Hot answers tagged

177

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 in an unending, unslaking lust for power. They're called corporations. Noss 4 At You Inc. has a rotating C-suite with signing authority that all seem to do their ...


80

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 dollar house isn't necessarily ten times bigger than a 500k house. Instead, it's of higher quality with better features, materials, and design. In a planet, this ...


78

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 both diesel). Secondly, unless your super-continent is more or less circular the distance across the water may be significantly shorter. For example, take ...


65

In Europe, the stirrup. They were in use in China by the fifth century, but were unknown in Europe, and give a very significant advantage to cavalry as well as facilitating other uses for ridden horses. The Wikipedia article says: Some argue that the stirrup was one of the basic tools used to create and spread modern civilization, possibly as important as ...


62

So international trade with the USA is just wacky; eg 6 Of Top 10 U.S. Imports Are Also Top 10 Exports Many things we worry about day to day will be fine - USA is essentially self sufficient for many things, when South America is included in the trade bubble you're almost perfect. Oil, petrol, most rare metals: all fine. The biggest things it will lack will ...


62

Gold would then be completely unsuitable for use as the basis of any currency. It would just be another material with certain physical properties. Assuming the world society survived the screaming madness that occur in the years following the discovery that all their money is, well, not money... The good: Gold is a very inert metal. It does not rust, it ...


57

One of the ultimate signs of wealth is being able to command services from other humans at your whim. The ultra wealthy have maids, pilots, cooks, drivers, guards, etc. and even if these jobs could be automated, there's still a feeling of power that one can derive from commanding others who are like you, and it's a sign of power to others. So, some ...


56

Hygiene: A powerful battlefield weapon If you really want to get the attention of powerful people, teach them how to keep their soldiers alive when the enemy is dying. Through much of history, diseases have ravaged armies around the world. Even with the improvements of technology made in the next 1,400 years, two-thirds of fatalities in the US Civil War came ...


46

The ultimate sign of wealth is being able to command other humans' services. Most people are only served by robots. The really wealthy will have human butlers, secretaries, cooks, tutors for their children, stewards to organize the other servants, etc. The human servants will be people with only a house but who would like a planet, or with planets that need ...


45

Since this question has the reality check tag, I'm going to have to point out that people in ancient times weren't stupid. They just lacked the means and the knowledge base. They were far more in tune with is possible with manual labour and handcrafting. So for John, as uneducated as he is and with no research, to try and bring back a concept which they were ...


43

Will the railroad kill ocean shipping? No, it won't We have a real-world ready-made example showing that ocean shipping and rail shipping can coexist and complement each other. As it happens, we do have a rather large supercontinent on Earth, called Eurasia. On this supercontinent we have, in the east, the People's Republic, which manufactures just about ...


42

Sailing is risky and requires lots of knowledge Just take a page from history. During the age of sail, specially during its first decades, explorers such as Columbus, Cabral, Magellan etc. had a hell of a bad time navigating the Atlantic. A major reason why they got so filthy rich was because sailing was a high-risk activity with large returns. Sailing ...


35

SEX TRADE: (and assorted criminal activities) I hate to point out the obvious (ok, that's a lie; I LOVE to point it out) but most of the slavery in the US not linked to sweatshops is in the sex trade. Even with AI and fancy machines, there's something about a real person you can't quite get right, and the harder they try, the weirder it seems. The same rule ...


33

Trading in promises Two mechanisms can play a part here but essentially you don't have to wait for the ore to return to sell your investment, it's all about share value and the promise of a return. Shares in a business are proportional to their promise of return - sometimes even if that return hasn't happened yet the implication that in the future the profit ...


32

I'd honestly go for the printing press. John doesn't really have to know how to make one, he just has to describe the basic pieces to a craftsman and demonstrate it to the right people. It's utility would be obvious within a highly bureaucratic government structure. It's utility would be obvious to the Church. Plenty of Catholic scholars in that century. ...


32

I'm from Brazil, a former colony of Portugal. In history classes we learn about this. In centuries past salt was very valuable. The word salary comes from that. Portugal had been exploring salt pans as one of its chief exports before becoming a country - and that was in the 11th century! Seems like the first ones were in the Aveiro region, with a surge in ...


