Oltux72

Economy of Elantris

8 posts in this topic

Does Elantris have an economy? What do they have to sell? That is pretty clear - mostly AonDor. But what do they buy? It could be argued that AonDor creates a kind of subsistence economy. It can feed you and Elantris itself provides housing and public infrastructure. So what could you want that AonDor cannot give you?

  • exotic stuff - travel is costly for Elantrians
  • travel
  • knowledge
  • services - AonDor can make your dinner, fix your clothes and heat your home, but not easily put your room in order
  • sex
  • fame
  • fashion

Anything else?

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Most economics is based on scarcity.  Considering how impressive and varied Aons are I do not think that scarsity is realy an issue in Elantris.  This leads me to believe that it functions more as a gift economy where Elantrains instead use their abilities to maintain important relationships via gift giving.

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31 minutes ago, Karger said:

Most economics is based on scarcity.  Considering how impressive and varied Aons are I do not think that scarsity is realy an issue in Elantris.  This leads me to believe that it functions more as a gift economy where Elantrains instead use their abilities to maintain important relationships via gift giving.

That makes sense when we talk about commerce between Elantrians. It breaks down when we talk about the rest of Arelon and Sel.

And what can Elantrians give to Elantrians? Art, exotic stuff and knowledge come to my mind.

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32 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

And what can Elantrians give to Elantrians? Art, exotic stuff and knowledge come to my mind.

Respect.  Being respected is a high priority for many humans.

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11 hours ago, Karger said:

Respect.  Being respected is a high priority for many humans.

In exchange for what? Things like open source software show that respect works, but you have to have something they pay respect for? What could that be? Again I arrive at arts and science. Sports?

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It may not take much effort to set up the aons around the city which provide a supply of unlimited fresh water, but it takes some effort and doing it displays some consideration. Simpler services like this could get you other things in exchange such as those you listed, and some respect.
One extremely valuable service you've omitted is healing. Most other things could be obtained by more costly means but if you need someone to cure you of the plague or fix your broken leg you don't have an alternative to Elantrians. Given how aons used in healing have a tendency to get into the complicated, you would expect that only some Elantrians would be proficient at healing in general or only in healing a particular issue such as fixing bones, whilst other unproficient Elantrians would only be good for fixing scrapes and the like.

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7 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

In exchange for what? Things like open source software show that respect works, but you have to have something they pay respect for? What could that be? Again I arrive at arts and science. Sports?

I meant I think that one way normal humans pay for Elantrais is respect.

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I have the quotes in mind (page 1, page 76, page 264, page 345, and page 347), but it will take me time to type them up. The implication the book gives is that Elantris was a "city of the gods" where anyone could come and receive healing, or wisdom of the Elantrians. They needed nor wanted for anything, so each Elantrian could pursue whatever activity gave them meaning. Galladon's father was a scholar who enjoyed research. People were not charged for healing. When Raodan takes over, as he is king and an elantrian as well, he changes the nobility into for all intents and purposes food distributors. As mentioned, some aons do require great training, healing being the big one. Elantrians can even mess up with healing and do more harm than good. If

Spoiler

soulcasting is an indication regarding producing food,

then it still needs to be spiced, and flavored, as well as training is required because if done incorrectly, the food is poisonous. This I would need to check, but don't even crafted aons only activate for an Elantrian and no one else? So selling plates of them would only accomplish in you having a plate with an aon on it. 

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