economizing

Money in relation to worldbuidling [part 1]

     Now when you know what money is and what is their function, let’s move to more practical things.

   What amazes me quite often and not in good way, is how fantasy writers treat metallic money. People just don’t understand that you can’t go around throwing gold and silver like they are nothing but banknotes.  Why so?  You see, back in days things were different.  But before I move to explanation why it’s an atrocity, let’s have a brief look on the history of money.

     Money not always and not everywhere were, you know, coins made of metals. Hence our next thing to discuss: commodity money. It’s a type of money whose value comes from a commodity of which it is made. They consist of objects that have value in themselves, as well as value in their use as money. Things that have been used as mediums of exchange include gold, silver, copper, bronze, gems, salt, peppercorns, tea, large stones (such as Rai stones), decorated belts, shells, alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, candy, cocoa and coffee beans, cowries, barley, animal pelts, cattle, bird feathers, carved bones  and many others.

    As a matter of fact, commodity money is to be distinguished from representative money which is a certificate or token that can be exchanged for the underlying commodity, but only as the trade is good for that source and the product. A key feature of commodity money is that the value is directly perceived by the users of this money, who recognize the utility or beauty of the tokens as they would recognize the goods themselves. That is, the effect of holding a token for a barrel of oil must be the same economically as actually having the barrel at hand.

  Representative money is something that is not in the physical form of currency, but represents the intent to pay money. For example, paper check from a bank. The check is not a physical piece of money, but it implies the intent to repay.

    Ok, done here.  Now in relation to worldbuilding you - most likely- will deal only with commodity money. Unless you have chosen a time period, when paper checks and alike are already in a widespread   use. Such as 19th century or 1950s,  for example.

    So now, I think you’ve made your mind with physical parameters of your setting, done with geography, flora, fauna and more or less sketched a couple of cultures. So probably, you have also set your mind on how and where your OCs are going to travel or at least where they buy food and clothes and weapon and other things. Or where they steal all the things, if that’s the case.

   Now, ask yourself – do the money my OCs use are coins?  Shape doesn’t have to be round and flat. This one actually came from the fact that first it was easier to make a metal rod and then cut it into little round slices. Russian rubles, for example, are called so exactly because this is how they were made. Ruble literally means “a cut-off piece”.

   Shape can be anything you want. Round with a hole in the middle, as in traditional Chinese money – it’s easier to carry it around. It can be shaped as their sacred animal (detailed or not) or a horse-shoe shaped like West African manilla. Basically, anything you want. So feel free to go wild. I will touch this more next time.

   Now, remember what I have said about throwing around gold and silver ?

    Okay, let’s apply common sense here:

1.      She might get herself in trouble – people might simply steal stuff from her, because fools and money part their ways fast. She can get herself killed in the worst scenario.

2.      People who throw money around attract attention and this is not what you want if you around the run.

3.      She will look like spoilt brat literally bragging “look at how much money I can spend on a simple porridge, you filthy peasants” in the eyes of the local population or even her party.  Don’t know what is worse.

4.      Author didn’t do the bloody research.

   So for the sake of simplicity, let’s have a look at some prices in England and France. Money goes as follows:

·         1 pound = 20 shillings (s)

·         1 crown = 5 shillings

·         1 shilling = 12 pence (d)

·         1 penny = 4 farthings

·         1 mark = 13s 4d

    During the Medieval period, the major type of food consumed was cereal, such as wheat, corn, maize and so on, with meat and fish being relatively expensive and thus, more scarce. We can determine that the average annual consumption of cereals worked out at 300kg per person, or 1200kg for the average family of four. We also know the average number of working hours available annually, and with these two pieces of information it becomes easy to work out average wages - if we know food prices.

·         England 1320    160kg cereal cost 37 shillings

·         France 1339-69  100kg of cereal cost 50 shillings

     Thus in England the minimum hourly wage had to be 1.75 pence. Similarly in France it would be 2.5d. In most cases of course this food would have been grown by the family themselves, or in the case of labourers in cities provided by their employers. On top of this, there would almost certainly have been a payment in cash; to the farmer this would have been in the form of extra crops for barter. Such pay merits would probably have been on a similar scale to that suggested next:

·         Unskilled Labourer   Ѕd/day    3Ѕd/week

·         Skilled Labourer     1-2d/day 7-14d/week

·         Skilled Craftsman    3-6d/day 14-42d/week

    This gives an average conjectural weekly wage as follows:

                                           France       England

·         Unskilled Labourer    15ѕd     21d

·         Skilled Labourer      19-26d   24-31d

·         Skilled Craftsman     34-54d   38-59Ѕd

Those persons who are self-employed would have to pay for their own food as well as making a bit extra if possible out of their profits.

   I mean, why would anyone in their right mind pay money that can be used to buy a ton of stuff for a simple room in a tavern and some shitty meal?

