The Big Three
Plurality, Consciousness, and Militancy
“To dine, drink champagne, raise a racket and make speeches about the people’s consciousness, the people’s conscience, freedom and so forth while servants in tails are scurrying around your table, just like serfs, and out in the severe cold on the street await coachmen—this is the same as lying to the holy spirit.”
Introduction to "the big three"
Herein are contained the three concepts of Plurality, Consciousness, and Militancy—three ideas so powerful and yet so complicated that they merit their own section. Here is my humble attempt at an explanation:
The first of the Big Three, Plurality is essentially defined as your population’s demand of and desire for social reforms and democracy. Think about it: even the name itself implies the meaning—the higher the level of personal input into a society, the higher the level of personal expectation from the government. This value—a percent visible in your country’s political screen—can be thought to stand for how Liberal your country is becoming.
Plurality and the next of the Big Three, Consciousness, are directly related. High Plurality causes the rate of Consciousness to increase and high Consciousness causes the rate of Plurality to increase, so letting either of the two get out of hand can cause a particularly nasty situation.
Plurality can be good for you
Plurality, though, is not necessarily a bad thing. First of all, as mentioned above, Plurality increases Consciousness, which for democratic governments is good because, as shown below, it makes your citizens vote more in line with their desires. So in high Consciousness democracies, the people will vote into power a government that actually represents them. Therefore, since acceptance of the government is a direct factor in the calculation of Militancy (see below), plurality in a democratic government decreases militancy, whereas plurality in an autocratic government increases it. For constitutional monarchies, plurality has no effect on militancy. High plurality also attracts immigrants to your country.
What to do about Plurality
But yes, Plurality on its own—and even cobbled with Consciousness when in an autocratic government—is bad, so what do you do about it? Unfortunately, there is little you can do to decrease plurality. Certain technologies, such as Ideological Thought, lead to inventions which either increase or decrease plurality depending on your form of government, but aside from this, all you can do is try to stem the rate of Plurality growth or reduce its effects.
First of all, keep in mind that if you switch to a democratic form of government, then your plurality can actually help make your citizens happier than they currently are. Second, realize that plurality also increases your Militancy in monarchies, but that the higher Plurality is, the more effective the Militancy-affecting Social Reforms get. So, if you have high Plurality, your health care and minimum wages (see section “Reforms”) will be more effective at mollifying your people.
Besides this, all you can do is try to stem the growth of Plurality. To do this, remember what is the main contributor to the growth of Plurality—Consciousness. Reducing the rate of Consciousness increase will help reduce the rate of Plurality increase. Read on to see how.
The second of the Big Three, Consciousness can be defined as your population’s ability to judge what is best for it. Consciousness is what allows segments of your population to see themselves as interest groups, band together, and try to gain a voice in government. If your POPs are not self-conscious, they cannot do this. The higher your population’s Consciousness, the better their political votes reflect their desires. This way, if your population is majority conservative, they are more likely to vote into power a conservative government than a liberal one, which can happen if Consciousness in very low. Overall, though, low Consciousness POPs tent to reelect the sitting government.
As mentioned above, Consciousness and Plurality are directly related, and the best way to keep Plurality from getting out of hand is to reduce Consciousness. There are several ways to go about this:
Effect of taxes on Consciousness
First, and foremost, taxes contribute immensely to Consciousness. POPs are content being taxed at thirty-three percent of their income. Any higher will lead to an increase in Consciousness directly proportional to the amount over, but place taxes lower than thirty-three percent and POPs will receive a negative Consciousness modifier. Taxes set at maximum produce a positive point sixty-seven Consciousness modifier, while taxes set at zero will produce a negative point thirty-three Consciousness modifier.
One note on this: because of the economic system running in the game, it is very hard to industrialize in the beginning without raising at least some taxes above thirty-three percent, thus increasing your Consciousness. If you must do this, it is recommended that you tax the middle and upper classes instead of the lower, as there are almost undoubtedly more of the lower class that the middle and upper, and the actual number that increases Plurality is your average, not total, Consciousness. Therefore, if ten percent of your population (the middle and upper class) have high Consciousness, while ninety percent (the lower classes) have almost none, your average Consciousness—and, by extension, your plurality—will be low. Keep in mind the negative aspects of consistent over taxation of the middle and upper classes, though.
