1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 43

1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 43

****

Some people didn’t want to sign the credit slips and went elsewhere, but all the new businesses that the Sanderlins and Fortneys backed had some up-time or new-time tech that made their production cost less so they were mostly inexpensive. They didn’t lose that many customers. Others decided that it was better to pay cash if they had it. So the new businesses were getting more cash in, but SFIC was still losing money — if you didn’t include the money owed to them. Most of the businesses in Vienna were facing the same problem.

****

One side effect showed itself a month or so after they started giving credit. There were a number of government employees who got paid either spottily or not at all. And quite a few of them had bought clothing, packaged foods, or other products from one or more of the shops that had sprung up near the race track. When Albertus Kappel, one of the “them of Vienna,” decided to shake down SFIC for a large bribe, he ran right into a brick wall. That wall wasn’t the emperor, it was the clerks.

“How did he find out about us?” Gayleen Sanderlin asked.

Barbara Klein grimaced. “It was the IOUs. They all say Sanderlin-Fortney Investment Company.”

“So this guy, one of your customers, came in and told you this . . . just out of the blue?”

“Young Benedictus owes us quite a bit,” Barbara said. “He’s very in love with his own looks.” She grinned. “Very much in love with himself. But he’s not a bad boy and he knows we’ve been treating him fairly. Besides, if we get closed down, where would he get his clothes?”

In the various offices of the city and national government, clerks who owed SFIC money provided warning and back-dated forms documenting that everything had been done by the book. Well, most of it had, but it was impossible to follow all the regulations. Having clerks who owed you money helped when it came to paperwork.

****

“Yes, I know they have an agreement with the emperor,” Albertus Kappel snapped. “But that doesn’t make Race Track Village an imperial city. And it is within the traditional purview of Vienna. Legally, it is no more than a village owned by the emperor and his partners. Not even crown lands, but part of the emperor’s personal holdings. Besides, we have more of the up-timers now.”

“Fine. But the emperor is a part-owner of Race Tra– the village,” Peter Grochen said.

“We will not be asking the emperor for anything. But this Sanderlin-Fortney Investment Company is abusing the emperor’s trust and getting above itself.” Visibly, Albertus got himself under control. “The new emperor is young and perhaps overly enthusiastic about up-time innovations. But he has advisers . . . older, wiser heads . . . that he will listen to. This flaunting of the traditional privileges of ‘Them of Vienna’ has to stop.”

Peter Grochen, who was no more pleased with Race Track City than Albertus — but was rather more leery of imperial whim — left Albertus to it.

****

“The tradition and law has always been that the Hofbefrieten, court merchants, do not pay municipal taxes,” Albertus Kappel granted portentously. “But these are not Hofbefrieten. They haven’t paid the fees the royal court charges for that privilege. Yet they don’t pay the onera that guild artisans and merchants pay, either. Nor have their techniques been approved under the rules of the guilds of Vienna.”

“Perhaps,” Ferdinand III said calmly, “that is because they are not in Vienna.” Ferdinand III was pretty good at saying things calmly when he would prefer to rip someone’s head off. It was part of the job and he had been raised to the work. “Race Track City is located on imperial lands, almost four miles from the city wall.”

It was clear to Ferdinand III that Kappel wasn’t thrilled with how the interview was going, but the jackass went gamely on. “They are within the cities environs, Your Majesty.”

“No, they are not!” Ferdinand III said.

“Your Majesty, while the land is owned by Your Majesty, it is not, in fact, crown lands.”

Ferdinand held out a hand, and into it was placed a document that bore several seals. One of them, in fact, was Albertus Kappel’s own seal. The document acknowledged that the land in question was not legally part of Vienna or its environs. Ferdinand was a little curious about where it had come from, but not very. As it happened, Albertus’ clerk, Benedictus, had handed that document to Albertus Kappel a week before, in a stack of similar documents that Kappel had signed and sealed as a matter of course, without ever looking at the contents of any of them. Ferdinand showed Kappel the document and the seal.

For Albertus Kappel, the interview went downhill from there. Albertus was one of those who held both imperial and city rank, which wasn’t supposed to happen, but did constantly. By the end of the interview, he held neither.

