The Latest News
Connect with Us

Notable Releases
From the Store
Game of Thrones House Baratheon Laptop Skins
House Baratheon Laptop Skin
HBO US
Featured Sites
License Holders

Jump to content


Photo

The Economy of Martin World


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
100 replies to this topic

#41 SeanF

SeanF

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,446 posts

Posted 08 February 2012 - 06:36 AM

Well, it's only a guess. I think it's a reasonable guess, however. On checking Ran's link, I see that there are in fact 210 stags to the dragon. I doubt if it's coincidence that the exchange rate for dragons/stags almost matches that for pounds/pennies. And, a single man in late fourteenth century England certainly could live well for a year on a little over £3.

By our standards, the Crown debt of Westeros is very little. However, there was likely no concept of governments borrowing long-term at low rates of interest, on the understanding that there was an asbolute guarantee of repayment, (I don't think this happened anywhere until the creation of the Bank of England). Likely, lenders lent on the basis that there was a high risk of default, and borrowers borrowed to meet immediate shortfalls in expenditure. So, loans would have been repayable on demand, and interest rates would have been usurious (say 25-50%).

Barring an industrial revolution in Westeros, the North will always be relatively poor due to its climate.

#42 voodooqueen126

voodooqueen126

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,542 posts

Posted 08 February 2012 - 07:41 AM

Well, it's only a guess. I think it's a reasonable guess, however. On checking Ran's link, I see that there are in fact 210 stags to the dragon. I doubt if it's coincidence that the exchange rate for dragons/stags almost matches that for pounds/pennies. And, a single man in late fourteenth century England certainly could live well for a year on a little over £3.

By our standards, the Crown debt of Westeros is very little. However, there was likely no concept of governments borrowing long-term at low rates of interest, on the understanding that there was an asbolute guarantee of repayment, (I don't think this happened anywhere until the creation of the Bank of England). Likely, lenders lent on the basis that there was a high risk of default, and borrowers borrowed to meet immediate shortfalls in expenditure. So, loans would have been repayable on demand, and interest rates would have been usurious (say 25-50%).

Barring an industrial revolution in Westeros, the North will always be relatively poor due to its climate.

But aren't Germany and Belgium and Holland rather cold places too?

#43 fluffywarthog

fluffywarthog

    Sellsword

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts

Posted 08 February 2012 - 07:49 PM

But aren't Germany and Belgium and Holland rather cold places too?


More than cold, the North is simply unsettled. For whatever reason, the Northern lords and peasants simply couldn't expand or settle any more than a few isolated spots in the upper continent. This may just be because of the constant cycle of seasons, of older and less egalitarian land usage laws, or simply that no one ever made that big of an effort (in contrast to Ned's unfulfilled plan for resettlement and redevelopment).

It's also implied that the New Gift (and the North in general) are less settled than they used to be, simply because of the decline of the Night's Watch and increasing frequency of successful Wildling raids. This itself may result from the relative unity of the Seven Kingdoms, and the more-stable political environment.

Northern England and the "civilized" (Latin-speaking) parts of Scotland suffered severe depopulation and loss of authority in the transitional beginning of the Dark Ages, when both imperial and local military protection declined. Even if there were plenty of forts and castles in the vicinity, the threat of Pict and Caledonian raiders were enough to force the farmers of whole villages and stretches of cultivated land south into Yorkshire and the Midlands, essentially emptying out thousands of acres.

It took the arrival of Germanic and Norse a few centuries later invasions to unify the southern English tribes/lords/nations/what-have-you, and create the next "proper" regional military and defensive force. Even then, it wasn't until the Norman conquest and the unifying of legal, militant, and social systems before the north and Scotland approached the same population density-to-arable land as the south (or as the Roman lands).

The cold doesn't make a difference; it's the static, conservative mindset of the Northern lords that keep the North from being settled properly. Part of it is the idea of adhering to the "Old Ways," part of it is preoccupation with Southern or regional politics, but there's far less practical attention paid by the Northern lords to their own lands and smallfolk than by the Southern lords. No one seems intent on expanding their trading or tax base, or on civilizing the Wolfswood, the valleys, or anything in-between.

