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 Post subject: D'ni Money
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:52 pm 
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This is my first post on the boards, though I've been lurking here for a while. I haven't seen anything on this other than the few scattered references to the price of a Guild education. Is there any official information about the D'ni economic system? A currency name? I've half-jokingly referred to a D'ni currency as either "D'ni money," a rather sad rhyme, or else "Bahro Bucks," just for the sake of the alliteration.

Any information that we know would be useful.

Thanks in advance,

Rann


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:12 pm 
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It's quite possible that Cyan never addressed this issue, at least not in depth. If that's the case, and you're really interested, then you could write up the most plausible explanation (after doing quite a bit of research, of course) and present it to them to see if they would adopt it as canon.

I would suggest starting with The Myst Reader (at least the Book of Ti'ana) and the Kings of D'ni books.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:12 am 
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Just my 2 cents on this ( :lol: ) but I would guess they would need some other, very different form of money as they could simply write an age with all the precious metals in the universe if they so pleased, making physical gold, silver, ect useless. Though on second thought Kadish had quite a bit of gold all locked up so that goes to show that it still had some worth. I would guess various crafted items and skilled manpower would hold the most worth as that could not as easily just be written into being.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:01 am 
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Ancient Player wrote:
they could simply write an age with all the precious metals in the universe if they so pleased, making physical gold, silver, ect useless.


My guess is that they used a regulated currency, much like most western nations do. However, the idea that resources would be practically infinite (to the castes who had access to linking books and writing materials) would have an interesting effect on the market value of various items. Labor and manufacturing would still have costs, but would minerals, medicinal herbs, or food?

Actually, to the lower castes, these things would have an increasing value because of the scarcity compared to the higher castes who have almost infinite supply. Whereas amongst those higher classes, these things would have almost no value at all.

Now, we all know that the D'ni were a imbalanced society, but with food and natural resources so plentiful, would the rich horde them? Of course, since these things need to be "harvested," would it simply represent a vast but untapped supply, locked away from the masses since the privileged had no interest in collecting them? Or would there simply be so much of it that they would give it away?

You'd either have two economies, operating in parallel, with almost no ability to intersect, or you'd have an economy which was entirely service-based.

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Though on second thought Kadish had quite a bit of gold all locked up so that goes to show that it still had some worth.


Well, I'd chalk that up to "metaphor for the benefit of the player," who sees a pile of gold surrounding a dead man and can instantly identify the dramatic meaning. Really, It makes no sense from a nitpickers perspective.

:wink: :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:24 pm 
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Tai'lahr wrote:
I would suggest starting with The Myst Reader (at least the Book of Ti'ana) and the Kings of D'ni books.

Unfortunately, the Myst Reader isn't going to be of much use... prior to the appearance of Kadish's vault and the pile of historical documents on the Kings in Uru, we didn't even know that the D'ni even used money (the thinking prior to that was that the D'ni economy was more in line with the functioning communism of Star Trek). Even with the information we got from Uru, though, the D'ni economy is something of a mystery.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:53 pm 
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Star Trek presented a socialist meritocracy with civilian rule (a Federation President) and a military and exploratory presence (the Federation and Star Fleet). At times the canon refers to such things as greed and capitalism (Harry Mudd), "credits" (TOS: The Trouble With Tribbles) and Latinum (Deep Space Nine, the Ferengi) for money, while Kirk says they don't use money (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). Usually, it was the aliens who were concerned about wealth, not the Earthers. Federation membership was more about meeting societal standards and the ability to contribute - not centralized, Federation taxes, businesses and redistribution. Humans and federation members usually represented either the benevolent or malevolent aspects of power and achievement. It was certainly NOT a communistic representation of society, though I suspect the Federation would support whatever model a member world chooses for itself as long as it meets whatever standards the rest of the Federation has set.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:03 pm 
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Alahmnat wrote:
Tai'lahr wrote:
I would suggest starting with The Myst Reader (at least the Book of Ti'ana) and the Kings of D'ni books.

Unfortunately, the Myst Reader isn't going to be of much use... prior to the appearance of Kadish's vault and the pile of historical documents on the Kings in Uru, we didn't even know that the D'ni even used money (the thinking prior to that was that the D'ni economy was more in line with the functioning communism of Star Trek). Even with the information we got from Uru, though, the D'ni economy is something of a mystery.


Eh, well, I wasn't really suggesting that he'd find information about commerce there, but just to learn something about the people and the civilization in general.

Yes, the D'ni economy is something of a mystery, but if someone was really interested, they could do the research and write up a proposal about finding some documentation on it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:25 pm 
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Keep in mind that Writing an Age takes time and effort, and that has to cost something.

Even if you write an Age full of gold, you still have to hire the manpower and the machinery to dig it out.

And once it's out, you have to refine it, and then mold it into something pretty.

So yes, the had access to "unlimited" Ages with unlimited resources, and that would certainly affect their market, but it wasn't as simple as some guy just Writing an planet made of solid gold. There was a process to this that cost money, and would thus increase the value of whatever the Age produced.

