“Money” on Menelon refers to specie. It's just that simple. Virtually every country on the planet that uses money (and not all do), mint their coin out of metals, usually silver, gold, and copper. Therefore, just like on Earth, before the era of fiat currency, Menelon's economies have no annual inflation rate. For the average person, saving on Menelon usually means tossing extra coins in a jar or box, just as it did for our (great) grandparents. Folks on Menelon know, just as our grandparents knew, that the money will buy just as much in twenty years as it will today. What price fluctuations there are come from the forces of supply and demand, not from engineered devaluation of the coin (though debasement has happened from time to time, just as it did in Rome).
Therefore, while each country has its own coin, as they are all based on the weight and purity of the metals from which they are made, they are pretty much interchangeable, if one measures weight for weight of the metals involved. In other words, an ounce worth of “coined”1 silver is worth an ounce of coined silver, no matter whose face is on it. That nobody can be sure the coins offered in exchange are what they claim to be, justifies the work of bankers, who take on the risks of exchanging foreign coin for local coin—for a price, of course. While debasement isn't currently much of a concern from the great courts of the post war world, piracy is a concern to everybody, and pirates are famous for debasing the coinage that comes into their hands. This is the main concern of bankers, and anybody else who deals with “foreign coin.”
Currency Interchange Chart
Because there is an abundance of information on the price of goods and services and wages from Great Briton during the Georgian and Victorian era, and because using prices pre-fiat/inflation is the only way to ensure economic consistency, the British Pound Sterling is the baseline currency for determining prices and values. Because Cascadia was the only country to have an economy that remained intact (though not unaffected), during The Great War, it seemed only natural that the Cascadian Pound be an analogue to the Pound Sterling of that period; but the Cascadian pound is not the oldest pound silver based currency. That honor belongs to the Vin-Llamázi Launa. Cascadia was founded primarily by Vin-Llamázi immigrants, so the Cascadian Pound was patterned after the Launa. The Balcheri Silver Link, on the other hand, is an analogue to the Vin-Nôrëan Mark, as the two have long been trading partners and, despite sharing both a border, a religion , and a holy site, the Vin-Nôrëans and the Vin-Llamázi have never exactly been the best of friends. The Sudaani ail, on the other hand, was created after the war. Sudaan's two largest trading partners are Cascadia and Vin-Llamáz, and in the latter decades of The Great War, the main ports of call for the world's wartime business was Shanakara, Gloredil, and Fernwall, so it was only natural that the new currency be structured similar to the pound and launa, just as the euro, pound, and Canadian dollar (among many, many others) are all patterned after the American dollar.
|Cascadian Pound||£||Reference Currency|
|Cascadian Shilling||s||20 per £|
|Cascadian Pence||d||12 per shilling, 240 per £|
|Vin-Llamázi Launa||₤||Equal to the Cascadian pound|
|Vin-Llamázi Kyl||₭||Equal to the Cascadian shilling|
|Vin-Llamáz Sitt||s||Equal to the Cascadian pence|
|Vin-Nôrëan Mark||ℳ||Equal to the shilling & Kyl|
|Vin-Nôrëan Fenning||₰||Equal to the pence & sitt|
|Balcheri Silver Link||₴||Equal to one mark, shilling, or kyl|
|Balcheri penny||p||Equal to one fenning, pence, or sitt|
|Sudaani Aial||₳||Equal to the pound & Launa|
|Sudaani Gial||₲||Equal to the shilling & kyl|
|Sudaani Hial||h||Equal to the pence and sitt|
To suggest to a banker on Menelon that credit is money, as it is in our world, would quickly get one bounced out of the bank. To use an anacronism: were you to get a car loan from a bank in, say Gloredil, you would not be handed the money in launa. You would be handed a promissory note, a “bank note”, for the amount of the loan, and nobody in their right mind would ever exchange their hard earned launa for your bank note. Why? Because the bank note carries with it risk; the launa does not. To get your car, you take the bank's promissory note to the car dealer, who accepts it (or not, it's the dealer's choice as to whether they believe the bank will honor the note or not), and gives you the car. You now owe the bank the face value of the note, plus interest, to be paid in either launa or promissory notes that they will accept at face value, just as the car dealer accepted your note from the bank at face value. The car dealer can now either take the note you gave him back to the bank that issued it, who is bound to honor it by paying the dealer in cash (launa); or he can pay bills with it directly by passing it on to those who will accept it either at an agreed upon discount, or at face value.
So on Menelon, there are really two currencies: the hard money currency of coins made of precious metals, and the credit currency of promissory notes, i.e. “paper money”, whose value is intrinsically tied to the credit worthiness of the issuer. Obviously, promissory notes issued by banks, governments, large companies, and of course, the titled nobility, have the highest acceptance rate. They can, therefore, charge premium rates of interest for the use of their money, and they pay the lowest rate to borrow. Smaller companies may only have their notes accepted within a small circle. If you're a business in good standing, for instance, your promissory notes will probably be accepted by those vendors with whom you typically do business and those with whom they do business; but outside of that small circle, your notes are probably either worthless, or they will be accepted only at a heavy discount—again, due to the risk.
As a practical matter, most businesses and the wealthy usually transact through a bank, so in that sense, the promissory note is very similar to a modern bank check issued on a line of credit. You write the promissory note, which then wonders around like money for a few months (or years), until it finally lands back at the bank who manages your accounts, and they “cancel it out” by paying the face value out in coin.2 Obviously, big businesses, governments, and titled nobility basically are private banks, so they do their own clearing of credit instruments.
- 92.5% pure, aka “sterling” silver, an alloy hard enough to take the abuse coins are put through. ↵
- That's the theory. In practice, banks often pay off customer notes by issuing bank notes of their own, which allows them to float more cash. It all works just fine—until it doesn't anymore. Then there's a credit meltdown, a lot of bad credit is eliminated from the system, your notes are paid off for coin again, as they should be, and the cycle starts all over again. Fortunately, because credit is not money, the core economy remains sound and the crisis soon passes. Typically, in a year and a half or less. ↵