I'm Titania, and I'm fierce. Not that that's supposed to be an otter characteristic, but combat and forcefulness are two of my strengths, plus hard work and artistic ability. And like a proper otter I'm congenial and fun-loving and caring; the latter led me to do extra lessons in medicine with Simba. Otters are a little smaller than other Novanima, but that just means our muscles have a better lever arm: if you need something lifted, ask an otter. And of course in the water we're superb. Though swimming is curtailed for the indefinite future since the tent by the pool was burned in the ejecta shower and washed away by flow in Sirion after our rainstorm, and the pool was filled in with sediment. Too bad for us otters.
It's a relief to get back to our proper domes. Dome five was a real mess: all the plants burned, and our mats, cups and things like that. Some of us had the foresight to hide stuff in the tunnel, like my paints and pictures. Fortunately not the section that was blown up. But the parts that are hard to replace are the ramp, the foundation and the iron trees, and those were unharmed by the fire and the subsequent earthquake and wind, except two trees were knocked down and the bases had to be cut off and rewelded. It took three weeks to make new covers for domes four-A, where the wild bushes and trees live, and five and six, where we live, and we moved into dome five about a week ago. We have the lamp from dome two, until Willie and Tiger can make a new sulfur ball. Our computers, of course, were with us in space, and that's where the really valuable stuff is kept.
Four-A got the first priority because the trees take a long time to grow and the ammonia isn't good for them. All the leaves on all the trees and some of the bushes either were burned off or turned yellow and died, and we were worried that we'd have to start them over, but Simba picked tough species and now that there's a proper cover we're seeing bits of green on most of them. We agreed that replanting the planet properly was our job and we were tough enough to go on half rations if necessary to save the trees. The other agricultural domes are a mess and the vegetables all died in three-A, but the Chang bushes that weren't too badly burned just shed whatever leaves were scorched and kept growing. They don't mind the ammonia; Simba designed them that way. But they don't contribute to oxygen and we can't harvest them the regular way because the ants were killed. We could pick the seeds off with our fingers, but our time is better spent being hungry and covering domes.
Everyone has been doing his or her part to recover. The first big project finished was the water electrolyser. Now we have plenty of oxygen and we can fill the air tanks for our helmets, but before that was finished we were breathing from the stored liquid oxygen for dome six plus bottled oxygen from the plants in space, and we had to take the backpack tanks to the ship to fill them from its electrolyser. What a pain! I like riding the lander up to the ship and working in zero G, but filling the tanks took a long time and the shortage of full tanks cut into our work covering the domes and nursing the burned plants. Having finished those three domes we're working on covers for the other aux domes now. It takes time for the bugs to grow enough plastic, and we have one-A covered and are almost ready to start on two-A. Quin and Iris have handled most of the bug job because Iris can't do heavy outside work yet.
One thing nice in the ship is the decorations Simba painted on the wall, Terran trees and animals, and I want to do something like that down here, being good at art. But we have a lot of work ahead of us just to have food to eat and oxygen to breathe, and the decorations are going to have to wait a long time.
Valeria: What'cha doing, Titania? You're painting Simba? It's pretty good. Better than anything I could do.
Me: Aww, it's not that good. I'm just doing this one for the practice. I tried to paint a picture of the rainbow on the other side, but it didn't come out. Take a look.
Valeria: It's not bad; it's pretty.
Me: Thanks for saying it. Material media isn't like the computer: if you make a mistake it's a real pain to fix it, and it takes skill to put the paint on, which I need a lot of work on. I finished this one for the practice, but it's not really worth saving, so I did some more practice with the portrait, not to waste the paper. I wish I had a nice violet paint. Wilma says manganese in some oxide, powdered, is my best bet but I'll have to experiment to find the right recipe. The thing is, the real rainbow was transparent and all my paints are opaque. Simba says he just knows how to use paint that someone else has made, not how to make it transparent. The portrait is easier because everything is opaque. There; that's as good as it's going to get, but I think I figured out what I've been doing wrong with the eyes. I'm going to do another one, and this one's going to be good enough that I can give it to Simba. Could you do me a big favor? Go and get me another piece of paper.
Valeria: OK. I'll be right back.
Someone I don't meet makes paper. The equipment was stored in the tunnel or was salvaged before the cover blew off dome six, but apparently it's a lot of work to make paper and I have to be careful not to waste it, which is why I painted on both sides of this sheet. Rembrandt I'm not, but on the computer I'm the best artist of my friends, and with Simba's encouragement I've been experimenting with material media, including making the paints. Oh, here's Valeria. Minus paper, and not too pleased.
Valeria: There isn't any more paper. The comment was, what's it being used for, wiping someone's arse? I said that wasn't nice, but that won't make more paper appear by magic, it's said.
Me: That bastard!
Willie: Generic bastard, I hope.
Me: Oh, Willie! I didn't hear you come in. Sorry.
Willie: I practice moving silently, same as you kittens are supposed to. I overheard Valeria's request and I had a feeling that it wasn't being handled in an otterly way.
Me: Right, otters are supposed to be joyful and fun, not grouchy. If I had a fight with Night I know what I'd do, but I'm not even supposed to be thinking about, you know.
Willie: We're on short rations and that makes for short tempers. With Iris out of action and with the extra work on the plants in one-A and all the other repairs, everyone's time is short, including the papermaker's, and that spills over into tempers too.
Me: If I did extra work maybe the, um, person could make another sheet of paper for me. I wish I could show what I painted, but that's impossible.
Willie: Right, a show would build morale but tear down the separation.
There's a distant commotion. We try to keep our voices down and to use Tiger signs as much as possible, particularly now that the denser air carries sound better, but ragged tempers can lead to breaking that rule.
Petra (at a distance): Stop that! It's not fun!
Petra: Cut it out! I'm warning you!
More inaudible. Then: Aaa-aaaaa-aa! My arm! You broke my arm! Aaaa!
Willie: Do I hear the call of a broken otter? Computer, where is Petra?
Computer: Petra is in dome two.
Willie: Simba is outside in two-A, and I'm sure he heard all that. In any case I should make myself available. I'll come back later and we can talk a little more about task coordination. Bye.
Valeria: Well, that's just great, isn't it? Iris has broken ribs, and now someone else has a broken arm. Who's going to do the work around here? We are. Why didn't Petra just kick him in the balls; that's why a male has them! Sorry, I'm not supposed to be talking about that.
