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CoinsEdit

100-piece ("crown") = 100 capitals (introduced LY 360)

20-piece ("daypay") = 20 capitals (introduced LY 225)

5-piece ("meal") = 5 capitals (introduced LY 117)

2-piece ("deuce") = 2 capitals (introduced LY 117)

one-piece (basic unit, "capital") = 100 cents (introduced LY 103)

half-piece ("rumpy") = ½ capital or 50 cents (introduced LY 225)

bit = 1/8 capital or 12½ cents (introduced LY 103)

shilling = 1/20 capital or 5 cents (introduced LY 360)

one percent piece ("cent") = 1/100 capital (introduced LY 103)

103-107Edit

Until LY 103, The Land had no monetary system. In fact, there wasn't even a barter system. In the earliest days, there were of course so few people that it was only natural that they share the work equally, and therefore share the products of their work evenly. This was simple enough, because there was little that was needed, beyond food and clothes. As the population expanded over the first century, people began to specialize in different jobs, and to produce more varied types of goods. However, these goods were still stored in a centralized manner, and people could take what they needed, as they needed it, governing themselves by an honor system.

But in 103, a brother and sister named Ducket and Drahkma became spirit-talkers (they would join the original group of spirit-talkers assembled by Brist two years later). The brother, Ducket, was a miner, and his sister, Drahkma, was a smith. They had long collaborated together, Drahkma forging various tools from the metals that Ducket obtained. But when they were approached by a spirit named June, she introduced to them the concept of money. Based on what she told them, Ducket and Drahkma realized that sooner or later, such a thing would become necessary on the Land. So they decided they might as well start making coins, themselves. The first three coins they made were the "one-piece" (the basic unit of currency, also called a "capital"), which was made of gold, and weighed about a fifth of an ounce; the "cent" (worth a hundredth of a capital), which was made of copper and weighed about a twentieth of an ounce; and the "bit" (worth an eighth of a capital, or 12 and a half cents), which was made of silver and weighed about a quarter of an ounce. The metals used to forge these coins were chosen for a number of reasons: they're all relatively malleable, as well as being metals June specified as having been used for coinage on other worlds; but more importantly, there was little call for their use as anything else. Gold and silver were sometimes used in jewelry, but such fashion accessories have never been nearly as popular on the Land as they are on many other worlds. June did say all of these metals might be needed for more practical purposes in the centuries to come, when certain technologies were developed, though for the foreseeable future such uses would not be a consideration. (It has often been said that it's ironic that while on many worlds, coins have been considered inherently valuable because of the worth of the metals from which they're made, on the Land coins made of the same metals are considered inherently worthless.)

Ducket and Drahkma began stockpiling coins, which anyone was free to take if they liked, though no one was very interested in money at first, as its use was either not truly understood, or else seemed unnecessarily complicated. However, when religion began to slowly increase in popularity beginning in 105, and money was explained more thoroughly in the Book of Ducket and Drahkma (the fourth book of the O'Gas), people began to see how it might prove useful. As June had indicated, it wasn't necessary as yet, but Landians were becoming a more forward-thinking people, and wanted to ensure that a monetary system would already be in place before the need for it eventually arose. (Because understanding of the system was initially spread by spirit-talkers, money became closely associated with the concept of religion, at first, though over the centuries since then this association has waned, to a certain extent.)

The question arose of how exactly coins should be distributed, and more importantly by whom. It seemed clear that if everyone became dependent upon money to obtain many of the things they needed in their daily lives, and if Ducket and Drahkma were the sole producers of coins, they could make themselves more powerful than anyone else in the world. However, the siblings suggested that to begin with, on the day that the monetary system first went into effect (upon popular vote of the entire community, on 6 Sp'yet, 107), all the coins that had thus far been stockpiled would be evenly distributed among all the people of the Land (which at that point was around 250, including children and infants). June commented to the siblings that this reminded her of a board game from Earth, though she didn't elaborate on the comment. For the time being, there was a specific total amount of money in the world, which wouldn't be added to for some years. Meanwhile, people at first saw the exchange of money almost as a game, which actually led to increased productivity as people tried to earn more coins than their friends, just for fun. Everyone had slightly more than they needed at any given time, as the system of wages for work and prices for goods and services was fairly balanced, and for a long time there was little difference in how much anyone had. The exchange of money was all very cyclical, as everyone had jobs that were necessary to the entire community's survival, and most goods that were produced were also necessary, though the few luxury items in existence were also reasonably priced. Moreover, there were so few people that it was rare for any non-perishable goods to need replacing. Everyone already had just about anything they needed or wanted. Of course, this would change in the years to come, as new products were invented, which for the first time were not simply shared freely with all. Still, it would be several generations before anyone began to become significantly richer or poorer than anyone else.

