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Trade and Economy
Shalazar's economy revolves around agricultural production. No matter how powerful the wizard nor wide the caravan, the people of the Caliphate cannot be fed without most of them spending the majority of their lives in the production of food.
The main unit of currency is the dinar, a gold coin which is minted by the Royal Alchemist. Any Djinn can readily confirm that a dinar is authentic, and all are bound to do so when asked in the name of the Calipha. The dinar is stamped with the face of the present Calipha, and the image on every coin magically changes when a new Calipha ascends the Golden Throne. Indeed, the currency can serve as a kind of 'breaking news' update for certain royal events: on the day of a royal wedding, the coins will appear bright and decorated with flower, while they dim to blackness on the day that a Calipha (or a former Calipha who has retired) dies.
A dinar is approximately enough to buy one man enough to eat for one day. The average wage of a farming family, therefore, will be about 1,000 dinar.
A price list can be found here.
At the lower end of the social spectrum, the supremacy of women is less important. Most men perform the hard physical work in fields that are watered either by rivers, or by a series of aqueducts and canals. Women work alongside them, but being better educated tend to also perform tasks like fixing tools, organizing the family, cooking the meals, etc.
Very few families work land they actually own. Almost all arable land in Shalazar (and all arable land in a city-state) will be owned by a Great Family. The women and men who work these fields are paid a stipend by the Great Families, generally enough to guarantee they have a living wage. (Farmers do not generally end up in penury-poverty is normally reserved for failed traders and the unemployed.) The Great Families then transfer that grain to the Bazaars and other marketplaces throughout the city, where it is traded for dinar which are taken back (under very heavy guard) to the family vaults.
Great families are expected to tithe 10% of this income to the Calipha for the upkeep of the court (although the Calipha owns some land herself) and 10% plus one dinar to charity. The Great Temple, which does not collect a tithe on its behalf, enforces the second tithe: the money is given directly to the poor and needy. The Great Temple owns some small amounts of land, but for the most part is supported financially by the Calipha.
As mentioned in the City section under The Bazaars, there are two major centers of commerce within the city of Shalazar: the Great Western Bazaar and the Free Men's Trading Guild. These trade only in high-quality basic goods and more rare and exotic items.
However, a city the size of Shalazar also easily supports innumerable marketplaces, souks, trading posts, and street-vendors, each of whom are supplied, in some way or another, by the produce of the Great Houses.
The Great Caravans, almost all of which are the specialty of the Jerezad, travel from Shalazar in all directions, to the jungles of Punt and the Jade Empire, and into the cold and desolate North. "Floating caravans" of ships set sail into the Western Ocean, in search of new societies with which to trade in the archipelagos.
Lesser caravans carry goods between city-states. The main output of each city-state is invariably food-the city of Shalazar does not produce enough to be self-sufficient. Trade goods and objects of greater value are exported from Shalazar to its client states in exchange, and more exclusive goods are traded between the city-states in this way.
The lending of money does not go against the teachings of Shaliq, as expressed in the Theopneustic Tomes. All of the Great Families lend money to individuals who wish to develop something temporarily beyond their means. These loans are generally made for a fixed term (traditionally a year and a day) after which their principle must be repaid. Failure to do so usually results in slavery of the debtor until his family pays his debt. This form of debt is known as a nexum.
Usury, the lending of money at interest, is forbidden by the Shaliqar faith. The punishment for such lending is death, without exception. However, since the reign of the sixth Calipha, the men of the Zaniah family have been allowed to lend money at interest, so long as they choose their own time of execution.