Me: Yeah. Can you stick your nose in there, dome one or two, and ask Iris to meet us here later to talk about work assignments? It's probably not going to happen, but I want that paper and I'm willing to do some work to get it. Jeez, suppose the papermaker is the one with the broken arm?
Valeria: At least our luck isn't that bad. I'm sure they're different people; I know the personalities. I want to see how you fix a broken arm. I'll come back when it's over, maybe with Iris. See you.
What a mess! And working on the plants takes double time because the rain made the regolith stick together, not as solid as proper cement but if you have to dig up a dead plant you have to use the pickaxe and smash up all the lumps before you put in the new plant. There's enough organic material in the soil that the roots can get through, but in one-A and four-A and six the dry worms have all died, except where we put in new plants with the pickaxe, because they couldn't move. I don't know what we're going to do about that -- maybe dig up every plant, which would probably kill it when we smash the dirt off, and plant a new one. What a pain! With our short but sturdy arms and legs otters can use the pickaxe effectively, but 'uomi and jaguars are too small yet, so we have six kittens in working order who can plant plants.
Wolf, Orion, Night and I will have our turn in one-A after lunch. Right now my job is to learn. The painting lesson is ended, but there's an unlimited amount to learn in other areas. Such as math; with the skill practice I'm doing presently, I can cut it off if Iris shows up and not lose anything.
I chose the lesson well: I'm on the eighth long division problem and here's Iris. It's long division, too.
Me: Hi, Iris. Just a second while I finish this problem. There, done and checked by digital root.
Iris: I'll remember not to get on the bad side of Petra, at least when my arms are within her reach.
Me: I got the impression the initial problem was with someone's hands, not arms.
Iris: You could say that; I got a blow by blow description from Petra. The person involved is my close friend and I'll have a chat with him to fix the lesson in his mind, as Tiger puts it. Probably after Simba has a little chat, and all the other adults, and half the kittens. You're not supposed to be thinking about individuals, but don't get turned off; he's really nice but he can get overactive sometimes.
Me: You're right, we probably should get off this topic. Here's what's bothering me. We're all under pressure from extra work. We have one more person out due to injuries. How do we divide up his work fairly? And I want someone else who I don't meet to do a job for me, and I'm willing to do extra work from his assignments in exchange, but how could we negotiate it if I can't ever meet him?
Iris: What's the job?
Me: Making more paper. I want to do a portrait of Simba and give it to him on his assembly day, and I think I've finally got the eyes right. It's not like the computer where you have mask-through; you have to put the paint on in the right order or he comes out bug-eyed like a newborn kitten, giggle.
Iris: Making paper takes work, and there are several steps. It's going to be hard to negotiate. I have a job I want done too, and it's going to be even harder to negotiate. The lamp here was wrecked in the fire and we've moved the lamp from dome two in here. But now on night days the dome two gang have to study in the dark, and I hate the backlight on my computer. I want Willie to make us a new lamp. My ribs are getting well enough that I can help, and Valeria wants the lamp too, but it'll take a lot of Willie's time; he'll have to do the whole job of making the sulfur ball. But the adults and the older kittens, except me and now the other one, are all tied up digging out the blown-up tunnel, when not planting in one-A. Look, what's your schedule? I'll see what I can do as a go-between.
Me: Generally I work after lunch, so extra hours would have to be in the morning or evening.
Iris: I'll see what I can do. Bye.
In dome one-A about 150 plants were burned or were too scorched to survive, but we've been working hard and it's almost repopulated. I dig eighteen holes, breaking up the soil, and Night does seventeen; we're both energetic, as befits otters. The young jaguars, Orion and Wolf, mix more potting soil with the regolith and put seedling Chang bushes in the places, as well as watering the other seedlings for this dome and for two-A, when we can get in there. Of course we take breaks frequently and drink water and eat an inadequate snack: food isn't plentiful with almost two-thirds of the plants out of reach, and we're eating reserves. The next shift has only about 25 plants to replace and then one-A will be all finished, except that the seedlings have to grow about a year before they'll be really useful for making food and oxygen. From what I hear from Quin, the plastic is just about ready for the two-A cover. The smaller kittens can glue that together while otters and lions go back to helping the adults dig up and rebuild the central tunnel.
Dinner for the odd numbered domes is in our dome tonight, and Willie and Wilma join us. After the comet-caused destruction we had the colony divided in half and we cooked for eight people at once, and we decided that was a lot more practical for dinner (though not so relevant for lunch and breakfast), so now we go to dome three, or the male 'uomi and female jaguars come over here, after we send any male jaguars (in dome five) or female lions (in dome three) to their assigned dining dome. We have all these complicated procedures so we can have more or less a normal life and socialize with all our friends while never encountering the ones we shouldn't meet. It's going to be a lot simpler when we grow up, I hope.
Food may be limited but it doesn't have to be boring. Tonight we have soybean jelly rollups. We grind maize flavored Chang seeds into flour using the motorized grinder (and we also mill some oat flour that the even numbered people asked for, which Willie delivers). Then we make sheets out of it which the adults call tortillas. Yesterday Oso ground and soaked the soybean flavored Chang seeds, and he started the gel process after lunch today. The gel is mixed with chopped up vegetables including hot peppers and various spices, rolled in the tortillas, and steamed. It's not Rose's favorite, but I like it and so do most of the people here.
Wilma: You kids did a good job on the burritos today. Is that cardamom that you put in it?
Quin: Yes, I did the spices and Xena cut up the vegetables.
Xena: With my sword, giggle.
Me: Yes, it's very good. Willie, our team got one-A almost replanted; it's about two thirds of a shift to finish. Night and I worked hard, didn't we, Night?
Night: Right, I did seventeen holes and she did eighteen, and the young ones were really patient filling them up with plants. We helped on a few at the end.
Willie: That's good news. Not so good news from the digging: we found the telescope, and the mirror is broken. The eyepieces are OK but that's all we could salvage.
Rose: Awww. I liked to look in it.
Willie: Eventually we'll make another one, but it's prudent for the plants to come first.
Iris: I'm disappointed too, but you're right what job is most important. Different topic: with the higher air pressure, how low can we take the oxygen level? It was really scary, the way the test tent burned so fast. Can we get it down to twenty percent?
Willie: Simba is analyzing that now. The tentative plan is to reduce the oxygen gradually over about a two month period, so everyone can get used to it including the ants and the worms. And that brings me around to something you're going to look forward to. Wilma and I have been working on a portable water electrolyser. The comet impact slowed down our work, but we've finished it. That means we can hike long distances.
