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I've actually been doing a lot of thinking - on Lily's behalf - about the financial system of Florenovia. As Ellen mentioned, it's a welfare state with an asset tax, and it's very focused on rates and subscriptions. The interesting thing is that I came up with this before I was aware Patreon was even a thing, and before my Mom signed up for Netflix or for the local farming collective deal that gets her a box of fresh local produce once a week, so maybe the world's already moving in that direction. Here's how it goes:

Let's say you live in an apartment in a Florenovian city, and your rent is a thousand credits per month. That's about typical, depending on location. Now, your rent isn't charged by the month - it isn't charged at 33.3 credits per day or even 1.4 credits per hour... no, your rent is the low, low price of .000386 credits (or 386 microcreds) per second.

Now, there are some other services you need to pay for - no, not Internet access, silly! Imagine, the barbarism of forcing someone to pay for necessities like cloud access or tap water or oxygen or medical care! No, no, of course not. But there's this company, DisnMarvxar, and they've been making a lot of really good movies lately, so you want to subscribe to their channel allowing you to stream from that catalogue of movies whenever you like. That service is only ten credits per month, or 4 microcreds per second, so let's add that one to the list as well.

We'll subscribe to a few more services - a local auto-piloted go-anywhere taxi service, a gym membership, a bot-on-demand automated butler/personal assistant service, a couple of reputable charities... and now we're spending about 600 microcreds per second, or about 1555 credits per month, give or take.

Fortunately, as a citizen of Florenovia, we're entitled to a stipend simply for being alive. This stipend is fixed to certain economic indicators such as property prices, food, et cetera, and is intended to be enough for a single person to live alone in relative comfort, even if she chooses to do nothing but lie around, watch DisnMarvxar movies and masturbate all day. Right now, it's fixed at around 2000 microcreds per second. That means we've got 2000 coming in every second and 600 going out... not bad! Even if we do nothing else, our bank account is growing by 1400 microcreds every second!

Ah, but then there's that asset tax. The tax rates are also pegged to economic indicators, and right now the tax woman takes a whopping .001% out of your bank account... every second! So the two rates eventually converge until that .001% is equal to your total cash flow... and your bank account reaches equilibrium at 140 credits, which is your spending money. If you go out and buy something that's a hundred credits, your account will slowly fill back up over the course of the day.

Now, let's say this isn't enough for you, and you want more than what the stipend is paying out. Well, most manual labour, construction, transport, customer service, agriculture, and so forth is all done by robots, but fortunately, you've got a half-dozen industrial design certifications, so you're going to get a job at Toyotsubishi designing the next generation of monorails. Toyotsubishi pays you 2000 microcreds a second as long as you're employed there, which doesn't sound like much until you consider that this is in addition to the 2000 we all get simply for being alive - your total income is now 4000 microcreds per second, which means you can increase your per-second expenditures from 600 to 1000, and still have enough that your spending money at any given time is 300 credits!

So you move into a bigger place, the rent on this one is 2100 microcredits per second... and you lose your job. Oh no! Does that mean that, in only a few minutes, you're going to be evicted? Well, fortunately, like all employers, while Toyotsubishi was paying you, they were sending an additional 10% of your salary (or 200 microcreds per second) to a tax-sheltered (but also interest-sheltered) container. When Toyotsubishi fired you, the money that was being diverted into that container now comes back out at a rate equal to the original salary... meaning that if you worked for them for ten months, you still have an additional month during which you collect that 2000 microcreds per second, giving you plenty of time to either find a new job or move back to a cheaper apartment.

So what happens if you want to buy something that's worth more than your spending limit, such as a vehicle? Well, let's say you want a new car that's 12,000 credits (or 12 kilocreds), and you negotiate a pay rate of 400 microcreds per second, which means you'll have it paid off in about a year, give or take. Careful, though! Once something like a car is in your possession, a portion of its real-time blue book value is added to the assets against which you have to pay taxes!

But what happens if the person you're dealing with doesn't want to set up a leasing scheme like that - they want their money now! Well, you can set up a loan with yourself. This chick wants a grand, so I'm going to give her a thousand credits right now, and set that debt aside in a container where it stays unmolested by interest rates or taxes, and set up a payment rate towards it of 100 microcreds per second, meaning that I'll be in the black with myself in about three months.

Conversely, of course, if someone gives you a large lump sum of money - or, say, you get your birthright bid of ten megacreds that pays out once you attain your License of Financial Autonomy - you can put that into a tax and interest-sheltered container and have it dribble out to you at whatever rate you like. The containers have to be both tax and interest sheltered - anything that pays out interest would also be subject to taxes, and only the most brazen of con artists would suggest that they have some sort of fund that accumulates interest faster than taxes would erode it away.

