UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

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HellCat
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UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by HellCat » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:11 pm

One of the things that confuses me about the UC setting is the logic behind those that live on Earth and those who live in space. The general idea offered is that the rich and politicians get to live on Earth, whilst everyone else is bundled off into space in some form and this is what gives root to the soldiers of forces such as Zeon.

However, I don't feel this adds up. Across the UC we tend to see any number of general folk living on Earth such as money starved fisherman families in ZZ. Obviously by the time of V the idea of 'illegal immigrants' living on the planet is a talking point but prior to this the general idea presented seems to suggest that to live on Earth you have to be of influence.

So what's the deal? Just how 'elite' is that Universal Century Earth?
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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by Kenji » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:46 pm

Y'know, that always struck me as pretty suspect, too.

Logically speaking, is it even possible to shoot poor people into space faster than population growth? How much would such an effort even cost? If the rich have to foot the bill (even if every poor person they jettisoned into space had to pay it back by indentured servitude, or whatever), how is it worth the effort and cost?

Even beyond that, I was always under the impression that the vast majority of mankind lived on Earth in the first UC (something like 9 billion on Earth, 2 billion in space, total of 11 billion). The One Year War liquidated half of mankind (or so they say), which should leave us with 5.something billion. Mostly on Earth, 'cuz Zeon exterminated, what, four whole Sides?

So when, say, Unicorn attempts to retcon a Victory-era political argument to cover the whole of the Universal Century, how does that match up? Does this mean that a serious attempt was made to evict the masses of Earth was made after UC 0100, thereby draining the Earth Federation's treasure (and, most stupidly, giving the Spacenoids the lion's share of manpower)?

Or was it always just a political argument that makes no logical sense, but people believe anyway? Gundam has had its fair share of those. Perceived that way, then it's just a Zeonist justification for invading Earth that diffused among the greater Spacenoid population.
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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by Deacon Blues » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:23 pm

Uh... where exactly is Unicorn attempting to do that to V Gundam?

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by Kenji » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:37 pm

Well, in that case, my bad.

Char might've mentioned it at some point. Maybe it gets mentioned every other episode of every UC series by every other character and I just don't remember.

Even if that is so, how is this apparent discrepancy resolved?
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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by Chris » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:58 pm

I think the "Earth people are elites" is probably just some popular misconception among colonists. At the beginning of MSG, when Bright is having a conversation with Sayla where she's being dodgy about her past, he mentions it's his first time in space. She then says he's one of the Earth elite, which he protests. Given the truth of what we see about Earth, I figure it's just an urban myth that spacenoids choose to believe because most of them have never been to Earth to see that it's not true.

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by padre » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:20 pm

The narrator of the Mobile Suit Gundam novel says this: "But on Earth more and more people began to rebel against the idea of emigration, and they petitioned the Earth Federation for permission to continue inhabiting the planet, to "preserve the native human stock," as they put it. As Earth residents, however, they still insisted on retaining the right to rule over all the space colonists."
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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by InjuredPelican » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:34 pm

padre wrote:The narrator of the Mobile Suit Gundam novel says this: "But on Earth more and more people began to rebel against the idea of emigration, and they petitioned the Earth Federation for permission to continue inhabiting the planet, to "preserve the native human stock," as they put it. As Earth residents, however, they still insisted on retaining the right to rule over all the space colonists."
Which sounds more like political elitism than economic, even if both often follow one another. It may simply refer to the elite of earth, who of course stand above all people, Earthnoid and Spacenoid alike. But it is common practice to take a small group and project their image onto a larger group to serve a political message.

After all, Side 3 was very powerful, with the Zabi family as a full on royalty with all the perks that entails, so they were elites of a society themselves.
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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by Deacon Blues » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:17 am

One thing that I noticed that was overlooked was the effects of gravity (or lackthereof) of those living in space versus Earth. Typically the spacenoids should be much weaker than those living on Earth, but I guess everyone is equal. Though I am surprised the Zeon didn't have a horrible reaction to gravity when they first descended to Earth.

