• Just How Much of a Utopia is Equestria? How Does it Compare to Earth?

    When pony first started up way back in 2010, many regarded Equestria as a sort of Utopia.  Sure we had some 1000 year old nightmare horse causing trouble, and a major catastrophe or two, but overall, life seemed pretty carefree for the ponies of Ponyville. 

    Following it's introduction, a swarm of "Human in Equestria" and "Transform into a pony and go to Equestria" fanworks started to appear.  We ran polls and discussions on the topic, with many leaning toward dropping everything and just leaving Earth for good.  Four seasons later, the world has largely been revealed to us.  Pony life isn't quite as carefree as we were originally lead to believe.

    So, how well does Equestria compare to Earth? Would dropping everything, gaining hooves, and teleporting to ponyland be the key to a new and much more entertaining life?

    Go hit up some EQD editorialness below! 

    Bits Bits and More BITS!

    First off, we need to decide what kind of government Equestria actually runs on.  We know the princesses are up there moving the sun and moon around and leading with seemingly no voting system in place.  Ascension to royalty appears to happen in two ways: Be born with a horn and wings (Cadance) , or be chosen by Celestia after years of careful grooming (Twilight and almost Sunset Shimmer). In the case of number two, it appears to be locked to only the unicorn race. Could a Pegasus or Earth pony do it? Would Celestia ever take one of them on as an apprentice, and bestow the gift of essentially unlimited power on them? I can't see that ever happening. You can't really apprentice a non-magic pony can you?

    (Update: Many have pointed out that Cadance started as a pegasus in the Crystal Heart Spell book. My bad!) 

    The ponies do appear to be "Free" though, so we can probably rule out the idea that Celestia is an oppressive ruler.  We don't see many statues and posters praising GLORIOUS CELESTIA LEADER plastered around Ponyville.

    This could even be a case of the British style modern monarchy, with an icon at the top that doesn't have a whole lot of actual political power outside of a few simple choices, as shown in the comics.

    Lets assume then that Equestria has your typical economic class system in place, where ponies like Filthy Rich take the top,  and others struggle to pay the bills.  It was pointed out that this guy was actually born into wealth via a family of ponies selling zap apple jam, and still buys it in shipments of 100 crates if the scene in Family Appreciation Day is any indication.  Chances are he has some side ventures, but it does show a correlation between the Apple family and the Rich family.

    We rarely see ponies struggling though.  If anything, minimum wage is probably incredibly high over there.  If Trixie can just up and work on a rock farm for a comfortable living (albeit nowhere near her emotional/abitious comfort zone), then things are probably pretty alright for getting yourself out of the gutter.

    But one pony does struggle, and a big one at that. 

    This would be our first major comparison. While Ponyville is regularly wiped out and rebuilt, it appears that money is still a big issue.  This is all revealed by poor Applejack, who regularly seems to be scrounging for any bit she can get her hooves on.  Despite selling all of that Zap Apple Jam to Filthy Rich, running a humongous Cider operation, and being what appears to be the lead supplier in apples, they still can't even replace Grannies hip!

    It may be easy to get back on your hooves after a major financial blow (losing everything in Trixie's case), but how difficult is it to prosper? What kind of wealth gap are we looking at here? Is pony race one of the issues?

    You are Born an Earth Pony, Does that Equal a Disadvantage?

    This leads to the second issue Equestrians face, an Earth pony disadvantage.  A race that can't fly or do magic in a magic oriented world really has to work incredibly hard to make ends meet.  It was mentioned that unicorns in Canterlot simply magic away winter, and Twilight was able to harvest entire orchards in seconds in comparison to Applejack doing it manually with buckin'. They may have the secret to growth, but it doesn't seem to be helping Applepony out financially.

    Perhaps there is a unicorn run apple field somewhere out there that we haven't heard about, claiming the majority of the Equestrian fruit trade? It wouldn't be too far fetched to hire an earth pony to get things rolling doing... whatever it is they do to make things grow. I can't really think of any other reason why Applejack would be struggling so much.

    I'm hoping we see more information on earth pony special abilities in the future.  Strength is one thing, but when Twilight and Rarity seemingly lift, move, destroy, or transmute anything with magic, how useful is it really?

    Regardless, many earth ponies do appear to be successful in several cases, so Applejack might just be one of those stubborn strugglers who won't move on to greener pastures.  It's possible to have a dead end business, just like a dead end job.

    Fierce Competition, and Sneaky Business Practices

    It's pointed a lot here on earth, that lawyers, salesmen, and just about anyone involved in big money immediately needs to be heavily scrutinized.  In the early days, Equestria seemed friendly and happy go lucky.  This has been disproven multiple times over the last few seasons.

    Rarity up there looks to be in one of the most cutthroat industries out there.  When a pony like Suri Polomare can straight up rip off her dress designs with only the good graces of Coco Pommel to stop her, it seems like poor Rarity might have to lawyer up before helping other fashion ponies in the future. Hardcore business with all of it's legal loopholes is alive and well in ponyland.

    But back to our favorite orange pony who just can't catch a break.  Our earliest look at the sneaky business practices of Equestria happened in Super Cider Squeezy 6000.  Not only does Applejack have to compete with a race of superpowered ponies, but now they are magicking up complex machines.  Flim and Flam are a testament to the capabilities of pony greed combined with unicorn ingenuity.  In our first encounter with these two, they charge in, demand an absolutely awful 75-25 split on cider profits from the Apple Family Orchard, and then shift into threatening to put them out of business if they don't agree to a ridiculous competition. Considering their magic powered cider squeezer seems to do the work of the apple family and then some, Applejack doesn't have much of a choice but to join in and save the farm.

    Flim and Flam were idiots in the end, but how much longer will Applejack be able to fend ponies like this off? A bit of tweaking on their machine, and the quality control function may actually work at a speed that just can't be out-muscled by an army of ponies doing it manually.

    Of course, they couldn't just stop there. Earth is absolutely flooded with the modern day "Snake oil salesmen" via those ridiculous bracelets the NBA backed a while back, or the commercials about pads on your feet sucking the bad energy out.  It's a plague, and appears to be the same deal over in ponyland.

    Unfortunately, these guys don't appear to have any kind of regulation on medical supplies to back it up.  A show filled with 100% false and illegal advertising convinced everypony that they had a cure-all on their hooves.  If you pulled what they pulled here on earth, expect the lawsuits.  That might actually be a big negative in Equestria.  If they can get away with that without repercussions, what else do ponies sneak into the public?

    In the End, Equestria is Just a Magical, over the top Earth!

    Despite it's very earthlike problems, ponyland still seems to be absolutely overflowing with wonders that the average Dungeons and Dragons nerd would kill to get involved in (myself included).  You may see an entire city taken over by a single overpowered unicorn every once in a while, but chances are she will be stopped by an equally sneaky or powerful outside force... eventually.  It's a society you would inevitably adjust to, with super heroes and super villains battling it out in the foreground while you go about your daily life in the background.

    I'm going to go into a weird video game comparison here for a bit since I play a lot of those.  There are two I spend way too much time on, with one that focuses on balance through keeping things simple (League of Legends), and another that balances through making everyone ridiculously powerful and world changing (Dota 2). Both systems work.  Equestria fits into that second category. 

    As we get more seasons, and more of Equestria is revealed to us, this might be a fun topic to revisit. But for now, many of the systems are still a mystery.  Expect the madness to continue in season 5!