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Wormo
04-24-2005, 04:04 PM
How does anyone work around money in fantasy/sci-fi works, i've often used the 'credit' system for Science Fiction but Rupees/Gold pieces sounds too basic for a fantasy story.

azbikergirl
04-24-2005, 06:12 PM
I made up my own coin-based currency: coppers, silvers and gold, plus the silver and gold coins come in two sizes. Gold is only used for big purchases.

In our current electronic money world, many of us have direct deposit and do our buying with debit cards -- all very credit-like. But here in the USA, we still call the credits 'dollars.' I've never cared much for SF writers who refuse to give their money a name, even if it is all electronic. Didn't their society's currency evolve from paper money? Wouldn't they have retained the name of that money, even when they'd progressed, as we have, to mostly electronic transactions?

Ivonia
04-24-2005, 06:46 PM
You know, I didn't even think about that at all for my story (although I'll probably just use the "Credits" thing like most other stories seem to use too).

If you think about real life for a second, we are slowly but surely entering a system similiar to the "credit" system. For example, I remember getting paychecks for work a few years ago. I would also largely pay for purchases with cash and sometimes a check.

Nowadays, when I get paid from my job, it gets direct deposited into my bank account (man, I love that, makes it so much easier on me, not having to wait in line to cash a check at the bank), and I usually pay for things with a debit or credit card (I still like to carry cash around to pay for small things though).

It is interesting to come up with your own monetary system for your story, but try not to make it too confusing or else people will get lost (I remember reading in my history class, and the things they called money back then totally lost me even though our professor tried to explain some of the more common currencies). In the Final Fantasy games, I think they relied on the "gold coin" system at first, but lately in their later FF's and remakes of the older games they've standardized the money in their worlds by calling all of their money "gil". It makes it a lot easier to work with.

MadScientistMatt
04-24-2005, 08:51 PM
I do think money needs a proper name. It seems to have been that way in pretty much every society I can think of that either named their coins, or named the weight of the substance used as money (such as shekles in Israel).

On the other hand, I've thought of writing a science fiction story where money is called an Ipmu - an Interplanetary Money Unit. Some sort of universal currency that was created by a treaty and is accepted anywhere, although each local planet probably has its own currency too.

bluejester12
04-24-2005, 09:53 PM
I work mostly with fantasy. Paper isnt usualy has feasible but if they have books in your world why not bills?


I sometimes just use gold coins. The metal system is well know eg. copper ocins, iron coins, silver coins. If you make up our own, you should be able to establish it in a couple of sentences.


'Havenhelm thought about the sword. It cost two red coins. That was three blues, six greens--hell, he could buy a full chain mail set complete with studded mace and a Sirian dagger thrown in for what this blade from an unknown smithee cost. "No thanks," he said walking away, fully expecting the merchant to counteroffer before he took two steps.'

Poeple can also barter goods and services.

preyer
04-25-2005, 12:16 AM
paper money represents an actual worth held in trust by the gov't (or at least it used to when our money was based on the gold standard. you could have other standards, though, such as commodities), so in ye olde fantasy setting, paper currency most likely wouldn't be a consideration as one warring state would refuse to honour the currency of another lord except in cases where there were actual coinage with real precious metals involved, and even then it's possible to counterfeit.

i think paper in a fantasy setting has a big problem of counterfeit (assuming paper is readily available). someone is always going to figure out how to duplicate paper money, and having magick spells on them just isn't very practical. coins, while no harder to counterfeit, at least has the advantage of having to be a certain weight which can easily be verified. not only that, but gold and silver or whatever material the coins would be made of would most likely have an universal appeal nearly the world over. if you had paper currency and a kingdom backing those theoretical funds goes belly up, you're left with souvenirs worth nothing, whereas actual gold can still be used no matter whose face is stamped on the top, eh? so, to me, a realistic fantasy along LOTR lines would most assuredly use coins before paper in the vast majority of cases. you might be able for a large city to get by with scrip, though outside the city limits it would be worth little in a practical sense.

