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How to improve the north economically?

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They need to encourage a migration of Southerners and start cultivating larger parts of land in the southern sections (the area is far too thinly populated). they could offer a scheme where second sons of southern lords marry daughters of northern lords and get lands that are basically terra nullis. 

strengthen the commerce through White Harbour, Essos seems to lack the forest land and the men to provide it with enough timber, recruit men to be lumbers and build more ships to ferry timber across the narrow sea. 

Establish 3-4 new market towns   

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People on the coasts could build ships and become fishers and whale hunters. They could sell timber and ores, or even crafted goods like tools, weapons, metalware, ceramics, furniture, musical instruments, paper... etc., during winter.

The problem is, the western coast seem depopulated, the eastern coast besides White Harbor doesn't that populous either, and most people seem to live in small settlements inland...

How do you send fish and imported food there, or bring their goods to the coast? The population is too small and too dispersed... frozen rivers can substitute for roads in winter (using sledges), but much of the terrain is montainous or at least irregular, so I am not sure you will get nice flat "ice roads..."

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, hnv said:

They need to encourage a migration of Southerners and start cultivating larger parts of land in the southern sections (the area is far too thinly populated). they could offer a scheme where second sons of southern lords marry daughters of northern lords and get lands that are basically terra nullis. 

strengthen the commerce through White Harbour, Essos seems to lack the forest land and the men to provide it with enough timber, recruit men to be lumbers and build more ships to ferry timber across the narrow sea. 

Establish 3-4 new market towns   

That sounds like a hard sales pitch... peasants starve during winter in the North on a regular basis... How do you convince southerners to go there?

And it's not as if land is scarce in the south... Westeros as a whole is quite sparsely populated...

Edited by Ser Lepus

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1 minute ago, Ser Lepus said:

That sounds like a hard sales pitch... peasants starve during winter in the North in a regular basis... How do you convince southerners to go there?

And it's not as if land is scarce in the south... Westeros as a whole is quite sparsely populated…

People can t populate the north in a conventional way. Given the lack of resources there can t be big setlements… The north needs several small setlements with glass gardens in order to increase its population...

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I don't think it's a plot hole to have no western harbor. In fact, I think it is perfectly logical, the reasons being two-fold - the Ironborn presence on the west coast and the fact that there are no known lands to the Sunset Sea side other than Westeros itself.

Say for example that there was a port along the Saltspear or Blazewater Bay, the closest port is Lannisport and then Oldtown. You have to pass the Iron Islands to get to either place. Likewise, ships coming from Lannisport have to pass the Iron Islands to get North. To what purpose tho? If I'm a trader, the only reason I'd go as far as Lannisport is because of the Westerlands great wealth of gold and other metals. If I want the timber and furs that the North provides, I'll catch them when I swing back around the Narrow Sea.

Any port on the west coast isn't going to be that far from White Harbor, so the land trade would continue to go to White Harbor which has easier access to trade with Braavos, Gulltown, King's Landing and Pentos and the rest of  the Narrow Sea.

 

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10 hours ago, Ser Lepus said:

That sounds like a hard sales pitch... peasants starve during winter in the North on a regular basis... How do you convince southerners to go there?

And it's not as if land is scarce in the south... Westeros as a whole is quite sparsely populated...

Easily, reduce the taxation on their products = reduce famine and overall increase product (laffer curve).

 

a western harbour is going to be a white elephant, beyond the ironmen threat there's simply no reason to build a harbour so far of any trade route. 

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14 hours ago, Syl of Syl said:

I don't think it's a plot hole to have no western harbor. In fact, I think it is perfectly logical, the reasons being two-fold - the Ironborn presence on the west coast and the fact that there are no known lands to the Sunset Sea side other than Westeros itself.

Say for example that there was a port along the Saltspear or Blazewater Bay, the closest port is Lannisport and then Oldtown. You have to pass the Iron Islands to get to either place. Likewise, ships coming from Lannisport have to pass the Iron Islands to get North. To what purpose tho? If I'm a trader, the only reason I'd go as far as Lannisport is because of the Westerlands great wealth of gold and other metals. If I want the timber and furs that the North provides, I'll catch them when I swing back around the Narrow Sea.

Any port on the west coast isn't going to be that far from White Harbor, so the land trade would continue to go to White Harbor which has easier access to trade with Braavos, Gulltown, King's Landing and Pentos and the rest of  the Narrow Sea.