Iris: When? I'm going to plan a route, and we'll go right to the top of Echoriath.
Willie: By the time we're ready for a trip like that, your ribs will be healed enough too, I hope. We're going to start with day trips, like what we've done before but with full packs and carrying the electrolysers and breathing from them. We'll take out one adult and one kitten at a time, so in case of emergency the landers can get them back. Everyone who can handle day trips can try overnight hikes. We'll gradually go further, and our intention is to cover both sides of Echoriath for twenty or thirty kilometers both directions on the trench axis, and to penetrate up to ten kilometers onto the plate surface.
Ken: Cover? Looking for minerals?
Wilma: If there are minerals we want to know it, but neither plate is promising mineral territory, so the prospector hasn't been over it, and I doubt we'll find much either. The main job will be planting. We're going to plant feather grass, worms and bushes all over, starting with the bush species that stand ammonia best. We'll get a patch of green a hundred thousand meters across, and that will be a seed factory to cover the whole planet.
Ken: Wow! What do we have to do to get ready? It's kind of scary, thinking about spending all night out of the domes. How will we sleep?
Wilma: We'll have to experiment. We'll take our mats, of course, but can we sleep in our helmets or will we need to make tents? A tent would take a lot of oxygen to fill it. There will be lots of experimentation.
Willie: Carrying a full pack will take strength, and falling without breaking the electrolyser will take skill and balance. I want to get pack frames built for everyone and I want people to fill them up with rocks or bags of water and walk around here or even run. Also, long distance hiking will wear out our feet. You Novanima need to build up your pad thickness. When I was a kid I could hike 1e4 meters in bare feet, but that's with a light day pack, and kids are a lot less rough on feet than adults. And Terran forest is a lot less abrasive than regolith and broken rocks. We Homo sapiens may need to make shoes.
Me: How small can a tent be? You know when Iris' helmet came off and the hose got torn and Night had to lead him back by the hand? Suppose we had an itty bitty tent that just covered the head. It would be really helpful in an emergency, and maybe it would be more comfortable to sleep in than the helmets.
Willie: Titania, that's a really good idea! And I have an idea how to do it, with a neck seal. Next indoor work period, which is tomorrow, right? Let's work on it together.
Me: Sure! But... Iris, did you negotiate the extra work I'm going to do? I don't want to promise to do two jobs at once.
Iris: Well, after discussion, it's probably best to ask the adults what to do, not try to handle this ourselves. Willie, the issue is that Titania wants paper for her painting and it's all gone, and she can't make it herself but is willing to do extra work, something she can do. See the situation? She can't negotiate directly; we can't even talk about, you know, what we can't talk about. How much work is fair? Here one to one hours is probably right, but there's another trade we were talking about that involves you, Willie, and me and someone else in the dome two gang, and one to one probably isn't right there. And what's prudent? How do we stick to priorities? Titania is able to do the work that would end up undone, except for a scheduling problem: who will be her work partners? But with you and me, I can't do your work, so the prudence question comes up.
Willie: Just to be specific, what do you want me to do?
Iris: Make a sulfur ball so we can have a lamp in dome two. Tiger would have to make the microwave chips for it, but that's B factory stuff, not taking a lot of her time. The other person knows how to make a frame and put the parts together, and I can help her.
Willie: That's on my list, but I have to admit it's not very high on it. So you want to induce me to jack it up by trading extra work. There's a prudence judgment that you're missing though: the extra work cuts into something you're doing now, like studying or having fun. I don't want to be blamed for making a dull otter.
Iris: The trade would be with a lion and a 'uomi, but I see your point.
Wilma: Titania, what do you know about money?
Me: It's very important on Earth.
Willie: Are you thinking of starting the money regime for this?
Wilma: You remember the discussions with Tiger and Simba. This is exactly the problem money is intended to handle: faceless traders and incommensurable products.
Willie: Innocence lost.
Wilma: Guns don't kill people; people kill people.
Willie: In this social system we should talk about fangs. But I see your metaphor, although I... Look, I know a mature colony has to be lubricated with money, but I'd hoped for a little longer to stay with the classical Greek model, the shepherd plays his flute and stuff.
Wilma: And what else does he do to entertain the sheep? Sorry, that's nasty, and from the looks around the table I think we're losing the kittens in multiple layers of metaphor. The basic idea would be that for each hour of extra work you do, you get one money unit. If someone spends an hour making paper, it would be fair to trade one money unit for the paper.
Iris: Actually it's more like five hours and you get twenty sheets, except sometimes they tear. And you need to collect dead Chang bush leaves, which is in addition to the five hours, and sometimes you have to wait to get at the leaves. A lot of dead plants have gone in the compost heap recently and their leaves could have been used for paper, if we'd thought about it.
Wilma: So, a quarter unit per sheet. And gathering the leaves is something anyone could do including the younger kittens.
Night: There's a limit to the number of dead leaves. If the little ones ran out of leaves there could be fights.
Wilma: On Earth the plants would be owned by specific people.
Night: And then the food would be harvested by the specific person, and anyone without plants would have to trade something to eat. That could get bad if there were a shortage, like we have now.
Quin: Once the plant person has the units, what does he do with them? If they just stay with him, they get stuck.
Willie: In our model he'd buy paper, or whatever Titania has to offer and then she'd buy the paper. On Earth it takes a lot of inputs to grow food plants: mechanical harvesters and the fuel to run them, water, fertilizer, seeds or seedling plants, which are grown by specialized companies, and lots of less obvious stuff like computer software and tax services. Plus of course the labor of a team of farm workers who need to buy food.
Rose: Water? If you couldn't trade you'd go thirsty and die? That's horrible! I'm glad I'm here where we have plenty of water.
Wilma: Oh, Rose! Let me give you a hug. Earth isn't like that at all. For me, Earth is a happy place and there's plenty of water for everyone.
Willie: In Atlanta. In a number of African countries water is very limited and people do die when there are too many for the available water. But even there there's enough for the humans to drink, but not enough for their food plants, so they starve.
Ken: It seems like bad planning to put people where they wouldn't be able to grow their bushes.
