1. Flynn C.
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    Flynn C. New Member

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    Reasons to create a Commercial Interaction between civilizations?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Flynn C., May 26, 2014.

    First off, hey there! How you doing? :)

    I've been working on this fiction story that passes in a new world. Humans still exist, but they've been greatly reduced and the 2 greater factions are comprised of, well, entities of an elevated state, divided between, say, "good" and "bad".

    Now, humans only managed to organize themselves under one group well after the two factions were well established. As the weak earthlings attempt to settle in the new land, neither group can afford to pay them much attention, due to their current disputes and rivalry.

    So, humans founded a village, geographically in between the other two empires. There are other factors involved in their success in doing so, without any berating from the parties, but let's keep at that for now.

    --- Phew!

    Having said all that, I'm trying to create some sort of economy in this continent, by a commercial agreement of the parties, and operating under intermediation of the humans. In other words, the human city would act as a neutral zone for possible exchanges to occur between the rival factions, and humans themselves.

    PROBLEM IS - (and I know I'm not very savvy in history of civilizations and cultures and stuff, but) all I can find when I look back at both fictional and non-fictional examples of universal economy, is the need for freaking FOOD! The economy serves the purpose of providing us with out basic needs, mainly to avoid hunger. Other things are involved, obviously, such as shelter and etc. That wouldn't be an issue, if 66% of the individuals partaking in that economy weren't "ethereal creatures" with no real need to eat or sleep.

    I've been trying to think of other factors of need, that could serve as base for commerce between these parties but up until now I cannot find one in common :(

    What you guys think? Any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Morristreet
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    Morristreet Member

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    Other factors of need. What are the motivations of the ascended beings? What are they in fact? Two halves of a whole? Let's call them Gaiahounds and Helvapups (I'm on a dog thing right now) If they don't eat food, and they don't sleep. What do they need? Do they still breathe? Do they still need warmth? They must need some form of energy or sustenance even if it's not traditional. Perhaps it's emotional. The gaiahounds draw negative emotions, and the helvapups pull positive ones. So the humans can offer them experiences or emotions in exchange for goods, perhaps with the caution that this may also be a form of manipulation of the parts of the ascended puppies to control the mortals who they still have a link to...?
     
  3. Vandor76
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    Vandor76 Contributing Member

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    What does exactly "elevated state" mean in your world? Do they still need to build houses or temples? If yes, they need wood, rocks, etc.

    OR these ethereal creatures need something to maintain this ethereal state, two components which are mined in those two empires. Those mines could be the cause of their rivalry as well : both sides want to control both sources. Until it is not the case they must exchange the minerals somehow and somewhere.

    An interesting aspect of the story could be that both sides want to accumulate a huge amount of the two minerals and if they can survive longer than the other side they could win without war, simply by stopping to provide their mineral. The problem is that neither of them knows how much stock is available for the opponent.
     
  4. Flynn C.
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    Flynn C. New Member

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    They would later be defined by the humans as Empyreals and Cyclopeans. And as far as yin and yang go, I guess you could say that. You know, good and bad, heaven and hell.

    Lol, this was hilarious :D

    You're right. I thought about their need of some kind of energy to keep them going, which the humans could make more viable. It's a broad concept though and I'm still to find specifics to narrow it down..

    Well, as both factions were already established, they should be in way able to at least survive "without" the humans. Even though a good idea I'm not sure how to insert it in this context!

    Well, elevated meaning tied to a higher purpose and absent of mundane needs. You're right, they need buildings of sorts, but as they already had their thing going as the humans began settling in, they couldn't really get the materials from them.

    This is close so what I had in mind! Though devoid of need for food, they could still require some sort of energy to live in this plane, and maybe it could be harvested from some sort of mineral.

    A few issues with it, though. If we could elaborate on that..
    - What would they use as currency to acquire the minerals? Would have to be something they produce themselves.
    - If said minerals were mined in their own empires, what purpose would the humans serve? Maybe they could serve as mediators. But I guess I wanted the humans to be able to produce something, which would turn out to be a better option for the factions. (One of the other reasons why they didn't simply wipe the humans out).
    - It would have to be just that. I don't want to make them "need" the humans, just find them a slightly more viable option. Either that, or provide something that they'd find "useful", not "necessary".

