Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Currency of Leadership"

This poem is spillover from the April 3, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] sporky_rat plus discussions with [personal profile] kelly_holden, [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, and other fans. It also fills the "growth" square in my 4-1-18 card for the Spring Fest Bingo. This poem has been chosen in an audience poll as the free epic for the May 1, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl making its $200 goal. It belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"The Currency of Leadership"


It doesn't take long
after the introduction
of the new currency for
people to notice its appeal.

The Republic of the Maldives
has always had beautiful currency,
but the new illustrations and, especially,
the superpowered holographic seals
now place it a cut above the competition.

The vision-impaired people soon realize
that you don't need functioning eyes
in order to read the value. It is not
quite telepathic cash, but it's close.

This drives up demand in that sector,
which leads more blind people to choose
the Maldives for vacation or even immigration.

Quick to spot an opportunity, several resorts
upgrade their facilities and staff training for
serving vision-impaired guests. Cruise lines
grab the opportunity to host blind cruises,
bringing in still more traffic and profits.

This is also the world's first currency
which is 100% uncounterfeitable.

Other countries begin to take note.

China tries to sue the Maldives in
the International Court of Justice,
alleging the misappropriation
of a Chinese citizen.

Chops asserts that he felt
unwelcome and unsafe in
China, prefers the Maldives, and
refuses to return; President Latheef
backs him up and promises protection.

The Court dismisses China's suit.

More and more, though, the attention
takes the form of people carrying home
some of the Maldivian currency at
the end of their vacation here.

A certain amount of this is
accounted for in the economics,
but now it's rising fast -- far more than
the surge in tourism alone could explain.

President Latheef orders an investigation
and soon learns that now everyone wants
some of this uncounterfeitable currency.

He does a little digging on his own.
He is no expert, but it's not hard to turn up
reliable articles about the history of money,
counterfeiting, and what can happen when
an advance in countermeasures makes
one country's currency more desirable.

He explores the history of Roman money
and Britannian money, then the American dollar
which is currently the leading reserve currency
and also the most frequently traded one.

The aura, used in the Eurozone, is
technically an auxiliary currency because
each country retains its national currency --
but the aura has risen to second place
as a reserve and in the exchanges.

It's an hour-based currency that can
only be created via prosocial activities,
based primarily on the masterlist kept by
the Aurora Foundation in Sweden, although
nations that qualify to issue auras can also add
more qualifying actions based on local needs.

President Latheef notes the challenges
faced by the aura and its supporting nations
during the rapid rise, then realizes the rufiyaa
could be headed in the same direction if people
keep taking some home because of its security.

He sends out a message to the Super-Intellects
on his consultation list, asking if any of them have
an interest in economics or alternative currencies.

Before long, he gets replies from two men
and a woman offering whatever help he needs.

President Latheef thanks all of them for
their aid and directs them to contact
the Maldives Monetary Authority
to work out how much currency
will be needed and how much
they can spare to people who
want to use it in other places.

If necessary, he can ask Chops
to make more plates to expand
production, but he doesn't want
to pester the poor fellow.

Chops already has plenty
of assignments to make seals
and other official accessories.

One way or another, though,
President Latheef is determined
to take advantage of this growth
and turn it to his country's benefit.

He turns a 5 laari coin between
his fingers, watching the number
stand up and lie down as it moves.

The new money is almost ... magic.

No wonder everyone loves it,
the way it dances with the light.
He loves the fact that it symbolizes
the growing role of superpowers
in their little island nation, too.

President Latheef is already
mulling over the speech that
he will need to compose on
their evolving currency and
its role in the wider world.

He understands that
the currency of leadership
is transparency. You must be
truthful with your people
in order to succeed.

You can't make yourself
too vulnerable, but at times --
especially times of change --
you must share your soul and
conscience with people, show them
who you are, and not be afraid of it.

Besides, President Latheef wants
his people to see where he's taking them,
because it's going to be wonderful.

* * *

Notes:

"I think the currency of leadership is transparency. You've got to be truthful. I don't think you should be vulnerable every day, but there are moments where you've got to share your soul and conscience with people and show them who you are, and not be afraid of it."
-- Howard Schultz

Maldivian currency uses the rufiyaa, administrated by the Maldives Monetary Authority.

This is the old currency of the Maldives. This is the new currency. Unlike the local version, the Terramagne-Maldivian currency is printed on a synthetic which can be folded but will not crease. Check out the security features, handling, and exchange. This page shows notes in circulation. Maldivian coins have also gone through various iterations.

The history of money is long and complicated. Among the earliest versions was something called hacksilver -- literally chunks of precious metal valued by weight, and often cut from larger items such as a plate. In pursuit of more consistent currency, someone invented coins, and someone else promptly invented coin clipping. Ridged or other decorated edges on coins later evolved as a way to discourage clipping. Counterfeit money is another affront to the cash economy. In local-America, the victim of counterfeiting -- not the perpetrator -- is most often penalized because the counterfeit money is taken from them with nothing given in return. This is actively counterproductive because it encourages people to pass along fake cash to avoid getting burned. In Terramagne-America, the victim can turn in counterfeit money and get part or all of the value back in real money, depending on circumstances. Because records are kept, it's not an opportunity for counterfeiters to pass off their bills -- if the authorities spot a cluster of claims, they send in a team to hunt for the counterfeiters, with a pretty good success rate. This contributes to getting fake money out of circulation.

A global currency is one used widely outside its country of origin. A reserve currency is a highly valued one that countries stockpile for certain purposes. There are interesting debates over whether it would or would not be helpful if everyone used the same currency.

The Eurozone is a subset of the European Union using the euro as currency. The aura is a T-Eurozone currency similar to the L-Eurozone euro, but instead of a fiat currency, it is an hour-based currency. It can only be created by prosocial activity; the Aurora Foundation in Sweden issues a master list of qualifying work that everyone must recognize, but nations eligible to issue auras can add more activities based on local needs. This has a number of advantages: it's fair, because everyone has the same amount of time; it is backed by something of value; and it grows naturally in proportion to how much energy people invest in it. So each country can retain its national currency, but now they have an alternative currency to serve as a medium of exchange that all the members accept. It's quite popular.

Prosocial behavior forms the foundation of civilization and increases cohesion in a society. It supports the evolution of cooperation. There are many ways to promote prosocial behavior, such as cooperative games and volunteering. Here is a list of community service projects that might generate auras.

Vision-impaired design makes places more appealing to people with limited eyesight. There are basic and detailed guidelines for hospitality staff serving blind customers. Locally, there are a few hotels especially for blind people, but they are difficult to sustain. The tourism and hospitality sector makes up 22.7% of the GDP in the Maldives. With that experience, it is easy for them to leap into action the moment they spot a new niche market, and they excel at catering to customer needs.

Some cruises cater to blind people. Mind's Eye Travel is a travel agency specializing in vision-impaired customers. Eye Sea Travel includes that and seniors. Large corporations that offer many different themes may have a cruise for people with disabilities.

Tourism in the Maldives permeates much of the country, although it's not evenly spread -- some areas focus on tourists while others really don't. It's a huge part of the economy. You can get college degrees there in hospitality management and tourism studies.

The International Court of Justice gives countries a place to sue each other. It's not very effective, but better than nothing.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, economics, ethnic studies, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, politics, reading, weblit, writing
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