Willie: Wilma and I are the only natural life forms on Thor, and we're here only temporarily. Every single living thing here, including you and us, is here because we four adults decided, with careful planning, to put it here, and we designed it and assembled it and grew it and put it in its place. Earth isn't like that. Earth is almost entirely natural; no, that's not true. It's almost entirely under human control, but it's planned, or not planned, like nature does, and Mother Nature is cruel. She doesn't care if some African kid starves to death. We humans and you Novanima are smart enough to know where we could thrive, but you'll learn soon enough that people think with their gonads all too often, and the result is kids turning into raisins.
Wilma: Oso and Quin, that's why you're Novanima uomo, not Novanima sapiens. We're not holding you to a standard that I'm ashamed not to be meeting.
Night: In stories money seems to get people all emotional, and not good emotions either. Is this what you meant, Willie, when you said ``Innocence lost''?
Willie: Yes, and I think you're commenting on the turn this discussion has taken. You're entirely right that money makes people get a little weird in the head. The reason is that money gives you power, the power to get someone else to do what you want.
Night: If you had money, how would that give you power over me? I could just say no.
Willie: Then you wouldn't get the money, right?
Night: And if I had to have money to trade for water or food, I'd have a problem. If I didn't like what you were trying to get me to do, I'd try someone else with money.
Wilma: Excellent answer. You should never let yourself become a slave of money or of the people who want to give it to you. The problem on Earth is, some people can do very little and they get stuck doing stuff that I really don't want to talk about right now.
Rose: Why not?
Wilma: Because we're supposed to be talking about money, not prostitution and drugs and stuff like that. You're too good for trash ``work''. Now I'd like to get real about money. If Titania is going to trade with someone it ought to be done right, and Willie, innocence is going to get lost whichever way we do it. I'd like each kitten to make a list, and post it on your web page, of what you know how to do that other people might be willing to trade for. I'd like you to include an estimate of how many units your service is worth. Separately write a description of why you set that value, but make it available to adults, not the other kittens. And in other essays, please talk about your concerns with the money regime; I know Night has several. And if you have ideas to get around problems, post those too. How does that sound?
Me: How quick does this have to be done? And how long before I can make my trade and get the paper, because I'd like to paint the portrait and give it to Simba on his assembly day, and I might screw it up again and have to do it over. And how do the people I don't meet see these lists?
Wilma: There's a lot of thinking and writing in that assignment; I see several apprehensive faces on this side of the table. I'm not setting a time limit but I'll tell you, you're going to be working on money, designing how it works, for a long, long time. But Titania wants to get some units circulating pretty fast, specifically between us and the even-numbered domes, and the more price lists are posted, the more trade can begin. Remember, once the units get over there we have to do something for them to get the units back so we can do it all over again.
Oso: So the money just goes back and forth like ants up and down a bush.
Wilma: Exactly. It's always the same ants, but they can move a lot of seeds into the box by making lots of trips. Same with the money.
Willie: If A doesn't meet B but both of them meet C, then C can act as a broker: C posts B's price list, A gives the money to C, C gives it to B and gets the paper, and finally C delivers to A. Everyone will have to pick a broker of another species.
Ken: This money business is going to be awfully complicated. I didn't think about the brokers, but I've already thought of a bunch of other issues. I assume I should really think about them before talking more with you about them.
Willie: Right, the whole business is going to take thought and design. I know you're messing with computer programming. Try to write some simulations and you'll blunder into lots more issues.
Me: Would you be my broker, Ken? But what should I post? I can dig; I can do plants; I can do all the ordinary stuff. I'm good on medicine but we wouldn't want to handle that by money.
Wilma: You'll be surprised. Put it on your list.
Quin: I work with Simba to make plastics, but things like the dome covers, should I say it's my plastic and try to get money for it when the aux dome covers are for plants to live under that all of us will eat? And we have to make covers. I don't feel right about refusing to work on that unless someone else does something for me.
Willie: Innocence not yet lost. I approve of your attitude. But yes, Wilma, I know about the allocation problem. There are good reasons to pay you to make plastics. And where will the money come from that pays for the dome covers? It's called taxes. I don't think we should rush into monetizing food and water and dome maintenance, but that will happen eventually, Night, and we need to deal with a bunch of issues to get ready. Thanks, Quin, for getting that on the table. And do post prices for your plastics, and don't be shy about negotiating with Simba what to do about shared work. We need those numbers to estimate prices on a lot of manufactured goods.
Me: Quin, let's work together on an essay about things that maybe shouldn't be handled with money. And maybe Wilma could write something we could study about why it should be done with money.
Iris: We need a name for our money unit. There's this word ``dollar'' that I've seen. In one story they used a ``pound'', which seems to be a British provincial force unit. Do either of you know why it's the name of their money?
Willie: Yes, I do. You want to measure mass, like how much Chang seeds, but if you use a spring balance you're assuming a gravitational field and you measure force. In the old days they didn't have a real good understanding of mass, and the major unit in Britain got defined as force. Again this is in the old days, but one unit, one pound of silver was a money unit for them. That's a little less than half a kilo.
Iris: We don't have any silver. What does it look like?
Willie: Actually we have a little in storage somewhere. It's a metal, very white, and you can make beautiful things from it. It's also rare so the amount in circulation couldn't change quickly. In old times rare metals such as silver and gold were generally used as money.
Iris: So all of us together don't have even one ``pound'' of British money. I guess we'd better stay away from that one.
Willie: Right, rare metals are more trouble than they're worth as money, and nobody on Earth uses them like that any more. They're too valuable for other uses.
Xena: We can call it a ``ruble''. That's the Russian unit and the word means ``sword'' because of a picture on the things, kind of round things. It was in a story I read and there was a picture. I'd like that name, natch.
Iris: That's an idea, Xena, and maybe other people will have more ideas too. Does anyone else have any more questions they need answered immediately? Because I'm getting wiggly.
Wilma: Nobody? OK, let's clean up the dinner area and get the bowls and pots washed.
Next day my work is helping the adults dig dirt out of the tunnel. We have a pit from the surface with shoring of fiber-reinforced sheet to keep the regolith from collapsing and filling it up again. Returning to dome five with the others from my work crew, which didn't include Ken today, I find a surprise waiting.
Ken: Look on the colony web page! I worked all afternoon on it with Simba. Iris and Night and Quin, look at it too.
Me: Wait a minute while I get my machine going. OK, here's a link to a page about money. What's a balance?
Ken: That's what they call the amount of money you have in storage.
Me: I don't have any. Nobody ever gave me any.
Ken: That's what you think. But it's true, your balance is zero. You should check it anyway so you know how it works.
