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What do you do with all those calories you earned? You can buy stuff of course, that is what the Athas dream is all about right? You can invest it or maybe try your luck in with some games of chance or the lottery.
The sub pages above give detailed information on the economy, monetary system and ways to leverage your hard earned calories.
The standard form of money is called Calories and is denoted with a “c”. There is no fractional amounts, the minimum currency is 1c (“1 calorie”). To keep the conversion simply we’ve made 1 calorie equal basically 1 real world dollar and equivalent to 1 gp. Any fractional amount is always rounded up to 1c. If 100c was split between 3 parties, then each would receive 33c except one would get an extra 1c.
Most people who live in City State are are on The Grid, which means they have a Credit Grid account. Shady deals or ones that need to be kept off the books are done with Paper Calories, and you pay your way into the subway or get a candy bar out of a machine using a Coin Calories.
The calorie system arose during the Resurgence 1400 years ago, during that time the emergence of precious metals and ores on a scale nobody had ever dreamed possible caused havoc with the current system of money and bartering. The Resurgence was also a time immense labor and construction, the idea of paying someone based on how hard they worked arose and payment was typically paid in food. One day of work was typically paid for with a day and half worth of food. By the Industrial Age metal currency had emerged once again but for it to be accepted it needed to be tied to a resource, food seemed the logical choice as famine was still wide spread through much of the Tablelands. At first each City State printed their own metal currency and backed it by their food stocks, within a hundred years the desire to be as precise as possible with calculating what food value actually meant finally brought about using calories. Calories is a value of energy that can be transferred from the food to a metabolism.
By the time of Corporate Control, companies were using an exchange system that allowed them to digitally exchange funds between each City State when conducting business, it eliminated the hassle of constantly exchanging money each time one wanted to do business. Finally the City States were persuaded (some say forced) to relinquish their own monetary systems in exchange for the universal one that was also opened to everyone. The Tableland Reserve Group (TRG), became the organization that would regulate the new system of money, each City State has a position on the Board known as the Moneyseers. The term calories remained with the new money system that mainly relies on digital banking, but it is possible to obtain physical notes in the form paper notes and coins.
Keep in mind that terms like calories are terms or ideas that translate to other languages, see the Linguistics page.
Types of Money
The Credit Grid (or just the “Grid”) is basically an electronic debit system. You get a Grid ID for accessing your account online or at an ATM and a card (called “Plastic”) for making easy point of sales transactions. Point of sales usually entails a register or computer connected to the Grid. The only difference in the Credit Grid as opposed to actually a real world credit card is that there isn’t any credit given. That is what you put in is what you can take out, there is no additional credit beyond what your account has in it that you can access and then pay back in installments like with a traditional credit system. You can however get loans.
A Grid Account (or “on the Grid”) requires a fee of 100c to open and an opening deposit of 100c (so you need a minimum of 200c to open an account.) All transactions done with your Gird Account take a 10% fee, when you buy something at the store or go to a restaurant that fee is automatically part of the price of the good. You can see it on the receipt but it’s not generally an extra amount beyond what you generally pay like with traditional sales tax. If you go to a store and see a gun on sale for 200c, you pay 200c, your receipt will show that 20c of that went as a fee.
The fees are built into all point of sales registers and ATMs and gets split up between the Tableland Reserve Group, the City State and a small part to the local district. In essence the fee is a tax. No matter where you use your Grid Account however there will be the same 10% fee, only who gets what amount changes. If you are in a wasteland hole in the wall and use your Grid Account to purchase something then the full amount goes the Tableland Reserve Group.
You can’t overdraw from your account, if you only have 100c in the account and try to purchase something that is 101c it will decline the transaction. If your account ever reaches 0c it will automatically close and cost a 100c fee and 100c minimum deposit to reopen. You only every have one Grid Account, you can’t get different ones from different banks, banks only give loans and deal with corporate transactions. Only the Tableland Reserve Group can issue and take away your Grid Account, but there are alternatives (see PayCal.)
Paper calories (or notes) are kind of different then you would imagine, they are more like IOUs but must be accepted for any legitimate transaction as an alternative to Credit Grid. The note can be printed as needed for a certain amount that includes a transaction ID and barcode, it looks more like a sales receipt then a traditional piece of money. The Tableland Reserve claims the notes are non traceable, some conspiracy watch groups say differently. The idea was to insure that currency always returned back to the Credit Grid, even it was to just go right back out.
