The News-Review

A Service of the News Bureau of the Government of the Twelve Colonies

Summit: FTL banking plan approved, but competitors welcomed

Posted by Fleet News Service on August 27, 2007

CELESTRA/COLONIAL ONE, August 26 — Punctuated by a Cylon attack, the first-ever wartime Fleet Economic Summit was held yesterday aboard Celestra/Colonial One. The stated objective of the meeting was to determine which economic plan – a market-driven, deposit/withdrawal system proposed by FTL Enterprises Inc., or a somewhat less clear “central bank” system proposed by Representative Carbetta – would ultimately be best for the Fleet.

In attendance: President Vargas; Quorum Representative Capri Carbetta, of Caprica; Captain Halberd of 7th Heaven (representing FTL Enterprises Inc.), Loki Blackadder (Aide to the President); and myself, representing the Fleet News Service.

 ((OOC: Ziggy Figaro, a guest of the President, was also present to observe a portion of the meeting. Ziggy is the SL alter-ego of a real-life journalist…but until we’re sure he’s comfortable having his RL name posted here, suffice it to say the sim might be getting some RL ink in the near future! – DS))

 
A bank for the people
After a high-level review of the FTL Enterprises, Inc. economic plan, Captain Halberd reiterated FTL’s position that an “economic takeover” is not an objective of the corporation.  “We are simply two Captains who have pooled our economic resources to form a small company. All of this talk about rebuilding the economy has not been from us,” said Halberd.  “We plan to open a small bank, thereby improving services for citizens. There are only 98,000 people in the fleet; this is not a [population as large as a] Colony, or even a city.”

Expressing doubt that FTL’s motives are as benevolent as Captain Halberd had suggested, Representative Carbetta repeatedly questioned who would benefit financially from establishing a bank within the Fleet. “So, the plan is for your corporation to pool the resources of the two corporate officers and become wealthy in the process?” 

 (Huh? Your guess is as good as mine, folks.)

She continued, “It doesn’t matter if we are 100 survivors or 98,000 survivors. We need a currency that is given to a central bank, which then lends this money to private banks, the way it worked on the Colonies. These private banks then lend out money to people who start businesses to pay for salaries, so that people may buy goods, and to pay for inventory and fixed and variable costs of running a business.”

 
A mole hill, not a mountain
“If I may,” said Captain Halberd, “we are talking about opening a small bank the size of a kiosk. We do not need an intra-bank system at this time, in my opinion. Certainly if the credit or lending or reserve regulations were not met, the bank we are starting would be accountable to the President and the Quorum of 12.”

Convinced that the recent deflation in the value of the cubit is responsible for all financial ills in the Fleet – including the emergence of a black market – Carbetta shot back, “Our women are prostituting themselves. Establishing a central currency takes the power away from the criminal black marketeers, gives legitimacy to our system and provides loans to private banks, who would in turn loan the money to the people to start businesses and pay salaries. Go to any freighter ship in the Fleet, and you will see unsanctioned sales of medicine, clothing, food, and every other type of good imaginable.”

(But wait, dear readers… the fact is, we’ve still got a currency.  The cubit still exists, and you’ve probably still got a few rattling around in the pockets of your uniforms. At present it’s unbacked by substantial financial resources, and has little value… but isn’t offering quality goods at a variety of prices, through formation of a company with some backing resources, a worthwhile starting point toward resolving this?  Truly…what other choice do we have?)

 Our problem: Weak currency, or the “evil black market?”
At Carbetta’s suggestion that the black market is at the heart of our economic problems, Captain Halberd raised the idea of creating a civilian police force – as a more direct means to solving issues of security and possible criminal activity in the Fleet.

The President commented, “Efforts are already underway to get security forces on all ships. Hopefully, though, these will serve to protect us from our enemy — not from one another.”

Exasperated, Representative Carbetta put all her cards on the table…mere moments after our pilots had put their lives on the line yet again to successfully fend off several Cylon Raiders.

“My sole purpose in being here is to state that putting two shareholders of a corporation in charge of rebuilding an economy is a bad idea, and my plan takes the power out of the few and gives it to the many.”

Captain Halberd, smelling socialism on the breeze, pushed back.  “So now we are talking about nationalizing private property?”

“No. Ridiculous.” 