#44 voodooqueen126

voodooqueen126

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,542 posts

Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:40 PM

More than cold, the North is simply unsettled. For whatever reason, the Northern lords and peasants simply couldn't expand or settle any more than a few isolated spots in the upper continent. This may just be because of the constant cycle of seasons, of older and less egalitarian land usage laws, or simply that no one ever made that big of an effort (in contrast to Ned's unfulfilled plan for resettlement and redevelopment).

It's also implied that the New Gift (and the North in general) are less settled than they used to be, simply because of the decline of the Night's Watch and increasing frequency of successful Wildling raids. This itself may result from the relative unity of the Seven Kingdoms, and the more-stable political environment.

Northern England and the "civilized" (Latin-speaking) parts of Scotland suffered severe depopulation and loss of authority in the transitional beginning of the Dark Ages, when both imperial and local military protection declined. Even if there were plenty of forts and castles in the vicinity, the threat of Pict and Caledonian raiders were enough to force the farmers of whole villages and stretches of cultivated land south into Yorkshire and the Midlands, essentially emptying out thousands of acres.

It took the arrival of Germanic and Norse a few centuries later invasions to unify the southern English tribes/lords/nations/what-have-you, and create the next "proper" regional military and defensive force. Even then, it wasn't until the Norman conquest and the unifying of legal, militant, and social systems before the north and Scotland approached the same population density-to-arable land as the south (or as the Roman lands).

The cold doesn't make a difference; it's the static, conservative mindset of the Northern lords that keep the North from being settled properly. Part of it is the idea of adhering to the "Old Ways," part of it is preoccupation with Southern or regional politics, but there's far less practical attention paid by the Northern lords to their own lands and smallfolk than by the Southern lords. No one seems intent on expanding their trading or tax base, or on civilizing the Wolfswood, the valleys, or anything in-between.

So what policies does the next Lord of Winterfell/Regent for Rickon
need to have in order to make the North prosperous.
To be remembered in history as a major figure preticipating the equivalent of the Northern Renaissance?

#45 David Selig

David Selig

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,403 posts

Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:04 AM

I've always thought Martin simply made a mistakes with the prizes in the Hand's Tourney, they are way, way too big. 10 thousands for an archery competition? Come on...

How the hell did Anguy manage to spend 10 thousand golden dragons on prostitutes and wine in about a year or less, BTW? It's a wonder he survived. /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

Edited by David Selig, 09 February 2012 - 04:42 AM.


#46 fluffywarthog

fluffywarthog

    Sellsword

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts

Posted 11 February 2012 - 11:40 AM

So what policies does the next Lord of Winterfell/Regent for Rickon
need to have in order to make the North prosperous.
To be remembered in history as a major figure preticipating the equivalent of the Northern Renaissance?


Ned's one big idea was to resettle the New Gift with second sons and migrant farmers from the South; it would remove pressure on the nobles of the South to find something to do with their children, provide new revenues and levies for the Night's Watch, and serve as a further buffer between the Wildlings and the other Northern lords. This would've taken a lot of legal work and cooperation from King Robert and each Lord Paramount, but it would've resulted in a major improvement in the North and prevented the decline of the Night's Watch.

#47 Jaak

Jaak

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,238 posts

Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:23 AM

Given the size of a Star - 2,3 g silver - we can easily see that 1 dragon is worth approximately 480 g silver.

Thus the discharge of Crown debt requires payment of roughly 3000 tons of silver.

This is approximately 120 000 talents - the Achaemenid Great Kings amassed 180 000 talent treasure, which the Diadochi spent.

Caligula inherited from Tiberius a treasury of about 2,7 milliard sesterces - which is close to 6 million dragons. And spent it in his reign, of less than 4 years.

Sir Isaac Newton decided that one pound sterling was worth about 120 g sterlimg. Thus 6 million dragons are around 25 million pounds of 18th century.