 

A port in the west coast allows access to the Reach's crops. Also, fish.

As for having more than one port in each coast... sending food (fish and imported food) overlad over hundreds of miles is just too expensive, even more if you take into account northen geography and lack or roads. 

3 hours ago, hnv said:

Easily, reduce the taxation on their products = reduce famine and overall increase product (laffer curve).

 

a western harbour is going to be a white elephant, beyond the ironmen threat there's simply no reason to build a harbour so far of any trade route. 

Even with reduced taxed the peasants would probably be poorer and eat less than their southern counterparts...

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1 minute ago, Ser Lepus said:

A port in the west coast allows access to the Reach's crops. Also, fish.

As for having more than one port in each coast... sending food (fish and imported food) overlad over hundreds of miles is just too expensive, even more if you take into account northen geography and lack or roads. 

Even with reduced taxed the peasants would probably be poorer and eat less than their southern counterparts...

I am under the impression that bar for Dorne the North's small folk have a larger degree of freedom than other serfs in the south. that could appeal to some. Not sure about the poorer, I assume southern lords just take more than northern lords as the northern lords want someone to survive winter. 

 

anyhow you can just create tenders and let lords bid for the land and come with their peasants by force. there are enough petty lords and second sons in the south who would jump on the option. 

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40 minutes ago, Ser Lepus said:

A port in the west coast allows access to the Reach's crops. Also, fish.

As for having more than one port in each coast... sending food (fish and imported food) overlad over hundreds of miles is just too expensive, even more if you take into account northen geography and lack or roads. 

4 hours ago, hnv said:

O. I am sure there are fishing villages and the like on the west coast of the North that are not marked on the map. what we are talking about is a port city similar in size to White Harbor. and it is perfectly reasonable that that does not exist.

 

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Weird timing as I just digressed into a rant about the lack of discussion of the seasons in the show.

The short (and not extremely helpful) answer is to end Winter. It would kind of destroy the purpose of Winterfell itself, but the area as a whole could easily become more powerful than any of the individual Kingdoms if Winter was on a usual cycle. Spending tremendous energy time and resources into planning for impossible to survive winters tremendously detracts from the ability to do much beyond basic survival. If we're really looking into it (while suspending our disbelief regarding the cycle system as a whole) the North should probably be centuries (if not millennia) behind every other region of Westeros economically, technologically and socially. If you look historically at cultures facing harsh living conditions they show a pattern of having independent developments (those not adopted from cultural diffusion with other regions) limited or specialized. And those specialized innovations are almost always focused on addressing problems that derive from the harsh conditions (the dog sled jumps to mind, but examples abound.) 

The idea that a region in which huge amounts of people travel great distances just to huddle near civilization because surviving in small or medium sized communities is a survival risk would somehow be on the same page as The Reach, the West or uber-advanced Oldtown is laughable. Considering these conditions have been a fact of life for around 10,000 years, they would be MUCH more culturally distinct than the books show them to be (though, to GRRM's credit, he does highlight that the North is still relatively isolated that separates it from the 7 Kingdoms which are generally on the same level). 

But even the normalization of winter presents Northern problems. What do you do when the strategy used for time immemorial ceases to be relevant? Of course they would experience tremendous boom, but also a tremendous amount of dissonance and confusion. The differences purely in building and farming should easily outweigh that, but it is kind of a miracle that the North even speaks the same language as everyone else. A really easy comparison is the Neanderthal population (given some weight by GRRM suggesting the North has much, MUCH more blood of the First Men than anywhere else) vs modern humans when regions began to overlap. The problem, though, is that that analogy suggests that Northmen as a genetically distinguishable group maybe shouldn't exist anymore or is approaching relative balance with other populations due to interbreeding.

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3 hours ago, Demetri said:

Weird timing as I just digressed into a rant about the lack of discussion of the seasons in the show.

The short (and not extremely helpful) answer is to end Winter. It would kind of destroy the purpose of Winterfell itself, but the area as a whole could easily become more powerful than any of the individual Kingdoms if Winter was on a usual cycle. Spending tremendous energy time and resources into planning for impossible to survive winters tremendously detracts from the ability to do much beyond basic survival. If we're really looking into it (while suspending our disbelief regarding the cycle system as a whole) the North should probably be centuries (if not millennia) behind every other region of Westeros economically, technologically and socially. If you look historically at cultures facing harsh living conditions they show a pattern of having independent developments (those not adopted from cultural diffusion with other regions) limited or specialized. And those specialized innovations are almost always focused on addressing problems that derive from the harsh conditions (the dog sled jumps to mind, but examples abound.) 

