Friday, September 03, 2010

BUT FIRST: Moving Money

Here's some of how I've been thinking about how money gets from world to world IMTU.

Say you've made a big sale on planet X, and have five million credits there. You want to travel to planet Y, and bring your money with you. What can you do?

1) You can bring cash. If you've got a ship, or if you can afford a high passage, this is a possibility... but it's risky. How comfortable would you feel making an intercontinental journey with five million credits on you? Also, local law might limit how much cash you can bring in and out of a world - though if your accounts are all kept at the starport level, that won't be as big a problem.

The established merchant, traveling on a route, should have substantial accounts established on most of his ports of call. He won't need to move money, most of the time, unless his needs far outstrip the local account - and he won't have time to wait for it, anyway.

3) When traveling between A or B ports, electronic transfers via courier (x boat and otherwise) can happen, but they're expensive and take time. I'd venture that they'd cost around 2-12% per jump of distance. (I'd do a law check; a failed one would double the cost, in fees and tariffs. Admin skill might work to one's benefit here, I just need to figure how.)
The smart traveler would arrange this ahead of time, and barring mishap, his money would be available by the time he arrived. But it'll cost him, especially if he's moving millions. Having money transferred to you from an offworld account will be very expensive indeed.

4) A better way to move wealth is in passages. You only lose 10% of their value if you cash them in, and you get their full value if you use them for travel.

5) IMTU, the Travellers' Aid Society maintains a banking service for its members. Since they vet their members and charge million credit fees up front, an accountholder-member can access his full account on any world with an A or B port. Membership has its benefits!

6) Planets off the beaten track aren't going to be in the loop, though. A traveller visiting a world without an A or B port is going to need cash, passages, or something else to sell. Therefore:

7) The best way to transfer wealth between worlds is via trade, because if one buys low and sells high, this is the only way to move money and have it grow at the same time.

8) Starships IMTU won't need to carry lots of cash if they're merchants doing milk runs between a handful of civilized (read, "A or B port") systems, because as per #2, If they're regulars in port, they'll have local accounts established, and probably will have good relationships with their bankers in each port of call.

9) On the other hand, tramp Free Traders dicing with death with unrefined fuel on backwater worlds won't have the benefit of these networks - especially if they aren't working a route, but plunging further off into the boonies. These guys need to keep cash on hand for everything, because they can't wait for their credit checks to go through. Cargo needs buying, crews need paying.
Any ship moving in a C, D or E system is liable to have cash aboard.


Blogger Craig A. Glesner said...

Excellent post sir. Very well thought out and promptly swiped. :p

Seriously, this good stuff, makes me think about the details of Traveller and traveling as well.

6:12 PM  

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