marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Economics of Fantasy Worlds

Unsurprisingly this often veered into SF as well.

One panelist defined it as how a society is structured to get goods produced and services performed.  We never really brought out the aspect of scarcity which is central to economics.

The central problem with economics is that you have to somehow or other get to the interesting stuff with adventures and fights and the economics aren't very interesting, often.  Unless you are really good at it.  Making Money for instance.  Then, in his earlier Discworld books he worried about things like feeding Ankhmorpork.

The problem with The Dispossessed:  any children can be parked on the society to raise, anyone can take grain from the graineries, and shunning turns shirkers into hard workers instead of having them band together as criminals like the gangs that formed in the Soviet gulags.  Which brought out a panelist on

Post-scarcity.  I suggested a replicator world would have two sources of wealth:  inventing stuff to replicate, and making stuff by hand, because you can get a premium for hand-made even now.  The panelist said that the replicator could dup it down to the atoms.  I said then you need it to replicate a lie-detector.

One panelist believed that fantasy was magic -- poof -- whatever you want.  Which is silly.  Fantasies constrain magic for the sake of story, which means that all they do is rejigger the costs of stuff.

Tags: lunacon, world-building: economics

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