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Intrinsic worth

Over on the alt.slack Usenet newsgroup, Reverend Ivan Stang mentioned the possibility of trade with the bottled city of Kandor.

This got me thinking. What kind of currency would a bottled city have?


Because -- really, what else is there?

This isn't as farfetched as it sounds. In some ways, this system is a lot like ours. For example, in the nineties Kandor had a tech bubble too.

Like in our world, Kandorians are usually encouraged to invest in one bubble at a time. After all, a bubble represents a whole New Economy that will only get bigger and bigger! Buy shares now, because the stock will split for sure!

Like for us, this approach works until it doesn't.

Once a bubble has popped, everyone gets on their soapboxes about how silly the whole thing is. Meanwhile, speculators have already started speculating whether or not there'll be another bubble, and how much its presence or absence will be worth.

And then there are always a few sensible folks who claim the popping of the bubble is proof that the world is flat.

It always amazes me what people will consider as having intrinsic worth. For example, gold. You can't eat it, breathe it, or build anything out of it -- except a little protective band for the base of your third left-hand finger. This is apparently what you get in exchange for marriage: reasonable protection for a tiny portion of your anatomy.

Gold has two advantages that I can see: it's shiny, and it's heavy enough that you can't carry very much of it. This way, if you're out jogging and get attacked by bandits, they can only make off with so much of your wealth.

But you know what else has the twin virtues of sheen and weight? A wet whale! Where's your intrinsic worth now, huh? Then again, maybe this explains why whale snot has a fancy name -- ambergris -- and fetches twenty bucks a gram.



It wouldn't be so bad if ambergris wasn't such a prominent ingredient in some perfumes. People actually spray it on themselves to be sexy. Imagine if it was the other way around, and single whales rolled around in beer vomit so they could smell nice for their dates.

Save the whales -- drink Pabst!

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