|“||Imagine a world where Central America didn't become a battleground; where the U.S. solved its problems of crime, inflation and drugs; where the Cold War ended in democracy, not a succession of squabbling dictatorships ...||„|
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or simply America, is a country consisting of 51 states (as of 2020) and various other territorial possessions across the globe. As of 2020, the United States has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world, with 90% of the wealth controlled by 10% of the population. Over 65% of the population lives in squalid misery, and another 25-50,000,000 are disenfranchised, homeless "nomads" or boosters wandering the ghost towns of central America.
Total economic, social, and political breakdown began with the Crash of '94 and resulted in the disintegration of American society and its standing as a world superpower. The subsequent years would come to be known as the Collapse, and would see the deaths of roughly 100,000,000 people as a result of plagues, mutated viruses, terrorist nuclear attacks and complete ecological collapse. The disintegration of NATO and the hardline foreign policy pursued by the "Gang of Four" isolated the United States politically and economically; with trade wars increasing the suffering of the American people. On August 17, 1996, the U.S. Constitution was suspended and direct military rule was established to deal with the crisis.
Civilian control of the government was reestablished on November 7, 2008 with the first free elections after twelve years. However, the complete destruction of the American economic, political, and social fabric was irreversible. Overburdened by debt, homelessness, and corruption, many bankrupted city governments turned to corporations to take control of governmental functions and public services.
End of the Cold War (1989-1994)Edit
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 hearkened the end of the Cold War that had consumed the United States for the greater part of the 20th century. Conflict, however, soon resumed with the start of the First Central American War in 1990. The United States engaged in interventionist actions in Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. Military forces were sent to secure the Canal Zone from an ex-U.S. puppet dictator. 1991 saw a Pyrrhic victory in a U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The Treaty of 1992 saw the establishment of the European Economic Community and the creation of the Eurodollar. The United States declined to enter in what some called "paranoid isolationism." Protective European tariffs and unfair trade practices negatively impacted the American economy. The U.S. engaged in the anti-EEC "Quiet War."
That same year, in an attempt to end the War on Drugs, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency spread several designer plagues worldwide targeting coca and opium plants. The governments of Chile and Ecuador soon collapsed, and a savage drug war erupted between Eurocorp-backed dealers and the DEA across the Americas. Protests against the war result in rioting in major U.S. cities. A year later, Colombian druglords detonate a small, tactical nuclear device in New York City, killing 15,000.
Crash of '94 and the Collapse (1994-2000)Edit
The World Stock Market Crash of '94 sent the United States into a major depression. Within two years, the United States was overwhelmed by homelessness, unemployment, and corruption. Many city governments declared bankruptcy or collapsed. Controlled by the machinations of the Gang of Four—a powerful lobby comprised of the United States intelligence community and wealthy industrialists—the country descended into chaos. By this point, one in four Americans were homeless, and hundreds of thousands rioted. Nomads appeared on the West Coast and soon spread across the nation, along with the first appearance of boostergangs. Fed up with government inability to solve the crisis, citizens lynched hundreds of criminal defense attorneys. Military units were deployed on the streets to keep the peace.
On August 17, 1996, both the President and Vice-President were killed in separate campaign stops in Maine and California respectively. The Speaker of the House was undergoing bypass surgery and the Pro Tem of the Senate refused the position of President; possibly aware of a corporate plot. In reality, the President and VP were killed by the NSA—one of the cornerstones of the Gang of Four—although the truth of their involvement would not be known until 2004; which would result in the ouster of the Gang.
Stalled, Secretary of Defense Johnathan Seward was asked to address Congress. In his three o'clock afternoon address, Seward declared martial law and suspended the Constitution. Units of Central Command were positioned around the Capitol. The United States had officially transferred power to an emergency, interim military government. The new military government soon found itself at odds against the FBI, CIA, NSA, and DEA which had acted with impunity for decades with secretive black ops and black budgets. A covert game of cat-and-mouse would ensure over the coming years that would greatly damage the intelligence community and US military standing across the globe.
The 1997 Mideast Meltdown reduced world oil supply by half; causing prices to skyrocket in the United States. A year later, Neo-Luddites bomb airports, factories, freeways, and mass transit terminals across the nation. The Drought of '98 reduces the Midwest to parched grasslands, imperiling the U.S. food supply and ending the family farm. The same year, a 10.5 quake strikes Los Angeles, with an estimated 65,000 killed and ocean inundating 35% of the city.
