Cascoly Books - Money, Money, Money...
The Diamond Age Neal Stephenson's most consistent early work - the plotting holds up, unlike Snow Crash which
falls into standard search and chase by halfway thru.
His nanotech ideas are ingenious and provoking - and, on a larger scale, how do
societies rework themselves when there's no difference in price between diamonds
and glass, and material things in general are available at a standard cost. Much
of the book takes place in Shanghai |
minor theme, money has major corruptive effects when
Pre-Capitalist, Mercantilist Economies - the evolution of Money
Nowadays, money was something all men had need of. The church required it, to pay armies to push the Saracens back in the Mediterranean; to fight off the heathenish tribes of the Baltic; to establish churches and send her missions abroad. Kings required it, to bribe their enemies and to pay their friends for services rendered where land was wanting or inappropriate; to hire fleets with, and foreign fighting-men; to buy the luxuries that their status demanded.
And since not every country could make money or, having made it, could protect the place where it was kept, a trade in money was always there: money that did not go rotten or stink or require great ships to carry it backwards and forwards, or fail altogether if the weather was bad or some tribe of ignorant savages wiped out the seed and the growers. Money which grew of its own accord: in Exeter, in Alston, in the Hertz mountains where the Emperor Henry had made his new'palace.
Money, which was power, which was the wheel upon which ran Emma the Queen Mother's heart. '
Ten years ago, hiring himself and his ships, Thorfinn of Orkney had wanted adventure perhaps as much as money, if not more. He had his household to pay, and those men who, building his ships, had to raise their crops and herd their beasts using serf-labour. Now, as Macbeth of Alba, it would seem that riches lay to his hand within his new provinces and he had no call to look further to England or further south over the sea.
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