interplanetary currency wouldn't likely be based on any metal standard, certainly not gold. i'd imagine it would be a commodities standard, those planets with special materials or able to provide particular services would be adjusted into the system. that's just off the top of my head, there may a better system to based intergalactic money on. i figure actual currency would be hard to replace, especially outside main hubs. at the same time, there would be those planets who refuse to take part in the standard for their own reasons, so an exchange rate would have to be noted for a few systems. for instance, in EPI, republic credits have no worth on tatooine, not only because they're outside the normal republic's scope, but also because the planet has nothing to offer, so the goods and services on the planet are worth more inside a closed system rather than being seriously devalued in relation to the rest of the galaxy's offerings, if that makes sense, lol.

i've always thought 'credits' was pretty generic, but at the same time it's hard to arrive at a more succinct word for it. there may be an universal vernacular for money, what it might be i don't know. :)

MadScientistMatt
04-25-2005, 05:01 AM
Paper money did work in ancient China. On the other hand, that was a large area united under one ruler. Probably wouldn't be imaginable in a place like medieval Europe.

preyer
04-25-2005, 11:18 AM
exactly. all you need is one country, county, or king to ruin paper money's effectiveness, or at least put a dent in it. another benefit of coinage is it last a long longer and is more sturdy.

Pthom
04-25-2005, 11:20 AM
In my WIP, the 'world' is a generation ship orbiting the sun. It contains the last humans in the universe--some half-million of them--and, when my story begins, has been in isolation for a thousand years.

Resources are limited. Basically, whatever they started out with is what they will ever have...that hasn't been destroyed by entropy. Metal is extremely valuable, but not as a commodity; none of it belongs to any individual--it's what the ship is made of. Paper is almost non-existant. So, what is valuable? Air, water, food, security from hard vacuum.

A question I haven't answered to my satisfaction is this: Is there money in this society, and if so, why would they need it? Remember, we are talking about a population about the same as Seattle, Washington, cooped up in a space with an area of about 10 Central Parks (NYC). And they've been there for 50 generations.

whitehound
04-26-2005, 12:14 AM
How about using the barter system which has been introduced in some communities in Britain? People might exchange, say, an evening's baby-sitting for a chicken, or mending a roof for a lift to Bristol, and there are ledgers or tokens for credit and debit so you can save up an earned favour until later.

keltora
04-26-2005, 12:24 AM
How does anyone work around money in fantasy/sci-fi works, i've often used the 'credit' system for Science Fiction but Rupees/Gold pieces sounds too basic for a fantasy story.\

I made up the monetary system for one world with gold stanes, silver pence, brass tupins and copper pats (all terms for types of coins), and used the word "sgillins" in another world (they come in gold, silver, brass and copper).

I wanted to be a little different, but I wanted to make certain people understood that it was coinage. My fantasy worlds have no paper money.

keltora
04-26-2005, 12:27 AM
Let me add that "stane" is a word for "stone" so that one was not actually a real coin, but it just fit. *g*

preyer
04-26-2005, 11:35 AM
i'd say, WH, that that's a monetary system with service as its financial basis. clearly, fixing your broken space door to your home is worth a lot more than sewing a button on a shirt, so there has to be way to make up the difference. 'i owe ya one,' ain't gonna cut it. in such a closed society, i question the effectiveness of the barter system on a lot of levels, though it'd be okay, i suppose on the surface, to say, 'a fair days work for lodging and a meal.' where it breaks down is 'paying' people for, ah, 'municipal works,' such as maintenance and crew: how are they compensated? one way would be in taxes, where services or goods were 'donated' by the people and given to the ship workers, but that's probably not going to end up being fair to everyone (i suspect a lot of its fairness resides in how the population is divided). so, i think the barter system works best when new items are introduced (this is only a theory i just came up with as i'm writing, heh heh).

like you mention, credits or a ledger (which is essentially modern electronic banking) would likely rise. like in our own world, there is only supposed to be a set amount of currency in circulation unless you want to create a lira or yen situation as is/was the case in italy and japan, respectively. the premise could be realistic or very utopian, where everyone goes around singing happy songs and helping their neighbours.

is it an eventuality that one group would go on strike? after 50 generations, it's reasonable that low-paid, menial jobs wouldn't be the ones people seek. those essentially forced into washing the portholes from the outside aren't probably going to be your stellar workforce type of individuals. even were there a mandatory college-level education, those jobs still have to be done. at some point someone will likely say, 'you know what? i'll clean your windows-- at double the price. you don't like it? do it your damn self.'