****

Albertus’ secretary, Benedictus, was the dapper young man with a taste for clothes that really shouldn’t have been beyond his means — if he had been being paid what he was supposed to be paid. Benedictus and several other young men found that their debts to several shops in Race Track City had been forgiven. After that, the SFIC-backed businesses had very little trouble from the burghers of Vienna, as long as they didn’t try to do business in Vienna proper.

The race track, with the support of Ferdinand III, developed its own small town with barbershops, beauty shops, restaurants, and a tailor shop. A toy store that sold little casein plastic models of the 240Z, and other cars and trucks. Casein dolls, which if not up to the standards of a Barbie, weren’t all that bad. Also soccer balls, baseballs, softballs, and bats, toy soldiers, lego-style blocks, and a variety of other items. There was a grocery and dry goods store which sold packaged foods, makeup, toiletries, casein containers for holding things like dried beans and flour.

Through it all, almost no one knew that Hayley was financing most of it.

****

SFIC wasn’t the only investor in new tech. Even before Emperor Ferdinand II had died, up-time tech had been creeping in. The cheat sheets that were produced for the USE worked just as well in what was left of the HRE. The burghers and Hofbefrieten of Vienna adopted them and many of them had to do with how to get more product out of less labor. As the new tech was put in place, the amount of product increased as the need for labor decreased. When the old emperor died, the new emperor tried to get as much of the new tech as he could.

What none of them realized, not Hayley, not the emperor, not the emperor’s advisers, and not the burghers and Hofbefrieten of Vienna, was that they were all making the economy worse. It’s what Hayley hadn’t known, save that something was wrong with the economy, and she needed Sarah Wendell to tell them what.

 

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17 Responses to 1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 43

  1. Bibliotheca Servare says:

    Or Sarah’s ex. But yeah. ‘Tis true. Economic freefall? Anybody order an economic freefall? To be extended with a side order of New Deal? Heh.

  2. jeff bybee says:

    new deal worst solution possible. usual hands off recovery 18 months. new deal and hovers engeneering = 10 years bad economy. I wonder what will happen next

    • Vikingted says:

      The US needed WWII to “fix” the economy.

      • Mark L says:

        Well, only in the sense that World War II forced the Roosevelt Administration to expand the money supply.

        One reason for the length of the Depression was the administration got in their head there was too much money around. So they choked down the money supply. That meant if you produced something, it increased the amount of goods chasing the same (inadequate) number of dollars. So the value of “stuff” went down. It discouraged production. (Why produce anything when it just made everything you own worth less?)

        When WWII came along the government was faced with paying for a war when they had no money. Even if they introduced withholding (which they did) and increased taxes (which they did) there was a gap between the time they needed to spend money and the time when the new revenues were collected.

        They could not borrow money, because there was no money to borrow. (The money supply was too low.) So they just ran the printing presses, printing unbacked paper money.

        Normally this would have cause massive inflation. But, since there was not enough money for the value of goods and services in the economy, all this did was increase the money supply to the true value of the goods and services. Suddenly if you built a widget it was worth a widget, instead of (number of widgets) / (number of widgets +1). Stuff became worth making.

        This was explained (better than I can) in a book called “Keep from All Thoughtful Men: How U.S. Economists Won World War II” by Jim Lacey. Worth reading.

        • Vikingted says:

          Nice explanation, Mark

          • Mark L says:

            Incidentally, the money supply dynamic is what is hurting the Austrian economy in this book. At present, the money supply is too small. At least part of the reason for that is the money supply became too bigg because of the paper money scandal “Ken Doll’s” family prior to the ROF.

            Fletcher Wendell was worrying the same problem of getting the money supply to match the size of the economy way back early in the series.

    • John Cowan says:

      Still singing this tune six years into the Lesser Depression, d00d?

  3. daveo says:

    Jeff obviously doesn’t understand the situation. The problem is an almost total lack of money, which Hayley is not rich enough to correct. What is needed in a fiat currency, issued by Ferdinand II. He can use part of the issue to pay his employees, and let the rest get the economy going. The situation described in this and previous snippets clearly and unmistakably shows that people who work for the government don’t get paid because THERE IS NO MONEY TO PAY THEM.

