1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    The Trillion Dollar Coin - So Many Options

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JJ_Maxx, Jan 18, 2013.

    As you all may or may not know, some US lawmakers were toying with the idea of minting a coin worth one trillion dollars. This got my head spinning as to what kind of plots could be made from this coin. Obviously the first one that comes to mind is for someone to steal it. It would be the biggest, littlest heist in world history.

    But what would your MC do with such an object? You can't really launder it:

    "Welcome to McDonalds, how can I help you?"

    "Yeah gimme two milkshakes and do you have change for a TRILLION?"


    It might be worth money just as a black market 'fame' type item. It would be similar to stealing a famous work of art where everyone knows where you got it from.

    Maybe you just hold it and cackle maniacally? (Thats what I would do.)

    Or maybe it would drive you to insanity, knowing you had a trillion dollars in your hand and couldn't do anything with it.

    Anyways, just as a plot idea, what ways do you think you could make the coin an interesting plot?

    ~ J. J.
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I had this thought, too -- as an Oceans 11 type plot, but if you ever tried to spend it, getting the change back would be a real bitch.

    I find it amusing, but as you point out, on a practical level, it's hard to work out just how this would benefit someone who came into its possession. It couldn't be spent. It couldn't be deposited in a regular bank account.

    So, I don't know that one could come up with anything, but perhaps I've just got a failure of imagination. I'd love to see if others could come up with a feasible plotline for it, without resorting to giving it magical powers or something.
     
  3. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Too true. The only thing I could figure is to actually sell it BACK to the US government for a smaller profit. If you think about it, even though you can't spend it, the government is missing a TRILLION dollars it can't spend. This would cause untold financial ripples and might even put the entire economy into a mini-recession.

    So I guess if you wanted to do a story on the 'behind-the-scenes' dealings with a world superpower, you could go that route. But it wouldn't be any ark of the covenant...
     
  4. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    The stealing it idea occurred to me too :D It also got me think though, what if the US tried to pay off it's debts to other countries with a trillion dollar platinum coin... what kind of reaction would they get... :p
     
  5. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Buy a couple of Islands lol

    That's probably the first thing any sane person would do
     
  6. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Could it fit in a parking meter? And if so how many hours of free parking would you get?

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  7. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Watch The Million Pound Note. (1954)


    The whole point of the coin is so that they have the 'cash' in the reserve bank to back-up their proposed budget. If it went missing they could just void it's value. Selling it back would be pointless. 1) you'd get arrested for theft. 2) they would void it's value and make another one.
     
  8. Khaelmin
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    Khaelmin Active Member

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    Steal it and stash it. A few decades from now, when inflation catches up and trillion dollar coins are common, buy yourself a beer.
     
  9. Sam M
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    Sam M Member

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    Steal it, then plant it at your least-favourite-person's house. Dob them in, they go to jail. But they find out, and they want revenge...
     
  10. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Where you can deposit money like that is in the reserve banks of countries, so a spy thriller might suit. I'm sure there's plenty of treasuries all over the world who'd find an extra trillion pretty handy about now.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    is anyone else here old enough to remember when all us paper money had to be backed up by gold or silver and coins had to be worth their face value in what they were made of?... the pre-'off-the-gold-standard' and 'sandwich coins' days?

    i find it both sad and ridiculous that any nation can simply issue as much paper money or coin as they want, without anything of equal worth to back it up... so, we owe china et al. trillions of dollars... big deal...

    what can they do if we miss a payment?... there's no house or car to foreclose on or repossess and take back to the lender's country... no collateral that i know of... or does china get to carve off a slice of california and call it a 'colony' if we renege on our loans?

    do we give up alaska?... florida?... or do we send boatloads of our least-wanted citizens to them so they can put them to work in their slave-worker-manned/womaned/childrened factories that turn out so much of our designer brand stuff, instead of their own people?
     
  12. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Alright, this got me thinking about a viable plot.

    The coin in the news would be made out of Platinum. Currently, that's $1667.00 per troy ounce. So if the coin were made, it could be a situation where it's stolen, then melted down and sold off for the platinum. Let's say it's weighted at half a Kg - or in reg. weight, a one pound coin. It'd be worth $26,797.65 currently. Or better yet:

    A coin gets minted and then stolen. It's invalidated and a second coin is minted, then stolen. From there, an entire labyrinth of "what do they need the platinum for" begins. Since platinum is used in explosives, specifically converting ammonia to nitric acid, the plot could end up with an inner-governmental plot to set off a bomb inside the whitehouse, blame a fringe group, and begin a civil war with elements of the government trying to become a dictatorship.

