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Mind on Your Money

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<Welcome to my parlor. For today's show... He doesn't shut up, does he? But he has a wonderful way with words.  here's rockafelon with his financial advisor sales pitch><SPIDER>

Hi-five assholes! It’s me, the best-looking under-licensed financial consultant and embezzlement expert this side of the Cayman Islands. You might remember me from that time I told you all how to do your jobs, or from those old days when I used to turn state’s evidence. I’m here today to tell you how you suck and you should give me all of your money.


You suck and you should give me all of your money.


There! I can go now.


What, you don’t want to give me all your money? Fine, let’s dance, mofo. I’m about to tell you everything you didn’t know about money in Purgatory, but were afraid to ask. But first, I need to teach you a couple things about money.

You can’t take it with you


Back on the high side, when you were a corporate exec, you might remember that money did three things in the real world:


  1. It was medium of exchange… you bought shit with it.

  2. It was a unit of measure… it measure how much things were worth (like, my shoes are $500 dollars! J/K, they’re like $20 bucks).

  3. It was a store of value… I could save money, and it would still be money in a while. If you don’t think that’s important, base your economy on the use of chicken eggs as a currency and see what happens.


There’s actually a fourth one, but no one ever fucking remembers it, and it’s bullshit for most people anyway.


Here’s your problem.  Here’s what “money” (and by that I mean “credits”) is in Purgatory, for all intents and purposes:


  1. A way to buy shit… i.e. a medium of exchange.


That’s because we don’t really have money, we have credits, which is just a fancy form of corporate script. What’s more, since you’re a Chaser, you’re just the delivery mechanism for money entering our world.  But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about what a credit is, what the catch is, and how it affects you.


A Credit is Just Our Corporate Overlords Keeping Us Down


I got a saying. There’s a lot of truth in it. “Dollar’s are like kings; we don’t have any in America anymore.”


You see, being in Purgatory, you can’t really earn a living. You’re not just illegal, you’re fucking revoked, and no one uses cash anymore. But we need to have some sort of economy, and so we made one up: the credit. The credit is functionally just an option on currency… it’s money that our corporate overlords put in a bank for us, that we could, in theory, go pick up (were we magically unrevoked). So a credit is really just “credit for a dollar.”


So it sounds like a dollar is a dollar, right?

Wrong.  First off, credits expire. They’re only good for about 90 days. So much for that store of value, right? Second, since the creds are essentially corporate script, there’s only one way to spend them, since you can’t cash them.  And that’s at the corporate store. So it doesn’t really matter how much something is worth -- we’re living in a good little command economy under the giants of industry that are megacorps. Isn’t that ironic? Don’t you think?


So they’re basically worthless, they don’t hold any value, so why the fuck do we use them? Because they’re actually good for a method of exchange.  Let me explain.


You are only here to pay me.


But Rockafelon! I’m a Chaser! This is all about me and my unending quest to Ascend! Purgatory is about me! I have skills! I was someone once! Also, Rockafelon, you’re rich, I’m broke, can you buy me a sammich?


Whatever. You have to realize that only about 10 - 20% of all revoked individuals living in New York City are actually Chasers. And most of us aren’t working the black market… maybe 5% (more on that later). That means at least three-quarters of us are… what?


Serving drinks. Cooking burgers. Picking bullets out of your hide.


Most of Purgatory is in the service industry. You are too, it’s just a little different: you’re the way almost every single credit enters the Ascension Game. Which means the way all of us eat (except that glorious 5%) is by charging you for shit.  


It’s call the velocity of money, folks, only nobody is saving shit (again, by design). Ever wonder why every job pays about a thousand credits per chaser? Because that’s what it takes to keep you guys alive for a month. It actually takes a lot more, but it’s the same credits changing hands over and over again, until they expire in 90 days. And the corps make sure there’s just enough to keep the economy going (remember, they control both the influx and the outflow). And in the meantime, we’re all dancing to the tune of the Conspiracy. Think about it, if your Messenger paid you in dollars, and not corporate script, or if they didn’t pay you enough to keep the economy going, then eventually someone would either get rich enough to hire every Chaser in the biz, or we’d all start starving and go commie. And we can’t have that now, can we?

This isn’t to say we don’t have haves and have nots. You have a good month and big score, and you and your crew are sitting pretty for a few weeks. Steak and strip clubs man. And a couple months later, when you haven’t had a score in a while? Ramen and dumpster fires. Unless you’re working the black market.


The High Hog… The Black Market


Somehow, we managed to have an illegal economy in an illegal economy. You see, the corps still need us to eat, which means we have to be able to buy soy, since, you know, not a lot of farms around here. Some of us, a handful of us, have the contacts to do that, and it’s a full-time job. You basically have to be constantly finding shady suppliers without the benefit of a reputation (once someone who works in actual dollars but takes cred learns you’re revoked, it’s over), and it takes a lot of work. Again, this is by design. There’s no independent farmer selling soy burgers to needy Chasers. That’s the megacorps, again, letting just enough food to keep us healthy (most of us). Technically, the people doing this buying are just retailers, and most of their job is service -- logistics.




Some people do make shit. And usually it’s highly illegal shit. Drugs. Experimental cyberware. Fuck, some people repo cyberware. This stuff has value on the outside. And to get it there, you need a fence, and that fence has to be fucking good.  And bam. You have, from the corporate perspective, an externality.


An externality is an unintended consequence. If I’m doing a production line, I got “costs of good sold” right? Well, a chaser is a product of sorts, and it’s got a fixed cost… and every now and then, that Chaser makes a drug or steals a gun and bam… now there’s more value in Purgatory. And that value has to get out somehow. Now, they’re not going to pay for the externality… they’re just going to give us more cred, and probably raise costs somewhere else. What they will do, is for the people who know how to fence… they’ll pay them a bonus (we call it a “vig”) for our services. And that, assholes, is always in cash. Dollar bills. They’ll kick back the cred to the Chaser who did the work, but now you just have a couple of fences who actually managed get their hands on anything of value.


So… in conclusion… what have we learned? Ascension chasing is a sucker’s bet, cred ain’t worth anything but you’ll take because what else can you do, and it’s the filthy no-good nerds who know how to fence filthy shit who make all the money.


So yeah, you suck.  And you should give me all your money because what else will you do with it?

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