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Questions tagged [economy]

For questions regarding wealth, trade, or financial concepts.

106
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15answers
14k views

How can a banker successfully (and safely) lend money to an autocrat?

I'm the owner of a large bank in Europe, with vast resources at my disposal. I would like to increase my wealth by lending it out at interest. The ruler of the country I'm based in has his own ...
95
votes
27answers
12k views

How to monetize uploaded consciousness?

In 2039, our company was the first to bring a safe and reliable solution to upload someone's mind to the cloud. Although it was 10 years ago, you probably remember the news, don't you? We guaranteed ...
79
votes
38answers
18k views

How can a colony of teleporters make the most money while keeping their teleportation a secret?

The Situation A colony of 100 teleporters (between the ages of 20-40) have been hidden away living like monks for 1000's of years to prevent their detection. With the death of their old leader, a ...
75
votes
21answers
21k views

Can Communism become a stable economic strategy? How?

In a capitalist Society, you work, you earn money and you buy a shovel to dig a hole In a communist Society, you are given a shovel and told to work Alt History Hub Communism was a major rival ...
66
votes
16answers
14k views

On a world with differently sized humans, how do I keep wages fair?

Imagine that due to an excess amount of handwavium, my world has humans ranging from only a couple of inches, to around 20 feet. Society has evolved to include people of all sizes into the workforce ...
66
votes
11answers
12k views

The first McDonald's restaurant on Mars

The McDonald's fast food company is the world's largest restaurant chain which prides itself with offering (almost) the same standardized menu all around the globe... ...this globe. When humanity ...
65
votes
13answers
10k views

Help! Our merchants keep turning into villains!

To My Trusted Advisors; It has now been six months since the founding of Puzzleville around the entrance to the magic-filled Labyrinth of Wonders. As expected, adventurers from around the world have ...
63
votes
27answers
8k views

Can humans interact meaningfully with the economy when robots are better at everything?

The year is 3030, and robots have finally become better than humans at everything. Not just standard tasks we would think of a robot being good at, but everything. Manual labor. Math. Robot design. ...
57
votes
16answers
10k views

Selling the right to kill one's convicted abuser: how could an NGO make this profitable?

A free-market solution to preventing further domestic abuse This society has gone full-on free-market everything including the punishment of severe domestic abuse. As a check on the abuser, the ...
57
votes
17answers
21k views

How quickly will government realize that I am printing money?

Usual Joe wakes up in his apartment somewhere in New York, USA. He realizes that on this desk is sitting new printer, which appeared out of nowhere. Joe tries to press print button and the printer ...
57
votes
4answers
8k views

Santa is broke. How much does it cost for someone else to be Santa?

Well, Santa's finally done it. He's bankrupt, thanks to some rather dubious investments and some bad luck in the real estate market (a couple ice sheets he was renting out just melted away). Kris ...
56
votes
22answers
21k views

Socialist country with good economy?

I want to have a socialist* country where economy is good enough to have at least one big city of more then million people, that has well maintained buildings. The people don't have to be rich but ...
55
votes
26answers
8k views

FTL travel is impossible. How is interstellar trade possible?

Assume a universe depressingly like ours, in which special relativity holds. No hyperspace, no warp drive, no wormholes, and even the limited get-out clauses offered by real world physics either don't ...
54
votes
23answers
14k views

Could a society use bullets as money?

I'm making a world that is 1/3 medieval fantasy, 1/3 pre-civil war American west, and 1/3 Mad Max. The world underwent an apocalyptic scenario that destroyed the governing bodies at the time, but it ...
53
votes
20answers
11k views

Why would anyone build robots when they have human rights?

I have read (and answered) the question: "If true artificially intelligent robots could be built, would they be allowed human rights?". But let's explore the topic from the other direction. Let's ...
53
votes
14answers
6k views

Realistic economic impact of a Hero

You've probably played this game before — the hero goes out into the wilderness, slaughters hordes of beasts and bandits, then returns to the town and promptly sells all his loot to the nearest ...
51
votes
22answers
13k views

How would you bring wealth back to the past?