there's a lot of situations there that could arise. for the purposes of a book, however, i might be somewhat vague on those points, hoping the reader will assume those problems have been dealt with, which could be made into an entirely separate series of books themselves, especially if on that ship murder happens. (murder, i'd imagine, wouldn't be unheard of: these people sound as if their lives would be fairly miserable and unfulfilling sans an incredible propaganda and/or mind-control-type of campaign instilling from birth an overwhelming urge towards 'duty' and 'honour,' which eventually has to be challenged or dealt with, perhaps in a very 'clockwork orange' manner.)

whitehound
04-26-2005, 01:46 PM
I was talking about the closed community Pthom described. Anybody who begrudged doing some unpaid service to the state, knowing that their lives and the lives of all humanity depended on keeping that state (ship) going, would be suicidal or half-witted and probably in a psychiatric hospital anyway.

azbikergirl
04-26-2005, 06:18 PM
gold stanes, silver pence, brass tupins and copper pats
Interesting that all are pure metals except for the brass tupins. If copper is the lowest denomination, an unscrupulous blacksmith could melt down a bunch of them, add some zinc and recast the alloy as tupins.

preyer
04-26-2005, 10:45 PM
even in your closed society you can't rotate people into jobs they're not suited or trained for, like maintenance or steering the ship. that goes beyond community service. those people have to be supported by some means other than the generosity of the society, which may dry up real quick if things aren't running along swimmingly, eh? money (or credit or whatever representation you choose to use, it all amounts to the same thing) is, i think, the only practical way of 'paying' for those services. 'taxes' pay for them, but it would be unfair to take a chicken away from every person to feed a small percentage of the population (unless you wanted a surplus of chickens, in which case people would want some form of refund or welfare: i guess everyone could give up a chicken once a year provided they get back some eggs, else i'd want to know why they need all those chickens, mine in particular. i'm not against welfare, i just want to know how my chickens are being used, know what i mean? lol).

where you have everyone helping their neighbour is an ideal situation, just not sure how that would play out in the long-run and how effective that would be given that it's a free society, which i doubt it could be.

'i don't want to help old woman smith with her broken door. she's a mean-spirited witch.'

'you have to, it's your duty.'

'yeah, i know. okay, i'll do it, but i'm not going to do a good job at it since she can't stop gossiping about my friends.'

'now, dear, she's poor and that's just human nature to gossip.'

'yeah, well, she can gossip about someone else. besides, i thought we were trained not to gossip.'

'we were, but people will be people. there was actually one generation who didn't gossip, but once the idea came back into people's minds they started it right back up.'

'it's not right and people know it.'

'maybe, but people can be hypocrites sometimes and not even know it. come to think of it, i think most hypocrites don't realize they'll being hypocritical.'

'hey, now, you better stop that philosophizing: it's against the rules. 'thought breeds greed,' so the elders say.''

'bah! what do the elders know? we're still stuck on this ship, aren't we? fifty generations and we can't have improved our living standards?'

'la la la! i'm not listening! la la la!'

'well, it's true. oh, by the way, while you're out, drop this chicken off at the collection centre.'

'a whole chicken? and here our plumbing is still on the fritz. what do they need with a whole chicken, anyway?'

'it pays for maintenance, command crew and civil services, you know that.'

'oh, yeah. hm, i should have learned to pilot a starship instead of being an electrician. that way i'd get all sorts of free stuff, too.'

'it's not free, they earn their pay.'

'and then some! there's a half million of us and only a hundred thousand service jobs. what do they do with the extra three hundred thousand chickens?'

'they give us eggs back in return, isn't that enough?'

'is it? i don't know, but it sure feels lopsided to me. it's like they take more than they need.'

'maybe you're just thinking about it too much, dear.'

'yeah, i guess.'

'look who's being hypocritical now, ha ha.'

'yeah, yeah. where'd you put my hydro-whizzers? gotta fix old woman smith's door... the witch.'

'it's the nice thing to do, dear.'

'i'm tired of being nice. i work all day long in the private sector just to be expected to fix ten things when i'm done. tired of it.'

'would you rather go back to the old system where no one paid chickens and the civil crews nearly starved to the point where they became corrupt just to feed their families?'

'no, but i bet it was a lot more interesting back then.'