28

Frame Challenge: It will butterfly in your favor, not against you. By buying and holding bitcoins you are making the buyer's market for bitcoins more scarce. So instead of devaluing it, by refusing to sell them you are actually making them MORE valuable in the future. If anything, this will cause the value of bitcoin to grow even faster making it an even ...


28

Charlie's suggestion of switching to a silver- or fiat-based currency is a good one. Another thing you might want to do is control when the court mage's discovery becomes well known. You could offer the mage a super-luxury vacation to an exotic island where he doesn't speak the language. This could buy you two or three years. In that two or three years, you ...


27

Location sites for filming historical and fantasy dramas. The Americas are very short of buildings, villages and towns that look like they’re in mediaeval or even early modern Europe, and European locations are still a lot cheaper and better than using CGI, or such shows wouldn’t be filmed on location at present.


24

"Lest darkness fall" protagonist made his first money in 6th century Europe by producing brandy. His revolutionary tool was "pot still" (though I don't know if it qualifies).


24

You forgot factor 4: it's pretty, thus jewelry :-) Also it's not used in electronics because of its conductivity (it's not as good as copper, and not that much better than aluminum), but because it doesn't corrode, so it's useful to have contacts with a very thin gold plating. AFAIK graphene wouldn't plate that well. and apparently isn't all that stable: ...


24

Be the Butterfly Nobody knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is. Who's to say it wasn't you right from the start? Go back in time and be Satoshi Nakamoto. Create Bitcoin using what you already know and mine the early coins. Satoshi Nakamoto is worth almost $35B. This way you haven't changed history at all and still gotten super rich.


23

You haven't re-instituted the Gold Standard, you've turned the Gold Standard into a fiat currency and you've done so with horrifying consequences. Value is determined by two factors - supply and demand. If you were to increase the supply of gold as the demand stayed the same, the price would drop and then the gold would be devalued. Attempting to switch back ...


22

Similar to really high-end goods today, or collectables, the best planets wouldn't be noticeably better, they'd be rarer or special in some way: In a small "good" galaxy where planets are rarely for sale and only the best people live. Discovered by a famous explorer, later made into a beloved movie ("yes, this is that planet. I can show you ...


20

Basic maths using the Arabic (decimal) number system, basic economic theory and double entry book keeping. This includes introducing the concept of zero. Basic statistics, compound interest formula's, forecasting, financial analysis and algebra and calculus. As a businessman he should hopefully be numerate and have and a high school education or better. He ...


20

Counterpoint: This mission isn't a good investment and would probably never take off Mainly, 70-150 years is a very long time. Hell, 150 years ago humanity didn't have powered flight, let alone space travel, and if anything, the rate of technological progress has only gotten faster. Furthermore, while investors are fundamentally gamblers, all our modern ...


20

Step 1, train your mage in deception The funny thing about chronic gossipers like your mage is that people who are bad at keeping secrets tend to also be good at telling lies. Give him a cover story so that when his friends ask him what he's been up to, he has a brag worthy lie to tell in place of the truth. "I've been working on new methods of ...


19

South Dakota and Delaware (and probably some other states) allow you to set up perpetual trusts. The money in the trust is either doled out to the named beneficiaries or spent for the their benefit according the rules of the trust. Current beneficiaries can name their successor beneficiaries so you can pass the money down through a chain of identities. A US ...


19

Gold is a verifiable storage of wealth that doesn't decay "This is a gold bar" I assert to the banker. The skeptical banker is able to test it and confirm its value. Weighing it, calculating volume and density, measuring resistance, etc, it's possible to easily confirm that it is in fact a bar of gold, confirming my assertion. Other stores of ...


18

1: Potion Abuse. At the moment being a Class C witch with potions is strictly better than being a Class A witch. Especially if the potions are cheap enough to chug one, cast Create Lace, sell the lace, buy another potion and repeat. To keep the balance you need some extra downside to Class A + Potions. I suggest potions are damaging in the long term. They ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible