5321-5350AD Depression & Strife
In late 5321AD the stock exchange at Luke's Harbour crashed. This triggered a global economic meltdown that cast millions of people out of their jobs and set global inflation spiralling.
In an attempt to insulate themselves from the disaster, several states decided to start minting their own currencies. Chaos ensued. The value of the Colchis dollar, the former global currency, totally collapsed. The collection of taxes became almost impossible, and the central state virtually ceased to function.
States everywhere tried to salvage their own industries by imposing draconian protectionist duties, and currency controls. Far from helping, these measured strangled what little remaining trade there was, and deepened the crisis.
Without jobs or the assistance of the welfare state, millions of people were made homeless. Food shortages lead to rationing and starvation.
Recriminations over who was to blame for the crisis lead to bitterness, and eventually a series of petty wars. The wars made politicians feel that they were doing something, and they ensured that soldiors were well fed, but in the end they only deepened the cycle of poverty.
The slump was not so disasterous for many wheelie communities, which still relied heavily upon agriculture. There may not have been much of a market for their products, but at least they did not starve.
Many wheelie towns and cities organised local friendly societies,which collected donations of food and distributed them to the local poor. Many of these societies have survived through til modern times. They are accused of being fronts for the secret Chaos Cults by many fundamentalist christians.
5352AD The New Territories Auctions
In 5352-60AD Joon Anders sponsored a series of land sales which were to galvanise growth and boost Colchis out of the great slump. This creative scheme offered Colchis' new urban poor the promise of a new life. Anders' company offered cheap 100% loans with which to purchase real estate far out in the outback. Payment to the rural venders was generous, but deferred until the new communities were established.
The Auctions were a resounding success. By 5360AD some 10 million people had moved into the deep grass sea & distant forests to found new communities. The new towns proved to be vibrant and dynamic. Soon there was a chink of light amid the economic gloom. The recovery that started with this modest real estate boom and agricultural renaissance, soon catalysed a wider bounce-back.