Overconsumption – a parable

In the mythical land of Fomonia, nestled among enchanted forests and surrounded by impregnable mountain ranges, a great war had just ended. The War of the Four Kingdoms had ravaged the countryside, demolished villages, and claimed countless lives. Finally, after years of combat, the Treaty of Elandrial was signed, and the soldiers began to return home.

King Althor IV faced a pressing dilemma. His kingdom was recovering, but now he had tens of thousands of soldiers returning from the front lines, skilled in combat but lacking opportunities in a peacetime economy. If these men couldn’t find work, it would create a powder keg of discontent that could tear the fragile peace apart. But at the same time, the king couldn’t completely disband his army; the memories of war were too fresh, and the possibility of another conflict loomed large.

Enter Lord Valthorn, a cunning and ambitious nobleman who also happened to control some of Fomonia’s largest iron mines and forges. He saw an opportunity and approached the king with a proposal.

“Your Majesty, what if we keep the wheels of war turning, not for conflict, but for readiness and prosperity?” Lord Valthorn suggested.

Intrigued, King Althor asked him to elaborate.

“We will continue to manufacture arms and armour, not to wage war but to stockpile them. This will not only keep our army in a state of readiness but also provide jobs for our returning soldiers. They can be trainers, blacksmiths, and guards in our factories. They can become the artisans of the great economic engine we will build,” Lord Valthorn explained.

The King was hesitant but saw the wisdom in Lord Valthorn’s words. Soon enough, royal edicts were sent out, and a massive program of military industrialization was set into motion. Factories were built near the mines that were controlled by Lord Valthorn and other nobles who were quick to see the benefit in this new arrangement. These factories became thriving hubs of activity, employing thousands of ex-soldiers and other Fomonians.

As years went by, the army and factories of Fomonia grew ever stronger. Soon enough, blacksmiths were not just crafting swords and armour but advanced siege engines and alchemic weapons. Scholars began dedicating their lives to the study of warcraft, their research funded by the same complex. Guilds were established, academies were built, and even artists found patronage in crafting elaborate tapestries that told the tales of Fomonia’s might and readiness for war.

However, the power and influence of the Military-Industrial Complex began to weigh heavy on Fomonia’s politics. Those with vested interests in the industry became influential courtiers, often urging for a more aggressive stance in international relations to keep the machine well-oiled. Lord Valthorn, now a powerful figure, began to dream of expansions and new territories. His aspirations found sympathetic ears among those who had benefited from the complex. The idea of “peace” started to look less like a blessing and more like a hindrance to the economic juggernaut that had been created.

King Althor IV, now an aging ruler, began to have second thoughts about the beast he had helped unleash. But by then, the Military-Industrial Complex had become a force unto itself—a cornerstone of the kingdom’s economy, a staple of its society, and a major player in its politics.

On his deathbed, the King shared his concerns with his successor, “We have built a sword to defend ourselves, my son, but ensure it doesn’t become the hand that strikes us down.”

In Fomonia, the factories continued to churn out weapons, the guilds continued to train young soldiers, and the drums of war began to sound once more, echoing in the halls of power. The army and factories had become both a shield and a potential sword, hanging precariously over the future of the kingdom.