117Edit

In 117, on the tenth anniversary of the monetary system's introduction, one of the second wave of spirit-talkers, named Jacob, brought up the point that as the population increased, sooner or later there would need to be more coins in existence. Again the question arose of how any such newly produced money might be distributed; by this time, people had become accustomed to receiving money for specific reasons, and it was feared that simply giving everyone an equal share as was done the first time would reduce the value of all coins, old and new. To avoid this, the money should be earned, though it seemed there would be no way of earning it but by giving goods or services to those that produced the new coins. This wasn't desirable, because of the old fear of those few people (Ducket and Drahkma along with their apprentices) becoming more wealthy than anyone else. But after a little thought, and talk with a spirit (whose name he never mentioned), Jacob came up with the idea of allowing the coins' producers to keep an agreed upon amount as payment for the service of providing the coins, while the rest would be deposited in a public fund which could be used to pay for any goods or services required for the betterment of the community as a whole (such as constructing or maintaining public buildings, roads, etc.) Until this time, even after the use of money had been established, there were certain things for which people simply pitched in their efforts. However, it was at this point that people began to think of their community in a more strictly geographical sense than they ever had before. To be sure, the place where everyone lived looked a good deal different than it had in the time of Connor and Brigid. It didn't take long for everyone's subword sense to kick in, to provide possible names for this new concept, names such as "city", "town", or "village." They also realized that someday, as God had said to Connor and Brigid, people would explore the entire world, and establish distant communities. For this reason, the people now voted to name their community First Village. From that point on, each year a specific amount of money would be produced, the majority of which became the property of First Village itself, and that money eventually worked its way into the hands of the people as they provided goods and services for the benefit of the village. The money was kept in the building where people occasionally met to voted on various issues; the decision of when and how to spend the money now became one of those issues.

Around this time also, one of Drahkma's apprentices, Lumin, pointed out that when larger sums of money were exchanged, both weight and bulk could begin to become problematic. She suggested as a solution, the introduction of new denominations of coins. She also suggested that because money had no inherent value, but only that with which it was imbued by the agreement of the people, it was of little importance what actual metal, size, or weight each denomination of coin was. This meant that more valuable coins could be created without proportionate increases in weight or bulk. Once this idea had been accepted (upon popular vote), Lumin created two new coins. There was the "two-piece" (worth two capitals), which was made of a mix of gold and silver and weighed about a third of an ounce. Also, she created the "five-piece" (worth five capitals), which was made of gold and weighed about a third of an ounce. All five coins in existence at that time were of slightly different sizes, and each were imprinted, simply enough, with a number or a word ("1", "2", "5", "CENT", and "BIT"). The addition of these two coins to the monetary system paved the way for other coins to be added, years later.

225Edit

In spite of the desire to avoid the devaluation of coins, over the years this eventually became impossible, not only because of the ever-increasing number of coins in the world, but because there were more and more types of things to be purchased, and ever-increasing quantities being produced and sold, as the population increased. While in the earliest years of the monetary system, one capital could very well have fed a family for a week, by the time the Land's second village, Tonad, was founded in 225, it cost five capitals to provide one square, home-cooked meal for a family (or a meal for an individual, at a restaurant, which was a fairly new type of business, itself). Because of this, around that time the five-piece began being referred to as a "meal-piece" (or simply a "meal"), in slang. Also, because money was worth less, more of it was obviously required for more expensive transactions, and therefore people began to think of creating still higher denominations. (Though they also realized they should make more denominations valued lower than a capital, but more than a bit.) Shortly after Tonad was founded, miners in that vicinity discovered a new metal, which they called "gliscendt." This was used in the minting of a new coin called a "half-piece" (worth half a capital), which weighed a tenth of an ounce. Because it was both half the weight and half the value of a capital, it was suggested that the coin be referred to as "ha'gold," though that term never caught on. It did, however, inspire a different slang term for the coin: "rumpy." This came from the Earth Märchen of Rumpelstiltskin, who spun straw into gold (though whoever first called the coin a rumpy had misremembered the story as spinning hay into gold, when he heard the term "ha'gold"). The coin was imprinted with the letters "HP" for "Half Piece."