    Thanks for replies so far guys :D I might be over-complicating things, but I admit don't have many clues of how economy in this aspect works.
     
  5. Vandor76
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    Vandor76 Contributing Member

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    I wanted to express (maybe not clearly enough) that they need two minerals and both empires mine only one of them -> they need to sell part of their stock in exchange to the other mineral with the other empire. The humans' village/town would be a perfect place where this exchange takes place. The humans are the perfect neutral 3rd party for them. Too weak to cause any harm to their empires but strong enough to guarantee the safety of the small number of elevated beings they send to perform the transaction.

    If they both have the power to wipe the humans and they are already in war with each other then both of them will try to occupy the humans' town and prevent their opponent to have access to this "better option". In this case the other party has a really strong reason to actually wipe them out. Good start for new kind of story but I suppose you want your humans remain independent and try to balance between the two big empires.

    Humans also can be the source of some information for them, or their connection to a remote empire where they (the humans) came from.
    Your story is promising, keep working on it :)
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sure, they could! A previous building material could become scarce, or could have always been scarce. A new fashion requiring a new material could come along. The humans could be particularly skilled at some sort of "added value"--finishes, carving, etc.

    The opportunities for commerce are infinite. One thing to keep in mind is that in a society without big fast transit, certain things can only be made in certain places. Also, keep in mind that people, especially elevated beings (EBs), don't always *want* to do ugly dirty jobs if they can pass them off to someone else.

    Examples:

    - If the humans live near a plentiful source of fuel--wood, coal, whatever--they might make ceramics or glass or metal objects. Maybe the EBs used to have outposts that made those things, but when the humans took it over, those craftsmen gratefully came back home to civilization.

    - The same for grazing land, for animals, for leather and all of the other non-food products that can come from animals.

    - The same for farmland, for creating non-food farm products. Oil for light and cosmetics and various finishes, various plants for dyes, all sorts of other things.

    - If the EBs have pets or riding animals, those will need food.

    - If they have gardens, the gardens will need fertilizer and plants and seeds and iron tools to work the land and ceramic pots to keep the decorative houseplants in and stone to make pretty garden sculptures and paths and lanterns at night and and and and...

    - I'd think that the EBs would be interested in art, and art requires an infinity of things--the components of dyes and paints, canvases, particular kind of wood, stone, metal, finishes for all of those materials, and so on.

    - Clothing: Fibers, dyes, weaving, thread, beads, needles, scissors...

    - Jewelry: Precious metals and stones.

    > - What would they use as currency to acquire the minerals? Would have
    > to be something they produce themselves.

    The EBs presumably own most of the land on the planet, so they could pay the humans by giving them privileges to use that land or gather things from it. In fact, if it works for the plot, the humans could essentially be tenant farmers, producing most or all of their trade products from the resources of the EB land, keeping a small percentage and handing over the rest. If it doesn't work for the plot, then they can own/occupy their own land.

    Edited to add: Truffle hunters don't ever have to give the truffle-sniffing pig a truffle. But if they never do, the pig will lose interest and be less useful. The EBs could have the same view of the humans--that they're more productive if they're not treated like slaves.
     
  7. Flynn C.
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    Flynn C. New Member

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    Vendor76,

    I did consider your idea and it was in fact much interesting. I even believe it can possibly give a great plot for the future. However, at least while these two factions maintain this deep hatred of each other, I would like them not to be co-dependent. At the current state, none of them would be willing to consider the concept of needing something provided by the other. It would be, say, unacceptable.

    Also, I'd like to say that your possible plot looks even more promising with that human city occupation deal. Great stuff! I actually look forward to working something with it after I get this part sorted out :rolleyes:

    ChickenFreak,

    Thanks for your list! The many items you presented give me numerous neat ideas of how I can further develop the complexity of this economy! Oh, I specially loved that Resources Outposts part.

