Another Turn of Subject

Thu Jun 6 20:57:22 PDT 2002

At 06:41 PM 6/6/2002 -0700, Gregory Rapawy wrote:
>--- Steven Brust <skzb at dreamcafe.com> wrote:
> > Let's say Vlad earns $1500 imperials.  In our terms,
> > that would be about $25,000.
>[example deleted]
> > You see the problem?  Things don't match up.
>That would follow from (1) different marginal costs
>for labor and capital in Dragaera (as well as
>different technologies) and (2) an absence of trade
>between Dragaera and the U.S.  Both seem reasonable

Oh, sure, it's *reasonable.*  But my point is, that a simple dollar 
translation isn't terribly useful.

>It makes me think about another question, which is:
>what does the Dragaeran economy at the time of the
>Vlad series look like?

It's strange and complex.  In many ways, the culture is about that of 
Renaissance to Reformation Europe (and banking in that period was *very* 
complex--check 16th Century Italy or 17th Century England.  Sheesh).  But 
it is not at all consistant.  I have specifically mentioned kerosene 
several times.  Okay, what does the existence of kerosene imply?  Work it 
out.  (In Viscount I've gotten a bit more obvious and made explicit 
references to refineries).

In essence, you have a strong cultural bias for a feudel economy, which, 
quite naturally, is going to strangle capitalist development.  Then you 
have sorcery, which simultaneously acts in place of technology (ie, making 
labor more productive) and to stiffle it.

The result is a society that is caught, trying desperately to hold 
motionless (and, in Vlad's time, just beginning to fail) with a whole lot 
of different forces all pushing very strongly in incompatible directions.

Oh...and if all that weren't enough, remember that you've mostly seen the 
world through the eyes of Vlad, who has no clue, and Paarfi, who is 
convinced he knows everything.