and basilicae (public buildings). Caprivian highways are known for providing decades of years of use with little maintenance. The imperium's communication network is supported by 1,289 satellites and hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber optic cables.
Caphiria's leading industry by far is it's arms manufacturing sector, and with the Caphiravian government allocating close to a quarter of the federal budget towards defense, it becomes very obvious why this is true. The province of Legentium serves as the center of Caphiria's massive military–industrial complex with two of the largest cities, Arzercavalli and Mazzo being home to the nation's five largest manufacturing plants and facilities. One company in particular, Shockwave Industrial (which is the largest arms manufacturer in the imperium, a subsidiary of Quicksilver Industries) is so large that the Caphiravian Armed Forces are its largest contractor and supplier, and has depots overseas. Quicksilver Industries is a massive mega-corporation responsible for millions of jobs and trillions in revenue, and it often championed as the "engineering and technological marvel of Caphiria" by many politicians and works alike. The highly privatized and competitive arms manufacturing industry is responsible for nearly 30% of all total annual exports, and is one of the most lucrative markets to get into, aside from the financial and technological sectors.