We have recently been told a tad more about how the yonko work. They are emperors and they do have territorries but on the other hand it does not seem their territories are actually their nations or anything of the sort but rather areas over which they exert control and influence in particular over the underworld.
Law described this as each yonko controlling a crime syndicate. Now, will luffy and the strawhats ever actually do anything of the sort? Luffy is by no means going legit in any sort of business deal however if he intends to keep his own territorry of sorts, specially against big mom, then he is going to need people to watch over said territtories and the funds to maintain them. How can this ever come to be? In fishman island we saw big mom simply wanted 120 tons of candy a year however in other places they are bound to have different sorts of criminal businesses which would necessarily have to turn in a profit for her to maintain said businesses and her humongus crew and allies. This means kidnappings, weapons, drugs, pillaging and who knows what else which the yonko might do for business.
So... is luffy actually starting a crime sindicate? I have a hard time believing luffy would ever get himself involved in something like this. Overall luffy has shown he has indeed obtained a number of allies and potential allies. Jinbe is a huge asset and ally, the 30000 pirates who the strawhats released at fishman island would be at least friendly to them, the heart pirates are currently allies and it is plausible their relationship turns into actual friendship in the future. In light of that it does seem like luffy is well on his way to actually forming such a sindicate thanks to the wonders of networking.... But still, is luffy the sort to actually pull of something like that? Or would he rule over his territory through different means? I guess it is plausible he can control territory through allies and with tributes from those nations rather than by profiting from drugs, murder, rape and kidnappings....
So.... what does everyone think?
I can't picture Luffy and his crew ruling any territory with an iron fist. Luffy's reputation has always preceded him with reports of him being extremely ruthless, 8m tall etc. and I think that this will help them protect any potential territories. Simply hearing his name seems to scare off a lot of people (as seen in the colosseum as well). More generally, however, I think that their eventual 'territories' will not be ruled through fear/business, but through real trust and loyalty. This has been seen a few times with Alabasta and most recently the Fishman Island. My guess is that he will end up with a large territory without really working towards it. That seems more in line with his character.
The main issue in any scenario would be money at large. It hasn't been that big a deal lately but the strawhats have lucked upon a decent bit of look (at skypeia and thriller bark) however that is only enough if luffy's crew size remains roughly the same. The addition of territories to luffy's turf so to speak would mean he needs more underlings and the means to keep them strong and well fed at least which already requires resources. Ultimately once luffy gets territory of his own he has to protect it. Big mom protected fishman island with just her name however we have to consider that she already has perhaps thousands of followers and even if not physically present at FI she has her organization which she can mobilize at her whim. The issue is not trust and loyalty but rather the fact hat keeping territory of his own will require further allies, crewmembers and resources. More so, another is that there is hardly any middle ground in regards as to whim each territory belongs. If luffy gets a territory then none of the other yonko has any pull in it so to speak. If luffy does not get into the whole crime thing for himself then it means that every time he gets territory he will have to personally shut down any criminal activity and the profit that comes along with it. That won't sit will with the yonko but also with the other people who profited from said activities.
Luffy as Yonkou will be incredibly straightforward. "You are my nakama now, if you ever are in trouble, we'll come help. If I'm in trouble I know that you will do the same." He will continue doing what he has done since Alabasta. We already know that Yonkou do not have to run crime syndicates. We have Whitebeard as an example. Whitebeard formed alliances based on friendship, trust, and mutual respect. Luffy will do the same. That is why Neptune is so eager to fly Luffy's flag. As Yonkou he will be the true successor to Whitebeard's legacy. Territory will be nakama, all he will ask for is friendship. In return, he will give his friendship. Protection from hostile pirates will come with that friendship.
Do not forget that three of the Yonkou are villainous. Shanks does not necessarily run his territory like a criminal syndicate. Notice in the top panel that there are only three spheres of influence, but four Yonkou. Luffy does not have to either.
---------- Post added at 01:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:13 PM ----------
When I said it would be out of character, I was referring to Kkck's idea of crime syndicate. I think it is very out of character for Luffy to have lots of underlings that he's paying off to have them protect his territories. As I said earlier, however, I do think that Luffy will manage to get many allies through trust and friendship, a lá Fishman Island and Alabasta.
Well, trust and camaradiere perhaps worked for WB but he could not have possibly fed his crew with that. WB's crew alone was 1600 men strong and each of them at large needed food, water and perhaps even a salary of sorts. That does not even consider the 50 something crews which WB had as allies nor the men he would have had stationed at his territories in the new world. So.... what exactly was WB's source of income? Maintaining a crew with 16 divisions and the amount of whale themed boats he kept with him would not be cheap at all. If I recall it was even said that fishman island did not even pay tributes to WB while they did pay big mom with candy. If WB did not collect a tax on fishmen so to speak to protect them then he must have had other sources of income.
Even in the most extreme scenario luffy getting a turf so to speak (which he does intent considering that was the whole point of his declaration of war against big mom) necessarily means he has to keep truth worthy people there. Luffy can't claim to protect FI if when he is supposed to be protecting he is 4 islands away. Big mom herself sends her underlings to collect candy to the island but that means that in a worst case scenario the island is regularly visited by fearsome pirates. The cover story just now actually showed us kaido's response to a revolutionary insurgence and it was not pretty for the revolutionaries. Luffy at a bear minimum has to be able to do that if he has a turf of his own. Even if he has allied crews stationed there those troops have to eat and keep their ships strong.
