Deimos! What happens on Deimos stays on Deimos. Unless it moves at over 4.7 kilometers/hour.
Episode 18: On the Economy. The hosts discuss stocks, economic laws, Marsco, and being a part of a completely integrated consumer economy…and lose their last two listeners.
♃ 2.02 — a few page references. Most of what we know about HSD economy comes from HSD1.0p.32 (“Corps”), Ext1.0p.61 (on cogs and debt), and Ext1.0p.173 (the color text on morality and “the system,” but broadly the color text section here is quite rich.)
♃ 3.18 — IRPF, the Inner Ring Police Force, is contracted by all the megacorps but Spyglass to handle whatever “law and order” takes place in their corptown. I’ve generally assumed that there’s a standard rule set, and each megacorp modifies it somewhat (In a dark campaign, Pulse might have huge exemptions in the “murder” rules to allow for bloodsports and duels; Progenitus likely has very generous whistleblower rules; that sort of thing.) What we don’t know is how granular their law enforcement is – are IRPF guards contracted to work at Doughnut Beast authorize to use force if a customer attempts to leave the premises without a smile? So many mysteries. My discussion here is informed heavily by an upcoming interview with Sev, which shines some light on IRPF and Hot Zones generally. This is definitely a situation where the rulebook doesn’t really have the material to clarify the world.
♃ 7.25 — “The Red” from DC/Vertigo’s “Animal Man” comic (and others) is a sort of concept/dimension where all animal life energy flows together, where life goes before it’s reincarnated, and so on. It’s surreal and a little gory. “The Green” is the plant analog, from the “Swamp Thing” comic book series. Apparently “The Grey” is for fungi and “The Clear” exists for aquatic life, but that doesn’t make any sense…oh well. The mysteries of art-comics. Anyway, the concept of “where do my credits” go in HSD is so complex that it seems like it might be an alternate dimension of its own.
♃ 8.59 — A little bit more about the definition of corps, and shareholder privileges – page HSD1.0p.33, “All megacorps are publicly owned, meaning the ones living within them have stock in their success…there is no election…promotions tend to hinge on performance rather than popularity…all that strength filters down to the ledgers of their citizenship, who, by the very act of living there, all have a piece of the pie.”
♃ 10.33 — It’s worth saying, Corbeau’s completely speculating here. These are ideas I’ve been floating around with. The idea stems from the “war chest of patents” concept, that tech companies purchase and build a pile of patents to thwart patent trolls and copyright cases. They may not DO anything with them, but the weight of their collected patents is a deterrent. There has to be some reason for the megacorps to take care of the 99% (looking at the American economy, there obviously isn’t any sort of incentive. There’s suggestions that as a vector moves through life s/he continually acquires stock through the actions of their ledgers, buying shares where it’s profitable, and also shares in the vector’s employer, corptown, neighborhood, favorite coffee shop. In our world, all these shares would have voting rights, but that’s a LOT of paperwork to fiddle with, particularly since the Ledger automatically purchases stock shares and most vectors don’t have a clue what’s in their portfolio. It makes sense that in some way the inertia and weight of these shares protects the vector from exploitation. Extending that idea, each layer of landlord/employer might benefit from the combined shares of their vector populations and customer base in the event of a hostile takeover attempt. This balances on the one throw-away line about corps buying out communities saddled with debt as a hostile maneuver against other corporations, but I think it makes sense in the general “automated free market” style of Sol.
Notes are a work in progress, more coming soon!
♃ 10.44 — Sometimes I say dumb things, and sometimes I say dumb things to start a conversation. I don’t know which it was in calling the “ledger” and “credit” different currencies. The ledger just works, it pays for a lot of tiny nothings a PC shouldn’t have to worry about. It doesn’t really have a meaningful value, although it produces credits as a part of the HSD advancement system. It’s basically a super-abstract mini-economy…but not really a unit of currency on its own. Quite.