1999 sees end of martial law, however military rule continues. A sense of "order" would not be restored until roughly 2002.
Early 21st centuryEdit
Fear of Y2K lead to the formation of Millenium Cults, resulting in mass orgies of suicide and violence on Jan 1, 2000. Later that year, massive firestorms raged over the northwestern United States, destroying millions of acres of farm and grassland. Simultaneously, the Wasting Plague hits America and Europe, killing hundreds of thousands.
In 2002, touring a country hit by the Wasting Plague, Mr. Seward was killed in a riot (in reality an operative in a joint CIA/NSA op). General William Newell, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, took his place.
By 2003, the Second Central American War begins and quickly devolves into a a complete disaster for the United States, resulting in major reform and the ouster of the Gang of Four in an Army/CIA counter-coup. Washington D.C. was encircled by military troops fighting remnants of the Gang. However, elements of the Gang were not fully eliminated until four years afterwards, although by that point large parts of the Gang had already sold out to the corporations.
Efforts at restoring democratic rule were halted when on November 5, 2005, Presidential appointee Henry Jacobi was assassinated. Evidence strongly pointed to Mantoga, Inc. involvement and instigation. On November 17, 2005, the corporation was given four hours to completely leave America, and was ultimately destroyed by the United States military in Operation Big Stick after they refused. The event later came to be known as the Mantoga Incident.
2002 saw tensions rise between the USSR and the United States after a mutated plant virus wiped out Canadian and Soviet crops. U.S. agribusiness crops survived due to a new biological counter-agent. The USSR accuses the United States of biological warfare. This, coupled with the continuation of the "Evil Empire" policies of the Cold War ultimately lead to the U.S. assault on the Soviet weapons platform MIR XIII in 2008. The European Space Agency intervenes resulting in a six-hour orbital war between the "Euros" and the "Yanks." Colorado Springs is destroyed when a rock from the Tycho Massdriver lands on the city; ultimately resulting in the establishment of an uneasy peace.
In 2009, an abortive takeover attempt by U.S.-backed terrorists of the Crystal Palace space station is detected and thwarted by the ESA after it drops another orbital rock off the coast of Washington as a warning.
By the year 2020 there were 6 autonomous states that are independent in all but name. Texas was the first to declare itself a "free state" in 1999. It was renamed to the Republic of Texas. Then the government attempted to control its weapons. Alaska was the second free state in 2000. It was followed by California in 2002, Nevada in 2003 and Utah in 2014. The Free State of Northern California seceded from California in 2012. The southern part became the free state of Southern California. Here's a map USA in 2020. These free states can make their own laws and declare federal laws invalid.
Geography, climate, and environmentEdit
The United States is one of the largest countries on Earth in terms of landmass, ranking near Russia and China in total size. The coastal plain of the Atlantic seaboard gives way to deciduous forests and the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian Mountains divide the Eastern Seaboard with the Great Plains and Mississippi River of the Midwest. Further west lie the Rocky Mountains; to their south lies the desert of the southwestern states; to their north lie the wet, temperate forests of Oregon and Washington states.
By the late 20th century, corporate exploitation and shortsighted policies had degraded environmental conditions within America and the rest of the globe. Acid rain and changing climates made it harder to grow crops, keep soil fertile, and irrigate effectively. These culminated in the 1998 dustbowls of the Midwest. By 2000, the previously profitable fruit-growing areas of California, Texas, and Florida were economic wastelands.
America houses a large amount of diverse species, although environmental collapse has resulted in large numbers of extinctions and population losses. The 1997 toxic spill wiped out salmon in the Pacific Northwest, crippling the local economy. Mutated creatures are known to roam outside of populated areas.
The last official census conducted in 1990 listed the official U.S. population at 248,709,873 people. The U.S. population then plummeted post-Collapse by roughly 100,000,000 people between 1990-2000 if the death toll established by the MIC is correct. This equates to roughly 1/3 of the population dying in a span of ten years.
After the Collapse, society centralized for protection. Isolated rural towns were largely abandoned in a large migration to urban centers. The lack of protection and difficulty of acquiring food and medicine in the hinterlands has left large parts of America filled with ghost towns. As such, the vast majority of the population live in urban centers.