#48 Jaak

Jaak

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,238 posts

Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:24 AM

Given the size of a Star - 2,3 g silver - we can easily see that 1 dragon is worth approximately 480 g silver.

Thus the discharge of Crown debt requires payment of roughly 3000 tons of silver.

This is approximately 120 000 talents - the Achaemenid Great Kings amassed 180 000 talent treasure, which the Diadochi spent.

Caligula inherited from Tiberius a treasury of about 2,7 milliard sesterces - which is close to 6 million dragons. And spent it in his reign, of less than 4 years.

Sir Isaac Newton decided that one pound sterling was worth about 120 g sterlimg. Thus 6 million dragons are around 25 million pounds of 18th century.

#49 SeanF

SeanF

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,446 posts

Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:44 AM

So what policies does the next Lord of Winterfell/Regent for Rickon
need to have in order to make the North prosperous.
To be remembered in history as a major figure preticipating the equivalent of the Northern Renaissance?


Typically, lords and abbeys who were trying to establish new towns and villages in the wilderness in medieval times would offer generous terms to new settlers. These would typically include freedom from labour services, low rents, and several years' remission of taxes.

#50 Independent George

Independent George

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,895 posts

Posted 28 February 2012 - 01:01 AM

The cold doesn't make a difference; it's the static, conservative mindset of the Northern lords that keep the North from being settled properly. Part of it is the idea of adhering to the "Old Ways," part of it is preoccupation with Southern or regional politics, but there's far less practical attention paid by the Northern lords to their own lands and smallfolk than by the Southern lords. No one seems intent on expanding their trading or tax base, or on civilizing the Wolfswood, the valleys, or anything in-between.


It always seemed to me that the North is less populous primarily because of the cycle of winters. If you don't know how long your winters will be, the tendency should be to spread out as far as possible, so that you have enough land to rotate your crops without depletion, while maintaining enough surplus to last several years. Spreading out also means fewer mouths to feed in a given area. Meanwhile, each winter seems likely to cause significant losses to population.

In a pre-industrial society, I'm not sure what the North has to trade besides timber (possibly for sale in Bravos?), but with a low population density, they ought to be able to sustain themselves with subsistence agriculture. I'm not sure how prevalent the various metals are, but copper is definitely mined north of the wall (the Thenns forge their own bronze tools), so it's probably available throughout the north.

I would expect the Vale to be poor farmland, but with plentiful fish, and seem likely to quarry stone. Sheep seems to be the main commodity on the fingers, so I assume wool would be a main export.

Dorne and the southernmost of the Free Cities appears to be situated like the Mediterranean - warm weather yields both agricultural surplus, while the coastline allows easy transportation of goods. I believe silk comes Volantis, so textiles are probably a major industry there. Dorne is renowned for spices and strong red wines.

The Reach makes milder white wines, and also has a significant agricultural surplus. The Lannisters obviously dominate the gold supply, and the Manderlys mine silver. The Riverlands seem very fertile, and controlling the waterways means controlling the cheapest means of transport for trade along the interior.

#51 Catastrophe

Catastrophe

    Noble

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 567 posts

Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:26 PM

I've always thought Martin simply made a mistakes with the prizes in the Hand's Tourney, they are way, way too big. 10 thousands for an archery competition? Come on...

How the hell did Anguy manage to spend 10 thousand golden dragons on prostitutes and wine in about a year or less, BTW? It's a wonder he survived. /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />


This is probably true. I always got the impression that GRRM was basically thinking of golden dragon as being equivalent to a few dollars back then, in which case 10,000 would be a reasonable prize. The fact that they're actually worth a lot more than that makes the whole Tourney of the Hand seem quite bizarre, in retrospect.

Of course, it could be that Robert really liked giving away insanely huge amounts of money for no real reason. I certainly wouldn't put it past him. It also could've been part of Littlefinger's supposed plot to bankrupt the kingdom, if you believe that was deliberate on his part.

#52 Independent George

Independent George

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,895 posts

Posted 28 February 2012 - 10:52 PM

Does anybody else get the impression that a substantial portion of the crown's debt is owed... to Littlefinger?

