Economy and commerce are the angular stones of any nation in the world, and the principalities are no exception. In addition to its internal activities, the majority of the countries deal in varying degrees among themselves, creating an immense global market. The main nucleuses of commerce in Gaia are centered around three points: the core of the Old Continent (which includes Abel, Togarini and Arlan), the Coast of Commerce and the island of Varja. However, many other countries have strong economies as well, based on their natural resources or their domestic trade.
The capital of each nation is based on the amount of gold that it has, which determines the wealth or poverty of a territory. More frequently, when large companies are created by the association of important merchants, they dominate the market, since their union creates a true predominance to which no small commerce can compare to. Luckily, there are still many places around the world where they have no influence, and in those places the old traditions still prevail.
Currencies and Exchange Rates
Each country of Gaia mints its own currency following the fixed procedures that the Empire has only recently put into place. The shape and design of the currency can vary considerably from one place to another, but each country must always have the same mass of gold or silver to make sure that there is no variation in its value. For example, the yin of Lannet is long and oval shaped, and the pieces of Stygia have complex geometric forms, but both weigh the same and they are made of the same quantity of gold. Either way, the most common and well-known currency is the Imperial Crown, a traditional currency that has the standard of Abel on one side and the place where it was issued on the other.
Presently, as the Empire sits as fragmented as it is, there has been a temporary instability in currencies. Many countries have begun to mint their own currency again, replacing those of legal course with other models. Similarly, the currencies of foreign nations have begun to lose acceptance in certain places, or simply create an inferior exchange rate.
The size and weight of the standard Imperial Mint are as follows:
Gold Crown = weight 22.68 g, 38.1 mm diameter, 2.58 mm thick, worth 100 SC, 1,000 CC
Silver Crown = weight 11.34 g, 30.6 mm diameter, 2.15 mm thick, worth .01 GC, 10 CC
Copper Crown = weight 5.67 g, 24.26 mm diameter, 1.75 mm thick, worth .001 GC, .1 SC
For more than three centuries Gaia has been developing a very well structured banking system. Its birth revolves around the basic need to keep all the money in a safe place. However, because of the boom of commerce, these banking companies did not hesitate to offer new services that have made them the true colossuses of economy they are today. At that time it was necessary to find a way to travel from one place to another without having to transport great sums of money to make transactions. As a solution to this, the first companies that formed made it their goal to deposit the money in their banks in one location, so that it could be withdrawn later at one of its other branches.
At first this system only worked within the same principality, but now there are many banks that offer their services in several countries simultaneously. Obviously, the precautions to deter fraud are exceptionally advanced, and the banks require multiple identifications, amongst which secret codes and signatures are mandatory steps for a money withdrawal.
Clients receive a small ledger that they must take with them to withdraw money. Whenever they conduct any transaction, the book must be stamped by the office that makes the payment. Naturally, the various branches send secret files in regard to their client’s accounts, as a safety measure to assure that they do not get swindled and to maintain updated information on the actual amounts that they have deposited.
Work and Industry
The farmers work the land in the towns, the craftsmen create all types of wares in the cities, the retailers transport their products from one place to another and the great bourgeois organize the thousands of laborers under their charge. Generally, each and every one of the inhabitants of Gaia occupy their time with a job that provides sufficient money for them to live (or on occasion, struggle with). Although it varies from one place to another, a simple working male usually earns between one to five coins of silver per day, a wage that allows him to support his family. Women usually receive slightly less and, in the places where the children work from a young age, it is difficult for them to earn more than five bronze crowns.
Nowadays, in the large cities, more and more highly specialized professions are cropping up. Therefore, it is possible to find gardeners, cartographers, hairdressers, bakers, detectives or a hundred more professions where previously there were only eleven or twelve.
A huge innovation that has revolutionized the market has been the invention of mass manufacturing in the factories of Chaville, Archangel and other advanced cities. This deals with large factories that use an assembly line, causing productivity to rise (although not without an in detriment of quality).
The majority of countries with a centralized government force their inhabitants to pay some type of tax to maintain the public coffers. Generally, the collection is made locally, within each village, town or city. The one in charge is usually the nobleman of the area that he delegates to a body of tax collectors, seconded by the guards or the militia of the region. Since it is impossible to force everyone in a certain place to pay taxes, especially in the larger cities, the collection is normally made on the censused people, those that have possessions in the area, or those who wish to deal within a certain place. In fact, almost all the products that are put up for sale are assigned some type of tax, which increases its price considerably.
Tax on Weapons
During the reign of Lazaro Giovanni, the Empire introduced a radical tax on the sale of weapons that taxed them by more than seventy percent of their true value. The goal of this tax was to reduce the number of sword sales, crossbows and similar devices, to avoid the assembly of independent armies free of Governments and political forces. The enormous success Lazaro achieved caused the tax to remain in place until the present day, which is why weapons in Gaia are usually priced quite a bit higher. Naturally, there are countries that have never respected this tax too much, like Goldar or Dwänholf, and others that have reduced the tax considerably to twenty-five or fifty percent after the fracture of the Empire, treating to impulse the sale of weapons.