'whatever you say, dear. don't forget to bring some eggs back. maybe if you're nice and do a good job, ms. smith with give you an egg.'

'maybe. maybe not.'

'later when we go to our monotheistic religious service that everyone has to abide by, we'll pray for her, too.'

'i think i'd rather pray for my chicken.'

'don't let anyone else hear you say that. they might confuse your bad joke with free-thought. this ship can't afford dissention, else it may all fall apart. why else do you think philosophy is frowned upon?'

'yet religion is encouraged. go figure.'

'get out of here, ya bum, ha ha.'

'all hail the mighty chicken!'

Pthom
04-27-2005, 12:04 AM
Where'd the chickens come from?

preyer
04-27-2005, 10:40 AM
oh, i had it in my mind someone mentioned using chickens as an off-beat example of how bartering might go. i tinkered with the notion of differentiating between brown and white eggs, lol. wait, i found it (remarkably):

from WH:

'People might exchange, say, an evening's baby-sitting for a chicken, or mending a roof for a lift to Bristol, and there are ledgers or tokens for credit and debit so you can save up an earned favour until later.'

i don't see a confined ship with no new materials coming in ably likened to a communual system. do those ever work for large populations? i'm sure some do, or at least have, to a certain extent, but when you get right down to it, the fact is, for example, the american indian still traded, and those who didn't still had natural resources to use. i think it's hard to make an accurate, believably comparison between the two situations. the main issues i'd see there are the absense of new materials and the size of the population. if anything, it certainly seems to lean towards the socialism side of the spectrum. i'm not sure which -acy, -ism or -ic would best fit into that situation's design.

since people don't have the option of breaking free of the system, i think there's a lot of drama inherit in that. how does a person atone for their sins against their god and make whole the crimes they commit? i'm curious as to how you control the population, as the manufacure of condoms and probably pharmacutical birth control would be likely out of the question if resources are so restricted. mandatory vasectomies, reversible if the married couple's petition for a child is granted?

Pthom
04-27-2005, 09:51 PM
... i don't see a confined ship with no new materials coming in ably likened to a communual[sic] system.Well, they'd be the absolute epitome of communal, wouldn't they? One for all, all for one and all that, eh?


... do those ever work for large populations? i'm sure some do, or at least have, to a certain extent, but when you get right down to it, the fact is, for example, the american indian still traded, and those who didn't still had natural resources to use.Um. Maybe. But not for long, I think. Especially in an open system where there is input from other cultures.






... i think it's hard to make an accurate, believably comparison between the two situations. the main issues i'd see there are the absense of new materials and the size of the population. if anything, it certainly seems to lean towards the socialism side of the spectrum. i'm not sure which -acy, -ism or -ic would best fit into that situation's design. I guess my example is akin to an island culture where there is no contact with anyone else for generations. And, in my example, the government is a kind of monarchy, or maybe a dictatorship. As Whitehound said:
Anybody who begrudged doing some unpaid service to the state, knowing that their lives and the lives of all humanity depended on keeping that state (ship) going, would be suicidal or half-witted and probably in a psychiatric hospital anyway.





... since people don't have the option of breaking free of the system, i think there's a lot of drama inherit in that. how does a person atone for their sins against their god and make whole the crimes they commit? i'm curious as to how you control the population, as the manufacure of condoms and probably pharmacutical birth control would be likely out of the question if resources are so restricted. mandatory vasectomies, reversible if the married couple's petition for a child is granted?Well, that's the main part of the story, isn't it? But here's how I do it (in part--you'll have to buy the book to find out more, or become a beta reader ;) ):


For various reasons explained in snippets of backstory, natural reproduction is impossible; new members of the population are grown in vitro so unless someone gets it in his or her head to make extra beings, population is stable. As for punishment for crime, I initially had a system of capital punishment: offenders were 'spaced'--thrown out the airlock. However, I realized that would rapidly deplete limited resources of biological material, so I have criminals 'recycled' instead. In my generation ship, everything is recycled.

keltora
04-27-2005, 11:08 PM
Interesting that all are pure metals except for the brass tupins. If copper is the lowest denomination, an unscrupulous blacksmith could melt down a bunch of them, add some zinc and recast the alloy as tupins.

