Snapshot: Artunne, the Continental Union
The continent of Artunne has been a single sovereign nation for 348 years.
In our year 2002, a Continental Constitution was signed by representatives of 11 countries, abolishing all state and national borders on Artunne in favor of a single Continental Union, thus beginning a long and spectacular political, social and cultural transformation. In colloquial parlance, the Continental Union is referred to as “the Continent”.
The Continent in Detail
Artunne is the largest continent on Luratia, slightly larger than the country of Canada with a latitudinal range that includes the northern pole and extends, at the southern-most coastal edge, very near the equator. The southern 1/4 of the continent enjoys tropical climates, while the northern 1/6 is considerably cooler and drier (by Luratian standards). A large mountain range runs north to south through the center of the continent. Rain falls here for much of the year, and 4 large rivers have been used for centuries to irrigate the Continent’s arid regions west of the mountains. Prior to the advent of solar power technology, these rivers provided hydroelectric power, one of the Continent’s major sources of electricity until 200 years ago. See also Temperature.
Surrounding the mainland are 20 islands: 4 to the north, 5 off of the eastern coast, 6 off the western coast and 5 along the southern coast. Seven of these islands are home to the campuses of the Transition Schools, specialized international training schools for teenage youth, natives of Luratia’s other nations.
Location & Climate
Situated in the Northern Hemisphere, the Continent’s broad southern coastline lies within the tropical latitudinal zone, providing it beautiful expanses of beaches and tropical coastal towns. Bear in mind that our temperatures are much warmer than those of Earth. It never snows on Luratia, not even on the tallest mountain peaks. Despite Luratia’s thick and quite contiguous cloud cover, we do not experience severe amounts of rain. There are, in fact, arid regions on our cloudy planet. The most well-known of these is the Clarkon Flats, located at the North Pole. Due to the lower density of cloud-cover here, Clarkon Flats is the birthplace of the Continent’s space exploration and solar energy research.
The North Pole
The Continent’s North Pole is one of the driest areas in the world. Here the atmosphere and cloud cover are relatively thin. The greatest number of Pure Sky conditions occur here; some amount of sun shines here over 200 days of our 299-day year. Luratia’s first solar energy collection took place here in 2057. For the next 80 years, our solar technology was refined and perfected and, ultimately, made ready for space. See Space-Based Solar Power.
Just over 127 million people are permanent citizens of the Continent, most by birth (roughly 96%). The other 4% are naturalized citizens, graduates of the Transition Schools. Artunne has experienced 2 significant reductions in its population in the last 400 years:
- In 1922, a massive series of earthquakes, tidal flooding and volcanic eruptions resulting from an asteroid shear claimed 210,000 lives across the continent
- In 2198, a well-tested genetic procedure designed to reduce congenital disease reduced the Continent’s total population by 12% in 5 years and, additionally, decreased the birth rate of an entire generation by 43%.
The Genetic Disaster of 2198, eventuated in 2 monumental and highly beneficial decisions:
- all forms of genetic medicine involving modification or manipulation of gene sequences was outlawed, and
- genetic screening and parental licensure was required for all married couples.
Tribal, state and national borders have been drawn and re-drawn on this land mass over the tens of thousands of years of its inhabitation. Seven hundred years ago, 19 sovereign countries and nation-states co-existed here. Two hundred years later, this number had reduced to 11, due to the unification of 2 groups of countries. The first group to unify were 3 countries in the northwestern area of Artunne. In the year 1716, energy engineers from these countries proposed the idea of a single large irrigation system that would supply water to this arid region from the abundant water sources in the mountain lakes to the east. The project became a group venture, involving manpower and funding from each of the 3 countries. Their irrigation project was so successful that the national leaders were minded to join as a single economic power and later as a single sovereign nation, known as Birin. Before their unification, these 3 nations shared a common language and a common currency, and this greatly facilitated the ease and interest with which they unified as one nation.
Not long after, in 1799, 5 countries in the eastern region of the continent followed suit. This unification was similarly motivated: these countries engaged in a joint effort to provide hydroelectric power to their countries from the abundant waterfalls and mountain lakes to their west. The unification of these nations was spearheaded not by their leaders, however, but by their citizens. Impressed with the social and economic flowering of Birin following its unification, they organized in groups and petitioned their leaders and politicians to “leverage the power of a unified alliance”. Seven years of talks, debates, deals and draft after draft of a national constitution, these 5 countries dissolved their boundaries and became the single sovereign nation of Kolchin.
In the year 2002, Birin, Kolchin and the other 9 nations of Artunne dissolved their boundaries and became the nation known today as the Continent, officially the Continental Union. This unification was not primarily motivated by economic or social betterment, although all parties were impelled by this advantage. The creation of the Continental Union was a natural social-political outcome of decades of cooperative rebuilding in the aftermath of the Asteroid Shear of 1922, which caused massive destruction to virtually all parts of Artunne.
The Continental Union has a representative form of government with a national capital that is centrally located. All governing officials are elected on a meritocracy basis and hold office for no more than two terms; this is true for the highest national offices as well as the elected officials at the regional, local and city levels.
Economy: From Profit Motive to Service Motive
A little more than three hundred years ago, the antagonistic relationship between the two camps of management and labor began a long and arduous phase of adjustment to the Constitutionally-adopted mandate of cooperation. The cooperation model for business included a controversial metamorphosis from a profit-motive economic system to a service-motive system. In typical fashion, when any controversial decision is taken up by a democratic body, a heated competition to make the best argument ensued.
In our year 2011, the new Continental legislature passed a measure that would slowly remove profit-motive practices in place of service-motive practices. In the year 2089, the Constitution was amended to include a provision that the Continental Union shall evolve and maintain a service-motive economy and society. It has been an imperfect success and is no doubt responsible for the remarkable stability and progress of all facets of Continental life.
Related information: The Service Motive Economy
Prior to the unification of the Continent, the nations of Artunne were the most technologically advanced in the world. Abundant resources, excellent educational systems and political interest in technology was largely responsible for this, and in the years leading up to unification, Artunne’s sovereign nations began collaborating on research and development, particularly on those projects concerning medicine, agriculture, space exploration and energy production and distribution.
In the decades and centuries following the Continent’s unification, and largely due to shared knowledge and cooperation, technological advancements of every variety increased phenomenally. This lead to magnificent improvements in the areas of energy, transportation and communications; it lead as well to a number of large and small debacles – those inevitable casualties of the arrogance that tremendous technological progress can precipitate. The greatest of these was the Genetic Disaster of 2198, which reduced the Continent’s population by 12% in 5 years and decreased the birth rate by 43% in an entire generation. This national tragedy eventuated in 2 monumental and highly beneficial decisions: an approach to genetic medicine that forbids any form of genetic modification or manipulation, and the requirement of genetic screening and parental licensure for all married couples.
The Continental Union has dismantled its stockpiles of offensive weaponry. It has no intent to wage war within its borders or against any of the less developed nations of Luratia. The Continent does, however, possess a simple yet powerful military defense against any potential aggressor. A breakthrough in particle beam technology in 2011 lead to the placement of 4 military satellites that provide a defensive shield against a ballistic attack of any kind. The defensive field uses focus particle beams to vaporize the offensive weapon. These satellite defense shields have been used only once, during a demonstration that was noticed by all the world. Since that time, all of the countries and nation states of Luratia have known that they are no match militarily to the pacifist Contiental Union.