All individuals are required to have a State Identification Number (SIN) located on a write-only and highly encrypted card. Without a SINCARD an individual cannot get a license, passport, register to vote, or get any type of job. They are not allowed civil rights, and during the martial law period were treated as prisoners of war. Millions of disenfranchised individuals exist in 2020 America; many losing their privileges as punishment, being a deserter, or even being the child of a known criminal. Roughly 70% of Nomads do not have a SIN. These people are known as Zeroes, among other names. By 2000, there were roughly 25-50 million Nomads in America.
The popularity of American religion has fluxed greatly owing to major scandals in various religious organizations, and led the abandonment of organized churches wholesale in the '90s. The years of martial law and ecological collapse saw a "grassroots" resurgence of religion in American life.
Some of the most popular religions in America include Islam (both Shia and Sunni) and Christianity. An Islamic mosque can be found in almost every major city, and is very popular among the urban poor. Christianity is divided into three major sects: a more liberal and relaxed Roman Catholic Church, Mormonism in the West, and Fundamentalist Christianity in the form of Evangelicalism in Dixie.
A sect of Jainism has emerged in America from Indian immigrants, along with a resurgence of Buddhist practice. Judaism has fared less well, and the breakdown of U.S.-Israeli relations had left the few Jews left in America feeling isolated.
Fringe religions include but are not limited to: Scientology, the Beatified Circle of the Celts, The Immortal Pyramid, Worshipers of the Night, and the Coalition Against the Satanic Fellowship of the Gods. There even exists a church devoted to the worship of Elvis Presley.
The post-Collapse United States has undergone a major shift in the family unit with the destruction of the nuclear family. The family unit, which had already fragmented by the 1980's, was replaced by three distinct new structures dependent on social and economic class. The Neotribals representing the Nomad families; the Boosters representing the Streetpunk scene; and the mixed nuclear/Metafamily representing the new "Corporate Children."
From 1960 to 2020, the number of Americans in a classic, two-parent nuclear family had gone from 60 to 2 percent. The deaths of 100 million during the Collapse meant that roughly every one in three of these deaths was a parent. Almost half the families were sole-parent families. With other socioeconomic factors in play this orphaned roughly thirty million children in eighteen months. Roughly ten million were unable to support themselves and died; another ten million died attempting to survive under martial law; the remaining ten million were set loose in society without the socialization skills of an adolescent amidst the violence and chaos, and many died.
By 2020, roughly eleven percent of the American population had grown up with no real family structure. This segment of the population also reproduced at twice the rate of other Americans.
Several plagues, viral outbreaks, sky-high poverty rates and lack of affordable, quality healthcare have greatly impacted the average US life expectancy. Many individuals do not have health insurance, and virtually all hospitals are corporate-owned. The largest provider of paramedical care is Trauma Team International. In the event of death, the Lifeline Act of 1997 allows a potential source of spare parts to be delivered to a donor center, where those with a donor card receive a bounty based on the body parts and their condition.
The Department of Health, Education, and Human Services, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control, National Institute of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration, regulate and are responsible for ensuring the well being of American citizens; although they are largely understaffed and underfunded.
During the chaos of the Collapse, AIDS 2, the Wasting Plague, the Typhoid Beta complex and starvation killed millions of Americans. Nuclear radiation has also impacted the livelihood of American citizens. From the 1993 New York City nuclear attack irradiating the local environment; the 1994 Pittsburgh Meltdown resulting in 257 deaths and soaring cancer rates for the next ten years; and years of short-sighted hazardous waste disposal at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State, ultimately leading to an 'incident' in 2004 resulting in contamination of the Hanford area and the Columbia river.
The American education system is operated by state and local governments and regulated by the Department of Health, Education, and Human Services. A lack of funding has resulted in the rapid deterioration of the public schooling system. By 2020 many states simply do not have a public school system. As a result, gang membership has risen drastically.
Any schooling in rural areas focuses on day-to-day survival rather than mathematics or higher education. Nomad culture and its deep respect for teachers has seen better rates of education among Nomad children; and some Nomad schools open their doors to strangers.
Corporate education is an alternate for those that cannot attend public schooling, and is fairly complete. However, it is known for producing very high stress levels and rates of suicide. Furthermore, individuals are subjected to behavior modification, loyalty testing, indoctrination and propaganda; and all curriculum is based on an individual's aptitudes.