The idea that a region in which huge amounts of people travel great distances just to huddle near civilization because surviving in small or medium sized communities is a survival risk would somehow be on the same page as The Reach, the West or uber-advanced Oldtown is laughable. Considering these conditions have been a fact of life for around 10,000 years, they would be MUCH more culturally distinct than the books show them to be (though, to GRRM's credit, he does highlight that the North is still relatively isolated that separates it from the 7 Kingdoms which are generally on the same level). 

But even the normalization of winter presents Northern problems. What do you do when the strategy used for time immemorial ceases to be relevant? Of course they would experience tremendous boom, but also a tremendous amount of dissonance and confusion. The differences purely in building and farming should easily outweigh that, but it is kind of a miracle that the North even speaks the same language as everyone else. A really easy comparison is the Neanderthal population (given some weight by GRRM suggesting the North has much, MUCH more blood of the First Men than anywhere else) vs modern humans when regions began to overlap. The problem, though, is that that analogy suggests that Northmen as a genetically distinguishable group maybe shouldn't exist anymore or is approaching relative balance with other populations due to interbreeding.

Well if we want to be accurate, it is actually a miracle people in the vale and the reach communicate in the same language. Across this large continent with so little travel we should have  found a bundle of local languages and distinct dialects, smallfolk should have very unique ways of communicating and should spot strangers miles afar. When the Hound is in the Riverlands working in that village her northern accent and his Western accent should have been a talking point.

 

GRRM for simplicity decided to brush aside the lingual aspect here completely.  

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Perhaps they mine ice and sell it. And perhaps the inhabited lands north of the wall were once considered part of the same region, a land that the Kings of Winter would have fought over and dealt with. Other than that, they probably just repeatedly beat the Iron Born off the land whenever they decided to reav instead of trade and by the way? There is little point to looting shiny things if you don't use those shiny things for purchase. 

And the North has lumber and plentiful shores, so everywhere on the shores would engage in fishing and whaling, and everywhere with a river would have that available at least part time. So the Northern economy would involve fur trapping, fishing, a bit of shepherding, lumber farming, and ice farming. And trading with the Wildlings for rarer materials, such as mammoth bones and whatnot.

 

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On 5/24/2019 at 2:06 AM, Vashon said:

Perhaps they mine ice and sell it. And perhaps the inhabited lands north of the wall were once considered part of the same region, a land that the Kings of Winter would have fought over and dealt with. Other than that, they probably just repeatedly beat the Iron Born off the land whenever they decided to reav instead of trade and by the way? There is little point to looting shiny things if you don't use those shiny things for purchase. 

And the North has lumber and plentiful shores, so everywhere on the shores would engage in fishing and whaling, and everywhere with a river would have that available at least part time. So the Northern economy would involve fur trapping, fishing, a bit of shepherding, lumber farming, and ice farming. And trading with the Wildlings for rarer materials, such as mammoth bones and whatnot.

 

Forget about ice mining; unless the teleporting ships are made canon, the ice and snow would melt long before reaching the hot regions where there is demand for it...

Realistically speaking, most of the population in the North should live by the coasts and survive on fishing and whaling during winters, but it doesn't seem to be the case...

Lumber would be a source of income to buy imported food, but you need ports and ships in order to export both the wood or wooden items to regions that demand them... Same for fur trade...

Shepherding... I dunno... storing enough fodder to keep the sheep alive during the long winters would be hard... they would have to kill many sheep during autumn...

So we go to point one: The inland should be mostly empty, almost all the population being concentrated by the coast...

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Ice could easily be shipped as far as King's Landing in larger ship hulls, especially in bulk.

And yeah, the North shouldn't, if the rest of Westeros isn't, be quite as thinnly populated as it seems, the North should have mercantile, fishing and whaling interest all up its coasts. 

