Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tokyo - Soon to conquer the world



Okay, so a couple of take-aways - Holy Crap! but Tokyo is densely populated. I mean you hear stories about people whose job is to smush people onto subway trains, and "coffin hotels," and other insane things, but yikes!  (Actually, I first learned about coffin hotels from reading Shadowrun books.)

I did not know Canada had less than 37 million people. Now, it looks like Tokyo is the only city more populous than all of Canada, and mostly by technicality of "urban influence zone" (my term), but whatever. That's a LOT of people.
That's so many people, it has a GDP larger than all but eleven countries.  In other words, Tokyo is the twelfth largest country in the wold - by economic standards.

The concept of "nations" and "states" has been eroding for years, losing ground to economic impact zones, instead.  E.g.  
  • In a welcome counterpoint, even as the nation state descends into paralysis and democratic dysfunction, cities are reemerging as cross border problem solvers going boldly where states no longer dare to go.  (Source)
That means that Tokyo is, for all practical purposes, a country within a country.  If the leaders of the city of Tokyo decided to tell the national government to fuck off, there isn't a lot the nationals could do about it, because they don't want to risk tanking the economy of all of Japan, and by extension much of the surrounding region (including the US imports). Oh, it would have to be subtle, since anything overt would clash with the public mindset, and you've got civil unrest, blah, blah, blah.  But, you can wrap your head around my point. The new Governor has a lot of reach, simply because her sphere of influence is the twelfth largest economy in the world. 

Things like this are also cool to reflect on when thinking about science fiction worlds, or fantasy worlds.

I mean, in Forgotten Realms, you get the city of Waterdeep, which has enormous economic influence over the entire region.  Or, in Pratchett's Disc World, where Ankh-Morpork is a cesspit, but probably also the most influential city in the world, due to the economic power.  Ankh-Morpork is the largest Dwarf city outside Uberwald (or was it actually the single largest, I forget), so Ankh-Morpork dwarves - the liberated little buggers - cause massive upheavals and shifts back ome in Uberwald, because the liberated little buggers control enormous amounts of wealth (sending money "home," and importing goods from "back home").  That also means Lord Vetinari is a god.

So, studying the real world is fascinating, can give you insights into where the world is going, and can also help you build bigger and more exciting fantasy worlds!  Win-win!