The Free Domes of
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The Free Domes of Meridiani Planum is a gargantuan, efficient nation, ruled by Steven Dessler with an even hand, and renowned for its sprawling nuclear power plants, rampant corporate plagiarism, and keen interest in outer space. The hard-nosed, hard-working, democratic, cheerful population of 20.148 billion Meridians enjoy some of the most opulent lifestyles in the region, unless they are unemployed or working-class, in which case they are variously starving to death or crippled by easily preventable diseases.

There is no government in the normal sense of the word; however, a small group of community-minded, liberal, pro-business individuals juggles the competing demands of Defense, Education, and Industry. It meets to discuss matters of state in the capital city of Prometheus Dome. Income tax is unheard of.

The frighteningly efficient Meridian economy, worth a remarkable 5,473 trillion libras a year, is driven entirely by the private sector, which is broadly diversified and led by the Information Technology industry, with major contributions from Soda Sales, Book Publishing, and Uranium Mining. Average income is an amazing 271,667 libras, but there is a vast disparity between incomes, with the richest 10% of citizens earning 2,633,994 per year while the poor average 1,351, a ratio of 1,948 to 1.

Thousands of former welfare recipients are in a revolutionary uproar as the rest of society is enjoying a hefty tax break, 'A is for Annulment' is a popular children's song, leather-clad individuals can be seen walking their slaves in public parks, and euthanasia is legal. Crime, especially youth-related, is all-pervasive, probably because of the absence of a police force. Meridiani Planum's national animal is the beaver, which teeters on the brink of extinction due to widespread deforestation, and its national religion is Eudaimonism.

Meridiani Planum is ranked 347th in Capitalist Paradise and 143,039th in the world for Largest Welfare Programs, scoring -430 on the Safety Net Mesh Density Rating.

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by Max Barry

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