Aye and the king's mint would be after him like drunken sailors on a poxy trollop... ;)

Or something of that nature.

keltora
04-27-2005, 11:09 PM
Where'd the chickens come from?

LOL!

preyer
04-27-2005, 11:22 PM
i was tempted to say that such a society would, by its extremely closed nature, likely have a small but 'harsh' gov't. i'd even deleted the word 'communist' from the post. then i thought it was too debatable in the end. when i think 'commune,' dirty hippies spring to mind. those communes never did work in practicality until you built around it the type of system they were trying to avoid. you could pull it off were it very small and hand-picked. just given the general parametres of your premise, those are some things i thought would be likely to have to happen, like a 'harsh' gov't.. i think we're on the same page here, more or less, because in this world-building situation you especially have to give the scenarios a very well-thought out basis, and a realistic one, too. having half a million people with absolutely no new material input *then* have them all happy *and* free-thinking doesn't sound right.

just off the top of my head, an elected monarchy sounds reasonable. a dictatorship's reign relies too heavily on its muscle to enforce its will, which would prove hard to maintain over the years given that there'd obviously be some more corrupt than others. you're talking, what, maybe a 100 to a 150 dictators in 50 generations? i'd venture to say an elected monarch would serve for life, or until he/she became too sick to do the job or he proved corrupt or incompetent, which necessitates some form of censure or firing process. still, things being so stagnant, i think the king would be more of a figurehead by that point, much like a pirate captain had limited control except in battle or crisis (which would probably keep him busy enough, fighting natural damage long space flights would incur, like repairing damage from micro meteors).

i think you'll be using a lot of speculative psychology for the story, which is great as long as it's believable. you could go on forever about how the society operates. in your universe, i think it's plausible to think that once you removed actual money you'd remove a lot of crime, though electronic money could exist. you probably don't have a lot of sinful things to buy, though i'm guessing that sex would be rampant given the fact no one can get pregnant. there's probably little venereal disease, either. funny, though, if a woman suddenly got preggers with no aid whatsoever, and she had no idea who the father may be. there are tons of small story ideas there for any well-built world to play with. i'd almost like to see how these things play out in a separate book if the world is compelling enough, maybe three or four novellas packed into one volume. general interest may not be that high, but, hey, maybe you could sell it if you planned out an extended series. :)

wardmclark
04-28-2005, 07:33 AM
How does anyone work around money in fantasy/sci-fi works, i've often used the 'credit' system for Science Fiction but Rupees/Gold pieces sounds too basic for a fantasy story.

I've got a sci-fi novel coming out this summer, set about 300 years in the future. Story centers around human society sending waves of colonists into space, and the formation of the first Galactic government.

Unit of money?

Dollars.

Seemed like an obvious answer to a minor detail. :)

Pthom
04-28-2005, 09:08 AM
just off the top of my head, an elected monarchy sounds reasonable. a dictatorship's reign relies too heavily on its muscle to enforce its will, which would prove hard to maintain over the years given that there'd obviously be some more corrupt than others. you're talking, what, maybe a 100 to a 150 dictators in 50 generations? You've gone the wrong way. The generally accepted time period for a generation is 20 years (the time for offspring to grow to adulthood and produce their own offspring). Fidel Castro is a dictator. He's been in power for more than two generations. Queen Elizabeth (the current one) was crowned when I was a small boy. She's been in power for nearly three generations. Assuming the monarchy (or, if you like, benevolent dictatorship) in my story came about as an outgrowth of a quasi military/quasi scientific community (Noah and his family if you will), and they generally serve out their lives as leader...then you come up with maybe 20 to 25 heads of government.

triceretops
04-28-2005, 01:33 PM
My novel is set 100 years in the future, and I can't get away from the "credit" thing. Everyone wears a bracelet with a metal needle attached to it, and it can be shoved into convienent recepticles just about everywhere, kinda like a bar code probe--it also contains, health, history, criminal recored, vocation, bank account and other stats. I've been calling the damn thing a credit stick for now, and beating my brain out trying to figure an alternative.

Tri

whitehound
04-28-2005, 02:17 PM
My novel is set 100 years in the future, and I can't get away from the "credit" thing. Everyone wears a bracelet with a metal needle attached to it, and it can be shoved into convienent recepticles just about everywhere, kinda like a bar code probe--it also contains, health, history, criminal recored, vocation, bank account and other stats. I've been calling the damn thing a credit stick for now, and beating my brain out trying to figure an alternative.