Edit: A few people have argued that this question is off-topic, and as I write this it looks like it will be closed soon. However, I have written a new (and hopefully better) version of the question ...
51
votes
18answers
10k views

What happens if money vanishes if not spent?

It's a few years in the future and society in general is fed up with hoarders; people who have a lot of money lying around that they don't use. Motivated by the rule that money should roll, they ...
51
votes
14answers
7k views

Fallout from aliens destabilizing economy by counterfeiting all global currencies?

Let's say a species of naive, yet well-intentioned aliens came across the Earth. They generally like humans and decide to try to increase their happiness by supplying the thing which they have ...
51
votes
14answers
9k views

Why does gold matter so much in a matter of life and death?

We've all played fantasy RTS (real-time strategy) games, like WarCraft or DOTA, where you're in a battle and you need to spend gold to upgrade. Maybe you're buying troops or gear or whatever. But if ...
48
votes
12answers
8k views

What would happen if a country weighted voting in inverse proportion to wealth?

It's often remarked that voting with dollars — not literally, but through spending and the influence that comes with control of capital — is more ultimately influential than actual voting in a ...
41
votes
28answers
10k views

Why buy tech from the future?

The Demonstration You're a rich, successful CEO/capitalist working in the electronics business. Your R&D division is exceptional and routinely fabs state of the art processors at bleeding edge ...
41
votes
8answers
5k views

Modern trading card game viable in late medieval / renaissance times?

A tad bit late perhaps, but the creation of Gwent in The Witcher 3 PC RPG game has got me thinking: would a modern trading card game(hereafter referred to as TCG) like Magic: The Gathering be able to ...
40
votes
13answers
9k views

How to control alcohol consumption in my country?

I have a problem with too many men suffering from alcoholism in my country. I tried putting large taxes and limiting the stores that sell alcohol but that led to cottage industry of low quality ...
40
votes
19answers
2k views

How can I make money work across separate planets?

Over time separate countries have adopted common currencies, and a world can be imagined where a planet has a single currency. However, in building a world spanning a multiplanet system (several ...
38
votes
27answers
10k views

Can government be funded by only printing more money and not taxing anyone?

In a society where government-issued currency (most current countries) is used, could the government fund itself by printing money to use instead of taxing its citizens? Would this work? If so: How ...
38
votes
19answers
12k views

What can be used as a money in a high-fantasy magic world where noble metals are in practical use?

Imagine a high-fantasy magic world where magic has the place of a science. Noble/rare metals – such as silver, gold, platinum – have the ability to conduct magic energy, which is commonly used in all ...
38
votes
14answers
7k views

In a post-fossil fuel economy, what could natural gas pipelines be used for?

The United States (as well as many other countries) is covered in a vast network of tubes: These tubes vary greatly in diameter. Some could hardly fit a baseball, while others are large enough to ...
38
votes
16answers
5k views

Resources to justify long-distance space mining missions

Earth is setting up mining colonies on Tau Ceti e. But how can they justify the enormous cost of sending people there? ...Because during the initial exploratory missions, it was discovered that in ...
38
votes
19answers
3k views

A smaller price for a lesser faustian deal

We all know the classical trope of making a deal with the devil. The mortal applicant desires some worldly possession, knowledge, or power, and is willing to trade his own soul for it. Picture the ...
38
votes
27answers
11k views

Could I have a culture where stealing is not wrong?

I'm working on differentiating primarily nonhuman cultures from human cultures in a fantasy world by adding a bit of Blue and Orange Morality. One way I'm considering adding a unique element to one ...
38
votes
22answers
7k views

Realistic Future Jobs for Men and Women

I'm trying to figure out realistic futuristic jobs for my characters. We're in a verge-of-singularity world, 15-25 years in the future. Convoluted neural networks and their even more awesome near-AGI ...
36
votes
12answers
9k views

What makes trading cities rich?

(We're talking about a pre-industrial society here) Obviously there are many cities in important positions for trade, either because they control an important strait (Danish Sound, Bosphorus), an ...
36
votes
21answers
5k views

What would stop a company able to sell lifespan expansions from ruling the world?

