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Old Jun 25 2014, 10:27 AM   #1
Kath
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Default How long will marks last?

So, the whole point of using wooden marks is that wood is a valuable commodity. It's a symbolic currency rather than innately valuable - you can't melt down your coinage or adulterate it with base metals, and it's more of a promissory token backed by the wealth and/or expertise of a Hold or a Craft, representative of the useful skills, products and perhaps even actual tree trunks banked away somewhere. Production of blank marks is presumably strictly controlled... Perhaps out of a specific, rare type of wood? ...and the exchange rates for barter controlled by the Lords Holder and the Craft Masters.

How do they prevent counterfeits? How well does the wood-standard last in an interval? What about long intervals? And how are things going to change post-thread? What's the new value-in-scarcity resource?
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Old Jun 25 2014, 11:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

How difficult is it to make the designs on the marks? Numbers are simple enough, but each place apparently has its own symbol or whatever on the back.
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Old Jun 25 2014, 05:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

And you can't clip the edges of a wooden coin to melt the bits down and make some extra ones!
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Old Jun 25 2014, 06:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

Actually, they do have a fairly sophisticated metalworking industry. Why are the marks wood?
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Old Jun 25 2014, 08:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

Promissory currencies do exist in the real world too...see also all bank notes issued in Scotland by The Royal Bank of Scotland or Clydesdale Bank. They have no value unlike Bank of England notes, but the economy works just fine. ...until you try to give one to a grumpy English cabbie anyway! Been there, done that!

If it's the established currently system I don't really see it as needing to change. The real power rests with the Crafthalls and that won't change. As for counterfeit protection, that will move forward as technology does just as it has here on earth I would think.
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Old Jun 25 2014, 09:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

Aren't they stamped front and reverso with a hot brand? Presumably the brand has some kind of counterfitting marks. If you want to take it further, they could be painted, dyed or lacquered. Perhaps Harper marks are in Harper blue, etc.

They're probably carved from skybroom, I would think, given that seems to be the best wood available, and has some sort of biologic anti-Thread properties.

That said, it's unclear to me why wood would be a better choice than metal or paper.
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Old Jun 25 2014, 11:14 PM   #7
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Wood was scarce!
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Old Jun 26 2014, 12:20 AM   #8
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

It would have taken ages to collect and prepare the wood for stamping and cutting.
And wasn't skybroom particularly hard, therefore hard to work

Wooden coins as currency just doesn't work for me!
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Old Jun 26 2014, 11:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

Paper's a non-starter. In the early Ninth Pass, Bendarek was just reinventing paper, and there was no form of printing, whether engraving or movable-type.

Wouldn't you think they'd have set up a Printers' Hall during the First Interval? They already knew the computers wouldn't last forever.
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Old Jun 26 2014, 03:58 PM   #10
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Shows you bitcoins didn't last!
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Old Jun 26 2014, 05:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriflor View Post
Paper's a non-starter. In the early Ninth Pass, Bendarek was just reinventing paper, and there was no form of printing, whether engraving or movable-type.

Wouldn't you think they'd have set up a Printers' Hall during the First Interval? They already knew the computers wouldn't last forever.
It's one of my really big bugaboos, because Pern has plenty of resources to make paper and printing machines. Making paper is not hard. You can make it in an afternoon from an old pair of jeans and a blender.

It's also obvious that she didn't know anything about paper, because vellum (aka: hides) has a much higher stability factor than the cheap wood pulp that modern society uses. That's why a 15th century illustrated bible looks better than your original paperback of Dragonflight.
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Old Jun 28 2014, 01:53 AM   #12
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

I thought they used wood because Pern was catastrophically low on metals? Paper, remember, is made of wood, and is much less durable besides, so there's little reason to use the less durable option in replacement of the more durable one.

Carved rocks would work, but they'd probably require too much effort to make, especially as a small currency item would likely be fairly easy to lose. It would suck to spend a day carving a rock into the right shape only to lose it down a hole or something.

Wood is durable enough to last for several turns, malleable enough to be cut en-masse and stamped, and rare enough to be considered mildly valuable even without their non-physical value. I imagine that when a mark starts to wear out, you just take it back to the hall that stamped it and exchange it for something you want from them. They go through their marks and throw out the old ones and replace them with newly carved ones.