    Okay, I hope I made this part clear. We will talk about designing money and working monetary relationships into your setting in the next part.

One of the main reasons that liberal discussions of privilege and oppression typically ignore class is because it is easier to pull apart how it is artificial and maintained intentionally.  It’s really obvious how rich people could rid themselves of major aspects of their privilege-redistribute wealth, give power and control back to workers and communities.  So it’s harder for rich people to play the “I can’t help being rich, there’s nothing I can do about my privilege except play the ‘let’s all get along’ card”.  

Even though, in reality, all forms of oppression involve the privileged actively holding onto power and involve an entire exploitative system.  For example, men absolutely do benefit from sexism and oppression of women, and very few actively try to eliminate male privilege and sexism.  But it’s common for men to use the fact that “being a man” is in itself a neutral thing to obscure the fact that the entire social system built around sexism and oppressive notions of what it means to be men/women exists to oppress women and exploit women’s labor.

And that’s less easy to obscure with class, though liberals sure do try.  Because what makes someone rich other than wealth, assets, control, social connections?  It’s pretty blatantly absurd to pretend like “wealth” is some sort of inherent condition and the only problem is ideas around it.  Every -ism of societal oppression is institutionalized, involves exploitation, and is given meaning by that system.  This is part of what Black scholars mean when they talk about white people vs Whiteness.

Wealth though, isn’t skin color, gender, sexuality, etc.-it’s really easy to make the more direct connections.  

Any real in depth analysis of class, of classism, requires an admission that oppression is institutional and that “just all speak nicely to each other” could never be an adequate solution.

Which is one of my big problems with the insistence that using a term like classism is a liberal move obscuring exploitation and capitalism because capitalist oppression is institutionalized.  All oppressive systems are.  Racism, ableism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, etc. are also all institutionalized and not solvable without systematic changes.  Do you think racism does not materially benefit white people and materially harm people of color?  Do you think sexism is just about “hate” and not exploitation of women’s labor?  Do you think modern capitalism could ever have existed without colonialism?  Thinking that any type of oppression would be ended by niceties and not systematic reform is buying into liberal views of oppression rather than doing material analysis of oppressive systems.

anonymous asked:

Is the three hides of land offered to each of Gregor's men by Ser Bonifer a fair reward for their military service?

Three hides of land is a good bit - it’s a bit below a “knight’s fee” which was usually five or more hides, but a single hide enought to support one family, or 30 modern acres. So each of Gregor’s men gets 90 acres of land, which would put them solidly in the ranks of the yeoman - below the knight but above the knave, as it were. 

7

“The puzzle of explaining Donald Trump’s support has often been cast in terms of two competing narratives: One of them is about economic anxiety and disillusionment with free trade, and the other is about a racist and/or xenophobic reaction to a changing American demography. Some liberal commentators, however, have a hard time accepting that both narratives are true, and they’re not in contradiction. […] To contend that racism is an unfortunate tradition unrelated to this country’s political economy is simply wrong. […] Trump followers like the combination of his racist xenophobia, economic populism and “America First” foreign policy at a moment where profound challenges to U.S. military and economic dominance have thrown the notion of American exceptionalism into crisis.”

– Class dismissed: Is the Trump campaign driven by racism or economics? The only possible answer is both | Salon

4

A new study has found that without action on climate change, the millennial generation as a whole will lose nearly $8.8 trillion in lifetime income dealing with the economic, health and environmental impacts of climate change. The study, “The Price Tag of Being Young: Climate Change and Millennials’ Economic Future,” was produced by NextGen Climate and Demos. We speak to Heather McGhee, president of Demos and Demos Action. 

See and read the full interview: Inaction on Climate Change Could Cost Millennials $8.8 Trillion in Lifetime Income

  • leftists:*give detailed explanation as to why capitalism is slowly unraveling itself through the impending automation of human labor and the widespread destruction of ecosystems, arguing that the automation ought to be put to democratic use and that the profit system of infinite growth be abolished in favor of production for human need rather than elite profit*
  • some libertarian capitalist nerd:um, but you know, if you increase the minimum wage, *scoffs*, employers won't be able to afford to hire workers and they'll want to automate instead, *scoffs*, and then people will want free stuff™ from the government, stupid leftists ignoring the basic principles of capitalism.
  • leftists:*collectively look at the camera like jim from the office*
The puzzle of explaining Donald Trump’s support has often been cast in terms of two competing narratives: One of them is about economic anxiety and disillusionment with free trade, and the other is about a racist and/or xenophobic reaction to a changing American demography. Some liberal commentators, however, have a hard time accepting that both narratives are true, and they’re not in contradiction. […] To contend that racism is an unfortunate tradition unrelated to this country’s political economy is simply wrong. […] Trump followers like the combination of his racist xenophobia, economic populism and “America First” foreign policy at a moment where profound challenges to U.S. military and economic dominance have thrown the notion of American exceptionalism into crisis.