Me: OK, I have zero money. What else is new?
Ken: See the transaction history.
Me: Hey, someone gave me four units for digging out the tunnel. But someone took back two units for digging the tunnel and two for the dome two cover.
Ken: I had to fake it on those numbers because I couldn't come up with what they really cost, but the idea is that the colony as a whole has jobs that need doing, and you give money to the colony that's traded to get those jobs done. With the colony as broker, you traded with the 'uomi and jaguars to do your share of gluing the dome cover, and they exchanged their share of digging, which they're too small to do.
Me: It seems kind of complicated and I don't see what I'm getting out of it.
Ken: I quote Simba: ``Trust me, it's worth it.''
Me: So what do I do now?
Ken: First you get some extra money. See the link ``Jobs Offered''? Do a job, get some money, then post your job: make paper for Titania, or for Ken's client.
Me: Hmm. Who wants to glue with me, let's say two hours this evening? 'Uomi? Jaguars?
Quin: I'm always busy growing the plastic; how about I try gluing it?
Ken: It takes five hours to do a batch of paper. Who uses paper?
Rose: I do, when I can get it. May I join the gluing? But that would make six units, and five things of paper. What do we do then?
Ken: Spend some of the money on paper and some on other things; look at the offering list.
Me: OK, I kind of see what's happening. Thanks, Ken, for taking your lesson time to do this.
Ken: You're welcome. But it was a big lesson for me: I had to learn a lot of stuff really fast. And in regular lessons it doesn't matter if you make a mistake; you just do it over. But on this I had to make sure it was right, and Simba showed me how to do that, how to test stuff. It's really a lot of new skills for me, and new stuff isn't my strength, but I'm tough as a lion and I got through it.
Iris: Good for you, Ken! I've got two questions, though. In stories the money is always pieces of paper or rare metals. What we're doing, is it really money?
Ken: We talked about that. Simba says that on Earth he and Tiger paid for the starship using computer codes like we're doing, 2e8 ``dollars'', trading for the work of many humans, and in that time they had to do really heavy lessons to learn how to design it and fly it and live in it, so they didn't have time to do much else. He estimates that they used at most a thousand ``dollars'' in paper and metal money, and probably less than that; he didn't keep track of the little stuff, he says. Computer money is more real than physical money on Earth.
Iris: And the second question is, what do we call it? Are we going to call it rubles like Xena said?
Ken: That's a good question. I'm going to put in a form for name ideas, so the people I don't meet can submit them. Watch how you set up a mailed form.
During the evening, I notice, Ken moves around to several domes. Apparently creating the money system is a lot of fun for him. And after we three evening gluers finish our job I check my balance and find I have two units. Better yet, the dome cover is almost finished and it should go on two-A sometime tomorrow. Sliding regolith puts a strain on my foot webs and I think I prefer digging up burned plants, so I'll let the lions dig in the tunnel, which they seem to prefer. Cool: the job offering list now has an entry for dead Chang bush leaves, and I certainly will save the plants I dig tomorrow, those not completely burned up, and I'll take the leaves off and sell them through Ken. For my own paper! Already the cycles of money are getting tangled.
Three days later in the evening, Ken brings in a stack of paper.
Ken: Here you are, Titania, four sheets, and you're charged one fang. Four for you, Rose, one for Iris and two for Quin. There's more in storage but even-numbered people also wanted to buy some, so not a lot is left.
Me: Thanks, Ken! I'm going to get started right away on my picture.
Ken: Well, could we talk about something first, all together? The money system is working, but there are some problems. First the good news: the majority supported calling the money unit the ``fang'', and physical money will have a picture of a lion with his mouth open, like the Lion Foundation logo. Someone on the other side suggested it, following Xena's ``ruble'' suggestion, and it was my favorite. And thanks for the assurance that people don't think it's speciesist to single out one species that way.
Oso: Well, we all have fangs, after all, even though yours are the longest.
Xena: And yours are the shortest, giggle.
Ken: Ahem. Now it turns out we need another decision on a name: what's the name of this colony? Simba says that the reports from Earth suggest that the Chinese are preparing a new starship, and we need to have a proper name, both to tell them when they arrive, if they don't blow up like last time, and to put on the money. Money always has the name of the nation on it, and we're a nation. We twenty people. Wilma suggested ``Gondor''.
Rose: Why not Gondolin? I thought that was the name.
Iris: Or ``Thor Colony''? That's what I thought it was.
Rose: It is not!
Ken: Ahem. Gondolin is the name of this village, and it's doomed to be drowned in a few years; that's the plan and it's going to happen. ``Thor Colony'' is too nonspecific, Wilma says. The Chinese might establish their own Thor Colony and they'd have just as good a right to the name. ``Gondolin'' came out of a story; I've started reading it but even I have to take it in small bites because I don't have the patience otherwise. Xena, you'd like it a lot; there are lots of battles and monsters and sorcery. Now in that story refugees from Gondolin, after it was drowned, set up a government and called it ``Gondor''. Wilma suggests that name, but she thinks we kittens should have the opportunity to make our own suggestions.
Me: What does Tiger think?
Ken: Simba talks about ``New Joisey''. That's ugly, and he's suggesting it just as a joke. Tiger won't say; she says we should take care of our own stuff. It's true, but I wish she'd be more normal sometimes.
Iris: Let's put up a web form like you did for the money unit name, OK? I can't think of anything so quick.
Ken: Sure, I'll do it as soon as we're done. Ready to go on to the next items? You've probably noticed that the money system isn't perfect, and we need to make some changes. The first question is on authority. I'm designing the system with Simba and Wilma's help, and if I have to come around to you for every little detail it's never going to get finished. But these changes are pretty major, and, well, they've suggested that I shouldn't just go and do it. I should ask you first, and someone on the other side that I meet is asking over there.
Me: What changes do you want to make? It worked out OK for me.
Ken: What I wanted to decide is, how do we decide on changes?
Me: Well, you tell us and we say if it's OK. Isn't that obvious?
Ken: Not if some people like it and some people don't. And suppose you suggest something stupid? I don't want to commit myself to be forced to do it.
Night: Suppose if more people say yes, then it's yes. If more say no, then no.
Quin: Suppose everyone ganged up on me, like they voted to take away all my money. That wouldn't be fair. I'd fight.