Of course, if one is not careful with one's containers, one could find oneself drowning in a sea of self-inflicted red ink, which would warrant an investigation from government-funded Financial Consultants. Now, you may simply have fallen on hard times, in which case the FCs would be there to provide assistance, but in the event that you have chronic debt issues, you may be facing the revocation of your License of Financial Autonomy.

Education in Florenovia is focused around obtaining certifications and licenses, and there are three in particular that are considered to comprise baseline responsible adulthood - the License of Bodily Autonomy (which allows you to do such things as get tattoos, drink alcohol, or turn your sex drive on), the License of Residential Autonomy (which allows you to move out of your parents' or guardians' house), and the License of Financial Autonomy (which allows you access to your own bank account to make your own purchases). In much the same way that a self-harming drug addict might have their LBA revoked or a criminial mischief-maker might have their LRA revoked, someone who finds themselves consistently in the red would face the shame of having their LFA revoked, having all of their finances turned over to a government-provided personal accountant, and having to take remedial finance classes at the local high school.

"But Tailsteak", you say, "This economy is so focused around subscriptions and rates that one-time charges for things are almost meaningless. Why, if I gave someone ten credits, within a few hours, that transaction would be effectively undone! It's almost as if, in a post-scarcity economy where most physical work is done by robots, the focus is on services that enrich people's lives consistently, rather than one-time purchases of individual goods!"

And, of course, yes, you're correct.

Imagine you go to a fancy-schmancy restaurant. Their menu is much like a typical modern menu, and you can have a nice meal for around a hundred credits. Having just finished your meal, the robowaiter makes sure to inform you that you can purchase a membership to this restaurant for only fifty microcreds per second, which would allow you to come in and eat whenever you're in the neighbourhood... or go for the deluxe option of 100 microcreds per second, which would allow you access to the rarer wines, and would allow you to bring up to five guests at no additional charge! Which is better, in the long term, both for the restaurant and for the customer? Wouldn't you like to be able to walk into a fancy restaurant and tell your friends "Don't worry, I have a deluxe membership here, order whatever you like"?

This financial system addresses the main complaints with both capitalism and communism. The main flaw with capitalism is that the poor get poorer and the rich get richer - in Florenovia, any large static fund doesn't accumulate interest, but rather erodes over time if left alone, and the wealth redistribution ensures that as far as you fall, you can never reach the level where you lack the necessities of life. The main flaw with communism is that a lack of competition and lack of need breeds complacency and eliminates the motivation to excel - in Florenovia, one is motivated to provide value in some way to one's fellow woman if one wishes to make larger discretionary purchases, to buy a seat in government, or have a daughter. Although women are free to abstain from work - and, indeed, most do - income is also seen as tangible proof of merit, usefulness, and contribution to society.

I think Lily's biases are clear in this system - she's a self-starting entrepreneur who values innovation and hard work that benefits one's chosen friends and family, but she's also a bleeding-heart liberal who thinks that the disadvantaged don't necessarily deserve to starve and who likes a nice sturdy social safety net.

Anyway, I don't think all that is going to make it into the comic any time soon. I'm looking forward to seeing people's opinions about it in the forum, though.


...That's forum, F-O-R-U-M. Those letters do not spell "inbox". All you amateur economists aching to point out flaws in the Florenovian system, you can register a username, no microcreds per second required.

0582-------------------------------------
(Saturday afternoon, INT: EB and JH's living room)

NP: So if everyone doesn't have an inherent right to reproduce, how do they distribute it? Lottery?
EB: When a slot opens up, people can bid on it.
NP: What, like with money?
EB: Yep. With money.
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NP: Lily, are you shitting me? Are you shitting me right now, Lily?
LH: I'm starting to think you didn't even skim the source document I sent everyone.
NP: So only rich people deserve to reproduce?
LH: If there's going to be a limit on breeding, I think we can agree that it should be some type of Darwinian fitness thing, ideally one's contribution to society, and cash is as good a measure of that as any.
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GU: What about starving artists?
LH: The structure of the Florenovian economy ensures that good artists don't starve. And the asset tax and ban on inheritance ensures that the meritocracy isn't a hereditary oligarchy. If you're on top, you have to work to stay there.
GU: There's a ban on inheritance?
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LH: With the exception of the original bid amount, which goes to the kid once they earn their License of Financial Autonomy, yes.
MH: Wow, people don't have an inherent right to anything with you, do they?