Id wager the Winterfell dominated the same way Moscow dominated, not because of (setting aside Moscow being on a river and Winterfell not) economic advantage or existing trade links, but just by repeatedly getting the better of wars and nobody succeeding at beating them down before they had gathered up most of their neighbhors up to certain direction and then had the size and reserves to outlast every short term loss. And then spent centuries beating down the largest rivals until they had secured everything that mattered.

 

The Starks and there closest and longest loyal vassals should be outnumbered twice over by either coast, and 8x times over by the coast and southern regions. But after centuries of war, and beating them down, they have succesffully integrated all but the former Red Kings, and the Red Kings are flanked by Karstark and Manderlies who have deep debts to house Stark, and others that strongly dislike them.

Even if the series removed Dany and the Others, House Bolton's gains are extremely temporary, in 40 years at minimum there would be a revolt to install another Stark and then exterminate the Boltons and bring down the closest allies.

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3 hours ago, Vashon said:

Ice could easily be shipped as far as King's Landing in larger ship hulls, especially in bulk.

Ah, but there is ice and snow in KL during winter... On the other hand, there isn't much ice or snow in most of the North during summer, at least not along the coasts... remember, they grow crops even beyond the Wall (the Wall stands without melting because it's magical).

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On 5/21/2019 at 7:32 PM, TheThreeEyedCow said:

Thing is, their winter's are the worst known to Planetos. The sensible thing to do when winter rears it's ugly head is leave. Go south. There would need to be a leap in technology in-order to facilitate a wide-spread population that could survive the winter. 

They could probably rear a lot of sheep up in those hills. And they don't lack for timber (maybe don't chop the white ones) so it is possible. But it would require a northern leader who isn't interested in the game of thrones. Plus, there's a good chance that the Lords and Ladies in the north simply possess too much land in order to control it effectively. 

I agree. In FaB and TWoIaF we see the North needs a bailout in severe winters, whether it's the Iron Throne sending food or Cregan Stark taking out a loan to buy food. They need to store all the food they can harvest as a first step and Robb calling his banners when the harvest had yet to be brought in left the North in a precarious state.

Hindsight is obviously 20/20, but if Robb had called off his campaign after taking Jamie prisoner, not called himself king and returned North and started negotiations with Tywin on swapping Jamie Vs Sansa + ransom the worst could have been avoided.

But longer term, it looks like Ned did not do any more than mind the shop really. Not meant as criticism, this is true of probably 60% of all Lords, with 30% leaving things worse than they found them and probably only 10% truly improving things.

The OP has a lot of good ideas. Timber from north of the wall is a quick win, using manpower before they're needed for the harvest. I guess the available manpower between planting and before harvesting could have been deployed for hunting seals, maybe fishing with energy and initiative from WF.

But there are structural problems with one house controlling all the commerce and shipping, with everyone else seemingly reduced to livestock grazing, farming and forestry, at best horse rearing. It feels like you need more people from spring until the last harvests are in, but then you seen to have too many people in severe winter, typical of a subsistence economy with little else to offer to the rest of the world. Guess we just have to take it as it is.

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7 hours ago, Ser Hedge said:

<snip>

Yep, there are a fair few things a dedicated Lord could do to bolster his peoples chances in winter. Perhaps an Andal leader would be better for their trade and agricultural needs? 

The Northmen at times seem stuck in their ways. Which may serve the story well over the next couple of books. But come Spring, you'd hope that the next King or Lord Paramount will think of these issues. That said, there may not be anyone left alive so.... :dunno:

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31 minutes ago, TheThreeEyedCow said:

Yep, there are a fair few things a dedicated Lord could do to bolster his peoples chances in winter. Perhaps an Andal leader would be better for their trade and agricultural needs? 

The Northmen at times seem stuck in their ways. Which may serve the story well over the next couple of books. But come Spring, you'd hope that the next King or Lord Paramount will think of these issues. That said, there may not be anyone left alive so.... :dunno:

Fuck the Andals and their lying ass Faith. Only religion on Planetos without real miracles. No surrender, Eddard Stark was a moronic dumbass for allowing a Sept to be built and for Septas and Septons to wander around freely

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25 minutes ago, Vashon said:

Fuck the Andals and their lying ass Faith. Only religion on Planetos without real miracles. No surrender, Eddard Stark was a moronic dumbass for allowing a Sept to be built and for Septas and Septons to wander around freely

....It's got nothing to do with people's faith. It's a cultural thing. To be clear, we are discussing what the north could do to improve it's trade.

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