Wednesday, February 27, 2013

MONEY upon Barsoom

Money is used to purchase supplies, equipment, weapons and lodging.    The Red Planet’s monetary system is based upon oval coins whose value is determined by the weight of their metal.  Each silver coin is about the size of an American or Canadian quarter and weighs about five grams.  
  100 coins weighs one mass unit (1#);

 1 bronze coin = price of meal or loaf of bread
10 bronze coins = 1 silver coin or daily wage
10 silver coins (10sc) = 1 gold coin (1gc)

                “Paper money is issued by individuals as they require it and redeemed twice yearly.  If a man issues more than he can redeem, the government pays his creditors in full and the debtor works out the amount upon the farms or in the mines which are owned by the government.  This suits everybody fine except for the debtor as it has been a difficult thing to obtain sufficient voluntary labor to work the great isolated farm lands of Mars, stretching as they do like narrow ribbons from pole to pole, through wild stretches peopled by wild animals and wilder men.”         (PM, XX)

Individual nations and city-states often mint their own coins.  Foreign coins can be converted to acceptable tender for a modest fee (1-6%).  Adventurers beware; large amounts of foreign coin will often attract unwanted attention of law enforcement and/or the criminal element.

            “The public houses of Barsoom, I found vary little.  There is no privacy except for married couples.
            “Men without their wives are escorted to a large chamber, the floor of which is usually of white marble or heavy glass kept scrupulously clean.   Here are many small platforms for the guest’s sleeping silks and furs, and if he have none of his own, clean, fresh ones are provided at a nominal charge. 
            “Once a man’s belongings have been deposited upon one of these platforms he is a guest of the house, and that platform his own until he leaves.  No one will disturb or molest his belongings, as there are no thieves upon Mars. 
            “No meals are served in these houses, but generally a public eating place adjoins them.  Baths are connected with the sleeping chambers, and each guest is required to bathe daily or depart from the hotel.”
            (WM, X)

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