Let's assume few things: There is a difficult technology that allows making someone's body an arbitrary number of years younger, or reset it to, for example, the state of "young adult" - a point when ...
35
votes
18answers
7k views

With some exceptions, what makes the most powerful mage on the planet, not kill a merchant and steal his goods? [closed]

So I am the most powerful mage on the planet. A merchant offers me an artifact that is too expensive for me to buy. With some exceptions, what makes me, the most powerful mage on the planet, not just ...
35
votes
7answers
7k views

Trade Unions VS Guilds: semantics or is there a 'real' difference?

Quick Question: I have looked at both separately but can't find a clear answer that compares them side by side and clarifies what the actual difference is. There seems to be a large overlap between ...
34
votes
23answers
7k views

Economic reasons to put people on Mars?

I am working a hard science fiction story and I cannot come up with a really good reason to put people on Mars. I need people on Mars for the story to work, but there is no reason for them to be there....
34
votes
14answers
9k views

Is an economy based on piracy possible?

What would be needed for a piracy-based economy? One based mainly on raiding ships? I don't know if there are any real-life models of this that were successful, though I know that piracy existed (and ...
33
votes
18answers
7k views

Can time travel make us rich through trading, and is this a problem?

At different points in history, commodities have been at different levels of supply, and therefore have been at different prices. One good might be valuable in the present while another is nearly ...
33
votes
8answers
5k views

What would poverty be like if there was an infinite supply of food?

Taking into account a medieval-ish lifestyle, one of the most important things, I would imagine, correct me if I am wrong, is food. If you could eat food, you were probably also not poor. Now, ...
31
votes
9answers
3k views

What should I consider in a society with basic unconditional income?

I'm creating a city of about 200 000 people in a nation equivalent to a modern western nation, like Germany, France or the United States. Strong economy and a calm society, but still a conspicuous ...
30
votes
7answers
5k views

Currency for my medieval game

I'm creating a game that can grow to an enormous extent, basically can be played with 2 or more and every one represents a nation. Everyone starts with a small castle, a small village and a small army ...
29
votes
7answers
6k views

Would wiping out all debt crash the economy?

I have an AI character who has determined through simulation that, though "greed or the lust for money is the root of all evil" is a valid statement, it does not necessarily logically follow that ...
29
votes
15answers
2k views

What geographic characteristics for a world would be needed/be most beneficial for airships to be a common mode of transportation?

Airships are a hallmark of countless steampunk and dieselpunk constructed universes. Of course, in our world, they were around for a short while. I want to know what effects geographical circumstances ...
28
votes
14answers
6k views

Creating a living currency

I'd like to implement a currency that is "alive". Picture a small, rat-sized animal that is: only found in a small geographic region, making it reasonably scarce. lethargic, or in hibernation most ...
27
votes
10answers
4k views

How could banks with multiple branches work in a world without quick communication?

If a bank wanted to operate branches in multiple cities, possibly separated by large distances, how would they prevent a fraudulent customer from double-dipping on a withdrawal? For example, if I ...
27
votes
14answers
7k views

Why does this one planet still have slaves?

The year is gazillion and five and humanity has spread out across the galaxy. As we expanded, empires were formed, then toppled, federations coalesced, then unraveled, feudal kingdoms cropped up and ...
27
votes
15answers
8k views

Is it worth colonizing a planet that travels near the speed of light?

There is a planet that is orbiting around not a single star, but the core of a galaxy. It is independent of the other solar systems in the galaxy, but is affected by the center of mass of the core. It ...
27
votes
10answers
2k views

What effect would “item memory” have on modern day economics and production

Background: In this modern day we live in, a use and throw away society, production is getting so cheap and complex that in most cases a repair of an item is close to impossible. Casestudy: Let's ...
26
votes
21answers
5k views

What kind of jewelry would be valuable in a world where anything can be produced?

A world I am working on has reached a sort of material production singularity. Recent innovations in space mining, artificial intelligence, teleportation, and 3D-printing have allowed for devices ...