The only anime I can think of off the top of my head was the ZOE: Idolo that illustrated the "Earthnoid is stronger than a Martian" point.

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by toysdream » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:39 am

The colonies rotate to provide the equivalent of full Earth gravity via centripetal force. (It's not clear that this would actually work in the long term, but obviously it's hard to check.) If you're living on a planetary body, on the other hand, you're stuck with the natural gravity; Martian gravity, for example is half that of Earth, and the moon's is only one sixth.

This is one of several reasons why colonizing other planets is pretty stupid, and why a lot of 20th century futurist types proposed building satellite colonies instead. It's also why the population of the lunar cities in U.C. Gundam is meant to be really tiny compared to that of the colonies - Tomino notes this in his Zeta and Victory novels. All the low-gravity effects that Deacon notes would apply to lunar and Martian colonists, not to the regular space colonies.

Regarding Kenji's question: I think you have the proportions reversed. Most of the published sources say the balance is more like 9 billion in space, with Earthnoids the minority, although as discussed in this recent thread there's a fair amount of evidence that it's initially closer to a fifty-fifty split.

And as for the initial question, it's entirely possible that the colonists think of anyone who lives on Earth as "elite" but the Earthnoids don't think of themselves that way - at least, not compared to the rich, the politicians, etc. That seems like pretty typical human behavior, right?

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by Deacon Blues » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:45 am

The gravity of Mars is actually 38% that of the Earth, but that's splitting hairs ;)

I suppose another reason for the whole "elitism" could stem from the fact that the colonies are a rather confined space where people don't really have the luxury of spreading out. I'm sure rumors of many of them having slum-like conditions circulated at one point in time. With what the Unicorn novels pointed out about the mass exodus of the poor to make up the construction workers and what not, perhaps the colonies could be viewed as a sort of third world country compared to life on Earth. Then again, that may be a stretch...

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by zetatype » Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:22 am

I have to agree with Chris, the notion that only the Elite live on earth is a misconception at best and at worst propaganda. It's really no different than things like racial or cultural stereotypes. People tend to paint entire groups in broad strokes and assume that just because some people fit the stereotype that everyone in that group must be the same. The whole earth elitism thing reminds me of the notion that only the poor were forced into outer space during the early decades of the Universal Century. However, in episode 4 of UC gundam the old man at the dinner mentioned that many people left earth on their own.

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by Kenji » Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:22 am

toysdream wrote:Regarding Kenji's question: I think you have the proportions reversed. Most of the published sources say the balance is more like 9 billion in space, with Earthnoids the minority, although as discussed in this recent thread there's a fair amount of evidence that it's initially closer to a fifty-fifty split.
Given the mood of the Spacenoids, and how "elite" rarely refers to a larger portion of the population, and the impression I have that Victory's Earth is depopulated, reversing the proportion seems the only logical course. I'll ignore the whole logistics angle, because I don't think that can be answered with the deck stacked this way (though, if anyone wants to try, go on ahead).

I've wondered for awhile what the economics of this Earth Sphere system involve. I recently read a description of the O'Neill colony system that seemed to indicate that it'd revolve around massive power generation via large solar arrays. Presumably, the canister clusters provide personnel for building and maintaining these arrays, which would ultimately create a new energy market.

Since Gundam follows pretty closely on O'Neill concepts, like the Island Three colonies and lunar mass drivers, would it be too far of a stretch to assume that it also adopted this solar-based energy economy?
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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by domtropen » Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:53 am

A thing to note is that what we see in anime is mostly after the great catastrophe, which should have very large worldwide effect on economy and living conditions on lots of people on Earth for months if not years. With such huge disaster it is unlikely that lots of people can remain rich and carefree.

