Random Headcanon: The Economics of the Air Nation
- Given the almost-complete genocide of the Air Nation, the Fire Nation (FN) was chiefly paying for the operation of Air Temple Island in reparations. The other temples are relatively self-sustaining.
- The United Republic (UR) incurs a small cost as well, with the Island kind of treated like a protected park.
- Air Temple Island originally was self-sustaining in terms of food with its greenhouses (though rice needed to be imported…no room for paddies), but post-Harmonic Convergence (more accurately post-Zaheer’s downfall), the increase of airbenders meant a higher demand for supplies.
- The UR is in no place to pay for more supplies with the vines still everywhere and the city a mess, and the Earth Kingdom was in disarray so it’s not like they could contribute, meaning the FN was the only one in position to fund the Air Nation for a time, though this was a much larger cost than their original agreed upon amount in reparations.
- Izumi agreed to loan the money, under the condition that eventually in X years (let’s just say 5-10), Air Temple Island would be solely the UR’s concern and FN reparation payments could stop.
- The airbender tour guides are part of a plan to have the Air Nation service the UR so that the cost of funding them doesn’t significantly damage the UR financially and doesn’t require major tax increases.
- Because the Air Nation goes “where needed,” I’m assuming once the Earth Kingdom is fully stabilized in its independent states, there will be some kind of international tax or tariff or something that also helps keep Air Temple Island up and running. But that’s an international agreement that will have to wait until state leaders are solidified.