Mars

Mars is run by a corporate council, made up of 7 corporations. These corporations control everything from education to sewage. Currently there is no democratic government.

Education:
Education on Mars is free up to the age of 12, this was a concession made with the UN. Before this education was a benefit taken out of salaries of anyone who had children on the planet. After the age of 12 education has to be paid for. Generally due to the costs involved families can only afford a year or 2 of extra education.

After that they have to rely either on a scholarship from the companies, usually it is only the top scoring percentiles that are taken. These scholarships are provided by the corporations, so it usually means that they have to sign themselves to at least 10 years working for the company after their education ends. This length of education can be variable, normally it will be up to the age of 18, but in other cases can be up to the age of 21 or even later depending on the career path the company has decided they will take. Their is alas no choice in their career path unless they were some how able to pay for it.

The other course that is more company is a company apprenticeship scheme. These usually mean training on equipment specific to that company and based on aptitude determine where they are best suited in the company. These jobs are generally operating mining equipment, maintenance jobs or basic clerical work.

Money:
Money on Mars is based around the Corporation Credit. This is a monopoly system put in place by the corporations that forces people to send their money in only company shops. This can mean that it limits the amount people can save and enables the companies to maximise profits selling to their employees.

The UN tried to intervene and stop this practice and threatened sanctions. The only concession from this was the ability to trade credits for other currencies. However the companies control the exchanges and thus forces a poor exchange rate meaning it is not worth exchanging. It means that these exchanges are empty buildings with someone paid to sit at a desk waiting for customers who will never come.

Due to these restrictions it has caused a thriving black market with the companies try hard to crack down on and squash. Each time they are thought to have been stopped they pop up again. Due to the nature of the Mars colonies, mass sewage air and water systems, it is easy to find places for clandestine meetings.

Mars

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