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by Andrew_Graruru » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:10 am

I always found this odd too, but I would argue that the Marcenas dynasty in Unicorn gives some evidence of the Earth Elite. Looking at their home, a verdant mansion in the American south, it's easy to see why the more disenfranchised colonists would see their politicians as a kind of uncaring elite. Not to mention that we see when Marcenas talks to Martha that he seems to consider civilian lives more calculable than the deaths of politicians (Who I assume are what are classed at the 'elite') When talking about the attack on Lhasa.
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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by YazanGable » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:51 pm

toysdream wrote:The colonies rotate to provide the equivalent of full Earth gravity via centripetal force. (It's not clear that this would actually work in the long term, but obviously it's hard to check.) If you're living on a planetary body, on the other hand, you're stuck with the natural gravity; Martian gravity, for example is half that of Earth, and the moon's is only one sixth.
Looked at in this light, the fact Kou got the crap beat out of him by Lunarians in 0083 feels kind of sad on his part. Granted, it's not a major gravity difference, but with military training on top of that, you'd think he'd be able to hold up better than he did.

...then again, 0083 in general doesn't fare well under closer inspection, so...moving on.

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by Deacon Blues » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:38 pm

YazanGable wrote:
toysdream wrote:The colonies rotate to provide the equivalent of full Earth gravity via centripetal force. (It's not clear that this would actually work in the long term, but obviously it's hard to check.) If you're living on a planetary body, on the other hand, you're stuck with the natural gravity; Martian gravity, for example is half that of Earth, and the moon's is only one sixth.
Looked at in this light, the fact Kou got the crap beat out of him by Lunarians in 0083 feels kind of sad on his part. Granted, it's not a major gravity difference, but with military training on top of that, you'd think he'd be able to hold up better than he did.

...then again, 0083 in general doesn't fare well under closer inspection, so...moving on.
Kou was also a kid whereas the thugs were adults, sooooo...

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by flamingtroll » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:40 pm

Kenji wrote: Since Gundam follows pretty closely on O'Neill concepts, like the Island Three colonies and lunar mass drivers, would it be too far of a stretch to assume that it also adopted this solar-based energy economy?
Probably not, since fusion seems quite practical by then and its energy density is a lot greater than that of solar power. Solar power would probably just be an alternative but not the main source of energy. It seems like they only use solar power for doomsday weapons, probably because it's free.

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by YazanGable » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:20 pm

Deacon Blues wrote:Kou was also a kid whereas the thugs were adults, sooooo...
He's 19.
That's not a kid by western standards and it's DEFINITELY not a kid by Japanese standards.

Just sayin'

That said, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt in terms of them having superior numbers, but still...age isn't gonna cover him here.

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by Deacon Blues » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:22 pm

YazanGable wrote:
Deacon Blues wrote:Kou was also a kid whereas the thugs were adults, sooooo...
He's 19.
That's not a kid by western standards and it's DEFINITELY not a kid by Japanese standards.

Just sayin'

That said, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt in terms of them having superior numbers, but still...age isn't gonna cover him here.
Um... please note that 19 still has "teen" in the term. He's still a kid. He's far from an adult much like most youth are at that age. Ergo, point is moot.

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Re: UC's Earth born elite- Just how elite are they?

Post by YazanGable » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:29 pm

Any other franchise, I'd give this point.

Unfortunately, it kind of falls flat as logic in a setting where, as a general rule, 15 becomes the age when your life gets serious.

I mean, Kou here is the same age Bright was in 0079.

At 4 years his junior, civilians like Kamille and Judau can throw down against trained soldiers and actually hold their own (provided the numbers are equal. Kamille actually holds up alright until he gets dogpiled.) By comparison, having 19-year-old Kou get wrecked in a fight, while more realistic by our standards, does feel somewhat odd within the setting at large.

So I'll agree halfway. By this standard, it'd be realistic.
But in the grand scheme of the UC, I can only really cut him just so much slack here since, compared to other titles, this makes him a late bloomer.

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