Effect of clergymen on Consciousness
A second way to reduce Consciousness is through the use of Clergymen. A Clergyman in a state will reduce the Consciousness of all Farmer, Worker and Soldier POPs throughout that state, even if they are of different religions. This works because the game constructs religion as a social factor open to all classes, regardless of creed, color, or wealth. Therefore, religions utilized wisely in the game will prevent classes from discovering their own political identities, and thus becoming angry at the current government. Clergymen, though, do actually increase the Consciousness of Aristocrats, Capitalists, Clerks and Officers. The Consciousness effect is +/-0.25 per each Clergymen POP.
Effect of events on Consciousness
A third way to reduce Consciousness is through certain events. As most countries—and especially in democratic governments—random events will occur with titles like “Slavery Issues Hotly Debated in Missouri” or “Trade Issues Debated in Posen” (these events will appear during election campaigns; other events affecting Consciousness can appear outside of elections). The choices you have to resolve events such as these come with both Militancy and Consciousness modifiers. If possible, try to spread the modifiers over as wide a number of people as possible. Siding against one class repeatedly will make them so Conscious and Militant that they will revolt constantly. Caution: when choosing which groups to side with, remember that Consciousness will also affect how cognizant the groups are of the political demands, and events such as these can also modify Consciousness spread enough to lead to a change in government
Effect on Consciousness from funding reforms
Yet another way to reduce Consciousness is through over funding social reforms. Doing this creates a “Trust in Government” feeling among your POPs, where they feel certain that the government is watching out for their needs. Because they feel this way, they have less of a need to form their own political groups, and hence, lower Consciousness. There is a point zero one percent negative Consciousness modifier for each ten percent over fifty your government spends on the social reform budget. Over funding, however, is not always possible to do because, first, you may have a Laissez-Fair party in power (see section “Politics”) or it may be far to expensive.
The third of the Big Three, Militancy is simply a numerical value representing how likely your population is to revolt against your rule. Militancy is the bane of every new player, leading to massive headaches and frustrating games. When your entire country seems to hate you no matter what you do, there doesn’t seem to be much point in continuing the game. Understanding Militancy helps prevent this.
As mentioned above, Militancy is directly related to Plurality and Consciousness. Under autocratic forms of government, Militancy is increased by Plurality and Consciousness; under democratic forms of government, Militancy is reduced by Plurality and Consciousness. The degree to which Plurality modifies Militancy cannot be better explained than it was by Carligula in his excellent treatise on the subject:
The mathematics of it
The exact degree to which it does this is determined, once again, by your population's average consciousness, subject to hard caps. If all your POPs have consciousness = 10, and plurality is 100%, militancy will have a plurality modifier of +0.40 in a monarchy and -0.20 in a democracy. If average consciousness = 5 and plurality is 50%, the numbers would be +0.25 and -0.20. Militancy increases from plurality in a non-democracy are capped at 0.40; militancy decreases from plurality in a democracy are capped at -0.20.
Constitutional monarchies fall between monarchies and democracies in the effect of plurality. In constitutional monarchies, plurality neither increases nor decreases militancy.
Using the revolt-risk mapmode
Militancy can be seen directly in three ways. The first is on the Revoltrisk map (see section “The Map”). When in this view, any provinces that have POPs likely to revolt will appear in red.
Using the province overview screen
The second way to see Militancy is to actually click on the provinces themselves. Doing this brings up the province information screen, at the bottom of which is a box listing the form of crime and chance of revolt in the province. The percentage chance that appears here is the chance, per day, that a POP in the province will revolt against you, so, though a three-and-a-half percent revolt risk doesn’t seem like much, remember that that chance is played each day, and a about one day per second, the revolts can quickly build up to an intolerable level.
Using the POP details screen
The third way to see Militancy is in the information screens for the individual POPs themselves. To see this, open up a particular province screen, select the population button, and then click on a specific POP. Here you can see what goods, specifically, this POP desires and whether or not it is getting them. Now hold the mouse over the information displayed on Consciousness and the like. This should open a popup window showing all the factors contributing to the overall Militancy and Consciousness of the POP. This information can be vital in locating common factors in rising Militancy and Consciousness.
Understanding any one of these three concepts hinges on understanding the other two. A whole manual could be written on these three ideas alone, and there is nowhere near enough room in this work to go over all the effects these concepts have on game play. As with any other idea, the only way to truly grasp them is to play and watch how they work. If you master these three concepts and their relationships to one another, controlling your POPs, and through them your society at large, will be simple, and your government—whatever its form—can continue to exist peacefully until the end of the game. Whatever you do, do not make the mistake of ignoring these concepts—it will come back to haunt you.