So I just scribbled down some notes on the physical representation of the exval, the Accord on Trade’s exchange currency:
Exval notes are denominated in powers of two, from 20 through 27. Of these, the 1 exval and 2 exval notes bear a line-work drawing of the seal of the Conclave of Galactic Polities, and a stylization of the opening paragraphs of the Accords, respectively, while the 128 exval note bears a similar line-work drawing of the Conclave Drift itself.
The five middle notes, however, the 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 exval notes bear designs representing and selected by the five Presidium powers, although in the same line-work style; and to avoid giving any sense of precedence or priority, which design is applied to which note is rotated for each printing, although the dominant background color is not. (The confusion this causes among visually-oriented users of the exval’s physical currency is widely considered an example, among libertists, of how politics prevents us from having nice things.)
…you can pretty much blame the Leagues for that, incidentally. (The Empire taking the position of “oh, ffs, give us the one, we know that we’re awesome and that this argument is petty”, the Photonic Network having no use at all for physical currency, and the Echelons, while not immune to the lure of this sort of thing, being quite prepared to chill at least to the point of abstaining.)
But the really big political argument at the time was in the League of Meridian, over whether they wanted the sixtyfour (the highest denomination, value- and hence status-wise) or the four (of which there are the most around and thus get your design seen, whereas the sixtyfour is about as rare in use as the $50, or maybe even the $100).
…at least it kept the Senate and Congress of the League Assembled out of trouble for a couple of weeks.
And now, an uncomfortable word from the author:
Here’s how it is.
Not to go into undue detail, but we’ve had kind of a difficult few months ’round here, with various unanticipated incidents and expenses, including some medical-type expenses, which are unfortunately proving quite a painful strain on the budget.
I’d like to start by thanking my existing patrons for keeping up their contributions and helping make this strain somewhat less.
But I’d also like to take a moment to say to other readers that – well, if you’ve been considering becoming a patron, or buying a book, or suchlike, this would be a really good time for it, and I’d appreciate it very much.
Thanks for listening.
Screw The Money, I Have Rules!: The subject of any of a few thousand plutarch fairy tales concerning the nature of money as a symbol, and the worthlessness of a symbol without the things that give it meaning. (The Market Liberty Oversight Directorate, in particular, is particularly harsh on anyone whose approach to money or markets is harmful to said money or markets.)
(And given the very long lives most plutarchs can expect to have in a universe with immortagens, everyone understands that they’re playing the indefinite-iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, in which the winning superrational strategy is not to defect.)
Much as I hate to make one.
But it turns out that being an SF author anywhere but the Amazon Top 100 Sellers isn’t actually all that lucrative (who knew?) and that self-employment ties up much of your capital in product (who knew?) and that, well, sometimes the nature of an entropy-based universe and a scarcity economy means that shit happens and leaves you having a very, very broke couple of months (who knew, amirite? I demand to see life’s manager!)
In short, Your Humble Author needs to raise some cash, and would prefer to raise some cash in a way that doesn’t mean he has to take a whole bunch of time off from being Your Humble Author.
So, if you don’t already have a copy of Vignettes of the Star Empire or The Core War and Other Stories, and you would like to have one, or for that matter if you do but would like to give one to a friend, let me just say that now would be a great time for me, and hey, if you want a signed copy, I can do that for you for Amazon price plus further postage. Just leave a comment so I can contact you and we’ll sort it out.
Apart from that, if you’re enjoying what you read here and you haven’t seen my Patreon, let me point you at it. I do enjoy and intend to keep writing, and I am appreciative of all my readers, but, well… writers (and their dogs) have to eat, y’know?
May I have some more?
And as such I will be super-extra-appreciative of those readers who’d like to appreciate my writing in cash, belike. (Or, if you can’t or don’t want to sign up to a recurring deal, I have a PayPal link over on the right, too. And y’all will also be much appreciated.)
Piecemeal Funds Transfer: Played straight, as the original trope suggests might be the case, with certain non-mainstream anonymous/secure cryptographic currencies (known as “cryp scrip”, or just “cryp” for short), in which each currency unit is its own cryptographically signed token that must be processed individually and sequentially to do the transfer.
No Paper Future: Played mostly straight. And there aren’t many data rods around either, except in specialist applications; ubiquitous wireless networking, and the slate (i.e., future-iPad-analog) replace them more or less completely for routine applications. (And no, unlike Star Trek, no-one has a stack of slates on their desk.) Of the paper documents that do exist, most of them are smart-paper that can electronically edit itself or become other documents or its own appendices. Actual paper tends to be a mark of the very traditional on special occasions.
(Actual paper books are a little more common than random paper documents, but even they are collectors’ items. That said, there are entire bound books made up internally of smart-paper, so you can keep a bookshelf in your house which can change to contain whatever books you need from your (bigger) e-book library essentially on-demand. [Incidentally, as an author’s note, you have no idea how much I want this technology. Really. You don’t.])
Money-wise, it’s similar. While there is still metal coinage and paper money – well, plastic-silk money – around, virtually all transactions are done digitally across the data network. The physical currency exists nearly exclusively for certain types of anonymous transaction, traditionalists, and eccentrics.
Morally Bankrupt Banker: Subverted; most Imperial bankers (especially those from Gilea & Co.) are very, very moral people. By the eldrae’s rigidly propertarian standards, and with total dedication to the Principle of Money and the sacred trust that is his fiduciaries’ wealth, which isn’t necessarily the kind of fluffiness most people think of when they say “morality” in this context, but is also very distinct from not having any.