Possible Currencies for After the End

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Matt the Czar, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. SnapSlav

    SnapSlav NMA's local DotA fanatic

    Jul 1, 2012
    Fiat REQUIRES a system that honors the stated value of the currency. If you have relatively small settlements acting on their own, no matter how advanced or established they are, a fiat currency simply will not exist for them to trade with one another. A currency MUST have some kind of intrinsic value to it outside of simply accepting a value that it possesses. Bottle Caps worked in the Fallout setting because early on after the decline they were an item that could not be (easily) counterfeited and were relatively rare to have in large quantities. Its scarcity was what made it valuable and thus acceptable as currency. Gold didn't have very many useful functions but it was so wildly scarce that, on top of being desirable for its prettiness, it was valuable because of that scarcity.

    The reason fictional depictions of post apocalyptic societies possess fiat currencies is because they grow large enough to become SOCIETIES, not simply settlements. The NCR was a nation, and their paperback was backed by their gold. Before that they used gold coins. These only worked because the NCR was a nation, not simply a hodgepodge of towns, nor was it a settlement trying to do trade with another settlement. A "few decades" would not be enough time, depending on the scale of the event that led to social decline to begin with, for groups of survivors to grow into a sophisticated enough and networked enough society for a fiat currency to be remotely possible. It would take much longer than that.
     
  2. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android A Smooth-Skin

    654
    Jun 7, 2015
    Gold holds no intrinsic value either. Just because value of a twenty would vary from settlement to settlement doesn't make it unusable.
     
  3. Courier

    Courier Venerable Relic of the Wastes
    Orderite

    Apr 10, 2011
    Most post-apocalyptic settings that take place when civilization is starting to get back on its feet handwave it away with something about somebody making more bullets.
     
  4. SnapSlav

    SnapSlav NMA's local DotA fanatic

    Jul 1, 2012
    Only yes, it completely does. If "a 20" is worth $20 in one settlement and in another it's worth $0 because they don't trust the stated value of that bill, it CLEARLY isn't usable as a currency. And yes, gold DOES have an intrinsic value, because it is a valuable ore AND incredibly, INCREDIBLY scarce. Back "ye olde times", gold's value was placed more heavily on being so ornate and decoratively desirable, but it grew from simply being desirable for its opulence and appearance to also being a valuable metal in engineering, specifically for electrical conductivity. It has EXCELLENT utility, but again, it's wildly scarce. These two things give gold a natural value to anyone who is aware of its qualities and scarcity. These aren't arbitrarily assigned, unlike a paperback backed purely by a promise to honor its stated value.
     
  5. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android A Smooth-Skin

    654
    Jun 7, 2015
    Rarity does NOT equal intrinsic value. As is ochre but it's not worth its weight in gold, is it? The value of gold in engineering is NO WHERE NEAR the market price as found in jewelry. The price is inflated by an artifical demand for a substance that has no value outside of electronics.
     
  6. SnapSlav

    SnapSlav NMA's local DotA fanatic

    Jul 1, 2012
    Nope. You have no idea just how rare pure gold is if you think its price is artificially inflated. If you were arguing that same case with diamonds, then you'd have a point... except for the fact that I would've argued it before you even considered the prospect, so you'd simply be repeating what I'd say.
     
  7. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 26, 2007
    Gold is pretty, and rare, and biologically inert [usually].

    Bottle caps? :mrgreen:
    (One cap == one liter of water from the water merchants?)
     
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  8. Cistern Logic

    Cistern Logic Assistant to Dr. Mobius

    72
    Jul 21, 2015
    I think a lot would be dependent on the time scale, and the root cause of the apocalypse. In a "Fallout" type situation where the cause is the utter annihilation of the 2 greatest super powers by means of nuclear Armageddon, there would be much to consider. I think the "Fallout" setting is an extremely optimistic scenario. Being influenced by the "Worlds of Tomorrow" anthology circa 1950 - 1953 this makes a lot of sense. I don't think people in that time period knew jack shit about the global ramifications of an all out exchange -Nuclear Winter. I'm not sure they considered the possibility that such a situation could very well be an extinction level event, killing ALL flora and fauna alike. For one thing early on and at that time, I'm reasonably sure there wasn't enough in everyone's arsenals to create a totally apocalyptic condition. We were still putting troops in trenches just outside of the blast radius of nuclear tests, assured that they were completely safe. If we only knew then what we know now, but I digress......

    Assuming that the 'Apocalypse' leaves us an inhabitable planet and enough healthy and fertile people to rebuild and repopulate.....

    At first you'd have a lot of anarchy and barbarity. One of my favorite NPC's in Bethesda's F3, was Carol in 'Underworld'. I love how she described the reaction of many of the survivors - "I could hear what was happening above. People howling like animals. Chaos. Looting, killing, it's like every foul thing inside of them came out." I'm reasonably sure there'd be a lot of that.

    There would be abject misery on a scale unimagined. People sick. People horribly burned and maimed. People dead and dying.

    Yes, and any other kind of medicine. And unfortunately - vice. Anything that would make people feel better, even if it were just a little while. Narcotics, alcohol and anything mood altering would be prime currency. Sex? Maybe. I hate to think on the level of the lowest common denominator, but my observation of human behavior always seems to lead me there... In a Darwinist model like this, the strong would take from the weak. Edible food and potable water would be rare, and some people would eagerly kill others to take their share.

