“And these,” I say, motioning to the stack of metal discs on Pan’s booth, “are coins. Earth’s economy is entirely based upon the transmutation of coins.”
“How so?” Ro asks, flashing his beautifully wrinkled smile.
The moment that Ro arrived at our tent this morning, I decided that he was a man. As far as we know, this culture has no such concept—but a man is what I want, and Ro will have to do. In my line of work, you can’t get hung up on the details.
“Allow me to demonstrate,” I say. “Suppose you own some surplus metal objects, like some knives and spoons.” (I wait for Ro to nod in comprehension. I explained spoons a few minutes ago.) “So, you take your knives and spoons and melt them down into coins.” I gesture to Hyacinth’s glowing furnace, a few booths over, where some other locals have gathered. “Now, suppose one day there’s a leak in your roof and you need some nails to repair it. You take some of your coins,” I take a few off the stack, “and go back to the blacksmith and ask for nails. The blacksmith melts the coins again, casts them in a mold, and,” I pull some nails out of my front pocket, “now you have nails. As compensation, the blacksmith takes a portion of the metal, usually around five percent. This process of melting and re-forging is known as liquidity.”