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202 votes
Accepted

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

So nice to have interesting questions to which real history provides a ready made and exemplary answer which is also a great tale to be told. Consider the Fuggers The beginnings: It all begins with ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 91.2k
180 votes
Accepted

What would an immortal-run American bank have to do to secretly maintain bank accounts for immortal customers?

Maintain a Bank Account for Above-Board Immortals American law already grants personhood to immortal, soulless entities bent on twisting the minds of innocents to their will and consuming everything ...
jdunlop's user avatar
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129 votes
Accepted

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

Manacoin Manacoin (abbreviated as mc) is an ethereal currency that only exists as shared thoughts in the astral plane. Everyone can create astral "wallets" to store manacoins. Wallets have ...
The Square-Cube Law's user avatar
112 votes

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

If you plant merchants, they don't grow so good. Jingo (Pratchett) Merchants have goods you want. They tend to repeatedly have goods you want, not just the once. A merchant might tell his ...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 118k
109 votes

Can Communism become a stable economic strategy? How?

You need perfect information, uncorruptable leaders, and an enforcement mechanism. Why does communism sort of work at a small scale (small groups < 15) but hit tons of problems at large scale? ...
sdrawkcabdear's user avatar
109 votes

How would you bring wealth back to the past?

Knowledge. Bringing wealth to the past requires simply knowledge. You have the outcome of horse races, lotteries, inventions, share prices, stock market falls etc etc etc. Your head could easily ...
Thorne's user avatar
  • 47.3k
100 votes
Accepted

Why buy tech from the future?

Yes, 100% Yes Just because the stranger doesn't know how to build it or how it was manufactured doesn't mean that you can't reverse engineer it. With 10 devices, you even have some spares so you can ...
Shadowzee's user avatar
  • 15.3k
95 votes
Accepted

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

You don't need to 'do' anything - economics takes care of it Much like it does in the real world. There are two different economic issues: Value of work (money in), and cost of goods (money out). ...
David's user avatar
  • 1,130
94 votes

Justifying Affordable Bespoke Spaceships

Let's look at the world of shipping here on Earth for inspiration I have a suspicion that if you look at the history of shipping, you'll discover that whether it's a cart or a bullet train, the basic ...
JBH's user avatar
  • 125k
91 votes

What would be the most expensive material to an intergalactic society?

Moving away from a pure element (covered by other answers) to a material, something that has a special property. Consider something that is made rare by the very presence of your intergalactic ...
K. Morgan's user avatar
  • 3,638
90 votes
Accepted

How to monetize uploaded consciousness?

We give the minds some hobbies to do We have lots of people who have literally nothing else to do than think. That will probably be boring for quite a few of them. Why don't we put them to us-... I ...
Secespitus's user avatar
  • 17.7k
85 votes

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

First of all they should only teleport things, not people. People talk. Otherwise, they're in the shipping business. They should use their teleportation ability to mimic real world transportation so ...
Len's user avatar
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84 votes
Accepted

If I build a railroad around the edge of a supercontinent, will that kill the oceangoing shipping industry?

Firstly, shipping is generally more efficient for bulk cargoes - such as coal, lumber, ore, etc. (assuming you are using a similar technology to power both the ships and trains - i.e. both steam, or ...
Penguino's user avatar
  • 7,413
81 votes
Accepted

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

Think Small Instead of moving items very large distances; why not move them small distances; it's not like you get paid per mile. You could almost entirely remove the equipment cost and drastically ...
TheJahh's user avatar
  • 1,186
80 votes
Accepted

How can I make female battle mages a good investment for warfare?

A spear has a lot more force than a needle, but that doesn't make it more useful. If you want to skewer an enemy, the choice is obvious; but try knitting with the larger instrument. Runes may be more ...
KeizerHarm's user avatar
  • 14.4k
80 votes
Accepted

Why is this less profitable for an adventurer to craft and then sell an artefact, rather than to sell ingredients needed to craft the artefact?

Because the adventure's skill and reputation is always below that of a specialized craftsman. Bob the Blacksmith has been making swords all his life. He's spent 40 years perfecting the art of the ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 44.2k
79 votes

Signs of wealth in a world where private planet ownership is common

The same things that make houses expensive today First of all, while the wealthy generally live in bigger houses, the price does not scale linearly with square meters of living space. A five million ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 23.2k
78 votes
Accepted

Crime rates in a post-scarcity economy

This cannot be answered. But rather than just voting to close as opinion based, it might have value to stop and think about the reasons this cannot be answered. As the reasons are kind of interesting ...
Ville Niemi's user avatar
  • 43.2k
78 votes

Can a store that doesn't need to buy merchandise stay unnoticed?

I've run a small retail store for over a decade. This is a complete non-issue. Tax authorities don't care one whit for deliveries, nor vendors, nor for whatever accounting system you use. All they ...
user535733's user avatar
  • 28.9k
76 votes

Why is this less profitable for an adventurer to craft and then sell an artefact, rather than to sell ingredients needed to craft the artefact?

Because you are selling to shops, not to adventurers I agree with the accepted answer in most settings, but not in the context of the genre. In many games, the best weapons are the ones you craft ...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
  • 95.9k
75 votes
Accepted

What makes trading cities rich?

The short answer is trade. The larger answer is that the act of trading develops and requires a range of secondary and tertiary activities which are themselves economically significant. Consider, ...
Thucydides's user avatar
  • 97.7k
75 votes
Accepted

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

Live-Streaming Have you ever heard of Twitch? The streaming platform that allows you to let other people watch you play a game and give you donations if they like to watch you play? Where hundred or ...
Secespitus's user avatar
  • 17.7k
74 votes

Can Communism become a stable economic strategy? How?

No system with humans is ever truly stable. They just have different instabilities to deal with. If you think about it, the stable state for humans is "dead." To remain alive, we need a constant ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 132k
74 votes

Fallout from aliens destabilizing economy by counterfeiting all global currencies?

what policies would the world's various administrations put in place? Switch to digital currencies and eliminate paper money. Explain to the nice aliens that we were just settling on paper money. ...
Brythan's user avatar
  • 25.3k
72 votes

How to monetize uploaded consciousness?

Crowley [a demon] had been extremely impressed with the warranties offered by the computer industry, and had in fact sent a bundle Below [to hell] to the department that drew up the Immortal Soul ...
The Square-Cube Law's user avatar
71 votes

How could a goverment sell prisoners as slaves (without giving advantage to richs)?

It used to be commonplace The question show a misconception about pre-modern societies. They were not modern societies in which people dressed funny and had a handful of unusual laws; they were ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 91.2k
70 votes
Accepted

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

They can used for underground power and communication lines, as a replacement for overhead lines. The reason why overhead lines are still prevalent in America is due to the initial cost of ...
Giter's user avatar
  • 17.3k

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