    That's not to say that no one would have morals, but I believe that such virtuous individuals would be the exception rather than the rule in such lawlessness. Those individuals would be our only hope of rebuilding any kind of civilization.

    Humanity being as it is, I'm pretty sure that once (if) order and civility were restored in the very beginning the rarity and the utility of items would make them valuable. Guns, ammunition, fuel etc.

    After a while, historic currencies would probably come back, salt, spices, silver, gold etc. At some point, the more wily, dominant and influential (ruthless?) people would amass an inordinate amount of wealth and power. These individuals would become the leaders, not too different from the way humanity is now. Governments would form and credit and fiat currencies would return.

    Bottle caps while quaint and fun in a game setting, are simply absurd IMO.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  9. Mohamed2001

    Mohamed2001 HATE NEWSPAPERS

    557
    Jan 28, 2013
    Bullets. I agree with the person who suggested Metro.

    It even fits the whole dark theme, too.

    "...And now we use cartridges for currency, how morbid is that? If you think about it, one bullet is somebody's life. A hundred grams of tea cost five lives. A sausage... a mere trifle, fifteen lives. A nice leather jacket? It's your lucky day, it's on sale. Not three hundred, but just two hundred and fifty human lives."

    - A guard in Metro

    Also MGRs in Metro are Inc. and very powerful, compared to the cheap stuff you buy normally.
     
  10. Cistern Logic

    Cistern Logic Assistant to Dr. Mobius

    72
    Jul 21, 2015
    I've never played that, but I've heard good things about it.
     
  11. Moosick

    Moosick cats

    458
    Jul 8, 2015
    Off-topic irritating question: old Metro or Redux? They're kinda cheap on Steam and I played it briefly on the Xbox but I'm unsure. Opinions?
     
  12. Mohamed2001

    Mohamed2001 HATE NEWSPAPERS

    557
    Jan 28, 2013
    Redux.

    Better graphics, better gameplay and smoother FPS and less bugs.

    However the difference between Metro LL and LL Redux is minor. The above is only for 2033 and 2033 Redux.
     
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  13. ninjacapo

    ninjacapo First time out of the vault

    46
    Jul 27, 2015
    i get what you're saying but those places still have guns, just not in the hands of the people. so, as was already said, the people who cannot arm themselves quickly enough will likely not make it very long. i mean, if you have an egg and your neighbor has a pig and a gun, your neighbor is gonna be eating omelettes shortly. in the words of Al Capone: "you can get much farther with kind words and a gun than you can with kind words alone."
     
  14. ninjacapo

    ninjacapo First time out of the vault

    46
    Jul 27, 2015
    these are all good points, but eventually factions and civilizations would form. they'd start as little clans protecting eachother from outside threats, they'd specialize jobs, and eventually have a tiny settlement on the face of the wastes. bottle caps made sense to tie in with the time-period feel because they were similar to pre-war money but also abundant enough to be useful. that being said, i dont foresee a standardized currency for many years
     
  15. beans00

    beans00 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    163
    Nov 19, 2009
    food or bullets/guns or medicine, assuming they already have control of enough water
     
  16. The_WitchDoctor

    The_WitchDoctor It Wandered In From the Wastes

    102
    Jun 8, 2015
    You guys realize the weed thing was a joke, right? I never seriously thought or suggested that weed should become currency, lol.
     
  17. SnapSlav

    SnapSlav NMA's local DotA fanatic

    Jul 1, 2012
    Does it matter? If someone jokingly called water a currency, because to them it's just a common resource, and they can't really imagine a situation where it would become precious, their comment being a joke wouldn't negate the possibility for such considerations. Just cause you like weed and it's just an enjoyable thing to you doesn't mean it has no remarkable properties that would make it a precious resource in some circumstances. It really is a miracle plant.
     
  18. ReSiDeNtTeD

    ReSiDeNtTeD Bustin Nuterino's

    19
    Jul 15, 2015
    Im not sure if it has been said yet, but i think that tools such as matches or lighters would be an interesting form of currency. If you think about it fire is one of the most important resources around. Everyone needs it, everyone uses it. You could trade matches for goods, and lighters would be worth much more. idk just a thought.
     
  19. SnapSlav

    SnapSlav NMA's local DotA fanatic

    Jul 1, 2012
    As a trading/bartering staple? Sure. As a currency? Probably not. You can get a greenback wet, and it's still good as currency. But you can break a lighter and render a match relatively useless. So pristine condition would be required for them to be considered as valuable, and that's a basic hallmark of general trading: relative value. Further, fire can be created without the use of matches or lighters or even flint and steel (the latter of which I'd argue is the most reliable, most durable, most valuable of the three), so that devalues these things considerably as little more than a convenience, not a necessity. Also bartered goods may be traded again, but also they may be used, which is why they were traded for. Currency, meanwhile, just gets traded again. The bottle caps never got USED for anything, that's what made them currency and not bartered goods.

    Again, your suggestion would DEFINITELY work as a traded good, and it would likely have a fairly universal desire, making it a general commodity. I just dunno if I'd go so far as to say it could potentially become a currency. Perhaps.
     
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  20. ReSiDeNtTeD

    ReSiDeNtTeD Bustin Nuterino's

    19
    Jul 15, 2015
    Fair enough, i agree currency is not the right word. Flint is another thing that would fit well in this category of traded good. I can just see these things being quite valuable in a post apocalyptic setting.