Overall I guess the issue would be what sort of structure the strawhats will implement to keep a turf and actually be able to protect it. They will certainly need allies crews but once they do that they will need income and such things, moria's treasure won't last forever.
I highly doubt Luffy will start a crime syndicate. From the looks of it, Whitebeard and Shanks never had a crime syndicate. Kaidou, Big Mom, and Blackbeard seem evil enough to rule islands and establish a crime syndicate, but I doubt Luffy will.
Simply, Luffy is not about that crime syndicate life.
I always assumed that they just looted other pirate crews that they defeated and took donations from their generous friends.
Luffy isn't the type to be held down in a territory, much less his own. He has the same idealogies as Roger. The only social status he'll take is pirate king.
Since when have Yonkou been held down by territory? Mom didn't pay Fishman Island any attention until it came time to collect her candy.
---------- Post added at 03:18 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:06 PM ----------
Did anything ever suggest that Whitebeard was tied down by territory? Is there something that makes people think that when (it is inevitable, Neptune plans to fly Luffy's Jolly Roger soon) Luffy gains territory he take a part in local politics? If so, please provide links. As of right now nothing suggests that this is a requirement of being a Yonkou. Mom and Whitebeard did not take a direct role in local politics, there is no reason Luffy will have to either.
And why do people insist on acting as if Luffy is a six year old? He has never been depicted as only caring about becoming Pirate King. That is his goal, the end of his journey only. It has nowhere been depicted that he will ignore everything else over the course of his journey. It would be out of character for him to decline becoming a Yonkou. He wants to be the strongest. If he becomes a Yonkou, it means he is one of the strongest. He'll love it. Becoming Yonkou is not his goal, he will not stop there. But he definitely will be thrilled to become a Yonkou, just like he has always loves to see his own bounty go up.
As far as we know WB did have a very specific set of land which he controlled and protected. Fishman island would be the more obvious example. WB had his flag there, attacking the place meant incurring into the wrath of the monsters of his crew. More so, when brownbeard was introduced we saw him parading over WB's flag which was in another area which would be considered his territory. The gorosei also made a reference to places controlled by WB when they said BB had the advantage in regards to others due to knowing the ins and outs of WB's territory. Its extremely likely that BB came to be considered a yonko by disassembling and taking over himself the places controlled by WB. Now, WB as far as we know could indeed go wherever he wanted however at large he did have a humongous crew and if there was trouble he had 14 commanders he could dispatch and over 50 powerful allied crews which he could call to deal with things. Heck, all 4 yonko are implied to have very well defined places over which they exert influence which would make those places their territory. Also, didn't the cover stories just showed us that android guy protect kaido's territory?
And luffy is very well aiming to become a sort of yonko... He has made his intentions clear about defeating big mom and already stated FI was going to be his turf. Not to mention that just recently he extorted a shichibukai out of his seat and aims to hurt another yonko significantly... He has the tools to be a yonko too. We actually saw how easily the fake strawhats actually gathered many pirate crews to follow them and storm the new world. Jinbe would already be taking care of fishman island and on top of that I am willing to bet those pirate slaves who were freed from hodi would be willing to follow him. Once this arc is done with odds are that the strawhats and law will make it a point to beat kaido. Once that happens the places he controls will be up for grabs so to speak as were WB's territories.
If we look at Big Ma'am (Mom?), she allowed the Fishmand Island to use her Jolly Roger (which would scare off the average pirates, as I stated above) in exchange for candy. Up until it was 'time to collect', no Big Mom affiliates were present in Fishman Island (seemingly). It seemed rather similar with Whitebeard. Based on the [few] panels where we saw him proclaim the Fishman Island his territory, he simply screamed it out all of a sudden. I doubt any of those in his entourage would be OK with being left behind 'to protect' Fishman Island. They don't seem to think things through that much and act more on the spur of the moment. Obviously, there are some exceptions depending on how much the Yonkou care about the specific territory. Kaidoh, for example, placed some people in his favourite island or whatever it was. I doubt he did the same everywhere.
Mom did not even station guards at the candy factory, which was damaged in the civil war. She did not intervene in the war either, deeming it a purely internal matter. Fishman Island was clearly shown to have complete political autonomy. Mom took no part in governing the island, nor was she "tied down" by her territory. What type of relationship Kaido has with territory under his protection is another matter. Big Mom acted different than Whitebeard, Kaid could act differently than Mom.
The factory did not actually belong to big mom though, it belonged to fishman island as far as we know.
Being part of a yonko's territory should not have the implication of said territory being governed by a yonko though, as far as we have seen the emperors do not quite work like that. As far as we know they simply take control of the underground. In this regard there is no reason for a single island to be under the political control of the yonko.
The case of fishman island has other murky bits to boot. It was a civil war, not an outside threat messing with her territory. More so, would she even have time to respond? As far as we know the civil war itself did not really last that long to begin with. It does not seem like fishman island is that coveted a spot for the yonko though. Big mom keeps it for the candy and she is not really getting anything else of value from them as far as we have seen. It doesn't seem like other yonko actually have that much interest in the place either for that matter.