Yet another random currency discussion

Actually guys in Metro 2033 used anything as a currency, if you haven’t read the books. That includes any valuable things like ammo (not only pre-war 5.45), vodka and other rare and hard-to-make things. Which is quite intuitive, as you’d want to trade your goods for something that has a value everywhere. Which, again, in the case of dollars… well, dollars are just paper. That’s why people don’t use them anymore after the world ends.

Dollars have value as currency, it’s just that issues arise when people stop considering it valuable. Possibly when you reach the point where you’re forced to burn it as fuel.

I played a game once which described it as “No one was really sure if money would still have value in the apocalypse and, suddenly, it didn’t.”

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Dollars (and every currency, by extension) don’t have value because people consider it valuable. You also need something to have a measure of scarcity and the people who have it must have a willingness to exchange it for something else of value.

Also I’m pretty sure paper money makes a terrible fuel, especially when there’s enough wood to go around now…

I was talking more in terms of Metro, when they’re in the subway with reasonably limited wood/paper. Also, wood is fine for normal burning, but not great starting out. Paper money would probably be useful for starting, especially if everything else is wet in winter or what have you.

Exactly. Money only has value because people are willing to swap it for things of value, i.e, they consider it to have value. Not really valuable in and of itself, but it holds the promise of value. That relies on having some form of trading going on, but that’s required for anything to have value anyway.

Money used to be backed by the gold reserves of the country issuing it, but that’s mostly not done anymore. Now it’s basically just the value of that currency against other currencies, and what people are willing to give for that currency.

It’s hard to tell whether or not currency would have value after an apocalypse since (to my knowledge) there’s no real data to go off of.

I really feel like money would have much less value in the cataclysm than it does currently, by giving traders a good deal you should perhaps get a sorta IOU positive reputation with them to make future things a bit cheaper to trade for until the IOU runs out, but I think retaining money from trades is stupid.

Also the player seems to retain currency, yet not carry it?
Doesn’t this turn NPCs into ‘money’ farms, then free stuff farms the moment you can trade with any because they’ll just buy whatever and the game lets you cash out in the refugee camp.

Money loses value in an apocalypse primarily because of its availability. Or at least that’s how I’ve interpreted things in my post-apocalyptic writing. It’s not that people don’t recognize a value in the cash (People still need a ‘currency’, even if it’s not practically useful) because you could obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars just by going out and looking for it. IE: Look at Zombieland. One character goes so far as to wipe his tears with hundred dollar bills because they’re essentially useless.

The other issue, as established, is whether people put faith in that currency or not. Regardless of what you choose to use as currency, if a group assigns a value to that currency then it has value.

IE: Let’s say you add ‘character-owned’ vending machines to the game. They restock on a regular basis (non-existent NPC traders or bandits or whatever restock them) and the player has an outlet for spending that currency. It doesn’t matter whether the player views that currency as valuable or not because the group doing the selling DOES value the currency, therefore assigning it a value.

What I’m saying is that it doesn’t need to be overthought. If you decide to make a currency for the game, then that currency will automatically work in the confines of the game.

Fallout is an excellent example of this, using bottlecaps as currency. The simple reality is that you can get bottlecaps for free, free money, simply by opening a soda. They’re virtually worthless, would be easily counterfeited, and can be found everywhere. However, the traders in the game have assigned a value to those caps and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you, personally, would think.

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Pet peeve of mine, “trade goods with intrinsic value” are not “currency”, they’re trade goods. In particular, they will not:

  1. Be accepted universally.
  2. Have a universal value.

Also, see:

For some previous discussions.

Generally speaking, situations like that just cause inflation. Items start to be worth more money because the money is so common, and there’s far more cash spread between far fewer people.

It makes things more difficult since you need to carry around massive wads of cash to buy things from other survivors, but that’s not too big of a deal. Still better than minted silver or something, and it means that merchants setting up a compound and a place to store their own (and others’) money would be quite feasible.

Getting a massive pile of cash would still be fairly difficult. It would still require breaking open a bank vault or something, it’s not like the apocalypse undid all security measures humans go to to protect their money.

It’s pretty much a given that once some semblance of trading begins, some form of currency would be required, and like you’ve said, whatever the traders use is what everyone will use. Ammunition would be one option, but then you have the issue of literally throwing money at things that attack you, trying to balance between defence and cost-effectiveness, things like that.