#53 Ser Lepus

Ser Lepus

    Magnar of the First Men

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,809 posts

Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:52 PM

Does anybody else get the impression that a substantial portion of the crown's debt is owed... to Littlefinger?

I think Littlefinger has embezzled at least several hundreds of thousands of gold dragons, maybe a whole million...I mean, if nobody, not even Tyrion is able to trace the money, why wouldn´t he take some for himself? Littlefinger is not the most honest man in the kingdom, after all.

Given how primitive are the westerosi financial practices (they go around carrying chests of gold instead of letters of change, and they don´t even have their own banks) unless Littlefinger takes physical coins from the treasury to his own house, they won´t notice the defalcation; Petyr could, for example, borrow money in the name of the crown and invest it in his own businesses, no physical gold would be exchanged, only parchments, and as long as he could buy again the debt, nobody would notice.

Edited by Ser Lepus, 03 March 2012 - 06:13 PM.


#54 Catastrophe

Catastrophe

    Noble

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 567 posts

Posted 03 March 2012 - 05:19 PM

Agreed, though I think Littlefinger did more than just embezzle money. I think he actively tried to put the Crown in debt, as a way of destabilizing the Iron Throne. Making a hefty personal profit was just the icing on the cake.

#55 Fire Eater

Fire Eater

    Ghost Haunting Valyria

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,953 posts

Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:09 AM

I would expect the Vale to be poor farmland, but with plentiful fish, and seem likely to quarry stone. Sheep seems to be the main commodity on the fingers, so I assume wool would be a main export.

Dorne and the southernmost of the Free Cities appears to be situated like the Mediterranean - warm weather yields both agricultural surplus, while the coastline allows easy transportation of goods. I believe silk comes Volantis, so textiles are probably a major industry there. Dorne is renowned for spices and strong red wines.


It is mentioned in both AGoT and ADwD that the Vale is famously fertile, even more so than Highgarden as Catelyn remarks:

Even in Highgarden, the pumpkins were no larger nor the fruit any sweeter than here.


Also, Dorne produce citrus fruits, pomegranates and olives.

A little idea of mine is what of they could extend the Fever River and make a grand canal in the Neck with a line of trees along it, connecting the Sunset and Narrow Seas. It would be a great source of profit for both the North and the Iron Throne. If the Chinese could build the Grand Canal, the Westerosi can build this canal.

Edited by Fire Eater, 09 March 2012 - 04:10 AM.


#56 Independent George

Independent George

    Council Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,895 posts

Posted 12 March 2012 - 04:25 PM

It is mentioned in both AGoT and ADwD that the Vale is famously fertile, even more so than Highgarden as Catelyn remarks


Geographically, that makes little sense to me. The Vale is in the middle of a mountain range - not the highlands leading up to the mountains, but smack dab in the middle of them. That's not the kind of place you typically expect fertile farmland with consistent precipitation.

#57 Fire Eater

Fire Eater

    Ghost Haunting Valyria

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,953 posts

Posted 12 March 2012 - 04:38 PM

Geographically, that makes little sense to me. The Vale is in the middle of a mountain range - not the highlands leading up to the mountains, but smack dab in the middle of them. That's not the kind of place you typically expect fertile farmland with consistent precipitation.


Vale means "valley" and the Vale of Arryn is a large one surrounded by the mountain range not in it. Read the books more often, and you'll see. It rains in the Vale at Littlefinger's tower in ASoS. You forget the Vale isn't entirely surrounded by mountains, it also borders the sea.

Plus, precipitation isn't the only known source of water. The Vale is "a tranquil land of rich black soil, wide slow-moving rivers and hundreds of small lakes." The Vale has rivers and lakes.

AGoT Catelyn:

Wheat and corn and barley grew high in its fields, and even in Highgarden, the pumpkins were no larger nor the fruit any sweeter than here.


ADwD Jon:

The Vale of Arryn was famously fertile.


Edited by Fire Eater, 13 March 2012 - 08:32 PM.