This raises another interesting question: what is the value of an Age, and who decides it? We know from Sharper's journal that Ages were auctioned off. But what were they bought with, and for how much? It certainly must have been expensive, because the repeated mention of "public libraries" suggests lower-caste people couldn't afford to buy Ages.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:59 pm 
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Tai'lahr wrote:
Eh, well, I wasn't really suggesting that he'd find information about commerce there, but just to learn something about the people and the civilization in general.

Yes, the D'ni economy is something of a mystery, but if someone was really interested, they could do the research and write up a proposal about finding some documentation on it.

Yes, just to put a point on it, everything is worth a read because when you know the history and the people, it makes any speculation about economic systems all that much more informed.

And it will make your friendly neighborhood archivist fond of you. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:07 pm 
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I always though of Star Trek from TNG onward as using a loose adaptation of the "time bank" method (where one hour of work you do corresponds to an hour of services you can receive) and they only used actual money when trading with non-Federation groups - but then their own canon is pretty much muddled when it comes to economy. I'm not sure however that such a system would work with the D'ni since it implies, at least on paper, a lack of class differences and that all jobs should be treated with the same respect, something which clearly wasn't the case in D'ni.

However, because of the whole "we can create Ages that contain pretty much anything" thing, I think whatever economy the D'ni had put its worth on the process rather than the material - thus a common material (say, a metal) was worth more depending on how hard it was to extract and refine rather than on how 'rare' it was; bigger worth was given to specific variants (say, wood from that tree that only grows in Age A rather than the similar wood from Age B); and of course, given the same materials, the quality of the final work added or subtracted from the total worth.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:16 pm 
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Similarly, it would explain why Ages like Teledahn were successful in their production-- Teledahn is entirely unique in both its environment and what it produced (spore bread). Not only could the spores only be harvested in Teledahn, but based on the machinery and setup we saw, it wasn't exactly easy to do, either.

I used to wonder how exactly the spores made it from the mushrooms to the buckets, and then I realized all the tarps underneath the mushrooms were there to catch the spores. So presumably, someone on a boat would paddle from tarp to tarp, collect the spores, then paddle over to the now-inoperable loading mechanism, where it would be hauled into the bucket tram. Not exactly pickin' daisies.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:35 pm 
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When you get right down to it, the D'ni economy can only be based on one thing: the paper used to write Ages. (Puts a whole new meaning to the term "paper money", huh?) All the manpower in the world is useless if the D'ni didn't have an Age that contained the materials they needed. It also sounds like most of the important jobs like that are given to the guilds anyway, so the lower class citizens probably had jobs on the homefront in services rather than dealing with gathering or production. It is safe to assume then that the Ages that were written specifically for material harvesting were accessible exclusively to their respective guild.

The guilds weren't the basis for the economy... they WERE the economy.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:48 pm 
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MatzeEdend wrote:
When you get right down to it, the D'ni economy can only be based on one thing: the paper used to write Ages. (Puts a whole new meaning to the term "paper money", huh?) All the manpower in the world is useless if the D'ni didn't have an Age that contained the materials they needed. It also sounds like most of the important jobs like that are given to the guilds anyway, so the lower class citizens probably had jobs on the homefront in services rather than dealing with gathering or production. It is safe to assume then that the Ages that were written specifically for material harvesting were accessible exclusively to their respective guild.

The guilds weren't the basis for the economy... they WERE the economy.


That still doesn't answer the currency question though. The basis for their economy can't really be deciphered until we know what they were using as money.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:43 pm 
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Considering that the Kadish Vault was filled with gold coins, one could speculate that a gold coin served as the unit for their currency.

Considering the stringent standards around age writing I don't think a ton of Ages were available. So owning an age was the equivalent to being a mine or plantation owner. I've always pictured D'ni's economy being something like that of England around the medieval ages where you had wealthy landowners, or Age owners in this case, and then the lower class who would work it for them. Of course having the guilds in there throws an interesting twist on it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:14 pm 
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JWPlatt wrote:
Tai'lahr wrote:
Eh, well, I wasn't really suggesting that he'd find information about commerce there, but just to learn something about the people and the civilization in general.

Yes, the D'ni economy is something of a mystery, but if someone was really interested, they could do the research and write up a proposal about finding some documentation on it.

Yes, just to put a point on it, everything is worth a read because when you know the history and the people, it makes any speculation about economic systems all that much more informed.

And it will make your friendly neighborhood archivist fond of you. ;)

Brown-noser ;)

I agree, reading the Myst novels is definitely a good way to get background on the D'ni themselves. I was just referring to the possibility of gleaning specific information about the D'ni economy from the novels, and that there really isn't any information on that subject to be found there. But yes, by all means, exercise your ability to read so that you, too, can become a GoA brown-noser like JW ;).

(I kid. History is cool, and so is JW.)

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