|Zach Klopfleisch RPG Venture-Lieutenant, North Dakota—Fargo|
|2 people marked this as a favorite.|
There are many, many, many stories of all the horrible atrocities that corporations inflicted upon their rank and file. And some still exist today after hundreds of years.
So it is absolutely probable that a corporation such as the Pathfinder Society and the Decemvirate could continue to be successful without any kind of external or internal oversight.
This is actually more common, especially the further back in time you go, than you are making it out to be.
a.) How many of those atrocious companies were successful for long.
b.) More importantly, what kind of workers were they oppressing?
Almost universally it was unskilled labor that was cheaper than raw materials at the time. In many cases, laborers who were legally tied to the land and not allowed to leave.
That's not what PFS field agents are. They're much more valuable: Exceptional people to begin with, the Society spends three friggin years training them before they go out on missions, dedicating three of their most senior Venture Captains to training and other agents to assist in that training.
Pathfinder agents are not cheap to replace, and even in the absence of OSHA, firms treat expensive, difficult to replace resources much better than cheap, easily replaced resources. Even if the dark ages carpenter beat his apprentices, he still treated his tools very well because those were expensive but apprentices were cheap. PFS field agents are expensive capital. Oliver Williamson's The Economic Institutions of Capitalism has a chapter on labor, unions, and contracting that is applicable here.
Why would the Decemvirate put up with a labor union? Because agents are expensive and they can't micromanage their VCs to ensure those agents aren't wasted. It's called the Principal-Agent problem: How does the Decemvirate ensure that VCs and agents are acting in the way they want them to, instead of following their own interests? Sic someone on them whose incentives (at least in one area) line up with the Decemvirate's. Torch has other, nefarious goals as well? How better to keep your eye on him than keeping him in your own organization? Two birds, one stone.
Finally, there's playing your subordinates off against each other to ensure none become powerful enough to challenge you. This isn't just a fiction trope, it's how Japan and the English Monarchy (for just two examples) actually operated for centuries.
Or, you can disregard the whole body of human knowledge and just make your characters cartoon villains who do bad things just to be bad and still manage to run a successful organization for centuries. Because who cares? It's fiction! But that really grinds on my suspension of disbelief.