TriSince we now stick coins in coin-slots, and your future characters stick a probe into money-slots, maybe it would be nicknamed a coin-stick or a penny-needle or similar.

[Actually if they are forever sticking a long thin thing into a hole its common/slang name would probably be a sexual reference - it will probably be known informally as a credit-dick.]

Wardmclark - calling your future currency a dollar may seem obvious to you, but if you want to sell your story in other countries, do you really want to alienate potential readers with the assumption that *of course* in 300 years American culture will have taken over and eliminated all other cultures and currencies?

wardmclark
04-28-2005, 06:57 PM
Wardmclark - calling your future currency a dollar may seem obvious to you, but if you want to sell your story in other countries, do you really want to alienate potential readers with the assumption that *of course* in 300 years American culture will have taken over and eliminated all other cultures and currencies?

Well, in the book, that's precisely what has happened.

I'm not going to engage in a discussion of world politics, it's not on-topic here, but suffice it to say this is one story, one possible future, and that's what's happened. Some people may not like it, but others will, and the readers (as always) will have the final say.

My first book was non-fiction, a deconstruction and analysis of major animal rights groups. If you think some people might be alienated by this, you should see some of the mail I've gotten from Misplaced Compassion. ;)

Besides, "Woolongs" was already taken.

DaveKuzminski
04-28-2005, 07:17 PM
Folks, your ideas have given me an inspiration on how to name the currency in my current work. Since my characters use coins only, I've decided that they'll name the coins after various fractions. Anyway, I think it can work. Just have to experiment some. Thanks, all.

MadScientistMatt
04-28-2005, 07:52 PM
Folks, your ideas have given me an inspiration on how to name the currency in my current work. Since my characters use coins only, I've decided that they'll name the coins after various fractions. Anyway, I think it can work. Just have to experiment some. Thanks, all.

Well, that certainly worked for quarters.

DaveKuzminski
04-28-2005, 08:33 PM
Plus I now have something more that can present a conflict... disputes over time worked and wages! ;)

Elincoln
04-28-2005, 09:44 PM
In my main fantasy world, everything is either run by or uses crystals that hold certain magical abilities for various functions. The crystal monetary coins are no exception. When someone has a set of coins and wants to trade them for an object or service, the characters barter. As long as the coins do not glow, the trade price is good. But if they start glowing red, the price is too high. If they glow blue, the price is too low. If they were stolen, they start burning holes in the pocket or bags of the thief.

It's the governments (there's several in the world) that sets the price price range and the Sorcerers (which are unified under one group) that create the coins.

Side note, Sorcerers or their apprentices don't have to pay for anything, since they provide the magic crystals that make the worlds function.

-Elaine

Wormo
04-28-2005, 11:17 PM
Folks, your ideas have given me an inspiration on how to name the currency in my current work. Since my characters use coins only, I've decided that they'll name the coins after various fractions. Anyway, I think it can work. Just have to experiment some. Thanks, all.

Hey, I like the idea and when you have created some would you be able to post back in here? i'm quite excited to see the end results

preyer
05-01-2005, 01:20 AM
'You've gone the wrong way. The generally accepted time period for a generation is 20 years (the time for offspring to grow to adulthood and produce their own offspring).'

that's speculative, too. the new pope is, what, 78 years old? figuring in fifty generations multiplied by 20 years (which is how i figured a generation), you get a thousand years. divided by fifty leaders, that gives each one twenty years to serve. some will serve longer, others less, but twenty years for an average seems pretty generous, assuming, too, you don't have children literally at the helm. if you choose someone with experience, that person will likely be forty or fifty, maybe even older. it all depends. sure, a 'life' term implies a helluva long time, but that's not always necessarily so. it could also be a case that some rulers quit for whatever reason (health, stress, boredom, scandal).

a 'credit stick' is something i considered, too, tri. then i thought that for practicality's sake, it's hard to beat a card. sure, i figured making it smaller would have some advantages, but at the same time i know how i am and i'd lose anything smaller than a credit card. i thought about it a bit and i think it's a pretty good way of doing things. you could change the way it looks and all sorts of things, but i think that by that point a card will be fairly ingrained my peoples' subconscious. personally, i settled on a card, more worried about whether or not people will still be reading newspapers. (i'd also considered fingerprint and eye scans and all that jazz, i just don't think most of those really high-tech things are necessary for simple transactions now or in the future. i could possibly see putting your thumb on a fingerprint scanner at the checkout counter, as that's happening in real life anyway. i just think a lot of what the future really holds doesn't necessarily involve fantastic improvements on a lot of things, just making them more secure and faster, etc.. that all depends, of course, on the profitability of said items.)