Virtual reality is another possible method of schooling, however it has the potential to be the most damaging to the psyche. Chips and other inorganic means of consuming information are likewise also known to be dangerous due to the effects of cyberware on children; and corporate ad-loops are rampant in the chip market. Self-education is one of the hardest methods of all owing to the difficulty of finding materials and accurate, unbiased information.
Most urban areas only have one university. Some of the most prestigious universities include but are not limited to: Stanford, Yale, University of FC Berkeley, USC, MIT, Cal Tech, and the Princeton Institute.
American universities are notorious for being extremely expensive and having very long waiting lists. Since there is no common education system there is no common education theory. As a result, the process has fragmented, mostly due to new technology.
Government and politicsEdit
Before the Fourth Corporate WarEdit
Government of the United StatesEdit
- Main article: Government of the United States
The American government is a representative democracy. The government is regulated by a system of checks and balanced outlined in the U.S. Constitution. There are three branches of government, federal, state, and local. The federal government is to a great degree hamstrung by the state governments. The power controlled at the federal level is narrow but potent. The armed forces are the largest power bloc in the government. Though many states control large police, and even paramilitary forces, all pale by comparison.
With the suspension of the U.S. Constitution from 1996-2008 and the establishment of marital law, Secretary of Defense Johnathan Seward became de facto President of the United States. Seward saw the chance to right the wrongs of the former U.S. Government. He made several changes, including: the elimination of the House of Representatives; the expansion of the Senate; the creation of Regional Committees and the Free States Board with the creation of the Free States—a new type of state which had a quasi-independent status and greater autonomy with respect to the United States government. As such, state and local laws could be in direct opposition to federal law. Texas was the first Free State in 1999 (officially recognized in 2000), followed by Alaska in 2000, California in 2002, Nevada in 2003, Utah in 2014, and Northern California in 2016 after its secession from (Southern) California in 2012.
The United States is a federal republic of 51 states as of 2020. It has various other territories and overseas possessions as of 2020. These territories include, but are not limited to: Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Panama Canal Zone.
The 51 U.S. states, in alphabetical order as they are divided by the Regional Committees:
Parties and electionsEdit
The United States has operated under a two-party system for most of its history. The largest parties are the Republicans and the Democrats. Along with them exist over 300 smaller, but no less committed, power groups. The two largest of these are the Independent Party and One World Party. The former was created as a response to dissatisfaction with the two-party system, while the latter was a corporate-backed attempt at creating a free market economy.
The concept of voting and elections are relatively new for those of the generation who knew nothing but military rule from 1996 to 2008. In the twelve years since, the issue of voting became regional, as most major issues have. The Free States hold voting and self-determination in high regard, and weekly referendums are not uncommon. The citizens elect the State Assembly, which in turn elects the Governor/President of said state. Terms are generally four years. The Free State Consul is elected by the Governor/Presidents of the Free States. He also serves a term of four years.
The citizens of the northwest are almost as well off as the citizens of the Free States. In Dixie, voting is usually held at gunpoint, if at all; and many lack basic rights. Many poorer regions of America have adequate representation.
The United States has an established structure of foreign relations, although many alliances of the pre-Collapse world have changed. After 1992 and the collapse of NATO as a result of the Quiet War, the United States has a strained relationship with Western Europe after its rapprochement with the Soviets. Many developed countries embargoed the United States owing to currency manipulations and stock market fraud, triggering the Crash of '94. Many embargoes were not lifted until 1998, and as of 2020 the United States still accuses the EEC of protective tariffs and unfair trade practices. The United States maintains strong trade relations with China, Japan, Korea, and India.
Much of America's global influence was lost following the Collapse; much of the change due to the loss of a stabilizing economic and political force. Mexico was hit harder than the United States by the Crash, and Canada was one of the countries least affected. The United States maintains large trade relations with Canada owing to rising global temperatures making it an agricultural paradise. Corporations occasionally plant crops in Canadian territory, an issue that slightly strains US-CAN relations.
