Search This Blog

Worldbuilding: Finance

At some point, people decided to go beyond bartering and trading services to exchanged a tangible asset for a representative asset such as a bone, a bead, a shell, or a coin. Then the concept of "credit" occurred and one could joke that it was all downhill from there.

Nevertheless, currencies of some form are exchange in most culture. What form of "currency" did your story world utilize?

Did they have the concept of credit?

What was the punishment for unpaid debt?

What was the punishment for theft?

Where did they carry, hide, or protect their assets?

Did they have wages?

How much were they paid on average?

How were they paid (goods, services, cash)?

What were the top-earning jobs?

What were the lowest paying jobs?

Did they have banking? Who controlled the banking (individuals, companies, co-op, investors, rulers, religious leaders)?

How were the cash stashes protected? How vulnerable were the stashes from theft?

Did they have lending and investing?

Was there a hierarchy of wealth?

Where did they buy or obtain things?

Money is the source of conflict in many stories. Disparities in wealth add thematic depth.
Theft and financial infidelity are motives for murder.

We have gone from gold and silver coins, to paper money, to debit cards and credit cards, to cryptocurrencies. 

In your Fantasy and Science Fiction world, how do you wish to portray the importance of wealth and the types of financial transactions that occur?

What do your fantasy characters value and are willing to die for?

Suggested resources:
1 History of Money: Financial History: From Barter to "Bitcoin" - An Overview of Our: Economic History, Monetary System, & Currency Crisis by Mike Thornton.
2. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson
3. The History of Currency, 1252 to 1896 by William Arthur Shaw
4. The History of Money by Jack Weatherford
5. Debt - Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
6. Musalmans and Money-Lenders in the Punjab by Septimius Smet Thorburn
7. The Ancient Maya Marketplace: The Archaeology of Transient Space by Eleanor M. King

Next week, we will explore shelter.

For advanced world-building, the SBB Build A World Workbook is available in print and e-book.

Other titles in the series:

Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict available in print and e-book takes you from story seed to conflict outline. The fourteen companion Build A Plot Workbooks, in print and e-book, offer step by step development prompts: ComedyCon, Heist & Prison BreakFantasyGothicHistoricalHorrorLiterary
(Drama),  MysteryRoad TripRomanceScience FictionTeam VictoryThriller & SuspenseWestern.

SBB II Crafting Believable Conflict in print and e-book and the Build A Cast Workbook in print and e-book help you build a believable cast and add conflict based on the sixteen personality types.

SBB III The Revision Layers in print and e-book helps you self-edit your manuscript.

Free story building tools are available at  

No comments:

Post a Comment