Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Even under a gold standard.

Even under a gold standard, government can still end up in debt.

From the Bantam paperback: A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin, pp.193-194.
Littlefinger smiled and handed the paper to Ned. It bore the royal seal. Ned broke the wax with his thumb and flattened the letter to consider the King's urgent command, reading the words with mounting disbelief. Was there no end to Robert's folly? And to do this in his name, that was salt in the wound. "Gods be good," he swore.

"What Lord Eddard means to say," Lord Renly announced, "is that His Grace instructs us to stage a great tournament in honor of his appointment as the Hand of the King."

"How much?" asked Littlefinger, mildly.

Ned read the answer off the letter. "Forty thousand golden dragons to the champion. Twenty thousand to the man who comes second, another twenty to the winner of the melee, and ten thousand to the victor of the archery competition."

"Ninety thousand gold pieces," Littlefinger sighed. "And we must not neglect the other costs. Robert will want a prodigious feast. That means cooks, carpenters, serving girls, singers, jugglers, fools..."

"Fools we have in plenty," Lord Renly said.

Grand Maester Pycelle looked to Littlefinger and asked, "Will the treasury bear the expense?"

"What treasury is that?" Littlefinger replied with a twist of his mouth. "Spare me the foolishness, Maester. You know as well as I that the treasury has been empty for years. I shall have to borrow the money. No doubt the Lannisters will be accommodating. We owe Lord Tywin some three million dragons at present, what matter another hundred thousand?"

Ned was stunned. "Are you claiming that the Crown is three million gold pieces in debt?"

"The Crown is more than six million gold pieces in debt, Lord Stark."

1 comment:

Jazzbumpa said...

Ah, yes.

That is a story about hard times. The story gets better, the times harder.