Ken: Simba had a suggestion: two-thirds majority. That would be eleven yes. On Earth, on stupid choices most people vote no, and on obviously good ones most vote yes, but there aren't too many decisions like that. Most decisions are near random, half and half. To get two-thirds, people have to have a clear preference. But I'm worried that we'll need a change and people won't understand.
Iris: Tiger always says we have to take care of our own messes. I think we have to say that to ourselves too. It's not fair if you just do everything without asking, but we're not fair to you if we won't listen to reason. And it's not fair if half the people can force something on the other half that's bad for them. And like Quin says, if it were really wrong it wouldn't be fair if even one person got stuck, but we have to trust ourselves part way, and we have to trust Ken part way, and Ken has to trust the rest of us. I think Simba thinks the two-thirds vote is fair, and I'm inclined to follow his lead. If something gets really out of hand, the first person to recognize it should squawk, and we'll do something about it, but we can't plan that now, I think. Do the rest of you agree?
Night: Let's do like the ancient Romans did: thumbs up means yes; thumbs down means let the lions eat him, giggle! I'm going thumbs up on the two-thirds majority thing.
Iris made his point pretty well, I think. Some people, like Quin, take their time making up their minds, but in the end it's unanimous to decide today's question by two-thirds majority.
Me: OK, that's over. So what's the big issue?
Ken: There are three problems we've hit so far. Let me say them all, then talk about solutions, OK? First, the person whose arm got broken has a negative balance which gets more negative every day, because there's not a lot of money-making work he can do. Second, money is getting stuck on some people, like Quin said; Titania wanted to buy paper, but the circle doesn't close for everyone. Third, a lot of people are cutting too much into lesson time and fun. You might think it's strange for me to tell people to work less and have more fun, but Simba taught me a big lesson on that when I was young, and I can generalize it: we mustn't be slaves of money.
Night: The negative balance business bothers me. I know I'm not supposed to be thinking about who it is, so let's kind of be generic on this. The person isn't doing his work, and it has to be done eventually, and that's what the negative balance means. Am I right?
Ken: Yes and no. That's what the current design means: someone has to do it for him right now, and he owes those people exchange work when his arm is better. But Simba showed me that I'd put symbols into the design without thinking what they meant. Some work has to be done as quick as we can, like growing the plastic to replace the dome covers, but let's think about the rest of the work: in most of the aux domes about eighty percent of the plants survived, and nothing really bad will happen if the injured person doesn't do his share replacing burned plants. Similarly on the tunnel: it's a pain to have to put our helmets on to go to domes one and two, but if he can't dig or handle cement it's not justified to stick him with a negative balance.
Night: That's right, I think, but what do we do about it?
Ken: I'm proposing two things. First, we wipe out his negative balance, no offsetting charges, no nothing, we just forget about it, because it shouldn't have been put there in the first place. Second, in the future your responsibility for shared jobs like dome covers should be proportional to how much money you get. He gets zero money, so he doesn't have to pay.
Oso: So if I work twice as hard I have to give twice as much in those payments to the colony? That doesn't seem very nice. It seems like I'm being punished for doing something good, and it doesn't seem fair that I should have to pay more than that other person, who's paying nothing.
Ken: Think of it like this: suppose the colony needs half your work. If you decide to work ten hours extra, half of it should be on colony stuff. It sounds more fair that way, doesn't it?
Iris: And I want to jump on that punishment meme right away. An adult or an older kitten punishes you if you do something that has a bad effect so you feel it right away, or as a substitute for getting killed or injured so it would cut into your work time. When something happens that isn't working out the way you want, it isn't punishment. Punishment is when an adult says she doesn't want you doing something and hurts you to fix it in your mind. Understood? You need to have that distinction really straight for when you're training, and punishing, your own kittens.
Oso: OK, Iris, I was being sloppy. Do you want me to do a writing assignment on punishment? As punishment?
Iris: I'll quote Tiger: you have to take care of your own stuff, and build yourself to be the best person you can. Will a writing assignment help? I think it will, but it's not punishment, it's wise use of your time, chosen wisely by you. Agreed? Now how do you feel about putting a fraction of your extra work to the colony?
Oso: Well, it sounds better that way, but it's still not quite fair. See, everyone has to help on important things like keeping the plants alive and covering the domes. Your ribs are broken, but you help grow the plastic. I guess there's not much you can do with a broken arm; I'm not complaining, really, about the other person, but if I do work beyond what the colony needs, well, I've done my share already, and maybe it's fair that they get some, but not the same fraction.
Ken: That's interesting: Simba told how they do it in America on Terra. First, in the early history there was a problem like what we're having: everyone would have to pay the government the same amount, and if some person wasn't getting much money he wouldn't be able to pay and the government was mean to him, whereas people with lots of money had no trouble paying; the payment was small for them. So when they threw out the British they put in a specific law, that taxes same for all people weren't fair. Then there was a big screwup in their money system and the power of the rich people, that's the ones with a lot of money, was broken, and the representatives of the less rich people put in a law where the richer you were the bigger fraction of your incoming money you had to pay, even up to seven tenths. The idea was that the rich people had lots of money anyway. That went on for a while but the rich people just cheated; they didn't pay their fair share, or unfair share, and hid it. Finally the rich and the poor representatives negotiated a compromise where the rich people got to keep more than half of their income, but they couldn't cheat effectively any more due to law changes.
Oso: It's all crazy! Why did the rich ones do extra work if they didn't get anything for it?
Ken: You haven't heard crazy yet! I want to break into this thread with something we're going to do that will be a good example, and a danger we have to work around. The person with the broken arm, Tiger has him working on planning, which he can do with Tiger signs left-handed on the keyboard, and he's starting to get some income. He came up with a very smart idea, that it's worth it for us not to put work into digging up the burned plants and putting in seedlings until after all the domes have new covers, because an hour spent growing plastic and gluing the cover gets us a lot more useful plants a lot sooner than digging in the covered domes. So we're going to make another large bug tank and we'll be able to grow enough plastic to keep everyone busy making dome covers.
Oso: It sounds like a good idea, but I have a feeling money is going to get into this. Like, someone works on the tank; should the tank be his? Does he grow the plastic and get money for that, or, well, Quin needs help on the one tank, but not all the time, and it's all getting really complicated.
