0231 - In which Lee Caldavera makes God laugh. - 2022.03.07



Financial freedom is a wonderful thing. Lee is certainly not wealthy, by the standards of Forward, but they're able to carve off a few hundred creds when circumstances warrant, and that is a great thing to be able to do.

I recently rewatched the original Ghostbusters, and it's interesting how they get their start when Ray Stantz takes out a mortgage on a house that was left to him by his parents. One gets the sense that, even if their startup fails, the three white guys with expensive higher educations are gonna be okay (Winston and Janine, perhaps, less so). It is a great (and even necessary) thing to be able to try and fail and try and fail and try again, and that ability to try again is largely determined by your assets on hand, even if you may not consider them to be "on hand" at the time.

There's an interesting linguistic shell game, whenever we talk about money.

In the colloquial sense, you would say someone is "rich" because they have a lot of money, and "poor" because they don't have a lot of money. We talk about billionaires all the time, and a "billionaire" is defined as someone who has a billion US dollars or more. But then, when we buckle down and start talking about the problem properly, all of a sudden, we find ourselves talking about how much money you make. The "poverty line", the "middle class", the "1%"... without really noticing the shift, we're now talking about income inequality, not wealth inequality.

I, personally, think this is kind of a big deal, because there's a big goddamn difference between someone who earns fifty grand a year as an auto mechanic versus someone who collects fifty grand a year in interest on their assets. Wealth inequality is a far larger and more insidious problem than income inequality, not to mention the fact that it correlates more strongly to factors like race.

Even more than wealth inequality, though, I think the real issue is credit inequality. Let's say Dan Aykroyd has a net worth that's millions in the red (Crystal Skull ain't selling too well), and hasn't made any money this year (COVID was real hard on the movie industry). Is Dan Aykroyd really poor? No, of course he's not, because he can still walk into any bank in the world and say "Hi, I'm Dan, and I need a million dollars", and they'd say "of course, right this way, Mr. Aykroyd, let's talk about how we can help each other", which is not what they'd do with you or me.

Alternately, he could just pass off his debts to the Crystal Skull corporation and allow the company to go bankrupt in his stead, which, as we've learned in the past Presidential administration, is something you can just do whenever. Must be nice.

Much like global warming and the pandemic, the world of Forward has largely solved the financial problems we face in the twenty-first century, because I'm the authour and I say so. Income inequality has evened out somewhat, due in large part to the necessity of basic income in a world where robots do most jobs. Wealth inequality has also evened out considerably, due to asset-based taxation plans. Credit inequality... well, that's another matter. Lee can certainly go into debt, but only so far until the Nanny State intervenes, because, usually, people in debt are people who need help, and what good is a society if it doesn't help people who need help?

For now, though, Lee has the financial freedom to throw their creds around. Let's see if they can get what they're paying for.


0231 - 2167/07/06/17:20 - fifth floor hallway
LC: Okay, this is... gonna be weird, but I think we can do it.
LC: Travis, you as a human operator can order the robot you're piloting to proactively go to apartment five-oh-four. Other than that, shut the hell up.
LC: Travis' unit, you can inform Caleb that you know Zoa and want to bury the hatchet about your fighting. That works.
LC: Dee, you can look in the door and casually point out any maintenance that needs to be done. If Caleb lets you in, you can discreetly tell Zoa to come out and see me, like... in binary or something.
LC: Liz, you and I can wait around the corner where Caleb doesn't see us, and you can track Zoa's wig through the wall. Once it enters the hallway, which is a public space, you'd be able to confirm its location for me, and wave it over.
LC: No one needs to lie, no one needs to break any rules.
D254: And you give us all a hundred creds each.
LC: Yes.
Travis' robot (human voice): Point of order, there are... hang on... there are six of us here. Do we all get a hundred credits?
LC: What? No. No, Travis gets the hundred creds, they're the one driving.
Travis' robot (human voice): Travis, pass the headset around!
Travis' robot (human voice): Fuck off, it's my account!
LC: Jesus Christ, people.
Liz: To be fair, three robots and six humans times a hundred creds... that's still less than the kilocred you were initially offering for just one blowjob.