The Republic of Spamlandtopia
"We love everybody all the time and stuff."
UN Category: Scandinavian Liberal Paradise
Civil Rights: Superb
Political Freedoms: Excellent
Location: The West Pacific
The Republic of Spamlandtopia is a small, environmentally stunning nation, notable for its devotion to social welfare. Its compassionate, intelligent population of 10 million enjoy extensive civil rights and enjoy a level of social equality free from the usual accompanying government corruption.
The enormous, socially-minded government is mainly concerned with Social Welfare, although Education and Healthcare are secondary priorities. The average income tax rate is 35%, but much higher for the wealthy. A tiny private sector is dominated by the Pizza Delivery industry.
Surveillance cameras are banned, the porpoise is a protected species, euthanasia is legal, and Spamlandtopia's children are widely acknowledged as the most foul-mouthed in the region. Crime is well under control. Spamlandtopia's national animal is the porpoise, which frolics freely in the nation's many lush forests, and its currency is the daisy.
Spamlandtopia is ranked 1399th in the region and 23,483rd in the world for Most Politically Free Nations.
Issue: Workers across the nation have gone out on indefinite strike over what they claim are substandard wages in the Pizza Delivery industry.
Government's Position: "We are the backbone of this country, and we demand a fair wage rise!" says union leader Beth McGuffin. "I don't think a 20% increase over two years is too much to ask. Unless the government forces employers to give us our due, we'll shut this whole industry down! Let's see how well Spamlandtopia's economy manages without any Pizza Delivery, huh?
Issue: It's time for the government to allocate spending for the coming year, and as always, special interest groups are keen to have their say.
Government's Position: "The state of the education system is, in many areas, simply frightful," says Teachers Union leader Sue-Ann Rifkin. "And even where we are doing well, we could do better. I appeal to the authorities for a substantial boost in funding. Remember, the children are our future."
Issue: A loose coalition of sartorially-challenged individuals known as "Let It All Hang Out" has called on the government to relax public nudity laws.
Government's Position: "For too long, our bodies have been trapped in these prisons of cotton and polyester!" yelled protester Fleur Fellow, while apparently developing a nasty case of sunburn. "We must repeal the puritanical laws that make public nudity a crime. My body--my choice to dangle!"
Issue: It's time for the government to hire a new religious advisor. Your people have narrowed down the candidates to:
Government's Position: New Age thinker Falala Frederickson: a left-field candidate with some radical ideas. "For me, it's not about the name of your religion. It's about discovering your spirituality in whatever guise that takes. Some people call that a cult: I call it taking spirituality to the people."
The Holy Empire of Spamlandopolis
"If you like to practice religion, too bad."
UN Category: Inoffensive Centrist Democracy
Civil Rights: Excellent
Economy: Very Strong
Political Freedoms: Some
Location: The North Pacific
The Holy Empire of Spamlandopolis is a small, economically powerful nation, notable for its burgeoning meerkat population. Its hard-working population of 10 million have some civil rights, but not too many, enjoy the freedom to spend their money however they like, to a point, and take part in free and open elections, although not too often.
The medium-sized government juggles the competing demands of Social Welfare, Commerce, and Religion & Spirituality. Citizens pay a flat income tax of 9%. A large private sector is led by the Cheese Exports, Information Technology, and Door-to-door Insurance Sales industries.
The right to free speech is being drastically curtailed, the alarmingly racist TV show 'Bigtopians Say the Darndest Things' is a hit, employers may fire workers without giving any reason, and punitive tariffs protect local industry. Crime is a serious problem, and the police force struggles against a lack of funding and a high mortality rate. Spamlandopolis's national animal is the meerkat and its currency is the donut.
Spamlandopolis is ranked 4196th in the region and 71,154th in the world for Most Politically Free Nations.
Issue: Scientists using cloned human embryos for research are on the verge of a medical breakthrough.
Government's Position: "It's really very exciting," says lab head Zeke Hamilton. "Until now, we've kept very quiet, to avoid being targeted by lunatic fringe groups who for some reason think it's wrong to clone human embryos. It's too early to promise anything, but we hope that one day we will have genetic cures for a whole range of debilitating illnesses. I certainly hope the government will support our work."
Issue: The Police department is considering installing surveillance cameras in all major public areas, in an effort to crack down on crime.
Government's Position: "This 'slippery slope' argument has got me thinking," says Police Minister Falala Jefferson. "You know, it would be a lot easier to fight crime if we watched people all the time. Not with cameras, of course. That's clearly an invasion of privacy. But how about a national database of our citizens, coupled with compulsory ID cards and barcoding? It would stop crime dead in its tracks."
Issue: Dorothy Terwilliger lies immobilized in a hospital bed, unable to move. She has end-stage cancer, and wishes to end her struggle against death. However, laws prevent her doctors from obeying her wishes.
Government's Position: "I agree, but go further: there is never a right time for euthanasia," says Bishop George W. Thiesen. "The lives we lead are given to us by the grace of God, and he decides when they end. It is not for us to question God's divine purpose, no matter how odd or screwed-up it may seem."
Issue: The increasingly militant Animal Liberation Front struck again last night, freeing dozens of chickens bound for delicious snack packs.
Government's Position: Economist Jazz Utopia has an alternative. "You don't need to take away the people's right to choose. You just need to build the costs of animal suffering into the price. A tax on meat-eating, in proportion to the amount of cruelty involved, would do the trick. Plus think of the benefit for the national coffers! Of course, poor people wouldn't be able to afford meat, but that's just more incentive for them to get jobs."