♃ 11.52 — Ashtaar’s idea here is kind of interesting – that for the most part, PCs deal more in credits than the average vector does. Vectors, Ashtaar suggests, get paid in stock shares and company shares, which impact their quality of life but not necessarily their personal buying power. I’d imagine this would be reflected in vectors getting subscriptions to the “gauzy blouse of the month” club, life becoming more of a series of membership services rather than transactions anyone actually worries about. The more abstract the financial world becomes, the better. There’s a mechanic in Extended (Ext1.0p.153)that supports this – rolling against the Ledger for purchases like a saving throw rather than beginning each campaign plot with a complex series of “how much money do I get this week?” rolls. Again, abstract over individual quanta of purchasing power.
♃ 12.20 — Dropped a lot of terminology here all at once. “Grottos” are isolated colonies, usually in astroid clusters or abandoned space stations, where the megacorps have a weakened level of control and eccentric cultures (Like Longbow (HSD1.0p.57), a space station filled with very bloody-clawed animal-shaped vectors) and The Empyrean (ibid.), an asteroid world of vectors with mythical appearances…the latter sounds a lot like a Star Trek episode! “Blips” are vectors that, typically, are custom-designed DIY models completely unlike the standard species. Exonymphs – “brainbugs” – are a special semi-NPC race for players that like really dark characters, a race of uplifted insects that can eat other people’s memories and take their shapes (Ext1.0p.92) Cogsunes (Ext1.0p.74) are super-high-tech fox robots, not quite sentient in the same manner as other vectors, that are highly focused research and development monsters, living off the grid in Applied Science and Robotics deep space labs.
♃ 13.48 — “Ledgers can be bought and traded” – Generally it’s assumed that ledgers can’t be hacked or stolen, they’re a baseline assumption of the game world. In the narrative color section in Core Extended (Ext1.0p.170) Elsie talks about selling and buying ledgers, but that’s more color, not crunchy rules. I’m assuming that this is an idea that’s evolved over the course of the product.
♃ 15.13 — Clearly, none of the hosts have a degree in finance.
♃ 22.01 — Particularly in this episode, much of what we say is speculation, not canon. Ashtaar here is describing his world, not necessarily the content of the books…
♃ 23.43 — My timetable here’s informed a bit by Sev’s interview. The first 150 years or so of corporate life in Sol after the end of MOST of humanity (though there were still humans as a dying race during this entire period…hmm…) involved a lot of centralizing authority in the megacorps and pulling as much as possible away from the sharkpool of other corporations. The rules for Hot Zone conflict resolution were established during this period to further cement power in the hands of a few large corporations rather than many small ones.
♃ 24.48 — From “The Wiz,” Michael Jackson plays the Scarecrow, singing “Can’t Win, Can’t Break Even, Can’t Get Out of the Game.” According to Wiki, Ginsberg’s Theorem, which ties these to the laws of thermodynamics, may actually be a nod to The Wiz. Hmm.
♃ 26.23 – History repeating itself. According to Wiki’s article on company scrip, as recently as 2008 Walmart was ordered to stop paying Mexico employees in walmart product vouchers.
♃ 41.45 — a little article on Facebook’s “shadow profiles.” Even using face recognition from user’s uploaded photos. Wow. In the Discord Chat Plushie suggested this little article about scary corporate divination: a statistician working for Target created a process that sent a customer baby coupons before she–or her father–knew she was pregnant. (Long NY Times article, short Business Insider article)
♃ 45.11 — The “end of life” experience for a vector – Ext1.0p.56 – is, like so may parts of their lives, weirdly commercial. If they’re up to date on their Pulse anti-agathic plans, they age like George Clooney and Merrill Streep, a bit of distinguished gray, a few lines here and there, but nothing important falls off and none of the standard pains of growing old surface until they’re in their 90s, when the pulse contract, and the Vector, gently expire.
♃ 46.57 — The NASDAQ glossary is my go-to guide to financial terminology. See “Hedgedogs.” Actually see “spaceman.”