Monday, September 2, 2013

17129--Pursuit of Happiness? Priceless.

Can you make change for me? 
This isn't a philosophical question or an enlightened social challenge.  I'm talking economics, specifically monetary trade.  I've heard that Alban is about to replace all the gold and silver crowns in circulation with a fresh mint issue of gold and silver imperials.  I don't want to get stuck with the old ones because they're about to be outlawed, but I'm concerned his Highness is going to short the new coins on their precious metal content.  It's most likely that the Fourth Tribe is going to handle the actual administration of the exchange for the Crimson Throne and it's always a good idea to keep an eye on that bunch of sneaky bankers.  You didn't hear that from me, though.

Personally, I think the gold and silver royals from Tazhir are a far more ornately crafted collection of coins.  The Sapphire Throne has also been pretty trustworthy regarding the quality of their money.  They're very proud of their coins, but it's no wonder if you see them.  Queen Valinae is quite the beauty and the engravers got the likenesses spot on.  They're not as widely or commonly used as the coins from Alban and Zadiasam, but probably because they haven't circulated as many.  Alban has a much larger population and an unrivaled wealth of precious gems to bolster their economy and trade.  I'm fairly certain that whichever nation can get their coin to take popular hold among the independent city-states of Bentrci will earn considerable influence on the global economy of Tarakk.  It's just a theory, if you care about such things.

The different nations keeping their coins distinct helps with exchanges.  Tazhir uses octagonal discs.  Albani crowns are hexagonal, but the rumors about the imperials that are going to replace them Is that they're round.  Brilliant, huh?  Who wants to have to chase coins when you drop them and they're rolling away?  Nobody, that's who.  His Majesty didn't ask for opinions, though.  They're his coins, after all.  That's right, they're going to have his face on them.  They're making me take an interest in Zadiasam's coins.  No faces, just words and numbers etched into silver or electrum.  They're rectangular.  Those practical little blocks aren't rolling anywhere.  I guess one should expect nothing less from people so in love with their sciences.

Long before pondering these particular monetary and economic concerns, it occurred to me that the United Federation of Planets had really gotten their act together.  Yes, the Star Trek gang.  I know that most of what we see of the Federation is through military eyes (for those of you who hadn't made the connection, Starfleet is military even though they stress exploration), and I've often wondered what their designers must have against pockets, but they certainly don't have money problems.

Now, Kirk has said that they don't have money, though there has been reference made to credits.  Picard has pontificated that the pursuit of material things doesn't consume their minds.  Some have called them communist.  Technically, Earth and probably much of the UFP is socialist.  There is governmental structure (which communism would lack) and the means of production and industry are chiefly under control of that structure.  Why don't the people seem to mind chafing under such a system?  Well, the people of the UFP enjoy a great deal of freedom and abundance.  How is this possible?  The Federation has grown beyond our meager constraints and achieved the capacity to create more energy than the people need for anything they conceive of doing.  Coupled with that is also the technology to employ that energy in the creation of virtually anything an individual needs or wants.  With all that taken care of, the Pursuit of Happiness is all that remains and people seem to be encouraged to find that bliss.  With a sweet setup like that, who gives a damn about the accumulation of wealth besides people who want to master their Scrooge McDuck swimming techniques or collect antique pieces of culture?  There's certainly no need for taxation and no need for money concerns at all unless you want to trade with someone who has something you want that can't be replicated.

There's just no pleasing some people.

Well, thus begins the writing.  What macguffin are you after?  Who has it and what's it going to take to get it?  Good luck on your bestseller.

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