Ken: That's the example: it's really complicated. Now listen to how Tiger and Simba got rich. When Simba was young there was a bunch of humans learning how to make plastic; they were creating the bugs that we use. A bunch of people working together is called a company. They asked Simba to work with them, and he worked really hard, and instead of money he asked them to give him part ownership of the company, which they did. So Simba owned a small fraction of a small company. But the bugs worked, and made lots and lots of plastic, and the ownership gave Simba the right to a small fraction of the money received for that plastic. Tiger had her accident about nine years later, that's Earth years, fifteen Thor years, and they were getting as much money off the plastic as Simba was getting from his regular work, and he was able to give that up for a while and take care of Tiger full time. Then there was another similar ownership deal with the Chang bushes. And then in Tiger's regular work she discovered CQMT, and she and her co-workers set up a company to make things that use CQMT, and Tiger owned a big fraction of it, not small this time, and lots and lots of CQMT equipment was made and paid for. People do work and exchange the money for CQMT equipment, and the cycle closes when Tiger asks people to build the starship in exchange for the money she received. About a thousand people worked for five Thor years to build it, and that led, after a whole lot of events, to us being created.
Me: So you're saying that Tiger and Simba worked on projects that could be used to make a whole lot of stuff, and instead of taking money for their work they took a right to the future money that their work was used to bring in. A rich person would be someone who had done that, Oso, and not someone who worked extra hard.
Oso: I don't like the sound of that either. It's hard to say this the nice way. Back on Earth Tiger and the other adults were practicing to fly the starship and learning all the skills and telling people how to build it, but that's like regular work, one fang per hour. At the same time a thousand fangs per hour were marching by like all the ants in this dome, back and forth, making the starship, and I'm happy it got made, but Tiger didn't have to lift a finger. She worked in the past and made a wise decision how to get paid, but she didn't do a thousand fangs an hour of work on that day. See what I mean? Comparing her thousand fangs per hour to my one, I don't feel fair.
Ken: You explained that really well. That's the danger I was warned about: when we build this new tank, someone's going to end up with a right to what it makes, and we're going to make some rich kittens, and are we setting ourselves up for the kind of fighting and cheating that the Americans had when that seventy percent law got put in? Tiger says this part of the money system is as dangerous as the comet impact, and we can't pre-plan what happens; we have to just do our best and try it out, and deal with the consequences. That's why I was so nervous about getting pushed into a stupid decision by a majority vote. I feel like we're setting off a thermite bomb on our dome cover; I'm scared that my design will come out bad, or that we'll need changes and people won't go along.
Rose: Let's make a rule that everyone has to share. Everyone gets the right to the plastic it makes, equally, and everyone has to do the work to make it, or pay money for someone else to do the work.
Ken: Money is about letting people choose what to do. But if everyone contributed to this project, everyone would be rich. It would simplify things a lot. And you know, it ties in with something else we need to do. Could I tell you? Some people are earning money but not spending it, and it gets stuck. We need to make a rule that if you aren't using it you need to give it to someone who will. I see you, Oso; it doesn't sound right that way. You have money you haven't spent. Would you please put it toward this new bug tank? What you get is the right to money for the plastic it produces. And if you want to spend money, like on a pack frame, you can trade the right with someone else for money, so it's like you're getting the money back. If you don't go in on the tank, the people building it won't be able to trade with other people to relieve them of their colony jobs like collecting food, so they have time to build the tank. See the problem?
Oso: Suppose when I need the money nobody wants to trade with me?
Ken: That's a danger: you could lose. Suppose the tank broke and they couldn't patch it; then nobody would want your share. Or suppose there were a different way to make plastic. That happened to Tiger: when she invented CQMT the groups doing electricity and communications and transportation the old way had a bunch of stuff on their hands that just wasn't worth it when the CQMT alternatives were so much better. Tiger got richer and the people who thought they could get their money back, didn't. Tiger feels bad about that. But the ones who don't play the game don't get rich either. Like you. Tiger says the best way is to have a variety of investments, that's rights to future money, so if one goes klunk you may curse someone's name (like hers) but you aren't seriously hurt. Part of the proposal is for the colony to offer a kind of virtual investment, as an alternative with less risk. The other part is a rule: you have to hang on to money you receive for a certain time, and I've calculated that three days is right for us as kittens, though Simba warns that the time will have to go up when we do bigger projects and there are more people. If you spend it quicker there's a penalty of money, and if you spend it slower there's also a penalty, proportional to the square of the time. Investment counts as spending.
Me: But why? This is getting more and more complicated. There's a problem so you fix it, but the fix causes more problems and you fix that, and then there's something else wrong which you have to fix, forever! I think it's important to be simple, and the penalty business isn't simple, and I don't see it does anyone any good, particularly if I have to pay.
Ken: I want it to be simple too; I have to program all this stuff and write it up! I said the same thing to Simba that you did, and he said that money just isn't as simple as it looks. Here's the deal: suppose everyone holds their money for an average of six days, but then they improve their system, like they put in some kind of computer program, so they can spend it in three days. The money circulates twice as fast, but there's the same amount of work and the same products, so each item costs twice as much. That really messes up planning; can you see that? You buy a right to future money, let's say one fang per kilo of plastic made, but now everything costs twice as much, and you're getting ripped off. Oso, that should motivate you to agree. We need several rules so the money circulates evenly, and when we're beginning this velocity rule is the most important, Simba says. We're already seeing prices jumping around and the adults don't want it to get worse.
Me: Well, OK, I see the purpose now, sort of, but it still seems complicated.
Ken: Simba doesn't care how we keep the money moving evenly. It doesn't have to be a quadratic penalty, but that was the simplest way I could think of that let people keep the penalty small most of the time. Do you have a better idea?
Me: I get paid at sixth hour today, so at sixth hour in three days I have to spend it. I wish it could be any time on the third day.
Ken: We could do that if people think it's better. Simba suggested two percent per day squared, so on the third day there's no penalty, on the second and fourth day there's a two percent penalty, on the first and fifth day it's eight percent, and on the zeroth and sixth day it's eighteen percent. You'd be motivated to avoid those penalties.
Night: Suppose you were sick or injured and couldn't move out the money?
Ken: It's best if we all contribute ideas to make the money system work. What's your idea? I will say that it's a lot easier if people don't have to make judgments why you did something, just that you did or didn't do it.
Night: But the reason is the most important thing! Look, I'm getting bothered by something. You said you had put symbols in the design without thinking what they mean. I think we're doing that with the whole money system. We're organizing our whole lives around a bunch of numbers! Why can't we be otterly like we always have been? I don't want to turn into a computer; you know, in that story there was a machine and you drop a metal disc in it and a little piece of food comes out, and I don't like people dropping money in my ears and expecting to control my life!
