Thursday, April 16, 2009

Farming Castlevania, The Order of Ecclesia

This is Ruvas Forest the hard way, very early in the game...

The easy way? Just re-equip Shanoa (Lv. 48) with a few hard-won items: Inire Pecunia, Treasure Hat, Thief Ring, Gold Ring, Nitesco and Vol Ascia. This turns the Ruvas Forest into Shanoa's personal Savings & Loan — and before you can utter Jack Rumpelstiltskin Obama three times fast you've got 9 Super Potions.

Double clutch, downshifting heavy load... Ok, the thing that bothers me about real cut-throat capitalism is, where does the money come from? I understand that the amount of wealth in the world increases over time, in general. That was Douglas Adams' Truism, right? "Bang the rocks together!" Voila! Tunafish in cans, and a videogame in every pocket!

No, what I mean is, who owned the cash equivalent of that 3.14% APR due on my CD's before the certificate matured and I got it? Isn't all profit (even my kind of teensy weensy interest profits) a giant Ponzi scheme? In fact, isn't that the reason for the secret Wall Street fury about Bernie Madow, that he let the cat out of the bag? Well, Karl Marx did it first, but he wasn't "one of us." Don't the rich get richer? Don't the poor get poorer?

Sooner or later, that bill comes due. Somebody repaid a loan at an even stiffer rate of interest to the bank, the bank took their cut and paid the tiny increment due on my CD. Somebody stiffed somebody else to repay that bank loan, right? Marx thought that eventually the debt landed on the backs of the poor, who paid in labor what they couldn't pay in cash. Class warfare. But it has to be more complicated than that.

The economy resembles an ecosystem, a rainforest, say, but a rainforest is easier to understand. Ultimately, that which drives the rainforest, the force that through the green fuse drives the flower to quote Dylan Thomas, is solar energy — sunlight and photosynthesis. What corresponds to sunlight in cash and carry economics? Agriculture? Are all economies ultimately agrarian? Maybe so, even hunter-gatherer societies rely on vegetarian intermediaries between themselves and photosynthesis. Even miners, as removed as possible from the sun, trade their ores and metals for potatoes and radishes.

So, do fishermen owe their entire wealth and weal to solarphilic phytoplankton? What about defense attorneys who live off the scum of the earth? Honest young American black women with callused hands like rock, buying their first Apple computer with the blinking green gotcha P that won't let the system boot until you turn on the printer? How is that solar? But it has to be, considering the Earth's Goldilocks carbon chemistry.

If so, then as it says in the Rig Veda, the world is made out of food, and our own sun is the ultimate source of all wealth in the world — and by wealth of course we mean the kind of joyful elaboration that appeals to the human mind: Weaving, hearthfires, metallurgy, farming, pottery, tea, morphine, polyester, symphonies sycophantic, architecture, dolls, operas and ragas, rants, poetry and song, scifi, post-impressionists, warfare, leisure, lust and circumcision, love, hate and heavy metal.

So! Economics is easy to figure out, but why wasn't I ever taught it this way in school?

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