Worldbuilding Wednesday – Economy – August 2

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The economic portion of worldbuilding is often one that people gloss over, which is understandable. It’s not always vital to the plot, but it will come into play in some way, whether your characters will use money or not. So these are the things you need to consider… 

The Goods

What do your characters have? The resources around them will be the first things that they are able to use to acquire what they do not have. This is where export goods will evolve, and possibly what a region might be famous for (like a certain type of much-desired wood).

What do your characters lack? These are the goods they will need to acquire, whether it is wool for making sturdy winter clothing, or salt. Who does have them, and how does it make it to where it is needed?

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What do your characters want? These are going to be the luxury goods, things that are not necessary for day-to-day life, but simply for enjoyment. It might be an exotic spice, a nice length of silk, or a book.

When you know some of the goods that need to be transferred between parties, you can start to figure out how that happens and what the cost is.

At its most basic, everything is barter. You are trading either something you don’t want or something you have an abundance of for something else that you need or want.

The Currency

If your characters are not bartering straight goods – eggs in exchange for fabric, that sort of thing – then they’ll be trading some sort of currency for goods.

Currency can be anything from leaves to coinage to printed paper to digital vouchers (like Bitcoin – because who ever thought THAT was actually going to take off, right?)

Mainly, you need to have a basic concept of what the value of currency is for your fictional world. Keep in mind that if you’re having travel in your story, the value of currency may change based on where your characters are located. Some currency may not be recognized in certain countries at all. As long as you’re dealing with a non-digital currency, though, precious gems and metals will often be good either as currency, or as something that can be traded or sold for currency, no matter where they are.

Economy & Life

Depending on the scope of your plot, it may affect the economy. Wars can send resources into high demand, and it can also destroy resources altogether. A famine in one country might mean a shortage for themselves and one of the countries where they export product.

You might like this post, too:   Worldbuilding Wednesday - Birth - July 12th

When a resource becomes subject to a shortage, or disappears altogether, producers – both local and foreign – will quickly scramble to come up with substitutes, which can also change the face of a local economy.

Further Questions

  1. What’s inside your main character’s wallet?
  2. What is your main character’s country/region/hometown known for producing?
  3. What is the most exotic item your main character has ever seen, and where was it from?

Can’t wait to see your response posts – don’t forget to submit them in the link list below! Please review the rules and guidelines for Worldbuilding Wednesday before participating. Thank you!

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5 thoughts on “Worldbuilding Wednesday – Economy – August 2

  1. I’ve already done a post about economics in the Zombie Apocalypse recently but I dashed something off anyone for today. In spite of being distracted by some of my cats having babies. One of my cats, Umberto, jumped in the kitten box, had one kitten, and adopted the rest which was a great help to my mama cat Charybdis who is raising her own four kittens plus Connie 2’s kittens— Connie 2 went nuts and chewed off a few of a kittens’ toes, so she’s back outside. But Umberto helps nurse the kittens and has no appetite for kitten toes.

    1. Eek, nomming kitten toes is not good! Last summer at this time, I was raising baby chickens because my broody gave up 2 weeks into incubation. I’ll get to looking at your post tomorrow, today has been a bit busy!

  2. I love this hop theme! These are all things I considered when building the world of my current WIP series. However, I hadn’t thought of what my MC would consider “exotic” and I am totally stumped.

What do you think?