Pthom
05-02-2005, 01:50 AM
that's speculative, too.what is?
the new pope is, what, 78 years old?yup
figuring in fifty generations multiplied by 20 years (which is how i figured a generation), you get a thousand years.yup
divided by fifty leaders, that gives each one twenty years to serve.Yes. Did you read my post inside out? I postulated only 20 to 25 leaders in that 1000 years, not the 100 to 150 you suggested in your post I was responding to. (to wit: "you're talking, what, maybe a 100 to a 150 dictators in 50 generations?" :) )
some will serve longer, others less, but twenty years for an average seems pretty generous, assuming, too, you don't have children literally at the helm. if you choose someone with experience, that person will likely be forty or fifty, maybe even older. it all depends. sure, a 'life' term implies a helluva long time, but that's not always necessarily so. it could also be a case that some rulers quit for whatever reason (health, stress, boredom, scandal).Certainly. In the back story for my WIP, the government begins as a kind of republic that degenerates into a police state over some intervening centuries and winds up this monarchy/dictatorship. My story takes place in the last year of its existance.

whitehound
05-02-2005, 02:56 AM
Seems to me, if you're having dictators or monarchs, not party-politics and short-term elected leaders, then one per generation is about right and you would have had around 50 leaders, not the 25 suggested by Pthom nor the 150 suggested by Preyer.

If you have a monarch who comes to the throne when young and then reigns till they are old then yes they could easily rule for 40 years: but by the time they die, their children will be quite old and will only have a short time to reign. If you look at the current situation in the UK for example, if the present queen lives as long as her mother Charles will be about 80 when he comes to the throne.

Basically if rulers pass the leadership on to their children, then if someone rules for two generations their children will probably be too old to rule two generations in their turn (because the average generation time for politicians is presumably one generation, the same as for everybody else).

If successors are chosen on merit, you will tend to get an elderly leader surrounded by advisors who have grown old with him or her, looking to choose a new candidate whom they know and trust - who will probably be someone of roughly their own generation. This is how we end up with a succession of superannuated popes.

If you really want your rulers to rule for an average of two generations each, then there will have to be some system/custom which encourages them to choose successors very much younger than themselves. That or they are being constantly supplanted by new revolutionary leaders, since revolution tends to be a young person's game - but succession-by-assassination would be a dangerous game to play in such a precarious ecosystem.

Pthom
05-02-2005, 03:17 AM
If you really want your rulers to rule for an average of two generations each, then there will have to be some system/custom which encourages them to choose successors very much younger than themselves. That or they are being constantly supplanted by new revolutionary leaders, since revolution tends to be a young person's game - but succession-by-assassination would be a dangerous game to play in such a precarious ecosystem.Persaktly.

However, a lot of the presumptions we make (and I include myself along with Whitehound and preyer here) are that such events follow what we consider normal. What I desire in my story, is to convey a system that is very far outside our experience. [In fact, isn't that what we scifi/fantasy story tellers strive for?] Since my 'world' has no natural reproduction, there is no true 'familial' succession in rulers. It's easy to 'mess up' the genetics of the zygote that's slated to become the next ruler (if indeed that's what the current ruler desires). I envision past rulers who were insane, who were megalomaniacs, who were benevolent, who were ignorant and terrible villians.

Premise of my story: the habitat is there to preserve humanity so that it can repopulate a once-poisoned Earth once the poison is gone. This is the goal the protagonist discovers she wants...this is the event the current monarch wants to prevent. The story is about the battle between those who desire to return to Earth and those who believe the habitat is where humanity belongs now.

But this has gone off topic. This thread was about money. Perhaps if we like, we can carry on this discussion in the Forrest For Trees thread. Thanks to Whitehound and Preyer for bringing up some interesting aspects of this I hadn't considered.

:)