    Of course, the plotholes would have to be filled. Why use these coins instead of buying platinum off the open market? Well, by stealing these coins twice, your actually stealing over fifty thousand dollars worth of the material. Maybe that's too much money to spend, so they have to steal it. Also, it sends the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA (maybe a nation state did it, they think) in the wrong direction, which buys more time until they find out it's domestic and then start asking "what do they need this for?"

    That's off the top of my head.
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maia: Yes, I do remember when there were louder calls for a return to the gold standard than you hear today. But it's really irrelevant, in that its not a viable option, and money is fundamentally a creation of the state, not really tied to the intrinsic value of the coin or bill itself.

    It's not just China, and it's not just that they would be upset about not receiving money that was due. It would crash the entire global economy, and would make US bonds worthless, obliterating foreign investment here, and taking away the US government's ability to borrow from anyone, since we would no longer be credit-worthy. The US government defaulting on payments would mean they'd default on payments to everyone, including US citizens, which would create a cascading wave of defaults, since anyone dependent on checks from the government, whether from entitlement or assistance programs or from items which had previously been purchased for use in defense or other government programs, would no longer be able to pay their bills, which in turn would harm other people who depend on payments from *those* people for recurring or already incurred monetary obligations. Our bonds are not securitized loans, so no, China (or any other bond-holder) would not be able to just come in and take some piece of US property.

    E.C.: The biggest problem I see is *why* would the US mint a coin that weight ONE POUND (1/2 kg)? There would be no need to do so, especially if platinum became scarce enough for someone to want to steal for the metal itself. They could make explosives with far less costly materials.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yup. Problem was that the real value of the precious metal behind the currency was too fluid.

    In fact, the plot of Goldfinger was dependent on the existence of an international gold standard.
     
  15. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Tying money to a gold standard is pointless anyway because the value of the gold can fluctuate just as much as the value of cash.

    The value of money is based on nothing but supply, demand, and trust. I'm not going to work my ass off for something I can easily get but no one will accept.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for the record, i knew all the 'real life' ramifications... i was being facetious... only the barter system makes truly logical sense compared to paper and electronic 'money'... but on a scale beyond small villages, bartering is of course not feasible...
     
  17. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    But the bartering system quickly loses any efficiency when the needs of two people don't match up. Once a third person enters the picture to make everything work, some monetary equivalent becomes necessary. If A needs X and has Y, and B needs Y and has X, yes, everything works great. But once A needs X and has Z, and B has X, but doesn't need Z, but rather Y, and you need to bring C into the picture, who needs Z and has Y, then you need money.
     
  18. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Mamma -

    So in the barter system, if I wanted you to proof my dissertation, would that cost me 15 chickens, or a cow and 3 chickens? :D
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, i don't deal in livestock, ec... but i have used the barter system... i spent 5 months in bogota, colombia last year, rewriting 6 screenplays for a longtime-mentee-turned-client who provided me with a rent-free place to live, while i fixed up his scripts...

    and when living among the poor-in-funds but rich-in-spirit hopi years back, happily accepted groceries some insisted on 'paying' me with, for various writing needs [though i intended to do it all for free]...
     
  20. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Well, in a way money is still bartering. Money simply represents credit for the bartered goods or services. Thanks for my cow. Instead of giving you 3 Goats to carry all the way back across the desert, here is a coin, and if you give it to frank he'll give you three goats for me and he can give me that coin back and I'll give him a hug. Hey Frank, listen I have this coin that I got for my Cow, but instead of 3 Goats can I have a new 2013 Maseratti GranCabrio?

    I know you all know how money works. I just wrote that for fun.
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Money is not barter. Money is the next level of abstraction above barter.

    The barter system negotiates the value of one exchange of goods and or services directly, in isolation from all other transactions. Currency is the layer of abstraction that attempts to assign a common metric of value for all transactions. The fundamental assumption is that a particular transaction's value is independent of the parties to the transaction, e.g. the value of Hiram's plowing of an acre is the same as Seth's plowing of an acre, and both are equivalent to one quilt handmade by Sarah.

    Really not the same thing at all.
     
  22. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    It is. Money was created to make 'barter' easier. They are simply tokens of credit for the goods or services that would have been exchanged directly. We've made it far more complicated since, but essentially it's still the same as it's always been.
     
  23. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Yeah, it's kind of like writing a check.

    "Listen, I don't have ten dollars but if you take this note to these folks, they will give you the money."

    Someone once told me that our whole monetary system relied solely on trust.

    ~ J. J.
     
  24. Dragoon119
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    Dragoon119 Member

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    Yep quite a bit of options... for this coin. And I surprised no one talked about the effect the coin would have on the international economic market as a whole... Resale value, heck even buying the thing could bankrupt smaller nations. Or build new ones...
     
  25. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Gee, it's only a trillion dollars. Not much anymore. Limited buying power.

    I think I'd do what I always do. I'd keep going to the Harley shop until it was gone.
     

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