I'm creating a planet. These are the characteristics:


The planet has a greater density and a gravity acceleration of 1.5 Earth-g, or 14.81 m/s2. There are two polar oceans, quite salted, the northern is inhabited by algae and small and big fish (though the biodiversity is quite limited). There are more metals and heavier stones and a lot of titania (so it can have oxygen in the atmosphere without needing to have indigenous life). Near the oceans there are places called karcas which look quite like Mars but have more metals and big craters than the other places on Wotan.


I haven't really developed it, but a planet's day last 28-30 Earth days. The inclination of Wotan is very small, so its seasons are very similar. The stellar flux is 1.13, and the planet's temperature comes from -70°C at midnight to +80°C at midday. The atmosphere is a bit thinner, so the air isn't breathable in all the central part of Wotan. There are only a few rivers and almost no lakes, so water is accessible only near the oceans.


The biodiversity is quite limited, because all the life on the planet comes from the Earth (through it is very modified). All the life (except humans) was exposed to a process of genetic engineering, so it keeps having big differences. But there are fish, algae, some mammals and some (a very few) reptiles, almost no insects.


The population is about 250.000-300.000. Half/two third lives in villages (700-1400 for each) near the ocean. The others in tribes (50-500 for each). The society is matriarchal, and the unit of the society is the tribe or the village (a family don't usually have strong bonds, boys leave the tribe or the village when they're 16-20 years old). The tribes travel for many (Earth) days, so the contacts are not continuous. The tribes usually collect the food at the beginning and at the end of journeys, but not during the trips. The main value is the life, there haven't been wars or serious conflicts.


There are a few technologies, only radios, x-rays and cleaners for salted water and a few others. The theorical knowledge is higher than the practical knowledge because they inherited it from their forefathers (it was saved because it was included in a religion that transmitted the history and the religion of the people). There isn't much interest in developing technologies. There is a small secret group/society that conserves (and develop) technologies and makes them slowly known to the others. However, it can't do much.


How would commerce develop in a world like this? What kind of money/barter/medium of exchange would be used?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Is a mathriarchal society one in which mathematicians hold dominance? $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Nov 9, 2015 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ No, mathriarchal with mathematical and scientific education, but all the society reflects the poor knowledge. The linearity depends on gender (girls are in the family of the mother, boys in the family of the father. $\endgroup$
    – Eithne
    Nov 9, 2015 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ How much of each person's day (on average) does it take for the people to obtain their food and water? That determines whether there can even be an economy of note. If it takes all 300 adults in a tribe most of the day to hunt or farm for the tribe, forget it. If 100 people can supply food for all 500 in a tribe, you have 200 adults left to specialize and produce new goods for trade, etc $\endgroup$
    – Cyrus
    Nov 9, 2015 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ It depends. In the villages near the sea in takes most of the hours near the dawn and the sunset (when they have to amass the food for all the day) but a few hour in the other moments (remember a day last ca. 30 days). In the tribes it takes much time near water-rich places or where there are many animals and edible plants, but almost no time when they're far from them (for the same reason, the amass food for all the day or for a big part of the trips). But even near water-richplaces at least 10 adults don't collect food. $\endgroup$
    – Eithne
    Nov 9, 2015 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ What is causing them to keep their scientific knowledge? When facing survival situations for generations at a time, useless knowledge tends to be stripped out so they have time to teach useful stuff instead. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Nov 9, 2015 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


Presumably the Nomads have the livestock (which is Why they are nomadic) and the "Settled" villages have fish (from the ocean) and any crops. This would make for natural trade (and disputes?).

Nomadic tribes would need a consistent trading point and time so their visits would coincide with the harvests and similar.


Assuming there's a resource asymmetry, the nomads and the settled villagers have access to different materials because they live in different environments most of the year trade is natural and possibly even essential to life for both parties. The natural medium of exchange in such a situation is direct barter, of course within the towns there may be a fiat currency based on mutual guarantees and such currency may be used by nomads dealing with buyers who are not involved with the business of selling the supplies the nomads need, but that level of trade specialisation really needs a larger population base. If no such asymmetry exists and the nomads and villagers are completely self sufficient for their survival needs then there's no basis for trade. There would of course still be the complex issue of luxury goods if the margins of survival were a little better, but they're not so that's moot.


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