Estatism is a social system unique to Questers. It is not a political system or ideology but a way of organising a heterogenous society according to common law principles and ideas. The system has its origin in the homogenous form of organisation used in Senland, the pre-existing form of feudalism that the Praetonian settlers found in Questers, and a syncretic mix of western and eastern ideas about how to organise society.
Questers does not have statehood or a central government. Instead, Questarians rely on a system of patronage for social protection and security. Individuals or families offering patronage are referred to as Estatists, and their circle of followers their Estate. Estatists provide the apparatus of government to their followers, including legal assistance, business networking, and physical security. Where Estatists are also landowners, they provide municipal services to their estate, but these are usually limited to activities that would otherwise be subject to a free rider problem, since these activities improve the value of land, an important calculation in Questarian economic life.
Estatists are either outright owners of large freeholds or essentially the owners of business empires and private militaries with vast social and economic power. Since limited liability is not permitted in the common law, Estatists are often seen as the equivalent of large corporations. Together they comprise the country's nobility. The majority of the population stays under the same Estate for most of their life, but Estatists rise and fall, either through bankruptcy, fatal loss of status by scandal, or inability to produce an heir to their estate.
There are approximately 150 Estatists in Questers who swear allegiance to Abdullah Afiz, Defender of the Faiths. There are around 30 more who do not, including Thomas Marbury's very large Nampataland Expeditionary Company and the Straits Confederacy.
Type of Estatist
Relationship with Estate
Type of Estatist
Selection of Estatists
Almost all persons in Questers with some ambition join an Estate. To enter the Questarian middle class a person must be able to navigate a complex set of social norms, for which patronage is almost essential, understand the law, and survive economic life in a country without social welfare. A person without an Estatist providing patronage for them is at a distinct disadvantage due to the business networking advantages Estatists provide, which also include lower-cost insurance for loyal clients, legal assistance, and even letters of introduction. Since Estatists usually tend to disassociate with unruly or untrustworthy people, membership of an Estate is also proof a person is both trustworthy of honourable.
In addition, Estatists who are landowners for their tenants also provide municipal services without which modern life is often impossible. Persons who do not own their own land and rent on another person's land become part of an Estate either directly through their landlord, if he is an Estatist, or by proxy, since their landlord might be part of an Estate himself and therefore collecting funds from his tenants. These funds are used to fund the armed forces, and for solving disputes between Estatists. Some Estatists contribute heavily to charity in order to improve public image.
In these respects, Estates act as privately-owned governments which look out for the general interests of their members, but that provide only business services, not services intended to redistribute wealth or maximise the public good, such as welfare or hospitals. Since all Estatists swear fealty to the Defender of the Faiths and pledge to uphold the common law, one important function of the system is to guarantee loyalty and cohesion amongst the country's elite.
The majority of people who are part of an Estate retain their association for their lifetime. This usually confers financial advantages such as reduced rates for elderly members of a family, and many Estatists provide preferential treatment for persons whose families have been part of the Estate for a long time.
Around 80% of Questarian Estatists swear fealty to Abdullah Afiz, Defender of the Faiths. They raise contributions via their Estates which are directed towards him, a system called Rajamandala. The Defender of the Faiths directs the Raj Offices, so these payments contribute to the common defence, the maintenance of good relations between Estatists, and diplomatic relations with States.
In return, the Defender is obliged to organise military forces for the defence of the realm and to keep the peace between Estatists. In exchange for their loyalty, Estatists are rewarded with social status, including a position in a nobility system and certain privileges.