In the Caribbean, the US Virgin Islands have largely been abandoned and are a haven for piracy. Cuba is essentially owned by corporations. Puerto Rico was rocked by civil war after the collapse, but has somewhat stabilized by 2020. The U.S. holds the Panama Canal Zone against ongoing guerrilla action, and has a hands-off approach to Central American affairs. The United States has largely retreated from the Pacific Rim, with Japan filling the vacuum of power and supporting the U.S. economy; although tensions remain from the trade wars of the '90s. Guam has maintained its U.S. military base. The United States signed the Mutual Defense Treaty of 2009 with the rising power of China. The United States participates in military drills with but not limited to Japan and Australia.
The Internal Revenue Service ceased to exist in 1998 when citizens, furious at their government and the machinations of the Gang of Four, simply refused to pay their taxes. Eventually, all of America stopped paying their taxes; and with no money or resources to issue a rebuttal the IRS was dissolved. The Collapse and the deaths of roughly 100,000,000 citizens, along with 25-50,000,000 Zeroes meant that the tax-paying population in 2000 was roughly 100-120,000,000. As such, the tax structure was destroyed. As of 2020, collecting taxes is the primary responsibility of the states, of which the federal government receives a percentage. The only taxes collected at the federal level are on trade, which is handled by the Commerce Department. Withholding taxes to the government is a crime, and is handled by the Justice Department.
SIN cards are the only method by which the government can keep track of its taxpayers. To retain a SIN, a citizen must pay ten percent of his wages as taxes. There are no deductions or reductions in tax. Corporations that support or trade services with states and municipalities may have their employees exempted. Military personnel on active duty are exempt with a 10-20% reduction in overall salary. Benefits and perks paid fully by the employer are not considered taxable income.
- Main article: United States Armed Forces
Despite major losses during the post-Collapse period, the United States Armed Forces, led by the Department of Defense, is still a potent fighting force and as of 2020 strong enough to outmatch any corporate security force despite being outnumbered by them. The DoD consists of four branches: the Army, Aerospace Force, Navy, and Marines. Reorganized into Combined Operational Groups in 1992-93, the military patrols the nation from both internal and external threats. The United States Navy is considered the most powerful navy in the world. The USAF maintains a large force of killer satellites, concealed drones, work habitats and massive battlestations in Low Earth Orbit. While the EEC is considered America's largest threat, the U.S. nuclear arsenal ensures that any EEC mass-driver attack from Luna will result in the complete destruction of the European mainland.
With the end of the Cold War, the large peacetime military that was maintained since WWII was reduced in size and scope owing to its large cost to the economy. The U.S. military disposed of the large units that used to dominate the battlefields of the world and opted for sets of small, fast, rapid deployment units that could act independently. These units were to incorporate their own organic support and, wherever possible, transport.
After the Fourth Corporate War Edit
The United States has lost its superpower status. Functionally its a dictatorship run by President Elizabeth Kress, and has been so since her State of Emergency during the Fourth Corporate War. Though local elections later resumed, there are no national elections and there won't be until there is a treaty between the Free States and what remains of the United.
It's military is now organized into Combined Operations Groups (COGs); which are task forces combining aircraft, ships, infantry, and armor. Whose main mission is to deal with threats to the interests of the Federal Government and to the BosWash Corridor (Boston-Washington). Several of the COGS have broken away and have become mercenary armies, operating as well-armed marauding raiders, or running their own mini-kingdoms
The United States of the mid 21st century is similar to what it was in the late 19th century. The Federal Government based in Washington DC controls the "civilized" East Coast. Operating as the regional government for the BosWash Corridor (Boston-Washington). The Federal Government still consists of the same three branches (Executive, Judicial, and Legislative) but it has little to no power past the Mississippi River, and nearly all of its members come from either the East or the MidWest.
West of the Mississipi River is the "Wild West" and running from Seattle to Mexico is an unincorporated West Coast. These territories are for all intents and purposes on their own, hiring mercenary armies or local militias to keep the peace. An interlocking system of power blocs and local factions maintain the Night City sprawl.
On the West Coast is the Pacifica Confederation, which is an ad hoc, loose union formed by Northern California, British Colombia, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Within their territory are several major US military bases with permanent leases, but which exercise little control over the locals. The Pacifica Confed is busy rebuilding its infrastructure. Night City has been able to survive as a free "city state" due to the alliance, functioning as a free trade zone for them.
Law enforcement and crimeEdit
In the United States, law enforcement is largely organized around local police departments, with state police offering broader services. Federal agencies such as the Military Intelligence, Criminal Investigation Divisions have replaced the services of the defunct FBI. The Department of Justice oversees the Federal court system, among other agencies. Supplementing local police forces are heavily armored corporate police squads which can be hired and rented to patrol certain areas of a city.