Gliscendt was also used in the production of the new "twenty-piece" coin (worth 20 capitals), which weighed about two thirds of an ounce (imprinted with "20"). This soon came to be called a "daypay" in slang, which was about what the average person earned for a day's work; it retains this slang name even now, centuries later, when the average person earns at least twice that much in a day, though the value of the coin is about the same now as it was then. In fact it is interesting to note that inflation of the prices on most items which existed back then (especially food and drink) has been very limited; the reason people need more money now is simply that there are a much wider variety of items that have come to be considered virtually essential to modern life.

360Edit

In 360, when Ship (the Land's fourth village) was founded, people began building ships for the first time. These were about the most expensive things that had ever been invented, and because of this, a new denomination was invented, the 100-piece coin, which was made of a mix of gold and gliscendt, and weighed an ounce. It was very rare for any one person to be able to save enough money after normal living expenses to necessitate the use of such coins, nor did the average person have any use for anything so expensive that an unwieldy number of 20-piece coins would be required. Even businesses at this point were limited in scope, until the establishment of shipbuilding firms, upon the founding of the new village. Certainly no one person could afford even a single ship, which would cost on the order of a thousand capitals for parts and labor in its construction. Mostly, the first ships would be used for exploration, a matter which was considered for the benefit of the world at large, and so public funds were used to pay for them. The existence of these ships of exploration was exciting to many people, evoking stories from Earth. Because of such stories, as well as the expense of building them, people thought of ships as things which should be owned by royalty, even though there was no such thing on the Land (nor any government at all, really). Because of this, 100-piece coins came to be known as "crowns" in slang. Of course, in the years to come, all different types of businesses would grow, and crowns became more common around the world, for any number of purposes (though it was still rare for any but the wealthiest individuals to possess such coins).

Also, because the last time a new greater-than-capital coin had been created, a less-than-capital coin had also been created, people thought it might be a good idea to make that a tradition. And so, the shilling was created (worth a 20th of capital, or five cents), which was made of nickel and weighed about a twentieth of an ounce (imprinted with "S" for "Shilling").

902-905Edit

It wasn't until the Coming of the Order that there were any new developments in the Land's monetary system. In 902, The Order suggested the establishment of banks to handle money. It was safer and more convenient for people to keep their savings in such institutions, which also introduced the use of paper checks to pay bills (which was especially convenient when traveling between villages, which was becoming more and more common), among other developments such as loans and investments. It was also around that time that the Order suggested that the world was becoming complex enough to require government, both local and federal. It was realized early on that if the government was to provide various services to the world (as well as paying the salaries of those elected to office), it would require a fair amount of money to do so. It was also realized that the centuries-old method of building a public fund in each village via the minting of coins might not suffice, for various reasons. So, late in 902, the tax law was passed. At first it would apply to individual villages, but it also stated that if a world government was in fact created, it would have the power to collect taxes in addition to the ones collected for each village's public fund. Meanwhile, the recently established banks would have accounts for the holding of public funds.

In 905, after the establishment of the Second Order, one department of the new government that was created was the Treasury Department, which had direct authority over the banking system. The Treasury also took over the business of minting coins; until this time, each village had had its own mint, though some villages had had to import the metals for coin-making from other villages. Upon the establishment of the Second Order, there would only be three mints, in First Village, Tonad, and Kimrin. The Treasury also would be in charge of collecting federal taxes.

See alsoEdit

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