(That’s a good word for it…)

 
A competitive market: The answer, after all?

Then, in a surprising – but well concealed – admission that the “central bank” theory she’d previously proposed might not be in the best interest of the people, Carbetta opened the door for free-market competition in the Fleet’s economy (something FTL’s been suggesting from the start, in this reporter’s opinion).

“One bank is a bad idea and would lead to a monopoly,” Carbetta chirped, “so I suggest we accept the applications of two qualified entities to become the banks. There should be a rigorous application process to become a bank, and the Fleet – with approval from a panel selected by the President – would take the two best candidates. This approach will create jobs within the Fleet, for bankers and economists to earn a respectable living.”

(Hang on… let me do some quick math here.  Representative Carbetta initially didn’t want the Government in charge of the bank, and erroneously thought the President had called for the creation of FTL and was somehow pulling the strings behind their “rebuilding of the economy.” Now, she’s putting President Vargas in charge of pulling the strings behind selecting the Fleet’s financial string-pullers?  I’m lost.)

FTL welcomes competition from other interested Fleet bankers
Recognizing that creating jobs is admirable whenever it happens, the group questioned the number of survivors qualified ((OOC: and RPers interested)) in becoming bankers to compete with FTL Enterprises. However, in keeping with the spirit of free enterprise and marketplace competition, the President approved a proposal to solicit applications from interested parties to control competing financial institutions.

 ((Time to break down the fourth wall for a minute and go out of character, since some OOC comments from Captain Halberd and Rep. Carbetta make clear what they’re intending:

TH: ((We are talking about a little kiosk that will have no personnel, take no deposits, and issue no credits. Are we really insisting that there should be competition for this?))

 CC: ((It’s just RP for the better system, and creates three more roles: two bankers, and one economist in charge of the central bank. The people can then RP what they want, in fun, “banking” RP.))

 Thus, with Presidential approval, FTL Enterprises Inc. will soon open their kiosks in the Fleet for basic deposit and withdrawal services, presumably with an interest rate on deposits. Ms. Carbetta has won the compromise she sought, as well, since all are welcome to apply to become competing banks within the Fleet.

So…we’ve built it.  Will they come?

*    *    *    *    *

 

The last word
On a side note, is anybody else waiting to see what’ll come of Representative Carbetta’s other pet project, the rebuilding of the Quorum of 12?  

Forget “putting the cart before the horse” – we haven’t even finished building the cart yet.

Dean Steadham
The News-Review

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One Response to “Summit: FTL banking plan approved, but competitors welcomed”

  1. Heidi Stiglitz said

    For several weeks now, we’ve been witness to the Caprican Representative’s machinations to take political power, and I for one am getting quite sick of it. She’s tried to place herself as coequal to the President in the Executive branch, though she is in reality just one twelfth of the Legislative branch.

    Why you decided to put your nose into the middle of a private corporate venture, I’ll never know. If Captains Serapis and Halberd want to merge their corporations and act within the current laws of the Colonies, as established prior to the Cylon Attack, then that is their business, and any government meddling is just that. I myself am not really hopeful of getting the fleet’s economy, which has virtually no industry to speak of, going in anything more than the current form it has achieved, which is mostly barter/trade, augmented by some of the physical gold cubits and the play money paper cubits we have remaining to us. Exactly what is your new printed money for the bank going to be backed by? The good word of the government? So far, from what I’ve seen, all your economic wizardry will bring us is runaway inflation. But I’m just a simple farmgirl. What do I know about economics?

    Here’s some advice to the Caprican Quorum representative from an Aerelon citizen. Quit trying to play President. We already have one of those. If you want to make an impact, then get the Quorum reconstituted, so you can start passing laws like you’re supposed to. Then get the Quorum to elect a vice president, perhaps even yourself. These are the duties to which you were entrusted. Or are you afraid that getting the Quorum reconstituted will subtract from your present power base?

    Quit trying to run for president, Representative Carbetta. We have a while to go before that comes, and you have other duties to perform, duties that you are avoiding. And while I may not be able to vote for or against you as the Caprican representative, as Demeter watches over me I will be one of those voting for or against you in the presidential election. And so far, I’m not seeing anything good.

    Captain Heidi Stiglitz
    27th Fighter Squadron
    Battlestar Pacifica

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