SWreader wrote:And Jeff, your statement, "Moist doesn't need to cowtow to the aristocracy--the dying old money of the city who are rapidly becoming obselete--because he can win the hearts of the growing middle class in AM--the craftsmen, businessmen, technologies, and Dibblers of the world who will move the city forward," is totally unsupported by anything in the AM novels. What growing middle-class??? And there are still big money people who keep the banks from failing and keep the damage done by Reacher & Co's embezzlement etc. from causing a financial crisis. They act rather like the Fed. Reserve and the Congress with the TARP payments. But nothing of that seems to have trickled down in the real world, and it is unlikely to do so in AM
With apologies to SWreader, whose quote I appropriated from another thread but felt it more appropriate to respond to here.
Ankh Morpork ABSOLUTELY has a growing middle class, and this is the whole point of what I would suggest is the 'canonization' of a "new" DW series--the Ankh Morpork series, consisting of "The Truth," "Going Postal," "Making Money," "Unseen Academicals," and, arguably, "Moving Pictures."
In this series, Pterry creates a chronicle showing the evolution of AM from a city whose outdated, reactionary, Guild-controlled economy is being replaced (under the machinations of Vetinari) by a new generation of entrepreneurs who are using new ideas and technologies to help AM maintain its economic leadership in the DW under the rising economic threat of emerging economies such as those in Uberwald.
And the most visible result of this effort IS the creation of a powerful middle class in AM. Yes, they're all signed up with guilds, but they are not controlled by them. If anything, they're challenging the power structure and changing the rules.
Let's look at a few examples.
Harry King is its most visible leader, a man born in poverty who has raised himself to become a key businessman of the city. Even if he is disrespected by the aristocrats, his value as the one many who can "clean up the city" is recognized by all.
All of the dwarf entrepreneurs--Gimlet, Stronginthearm, and all the others--represent the growth of small, independent small businesses. Yes, they may be members of the merchants guild, but they follow their own rules. Without them, AM (and the world) would not have its supply of armor, crossbows, printing presses and rat on a stick.
Crystophase (forgot his real name--the head of the troll Brickia) represents the aspirations of the Troll population. Even if his activities are under the legal radar screen, he also aspires to respectability. If there wasn't a growing Trollish middle class, there would be no market for the dwarf-produced cosmetics sold to middle class female trolls.
Pepe and Madam. Only in a city flush with capital and a population of middle class women could a 'dwarf operated' fashion designer make a profit.
William DeWorde. His establishment of the Times is a direct rebuke of the old ways (which he rejects personally by severing himself from his past), and his emergence as a key figure in the life of the city represents the triumph of the small businessman. And demonstrates that information is a sellable commodity as well, as also demonstrated by:
The Dearhearts (and the original Clacks company owners). They represent the new high tech startup innovators who also understand that information is money. That they were initially cheated by the old money banking establishment of AM represents the dangers these entrepreneurs take when they try to take on the establishment. Which is why Vetinari found it necessary to counter them with...
Moist Von Lipwig, the ultimate symbol of the future Ankh Morpork. Like most successful startup entrepreneurs who don't come from wealth, he achieves his goal through a combination of showmanship, cunning, risk-taking, chicanry but firmly grounded in specific business goals. He achieves them by breaking the rules, inventing new ones, and using the power of the media to gain friends and clients. That he is applying his talents to turn moribund "establishment" structures like the Post Office and the Royal Mint and Bank of Ankh Morpork into sleeker, innovative, entrepreneurial businesses represents, in microcosm, Vetinari's desire to transform the moribund economic and social institutions of AM into more innovative and nimble entities that reflect the entrepreneurial spirit of its growing middle class. This is why Vetinari needs to give Moist new challenges. When Moist succeeds, he begins to adopt the mores of the ruling class--guild meetings, thoughts of gold chains, and whatnot. A Moist who has "gone establishment" is of no use to Vetinari.
So even if MM isn't one of the better DW books, it does clearly demonstrate that PTerry is trying to create an economic history of the city, which all of the books in this 'series' represent in one way or the other.
Wow. That felt like 10,000 words.