Plus, if your currency is something practical, then it only has value to those that need to do that thing, so you run the risk of your currency losing value once everyone, for example, has solar powered laser guns. Also, anything you use is going to be excessively bulky and heavy if you manage to amass a decent amount of value. It doesn’t actually make any more sense than just bartering.

Bottle caps are still chunks of metal, so they’re bulky and heavy as well. In their case they are still only valuable as currency, and they’re inferior to actual money.

Current money is specifically designed to be good currency. It’s plentiful, but limited, and pretty much impossible to counterfeit post-apocalypse. Honestly, I’m not sure why Fallout uses the bottlecap system.

Tl:Dr Money is actually pretty good money. It would make sense to keep using it as money.

As for the availability of money, I think it depends on the type of apocalypse. If it’s a slow burning apocalypse, something that happens over a few weeks, I think that money would be everywhere. The first thing most people would do is pack up their shit, draw as much money as they can from the bank, and try to bail.

Not to mention that people would be extorting each other for money. IE: You can get on my boat but it’ll cost you three grand. You can have this can of gas for all your cash. I think people naturally look at money as a necessity, even if the world is ending, and there will always be people wanting to horde it, expecting the apocalypse to end.

But that’s just my take.

perhaps having $ prices in items inflate as the cataclysm goes on?
Also, requiring players to carry cash would balance things better, because as it is we can sorta just keep infinite cash magically?

In Cataclysm it was pretty fast, the game begins at 5 days after the apocalypse started if I’m not mistaken, I think people were mainly likely to just grab what was useful and run for the hills if they got the chance.

That’s a pretty negative way of looking at things. People aren’t always good, but they tend to band together during stuff like this, and I think money would be pretty low on most people’s list of priorities when safety in numbers is worth so much more, plus, doing shit like wanting 3 grand to get on a boat would be a great way to get shot. Being scared shitless is a great way to stop people from being assholes.

But, that’s my two cents. I’m not a behaviourist and I’ve never been in a zombie apocalypse so shrug

o_o I fully acknowledge that I have a very dark worldview. I also write a lot, and it’s mostly post-apocalyptic stuff where everyone but the protagonist is a would-be rapist, murderer, and/or thief.

Not to bring everyone down.

Repeating from the many links I posted, dda will not treat preexisting cash as valuable except for individuals who don’t understand the transition, like robots programmed to respect money, or isolated or deranged individuals who don’t know civilisation has ended.

All you need to do is empty a few retail tills or safes and you have tens of thousands of dollars.

Wood in Metro universe is not actually that hard to get, because the world above the tunnels is just covered in trees and there are not that many people living underground to consume it faster than it can be naturally replenished. The books mention novice stalkers being regularily sent above to get some wood as a sort of training.

As for the real world scenarios… Well, war zones, wartime economies, prisons, uncontrolled territories, you name it. Sometimes people accept money as a payment, generally if there is some hope of keeping it and putting it to good use after the situation is resolved. If not - vodka, cigarettes, ammo, precious metals/stones are your best guess.

P.S. try and find some info about German pre-war ‘bonds’ and warbonds. And how the total value of all bonds sold was around 2-3 times the German GDP. Currency with no value at all? Nice idea, seems to work.

Wood probably isn’t hard to get, but tinder for actually starting fires is a bit harder since I don’t know how much small brush survived the nukes.

Immediately post-Armistice Germany was a shitshow for inflation, but people did still use the money.

Yes, but if we assume significant inflation that’s only enough for maybe some clothes and a meal? Plus, if there’s zombies then that’s much easier said than done.

In the end, money is only valuable if you have someone who will take it and apparently that’s just vending machines so eh.

There’s a couple of interesting things we learn about currency from watching MMOs.

First, and most importantly, a currency is only respected if a) we trust the issuer will make a consistent amount of it at regular intervals, and b) someone will accept it at a predictable exchange rate.

Both of those things require that the user trust in the continued existence of the provider and receiver. In the modern day, governments fill both those roles. BitCoin is such a wildly fluctuating valuation because people don’t trust that anyone who takes BitCoin will still be around next year.

Currency in CDDA suffers from this problem as well. The refugee center has a currency and an expectation that there will be merchants who take that currency (both in game and from the player perspective). But that’s the only place, aside from vending machines, where you have enough governance structure for a currency to form.

Tangent: it would be a fascinating commentary on The End Days if the cop bots could be bribed to leave you alone, whether by paying a fine, or simply as systemic corruption.

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