Ken: Calm down, calm down! Nobody's going to jerk you around like that! Remember what Wilma said: none of us are going to be slaves of money, nor tolerate anyone trying to enslave us. Right?
Night: I'm sorry to criticize, but I'm not sorry to be emotional! We otters would say, otterly.
Ken: Understand, I'm not trying to set myself over you as a supervisor, but Wilma and Tiger and I talked about this issue, not the way you're feeling it but the way they and I do, and I could give you a suggestion for a writing assignment. Do you want to hear it?
Night: Well... Yes, let's hear it.
Ken: I'm changing how they told it to me, to fit what you said just now. Start by judging some situations emotionally, otterly, and write your judgment. Then go back and imitate computer-headed Ken: if we do ``X'' we get this much of benefit ``A'' while ``Y'' brings benefit ``B'', and judge as coldly as possible what the best choice is. Then compare; the comparison will teach you some things. It taught me that it's worth it for me to go to all this trouble to work on the money system. The events they gave me aren't money things but there's a lot of objective choices you can make. First, how should they have handled their food situation when they first got here, when most of the Chang seeds were killed. Then judge what they should have done with Iris-3, the one that was messed up. Finally, should Tiger have left our Iris in the domes when the comet hit? Sorry, Iris, to step on your emotions, but those were the examples they assigned me.
Night: Those are going to be tough to do by numbers.
Ken: A lot of the judgments are going to be qualitative but objective, like, if Iris had been killed then someone would have to share me as a mate, what fun! Look, emotion isn't bad and you're not supposed to fall a hundred percent on the objective side, but a hundred percent otterly is going to lead you into some pretty obvious errors.
Night: Thanks, Ken, for sharing that assignment. When I'm done let's go over it together and then show it to, let's see, probably Simba would be the best one. OK? And maybe other people might want to do it too, and we can talk together about our results. Now going back to what you said that set me off, I can sort of see that your computer program would have trouble being objective about someone's reasons. Well, here's an idea: suppose there's a maximum of eighteen percent no matter how long you hold on to the money. Then a person in trouble wouldn't get totally ripped off on top of it.
Ken: It's not my favorite, but the penalty is big enough that people would avoid it if they could. What do other people think?
Me: It's about the penalties you said, right, with the addition that for longer times the penalty stays at eighteen. If that's the rule, you have my thumb up.
People take a moment to make up their minds, and we end up with unanimous consent.
Ken: Aah, the hardest one is finished! I voted for it even though it wasn't my favorite, because I thought it was important that Night and Titania should support it. The quadratic formula is a lot simpler. But I can see your reasons, why you think differently from me, and I didn't oppose you.
Xena: I've got a question. You said the adults wanted the money to flow smoothly, and Simba suggested this and that, but I thought the money system was our project and that you were designing it. Who's really in control here?
Ken: Well, I complained to Tiger about that too. Remember when she made Iris manage unblocking the drainage canal? It was our project, but it was obvious that she wasn't going to let her mat get wet, and if she thought Iris was screwing it up she would have whispered very pointed criticisms in his ear. Isn't that right, Iris?
Iris: Yes, that's what she told me she'd do, and you're saying the money system is the same thing: we have to do our best, because we're going to be all alone here, nobody in the entire universe who could get us out of trouble in less than 38 years, and we have to learn what to do. But they're not going to plant us upside down; if we mess up they'll insist that we fix it, before they die. It's that way for everything, and we'll be seeing a lot more of this kind of stuff, I think. I'm not looking forward to it, but even less I look forward to finding out what they've forgotten to teach us.
Xena: That's scary!
Iris: Damn right! And I think, Warrior Princess, that you're being very prudent to be scared. But you're brave, right?
Xena: Of course! We're all going to be brave, whatever happens, because we're Novanima. Right, everyone? And Ken is being very brave too: he's stuck between us, who don't much like what he's trying to get us to do, and the adults, who think it's important. He's as brave as Iris was. Ken, I'm going to give you a hug.
Ken isn't exactly the cuddly type, but we all line up and give him a good one, and he puts up with it.
Over the next week the money system settles down. Ken has to tinker with the transaction forms and the pricing models for common tasks like the dome covers, but mostly it's working and staying stable. The penalty for not spending money gets the investments flowing into the new bug tank. I'm good at hand work, and I put in several shifts with Valeria and Willie winding the polyimide fibers over a big inflated form while smearing plastic glop over them. Like most other people I decide to do as Simba did, to take my pay in the form of an ownership share, which brings up the question of how much tax we owe. That prompts another two-thirds vote, which I acquiesce in, making it unanimous, on a rule that it would be cheating to claim that we hadn't gotten any money for our work so we owed no tax. But fair market value? It's obvious in this case that I should be considered to have gotten paid the standard rate and then given the money right back in exchange for ownership, but if a product, like a picture I paint, could have been sold but instead was given, how do you assess what it hypothetically could have been sold for? Every time we turn around the money system gets more complicated.
And making the physical money is complicated too. A lot of people worked on it. Valeria and Willie designed a machine to squash flat metal discs, and Simba and I worked on designing and then hand-cutting hard steel dies with the pictures on them, the lion face on one side and feather grass on the other. Wilma and Oso researched the material; they copied what's used in Terra's European Union: a very pretty brass, copper modified with zinc and aluminum and a little tin. The coins are worth 0.2 fangs each. Eventually we'll have lots of denominations, but it's so much work to cut the dies and we can't take too much time away from gluing dome covers. I figure that dividing the time that went into the physical money by the number of coins we made, each 0.2 fang coin is really worth about 0.5 fang.
I'd like the 0.05 fang coin to come next, and it will be in copper (we don't have the technology for copper over steel like the Europeans use), and I'm going to put a forest of redwood trees on the reverse, to match the color. But that will have to wait until we get most of the auxiliary domes covered.
The portrait of Simba came out good, by the way, and Simba liked it. But who should pay the tax on it? We decided, by another two-thirds vote, that if I traded work or products with Simba then I would pay tax on what I received and he would pay on what he got, fair market value, but a gift is when we're just trying to be nice to the other person, and we're supposed to be able to tell the difference, and there would be no tax. More complication, and gifts are a big opportunity for someone to try to cheat, I'm afraid. Well, like Ken said, money is a lot more complicated than it looks. And a lot more dangerous than little metal discs should rightly be.