In a fictional world a young civilization is struggling for survival.
Round about a century ago, it broke up with the core-society that was just beginning to establish itself on an inhospitable planet. The hiving off was accompanied by a war, involving heavy losses. Meanwhile the war is over, but there are still occasional raids going on. In fact there are more than these two groups loitering around, but let´s keep things simple.
Our young civilization is surrounded by a voluptuous vegetation and dangerous animals living in it. As a result of the fight for survival and due to the penchant of some of the early leaders, people began to calculate their own possibility of survival called “ProProg” (Prognosis of Progression). Absolutely everything is tagged with a number that ranks its contribution to the ubiquitous ProProg. For e.g. a method to control the birth-rate gets a high positive ranking. The birth-rate itself , depending on the actual situation, is ranked too. Production of goods is ranked. Technical innovations are ranked. The quality of ore recently has become worse, so it has been down ranked. But at the same time, a gas pipeline-worker made a proposal how to only defecate every three days without getting digestive problems and thus saving precious time. So there’s an up valuation of the ProProg here. The way people (and even children) contribute to the ProProg in their spare time is ranked. And the ranking can be negative too, so people get aware of favourable and unfavourable behaviour every minute of the day. How many and how severe raids have there been ultimately? Being it wild beasts or the other “tribe”. How probable is the eruption of a near volcano? All these tiny to big rankings are pooled in one big number, the actual ProProg. A ProProg of 100 would mean: survival granted for the next 500 years, no threats at all. Birth-rate is going up, production growth stable and political stability granted. Right now the ProProg is around 38, meaning that there is a good chance to survive the next 190 years, but a lot of problems still are unsolved.
Besides the psychological effect, in a positive as well as in a negative way, does this make any sense? Which sectors in such a civilization are essential to be ranked? Is it somehow feasible to gather this huge amount of data and make one sustainable number out of it? Can there be one formula to rule them all? Would it really help a young civilization to blossom? A lot of questions, but I think they all stay in the frame of the main topic. Some more specific indications (Meant to help frame the answer and not to be taken too literally. Also referring to the above mentioned examples):
- The society has a stage of development comparable to middle Europe +/- 1880.
- It´s political and social framework is mostly technocratic.
- No electricity. Main energy source is natural gas in diverse refined conditions. Gas sources are everywhere. Here our society is far beyond the technical status of earth´s 1880.
- The whole administration and calculation is based on paperwork.
- All devices used to help calculating should be similar to the ones used on earth until 1880, unless the availability of different types of gas allows other.
- Steel is produced.
- Lots of construction wood in the surroundings.
- Just one other humanoid group.
- Formerly a few 100, nowadays round about 100.000 inhabitants.
- A very solid and gigantic “town hall”, allowing shelter to most citizens and main production facilities.