Preventing inflation or deflation isn't a concern, because each mark has concrete value at the hall that produces them; it's worth a single product(a single basket, for example, or a single runnerbeast bit). There would be a strong encouragement for them to not overproduce marks, or they would be overwhelmed with requests for their products, and at the same time a strong demand for products from other halls, which should automatically stabilize the currency. Of course, if there's a surpluss of their product they wont be able to get as much for it, but that should automatically lead to a reduction in production of that product and another automatic balance of the pernese economy.

As far as counterfeits are concerned, it's possible that making them is just inefficient unless done on the large sort of scale a Hall can do. Make one mark and you have to carve it out by hand, and it takes forever. Make ten thousand and you just stamp them with a press, saving lots of time.

Furthermore, it wouldn't be out of the question for each hall to have some secret system used on their marks to prove it's theirs. The metalcrafters, for example, might have a press that was built with special metalcrafting techniques. Nobody else would be able to produce exactly the same stamping pattern. Harpers might have some sort of symbolism hidden in them, fishercraft might soak them in seawater from a certain tidal pool that glows in the right conditions or something. Done properly, especially with the secrecy practiced by the halls on Pern, and it would be nearly impossible to forge a mark.
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Old Jun 28 2014, 04:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cygnus View Post
. Done properly, especially with the secrecy practiced by the halls on Pern, and it would be nearly impossible to forge a mark.
All you need is one small group of pissed off Crafters. Or someone in the right place and the right time to make a quick theft, or to steadily skim 2% in excess production off the books. Or a gang of the criminally minded blackmailing a not-quite-honest-enough Crafter (plus the Hold/Hall attitudes to homosexuality in certain passes would make a lot of decent people especially vulnerable).

Nearly impossible? No. I don't think so.
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Old Jun 28 2014, 10:23 AM   #14
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

I would think broom wood be used, it was said that it was very hard. I don't think it would be that had to forge. All the pictures I've seen of them show black letters. They may have something extra in the dye to make it look different from normal dye.
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Old Jun 28 2014, 02:47 PM   #15
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

Paper is not made from wood. Or...

Paper has only been made of wood recently (within the last 150 years) and most wood-pulp paper isn't considered archivally-stable and starts to deteriorate rapidly. That's my point; McCaffrey was unaware that Pern should be relatively rich in paper making supplies, all of which are a more stable option than wood-pulp paper.

For example, the American dollar bill is printed on a 75% cotton, 25% linen blend. Pern should have plenty of both for papermaking.
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Old Jul 7 2014, 07:49 PM   #16
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

There is definite indication in either ATWoP or Renegades that metal marks would be seen as less valuable, if memory serves the quote was along the lines of "I wouldn't give a lead mark for his opinion" or words to that effect. Can't remember precisely as I switched between the two a couple of days back and can't remember whether it was at the end of one or start of the other...

Lead you would using terran reasoning though would think of as a better material for marks than wood though wouldn't you?

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Old Jul 8 2014, 12:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

I believe lead is a relatively soft metal. And heavy. It melts easily over an ordinary coal fire.

Might be good for counterfeiting gold coins (assuming that was your standard) if you could get an accurate mold to make the coins and then paint them gold. I think this was done on Earth in the past --- people used to bite gold coins to check if they were genuine.
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Old Jul 10 2014, 04:08 PM   #18
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

I believe the marks were laquered, and if my memory is correct (?) in Dragonsinger or Dragonsong, Piemur holds some white, shellacked marks. If they aren't white, I must have imagined them so.

One thing about the Pern novels is that Pern society seems to have countered a lot of dishonest traits in people, and the Traditional Ways that evolved from the Charter have given the people legal means to address wrongs, whether in Hold, Hall or Weyr. I can't see a Crafthall 'going rogue' and minting their own marks for any slight; the procedures for dealing with a craft's dissatisfaction within the conlave of other crafts at their yearly meetings would surely solve those kinds of problems.

Sure, there are the powerful & corrupt few (Fax, Kylara, Meron, Toric, etc) but the trend in the Pern society is that power can corrupt some who would not otherwise be if they didn't have the social powers granted to them, and the rest of Pern's societal leaders move to neutralize those problems, eventually.

Counterfeiting marks may be a waste of time to those people who really want to be dishonest, there are other, more direct, productive ways of getting what you want, (Lady Holdless Thella) if you want to break the Traditional ways things are done on Pern.
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Old Jul 10 2014, 10:23 PM   #19
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Default Re: How long will marks last?

Marks are described in Dragonsinger as being light-colored wood. Maybe it's a different variety of skybroom?

Something hard, like hickory, would last a long time, especially since people are going to be careful with it.
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