Being the controller of Melange distribution across the universe, the struggle for political dominance and power among the Great Houses became reliant on their hold over CHOAM assets and shares; this led the Great Houses to scheme against each other.
CHOAM in Dune Definition
CHOAM stands for Combine Honnette Ober Advancer Mercantiles. The organization is a commerce-based company responsible for distributing goods across the Padishah Empire. With it being the economic backbone of the Padishah Empire, CHOAM became an organization targeted by every member of the Landsraad.
CHOAM also had secret shareholders who tried steering things from the shadows. The two major ghost shareholders were the Bene Gesserit and the Spacing Guild.
The Importance of CHOAM in the Dune Universe
CHOAM is an organization that created the stage for political friction and toggle among the leaders of the Great Houses. Though the organization relies on the Spacing Guild to distribute its products across the known universe, it still controls the economy of the empire.
From distributing food to Melange, CHOAM was the backbone that supported the Padishah economy. With the stronghold CHOAM had over the economy, the leaders of the Great Houses struggled to have the highest shares in the organization. However, the emperor had administrative control over the management. CHOAM used the public model of operation, which made the highest shareholders in the company board directors.
After Shaddam IV sends Leto to Arrakis, he and Baron Harkonnen schemed to kill Leto because of fear that his shares in CHOAM will significantly increase after he becomes the controller of Arrakis. After Leto’s death, Paul rises as the Kwisatz Haderach and avenges his father’s death. With Shaddam dethroned, Paul collects all his CHOAM holdings and assumes the Golden Lion Throne as emperor. As emperor, Paul completely dominates Melange’s production; this makes him one of the most powerful emperors to have lived.
After losing his prescience, Paul walks into the desert, and his son, Leto II becomes the God-emperor of the universe. Leto II’s complete dominance over the universe makes CHOAM degrade in relevance. However, it survives the God-emperor’s reign.
Political Structure of CHOAM
Due to its control of interplanetary commerce, CHOAM majority shareholders were the members of the Landsraad, which consisted of the Minor Houses, Great Houses, and Imperial Houses. The Bene Gesserit and Spacing Guild were silent partners of CHOAM and had shares that enabled them to influence political issues.
The History of CHOAM
CHOAM got founded eighty years after the Butlerian Jihad by Josef Venport, the director of Venport Holdings, the biggest foldspace transportation company.
CHOAM’s grip on the empire got mentioned in quotes by Frank Herbert:
Wealth was the thing. CHOAM was the key to wealth, each noble House dipping from the company’s coffers whatever it could under the power of the directorships. These CHOAM directorships – they were the real evidence of political power in the Imperium, passing with the shifts of voting strength within the Landsraad as it balanced itself against the emperor and his supporters.
Few products escape the CHOAM touch. Logs, donkeys, horses, cows, lumber, dung, sharks, whale fur – the most prosaic and the most exotic. Anything the Guild will transport, the art forms of Ecaz, the machines of Richesse and Ix. But all fades before Melange.
Glossary Term Associated With CHOAM
Here is a list of words associated with CHOAM:
- Landsraad: The Landsraad is the representative body for all the Great Houses of the Imperium. It got governed by the emperor, who was also the administrative head of CHOAM.
- The Imperium: The Imperium is the government that controls all of humanity in the Padishah empire.
- Foldspace: Foldspace is a dimension that the Guild Navigators use to travel faster than the speed of light through the known universe.
What does CHOAM stands for in Dune?
CHOAM stands for Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles. CHOAM is the universal cooperation responsible for distributing products across the universe. As the economic backbone of the Padishah Empire, CHOAM functioned as a public organization, with the Great Houses owning shares and their leaders serving as board members.
Why does the emperor control CHOAM?
Since CHOAM functions as a public company, its board members are those with the highest shares in the company. The emperor possesses the highest CHOAM shares; this makes him the administrative head of the organization, giving him sole power over decisions regarding the distribution of commodities like Melange.
Does CHOAM control the Spacing Guild in Dune?
The Spacing Guild is an independent organization responsible for transporting people and equipment throughout the known universe. CHOAM is dependent on the Spacing Guild for the distribution of goods and the transportation of people.
What is foldspace?
Foldspace is a dimension that the Guild Navigators use to travel faster than the speed of light. First discovered by Norma Cenva, foldspace is important to CHOAM, as it is through it that the Spacing Guild can distribute products across interstellar space.