The CIA LAWdiv attempts to keep track of crime on a national scale with retinal scanning and DNA work. Owing to the fact that states, corporations and other federal agencies do not typically share information on criminal offences or SIN numbers, criminals are able to "hop" state borders to escape justice.
The United States has an extremely high crime rate, with murder and homicide endemic in urban areas. The ghost towns of central America are described as a new "Wild West." In addition to Vice, Homicide, Burglary and Traffic Squads; Cyberpsycho Squads hunt down cybernetic criminals. During the Collapse of the 1990's, martial law and the suspension of the U.S. Constitution and takeover by the military saw an overall decrease in the amount of crimes that had been occurring before the takeover. Law was handled by military courts, and the death penalty was liberally used for instances of looting. The Military Justice Code was used during the martial law period from 1996-1999. The Code was so effective, it inspired the Uniform Civilian Justice Code which replaced the previous criminal procedures in the United States. The Federal Weapons Statute of 1999 made it illegal to carry submachine guns and other fully automatic weapons, but is largely ignored. Criminals of minor offenses are often beaten up by police rather than arrested.
The United States has one of the largest prison populations in the world. Handled by the Bureau of Prisons, prisons are overcrowded and deadly. Officials have largely given up on rehabilitation and are mostly concerned with penning up society's "mad dogs," as they call it. Many prisons force prisoners into "braindance," suspended in cryo tanks for two to three years on repeat interface loop programs. The simplest method of punishment is execution, and most states have a State Executioner who is also empowered to hunt down escaped criminals from Death Row.
The underfunded educational system and the lack of public schools in many states has resulted in a rapid rise in gang membership. Almost 90 percent of streetkids are involved in some form of youth-gang; either simplistic and feral child-families; a block gang; or as a junior affiliate to a larger Boostergang.
The United States has a capitalist mixed economy. Globalization has resulted in an interconnected global economy. On a larger scale the economy is more controlled than before the Collapse, with increased bureaucracy resulted from both international trade and interstate trade with the resurgence of states' rights. Roughly 30% of the GNP is subsumed in the "black market." Not all trading is illegal, but "grey" when the goods and services are traded outside of taxed channels. 20% of the global economy is based on the exchange of information and entertainment.
By 2020, American industry is primarily divided into the manufacturing, technology, and service industries. The manufacturing industry has returned due to the low standard of living in America along with the lack of labor unions. The cyberware, nanotech, and biological industries within the technological sector are the highest-profit businesses in the American economy.
The crash of the World Stock Exchange in 94' and the troubles of the World Bank meant the United States had no one to borrow money from to pay off its extremely high national debt. Federal Bonds were cashed in so fast the U.S. Government could not print money fast enough, and the value of the dollar plummeted.
Science and technologyEdit
The United States has been responsible for many technological innovations throughout the Cyber Age. The first arcology was constructed in Jersey City in 1991, and that same year the first artificial muscle fiber was developed at Stanford Research Center, and Biotechnica developed CHOOH2, the predominant fuel for the next century. Cyberlimbs were fully adopted by the U.S. military in 2006. A year later, braindance is developed at UC Santa Cruz.
By 2001, the United States played a role in the foundation of the WorldSat Communications Network. By 2013, the U.S. was instrumental with the formation of Netwatch with the EEC. That same year, the United States was host to the formation of the first, true artificial intelligence created by Microtech at Sunnyvale.
Income, poverty, and wealthEdit
Post-Collapse America has a two-tiered economy and an extremely small and shrinking middle class. By 2020, the United States has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world, with 90% of the wealth controlled by 10% of the population. These 10% make up the ultra-wealthy; 15% make up the middle class (30,000,000 people); 10% are on the poverty borderline; and 65% live in squalid misery and third-world conditions. This is in stark contrast to Europe and parts of Asia in which 40% of the population is considered middle-class.
By 1990, roughly 30% of all citizens were receiving some form of government assistance. The Collapse saw the end to all social programs in America, including but not limited to: Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, welfare, unemployment benefits, subsidies and price controls.