  4. daveo says:

    By the way what does ‘engeneering’ mean. Could this be engineering, or something entirely different?

  5. zak ryerson says:

    Some, but not all of the “Them of Vienna” _ Flaunt some or all of the privileges that being a member of “The Them of Viennia” gives such a person.
    The Sanderlins and Fortneys are _FlOuting_ the “traditional privileges of “The Them of Vienna”.

    And don’t get me started on using aggrivate to mean annoy,
    Or Not knowing that “The Star Spangeled Banner has Four _Stanzas_ !
    The second stanza is way too poetic (It just answeres the question that is asked in the fist stanza with YES.
    The First four _verses- of the Third stanza are, in my opinion, better recited (after gallantly swore that) in the Voice of a British Sargent and,
    “Their Blood has washed out their foul footsteps pollution”,
    As would have beenn said by a triumphant American!

    • Cobbler says:

      Aggravate doesn’t mean annoy? That’s news to me.

      I asked the OED, which said that aggravate means many things.

      Among them is,

      AGGRAVATE, V

      6. trans.

      a. To exasperate (a person); to incense, embitter; to provoke, arouse the dislike, dissatisfaction, or concern of; (also in weakened use) to annoy or irritate. Now chiefly colloq.

  6. Mindful of the author and his political inclinations, I expect that will be ‘to be ended with a sound dosage of healthy Keynesian economics”, except perhaps for an unexpected war.

    • @George Phillies: That depends on whether “the author” is liberal or dogmatic, progressive or conservative, and libertarian or authoritarian, and albeit I think I know something of Eric’s inclinations in economics, I know nothing of Paula Goodlett or Gorg Huff.
      However, this is more a situation for a monetarist solution than for simple demand management. True, the problem is one of lack of demand, but that lack of demand is caused largely by an insufficient money supply, not by lack of need or lack of will to purchase.
      Demand, in the economic sense, is a combination of willingness and ability to purchase, as a function of price. That is, a schedule of the amount that would be purchased at each possible price. It is not the same as ‘quantity demanded,’ which is essentially the amount that is purchased at the prevailing price.
      The Keynesian solution would be to put more money into the hands of those who need the goods being produced but can’t pay for them. It might be as simple as the government paying its employees their salaries, but this is where the Keynesian solution fails, because the government doesn’t have the money to pay its bills. The money supply is not sufficient to meet the needs of the economy. The king can’t just produce more gold and silver out of nothing.
      David Bartley solved the same problem for Mike’s third division by printing fiat money (Beckies} and getting them accepted in trade.

  7. Tweeky says:

    I suspect that the upcoming Ottoman siege is going to dramatically change the situation with the economy.

  8. Ferd the Third may be sowing the wind here. The interview with Kappel was a delight to read, but can there be any doubt that Kappel will get together with Gundakar and Lamormaini and cause trouble? But for now, Hurray for Benedictus!

  9. zak ryerson says:

    I will try again:

    I have no problem with aggrivation as a noun.
    The many annoances, difficuties, etc. is both wimpy and too broad.
    The correct response to someone who asks “Why are you annying me?” is
    “I can not possibly annoy you. You are as bad as yaou can possibly be.”

    As for “The Oxford English Dictionary”

    I Do Not Accept is as AN AUTHORITY
    And I will point out that Cobbler is GILTY of “An Appeal To Authority”!

    NOTE: “The Oxford Dictionary of English Slang give as the first (probably older) Definition of
    BOFFIN: An Elderly Naval Officer
    It gives NO Citatations
    The better know definition of
    BOFFIN: A Scientist especialloy one who is involved with the devloment of RADAR
    Citations:
    “Glide Path”: Arthue C. Clarke
    “The Winds Of War”: Herman Wouk
    The word Boffin is used in the secene in “The Winds Of War” where Victor Henry visits and is impressed by a RAF RADAR Center.
    NOTE: Both books use the phrase “Cavity Magnitron”.

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