This idea has been bouncing around in my head for a while, but I didn’t think of writing it as a story (-ish thing, it’s more of a fictional non-fiction) until yesterday.
In the city-land of Mel – I call it that, for that truly is what it is; an island, a country, completely unaffiliated with any other, yet no bigger than what we would call a city – there are economical practices that differ much from those we are used to here.
In that land, their currency is called Quaf, a term that evolved over many years, the history of which we need not go into here.
It is used, in a large quantity of cases, much similar to how ours is, a set worth of sorts, for use as a standby, instead of the unpredictability of merely bartering. For example, a young sheep can often be bought, from a reasonable breeder, for sixteen quaf. A bundle of asparagus can be got usually for fifty meroquaf, one-hundred of which equal one quaf.
This all is much the same as our currency, with mainly the worth and names being different.
The Melese, for such they are called, also have another sub-category in their currency that we, as far as I have seen, have no parallel to. It is called the eliquaf, or, in smaller quantities, the elimeroquaf (although, in many cases that I have observed, this is merely shortened to elimquaf).
Essentially, what it is, is anti-money. Really, it is quite a fantastic concept, very unique to this civilization that has matured completely separate from all others.
For example, let us say such-and-such grocer wishes to buy four-hundred carrots from this-and-that farmer. Let us also say that the price of those carrots is, at a wholesale price, nineteen quaf and thirty-six meroquaf.
In this case, the grocer could pay the above price exactly, or he could pay with twenty quaf (a specifically-minted coin) and sixty-four elimeroquaf.
Elimeroquaf are, it would be fair to say, the currency that no one wants. It could be considered a debt that the holder of the money owes the other, but not one that will be “repaid”, in the common sense, for, in turn, the debt that he gained was merely attorned from some other source, that the giver had gotten from.
As I said, it is truly an ingenious system.
This system existed for hundreds of years, and continues to exist today, as far as I know.
There have been a few curious happenings that have spawned as eventualities of this system, one of which is the main reason I have written this.
Close to one-hundred years ago – I can’t remember the exact number as I write this, oddly – , while the system long-known and accepted, and become a strong part of the culture, while the quaf and eliquaf, the meroquaf and the elimeroquaf were being traded daily, a strange and small group, primarily consisting of young men and women, and led by two brothers, rose up out of obscurity, making a surprising wave of news and excitement that spread across Mel in a span of weeks.
The brothers had suddenly, and very much against tradition, though not necessarily against law, destroyed large quantities of eliquaf and elimeroquaf that they had been collecting for some time, by requesting larger sums of quaf, with appropriately negating amounts of eliquaf.
The majority at large was understandably, as would I, had a similarly base act be preformed in our world, abhorred at such a blatant show of disrespect for their traditions, and couldn’t understand the reasoning.
In the days and weeks that followed, more of the currency – or anti-currency, as it is – was destroyed, and the landspeople were increasingly horrified at it.
Shortly after a particularly stimulating rally, the brothers quieted down, and urged their followers and fellow rally-ers to do so as well. Soon afterwards, laws were made that prohibited citizens from destroying eliquaf and elimeroquaf, and no one else did.
No one else saw any reason to do so.
And still, today, trade takes place in the land of Mel, with the quaf and the eliquaf, the meroquaf and the elimeroquaf. And I pray that it will continue to do so.