The average salary reported in 2018 was 4,000eb a year; not including Zeroes or parts of the corporate payroll. AI assessments place the actual statistic somewhat lower at 3,200eb a year. The average corporate salary fell at about 6,000eb per year. Benefits and perks added about 2,000eb to this figure. The average Nomad receives roughly 3,000eb of in-kind goods or services. The average government salary is 5,000eb.
While the average salary has decreased, the purchasing power of the average American has remained relatively constant since the 1990s. The purchasing power of the Eurodollar is approximately twice the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar; which is comparable to the Japanese Yen. Making 200eb a week is comparable to making $400 1990 U.S. dollars a week. A loaf of bread that would cost $1 in 1990 USD has been replaced with the kibble bar, which in itself costs a half a Eurodollar in 2020 EB. Many American businesses only accept the Eurodollar as a form of payment.
The cost of living space in urban areas is at a premium. The development of the mallplex and arcology-style communities has drastically increased the population density of urban centers. Extremely cheap apartments go for roughly 600eb a month unfurnished, soundproof apartments cost 200eb more. Cube-style apartments with fold-out furniture and built-in appliances run for about 1200eb a month. Living in a Combat Zone halves these prices. Real apartments are out of reach for the majority of Americans, usually requiring a 5,000eb deposit and costing 2,500eb a month. As such, subsidized corporate housing comprises the vast majority of people who are able to afford a decent, furnished apartment. In 2020 an average three-bedroom, two-bathroom house costs 850,000eb.
Examples of Corporate statism in America are largely relegated to Corp Zones in major cities and research arcologies. It remains illegal for corporations to utilize their own currencies, however American employment law allows for 30% of salary to be paid in "marks" within company stores.
American transportation is built around major metropolitan areas surrounded by relatively empty, deserted ghost towns and wilderness. The civil strife of the Collapse prevented any new revolutions in mass transit from taking place. There is very little non-direct mass transit. Completed in 2008 by the military, the Maglev bullet train runs underground across the nation and connects coast to coast; and is now operated by Planetran company.
The extremely high cost of jet fuel means flights are largely regional, such as from Night City to Seattle. Longer flights are handled by luxury airships known as Dirigible Liners for the rich. Cars, buses, subways, and shuttles are largely used within cities themselves; travel outside of them usually being too dangerous and lacking the necessary infrastructure.
The United States Department of Energy regulates all aspects of power generation and brokers power between states. The DOE operates the Energy Management Cooperative; a privatized monopoly similar to the postal service of the pre-Collapse. The EMC is traded on the "big boards" of the stock exchanges, and citizens can make a quick dollar trading energy futures without high risk.
After the dustbowls and acid rains of the 1990s, the power industry was able to make a smooth transition from coal-fired generators to a hydrogen-fired refit; cutting costs and reducing environmental damage.
Water supply and sanitationEdit
Virulent bioplagues and the mass graves of the Collapse have ruined almost all natural ground water in the continental United States.
Since the Collapse, America has regained the power to feed itself. 70% of all food on the market is kibble, a slang term for all manufactured foods of varying quality. Kibble itself is also one of the almost twenty manufactured foods that make up the majority of the American diet. Developed by Purina Foods for the SouthAm relief effort in the Central American Wars, kibble provides a full day's supply of vitamin and mineral compounds, as well as a minimal amount of complete proteins. It features a fairly dry and grainy consistency similar to animal food, hence the name.
Roughly 28% of foods are SCOPs, or Single Organic Cell Proteins. SCOP is a generic term for any food niche such as hamburger scop, chicken scop, broccoli scop, cheese scop; and generally looks like any other food product. Soya has also been genetically tailored to fit any of the thousands of vegetable protein foods available.
The remaining two percent of foods are considered "fresh, real foods" and are available to the average millionaire. Three percent of the population eats fresh foods more than once or twice a year, with some estimates as low as one percent. With the contamination of almost all fresh water in the United States, fresh foods are grown in sealed hydroponic gardens or imported; parts of Europe, Canada, and the old Soviet Republics are the new breadbasket of the world.
A most all of the food consumed in 2020 is eaten out, and many apartments simply lack a kitchen. Most city streets are filled with vendors. Most vendors sell either handfoods or prepackaged meals, though occasionally a vendor may have on a pot of fresh soup or noodles in broth. Real fresh foods are usually only available in very expensive restaurants.
