Let's imagine a scenario, where, in a dystopic industrial society, a mayor of a medium-sized city learns that his city is about to be destroyed by some powerful force within the bureaucracy of his kingdom / evil empire / fascist state (why they want to destroy the city doesn't matter).

The mayor, who, for obvious reasons, is opposed to this decision, wants to lobby the bureaucracy to appeal it before it's too late. By himself, he only has limited power within the bureaucracy, and therefore he wants to get influential people on his side to oppose the forces plotting his city's destruction.

Given that the society he lives in has post-industrial-revolution economic structures in place; that it's essentially a cyberpunk-style caricature of capitalism, where money matters more than human lives to decision-makers:

Who would the mayor try to rally to his cause, that would listen to him and be listened to?

We're assuming that the city has a somewhat high economic output, and there are presumably powerful people who would stand to lose a lot should the city's destruction come to pass. My question is, how would the mayor find these people? What kind of social standing would they have and through which channels would the mayor reach them?

(the idea being, I'm looking to write a short story where the mayor tracking down and negotiating with these people is a major part of the plot)

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    $\begingroup$ What makes you think he wouldn't just look for a way to profit from the event? $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ I glance over a lot of questions like this in the vein of "What's the next step in my plot?" and I usually just pass them by, so I don't think you're going to get many useful answers. I'm not sure this is even on-topic as it seems you've got the worldbuilding pretty much figured out and just need to get the fine details of individual characters in. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeissIkon While the government of this world is mostly evil, not every politician is. (or maybe he just stands to lose too much himself) $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ @MaddockEmerson I'm not sure that's fair. This isn't about a character's personality, it's about their society, and what the levers of power within it are. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Narrateurduchaos, at levels of high political power, evil is endemic. Power not only corrupts those who seek it; it also dissuades those who would avoid their own corruption from seeking power in the first place. Evil is also an extremely flexible word. The needs of the many often conflict with the needs of the few, leaving leaders to choose the lesser evil. Your mayor has undoubtedly had to make such choices often in the management of his city. Keep that in mind as you create your world. In politics, no one gets to stand on the moral high ground. Anyone who claims those heights is... $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


Vantage - a place or position affording a good view of something.

Your mayor needs to acquire insight into exactly the details which you claim don't matter: the reasons why the city is to be destroyed and who will benefit. This may involve a multi-step intellectual scavenger hunt, beginning with his liaison contacts in the higher/federal government but once that proves unfruitful, Anonymous-style hacker-groups, criminal overlords and members of the super-elite will have to be found and convinced to help with the investigation. Only once the antagonist is identified can their enemies be approached for assistance with the actual fight to save the city. When he knows who will benefit most from his city's demise, he can then discover who would benefit most by stopping them.

  • $\begingroup$ This is a good answer, and I know exactly the why (short version, "the government wants to wipe out the whole continent and start over"); discovering that fact is the climax of the story. What I'm asking is, in a capitalist system, who would the super-elite you mention be? (although I didn't think about the criminal element, and that's a pretty good direction to explore too) $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ The super-elite will be rich businessmen in important industries and high-ranking politicians. $\endgroup$
    – Ryan_L
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ About a decade ago, there was a popular phrase being thrown around... "Too big to fail". That is a pretty good tool for discovering who your super-elite are. If an industry is so vital to the welfare of your country that it's major players cannot be allowed to fail no matter how many business-mistakes, white-collar-crimes and code-infractions it is guilty of, then the board of directors of those player companies are your super-elite. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 18:14

First you need to look at those who own things inside the city. Who owns the companies that operate in the city? Who owns the pieces of land and buildings in the city? These people/companies will straight up lose when the city is destroyed, so these sound like good candidate for allies.

If all, or at least a reasonable majority, of the companies that operate in the city are already bought out (which would require an obnoxious ammount of resources), then the mayor has to decide: can I organize, sustain and eventually win a battle for independence by rallying the working people, landowners and non-bought-out companies against the evil government? No? How much does a plane ticket out of the city cost?


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