#58 AzureOwl

AzureOwl

    Sellsword

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 128 posts

Posted 25 March 2012 - 06:20 PM

A little idea of mine is what of they could extend the Fever River and make a grand canal in the Neck with a line of trees along it, connecting the Sunset and Narrow Seas. It would be a great source of profit for both the North and the Iron Throne. If the Chinese could build the Grand Canal, the Westerosi can build this canal.

But who would finance such a great construction? With the exception of the Kingsroad there is no evidence that there are any great infrastructure projects ever built in Westeros. And considering the low regard with which commerce is treated in Westeros, would you be really convinced to invest so heavily on something that would only benefit traders?

The Lannisters are the main market in the Sunset Sea and they look down on merchants. The Tyrells in the Reach might also benefit, but the Hightowers would use their influence to sabotage any support for such a project, since they do understand the economic importance of trade and would realize inmediately that a Neck Canal would divert a significant portion of the shipping moving thru Oldtown. Same deal to a lesser degree with the Martells.

Basically, a Neck Canal would have to be entierely financed by the North, the Iron Throne or both in partnership. Either that or borrowing from the Braavosi.


#59 Fire Eater

Fire Eater

    Ghost Haunting Valyria

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,953 posts

Posted 25 March 2012 - 07:08 PM

But who would finance such a great construction? With the exception of the Kingsroad there is no evidence that there are any great infrastructure projects ever built in Westeros. And considering the low regard with which commerce is treated in Westeros, would you be really convinced to invest so heavily on something that would only benefit traders?

The Lannisters are the main market in the Sunset Sea and they look down on merchants. The Tyrells in the Reach might also benefit, but the Hightowers would use their influence to sabotage any support for such a project, since they do understand the economic importance of trade and would realize inmediately that a Neck Canal would divert a significant portion of the shipping moving thru Oldtown. Same deal to a lesser degree with the Martells.

Basically, a Neck Canal would have to be entierely financed by the North, the Iron Throne or both in partnership. Either that or borrowing from the Braavosi.


The Lannisters know the importance of merchants in the economy just as much as anyone, in the real world, the nobility encouraged trade and commerce, it was one of the reasons for building towns and cities. Traders include everyone involved in trade such as the nobles who collect taxes on trade, and the transportation of grain and other commodities is reduced in cost and time with a Grand Canal. The Grand Canal in China was built in a country with a quite similar feudal socio-economic system yet it proved to be a major economic benefit, especially in transporting grain that was collected in taxes to the capital.

Edited by Fire Eater, 27 March 2012 - 12:17 AM.


#60 stormborns

stormborns

    Freerider

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts

Posted 26 March 2012 - 09:22 AM

I've always imagined Braavos as Venice, the hub of the trade and one of the wealthiest Itallian cities in the Middle Age. Venice stretches across many small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy. The saltwater lagoon stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po (south) and the Piave (north) rivers, so it resembles Braavos a lot. What's more, Venice is world-famous for its canals. It is built on an archipelago of 118 islands in a shallow lagoon. The islands on which the city is built are connected by about 400 bridges.

Venice used to be called a queen of the seas. By 1450, more than 3,000 Venetian merchant ships were in operation, and most of these could be converted when necessary into either warships or transports. The government required each merchant ship to carry a specified number of weapons (mostly crossbows and javelins) and armor; merchant passengers were also expected to be armed and to fight when necessary. A reserve of some 25 (later 100) war-galleys was maintained in the Arsenal. Galley slaves did not exist in medieval Venice, the oarsmen coming from the city itself or from its possessions, especially Dalmatia. Those from the city were chosen by lot from each parish, their families being supported by the remainder of the parish while the rowers were away. Debtors generally worked off their obligations rowing the galleys. Rowing skills were encouraged through races and regattas.

There, the trade was roaring for sure.


I'm confused when it comes to this. In relation to TWoIaF, I would like to see a map showing relations between each country, nothing too specific, but you get the idea.
And in general, I get the feeling that Westeros in general has 'problems' with Braavos, and yet is happy to deal with Braavos' money...Lannister/Baratheon repeats itself?