    Though, you are mistaken at your assumption near the end. Both factions restrain themselves to kind of isolated areas, only venturing out on reconnaissance and military missions against each other. You see... the territories in this land are not exactly the most friendly. And as part of my thought process since posting this thread, the EB's have had some "limitations" while being afar from their home :) aspect in which the humans might be able to help... ;)


    -- Also, I would like to point out that while being underpowered and in minority, the Human race would not be completely helpless when faced with a threat from either of the factions. Unless both decided to work together for this purpose (which as I stated is totally highly unlikely), allocating a sufficient amount of military power to eliminate the newcomers would risk leaving one of them in a clear disadvantage towards the other. And they're aware of that.
     
  8. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    What about the need to prevent being food, or enslaved, or worse yet: raped.

    They need things for weapons. Like copper, or iron. Metals for their weapons. Stone too. For their walls.

    And maybe they appreciate art? Gold. Materials to make paint. Stone and copper can also be used for this.

    Oh, almost forgot too. They trade to avoid starving. But perhaps they would rather starve if the food is bland. Spices. Herb and spices. For example, Europe didn't have sugar until the Crusades.
     
  9. Vandor76
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    Vandor76 Contributing Member

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    You wrote that one of the factions is "good" and the other is "bad". Does this refer to their behavior towards the humans?
     
  10. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Luxuries. Most ancient trade was for luxuries, not basics. Silk, sugar, tea and coffee, wine etc.
     
  11. Mike Nemesis
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    Mike Nemesis Active Member

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    If the humans were originally a prominent part of the world perhaps they could be based at a transport hub. A cross section of rail roads for example but on a more complex high tech scale depending on your setting. The humans having implemented the system would have the best understanding of running and maintaining the system but the benefit of holding it would only be if they could foster trade relations with the two empires as they are to weak to police the train line from sabotage or defend trade routes far outside their territory.

    They can strike up an agreement with the other two factions that each faction is responsible for guarding a section of the rail road while the humans guard the midpoint to avoid any border conflicts.

    Both empires could be plotting to learn more about the rail roads ready to seize it but currently know it's not feasible as even if they seized the transport hub their rival faction could just blow up sections of their own rail road rendering it tactically useless for a war.

    Of course with this you would need to decide which goods are worth transporting via rail road rather than why small freight spaceships aren't more appropriate depending on your technology level.
     
  12. Vandor76
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    Vandor76 Contributing Member

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    The two factions can't trade with each other directly because they don't trust each other and/or their citizens don't like the idea to make business with the enemy. The governments may make a secret agreement that they trade indirectly with the help of the humans. In this case the humans have to keep it a secret too as they would loose the business otherwise. It can be a turn in the plot when the agreement goes public.
     
  13. Flynn C.
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    Flynn C. New Member

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    The Apprentice,

    Both civilizations were already settled, though in early stages, when the humans arrived. They already had their weapons and buildings. Also, as I mentioned, they do not eat. (answering Selbbin's comment too)

    Vendor76,

    Not really. Their ideals reflect mostly on each other and each other alone, acting with indifference and apathy towards humans. Also, it's not like the government can develop a sense of slyness and act mischievously regarding their own citizens. They share homogeneous beliefs and the concept of corruption is foreign to them.

    Mike Nemesis,

    Though I find your idea quite interesting, I believe it to be hard to implement. Humans indeed used to, as you said, be a prominent part of the world. But if the cataclysm that followed was enough to shift and obliterate entire landmasses, would be difficult for it to leave transportation systems in a functional state.
     
  14. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Humans trade all the time, it seems to be one of our 'killer' evolutionary apps. Evidence of trade goes WAYYYYY back. Even objects that seem shiny, or have value assigned only in that they have value (hey look, it is shiny), can be traded by people. We love to trade. There's no doubt that humans in any setting will probably continue to interact, commercially. Comparative advantage and all that too.
     
  15. Devlin Blake
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    Devlin Blake Member

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    Trade is about more than just survival, it's about luxuries too. Wars were fought over things like silk, spice, tobacco, purple dye. Nobody needs silks, spices, tobacco or purple dye in order to survive, they just wanted it really badly. People got into litigation wars over things like Tulip bulbs.

    What little luxury can you add to your world that none of the other worlds have, but really want? Maybe a recreational drug, some kind of food treat, or special fabric?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014

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