Literature, philosophy, and visual artEdit
The 21st century has seen three major branches of philosophical thought. Neo-Luddism advocates for a return to a more personal society unmarred by technology, cyberpsychosis, industrial waste, and bio-products. Nihilism is a broad term for those that have given up on humanity entirely, and are sometimes considered a sect of Neo-Luddism. However, while Luddism believes that humanity has control of its destiny, Nihilists believe humans are no longer men, but animals enslaved to the machines we have created. Lastly, technohumanism is a movement popular among the young crowd, academics, some Rockers, and the Net subculture. It primarily holds the belief that man is now in control of their own evolution, and that we cannot comprehend what what will come next. As such, technohumanists believe that humanity has the potential to create a new golden age.
- Main article: Rockerboy
The American music scene is largely dominated by the Rockerboy, a term for individuals within a movement of political rock. James "Rockerboy" Manson is considered the first Rocker owing to his death in 1997 coining the term. Afraid to perform in America owing to threats from the military government, Manson was clubbed to death at an Amnesty International concert by armed British security thugs; and galvanized a whole generation to become Rockers. One of the first groups was Justifiable Homicide with their first 1998 album Jury Trial. Until the return to civilian rule no Rocker was considered safe.
Johnny Silverhand and Kerry Eurodyne led the post-2008 resurgence of the genre with their band Samurai, and have made it onto the Top Ten. Since then, Rocker music has covered political, social, and economic activism. With the rise of cyberware, songs about technohumanism have found their way into the Rocker scene.
The '93-'94 Super Bowl saw all pretense of "drug free" professional sports pushed aside, with six players dying in the game. During the collapse, professional sports died for over a decade. Violent blood sports became the norm amidst the chaos. Around roughly 2002, the military government formalized augmented sports. The great stadiums of the pre-Collapse largely disappeared save for the Arrowhead complex in Kansas City, or the Giants stadium in New York; and the "golden age" of professional sports was considered over; with the last Olympic Games held in 1992.
International Soccer was the only sport followed globally, and with the death of nationalism, corporations took over sponsorship of teams such as the Militech Rangers or the OrbAir Flyers. By 2008, the majority of soccer had cybernetic players, thus the ball had to be changed to handle 500 psi impacts. American football had regained popularity by 2020, and remains the most violent sanctioned sport in the country. Many old sports are still played, however usually in scattered and disconcerted states. Golf is still enjoyed by some corporate executives, but combat handball is has largely replaced it and is considered "in." Baseball is a primarily unaugmented sport, and almost no cyberware is used at all. While largely unpopular in America, it is the leading sport in Asia for young people.
Gang sports called "sticking" have largely replaced gang wars for minor offenses with bloodshed considered too costly with harsher police methods and killings. The gangs of SoCal largely resolve disputes with a game called "stickball." Combat sports, also known as death sports, are largely common in Nomad and gang cultures. Economic and law enforcement pressures usually keep matches from getting too bloody. The cloest thing to a nationwide, big-money death sport is the World Kumite Tournament. Some areas of the world and the Free States sponsor prison-inmate gladiatorial contests, full-contact obstacle courses, martial arts death-duels, and other wargames. While technically illegal, this does not stop the market from supplying demand.
- Main article: Information
Mass media in America is privately-owned and operated by corporations. While libraries, databanks, and and universities offered free information pre-Collapse, information has since become a commodity. Governments and corporations pay other governments and corporations for use of their databanks. The average citizen can only read the screamsheets, the new newspaper of the 21st century; which is filled with headlines, "bites," propaganda and disinformation; many of it purposely manufactured and falsified. Almost all programming is a conglomeration of styles called Infomercialtainment.
Behind the scenesEdit
The United States of America is the primary location for Night City.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 1.50 1.51 1.52 1.53 1.54 1.55 1.56 1.57 1.58 1.59 1.60 1.61 1.62 1.63 1.64 1.65 1.66 1.67 1.68 1.69 1.70 1.71 1.72 1.73 1.74 1.75 1.76 1.77 1.78 1.79 1.80 1.81 1.82 1.83 1.84 Home of the Brave, Copyright 1992 R.Talsorian Games, Inc.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk 2020. 2nd ed. Berkeley CA; R.Talsorian Games, 1990.
- ↑ Cyberpunk 2020 – Home of the Brave. Cyberpunk 2020 – Night City.