Because fees are automatically built into the price of products and services as describe in the Credit Grid, you are automatically paying that fee when you purchase something unless the transaction is between two people just exchanging the paper calories and not using a point of sales system to transfer the note to a Grid Account.
Point of sales systems and ATMs can almost always transfer notes into grid credits, or credits into paper or split paper into lesser amounts. Once a paper note is scanned in it is destroyed, usually the machine that scans it shreds it, even so, if it wasn’t destroyed it couldn’t be used again anyway as the Credit Grid is responsible for creating and managing the barcodes on the notes as they are created and used.
Stealing notes is really low thing to do, as your usually stealing from the really poor who can’t afford to be on the Credit Grid. But most illegal and shady deals are done with them because of their lack of tracking enforcement.
Dworf is going on a date, but he is not on the Grid. He does a job for the day and gets paid 50c, because he’s not Gridded he gets paid with a paper note that is worth 50c. Dworf goes to a store and buys a toothbrush for 2c using the 50c note. The teller takes the note and scans it into her register that transfers the full 50c to the stores Grid Account and shreds the original note. The teller prints out his receipt and a new note for 48c which comes out of the stores account. The teller puts his toothbrush in a plastic bag and Dworf takes it home and brushes his teeth. He then goes to the bar where he has arranged to meet his date. Him and his date drink lots of Mul Made Sandy Beer and at the end of the night the waitress comes up and gives him his bill. His bill comes to 80c, more than Dworf has, he embarrassingly shows her he only has a 48c note. His date says it’s grass (cool) and she gives him a 50c note of her own. When the waitress comes he gives the waitress both the notes,. The waitress has a point of sales handheld and she feeds both notes in that gives the bars grid account 98c. Dworf asks for the change back in 3, 6c notes which the waitress does. Dworf sticks one of the 6c notes in his pocket, gives his date another, and the last he gives to the waitress as a tip. The waitress thanks him as they leave. The waitress is on the Credit Grid and doesn’t like to walk around with notes so on the way home she stops at an ATM and enters her Grid ID and feeds the 6c note along with other tips she received as notes into the machine that credit it all to her account.
Coin calories are often called “clinks”, they are extremely hard rigid plastic stamped with holograms on both sides. They come in the following values: 1c, 2c, 5c, and 10c and each is slightly larger than the next starting at the size of a dime for 1c and going up to a silver dollar for a 10c. The only reason these coins are still in use is to pay for certain things like public transportation and coin operated machines. Most places will still accept them for payment of goods and services (although you may get a dirty look for doing so) and ATMs will allow you to drop them in and transfer them to the Credit Grid or transform them into notes. ATM’s and banks will also dispense the coins as well from an account or note.
PayCal has started a new type of currency that is competing with the Tableland Reserve Group and becoming very popular and trendy called Calcoin. It allows for an account similar to a Grid Account, it requires you buy full Calcoins to add to your account, where 1 Calcoin equals 350c. There is no physical card available to use at point of sales systems or ATMS so you can only use it online. Most online retailers now accept Calcoin and offer 10% discount as they don’t have to report such sales and collect fees (tax) for the Tableland Reserve Group. There is no credit, what you put in is what you have access to but Calcoins can be become fractions called Calbits which is 1/350, so 1 Calbits equals 1 standard calorie. You can’t purchase or sell Calbits with regular money, you can only buy and sell Calcoins, the Calbits are used as the fractional balances within the online system. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone to sell you Calbits and they transfer them to your PayCal account but usually they will want some fee for doing so (typically 20%).
Tableland Reserve Group hasn’t made any type of move against PayCal because they actually profit greatly off it. Buying into the Calcoins still requires the normal calories currency and what is not realized or said is that TRG still receives their 10% fee, and since the PayCal system is located in a facility in the Dragon’s Spine ridge outside of any City State, TRG gets to keep the full amount of the fee. However as more and more are changing over use Calcoin only there may come a point where TRG feels they are being threatened and losing out, that may make some very powerful heads turn against PayCal, and therefore Calcoins may become a risky investment.