Making Money Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby poohcarrot » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:21 am

I agree with Jano too. I realised after I said it that I was wrong. :P
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:39 pm

Stop it pooh! :shock: You're making me nervous agreeing so much... :lol:

Verns - these discussions are brill and much better than formal debating with it's rules and enforced rationale. The only problem is when we have a book (like CoM) where there's a measure of agreement or perhaps sometimes a marmite effect where neither faction's going to win out - I love CoM because it was the first spoof fantasy I read and so I have a great deal of affection for it, simply because it was the first. I acknowledge that it's not the best written book by a long way which is why I hadn't really got an argument for those who don't have the same emotional attachment to it, and there's only so many times you can say I love it but I know it's not up to the mark in a literary sense.

It's the same with this book, except I do have very strong feelings about Moist (in that I love to hate him :twisted: ), but the actual feature plotlines of this and GP - and already Raising Taxes, do absolutely nothing for me aside from seeing how clever Terry gets with re-spinning it. It worked in GP with Mr Pump mainly (plus Vetinari was better in it) and Reacher Gilt too. Will come back to that one another time. :wink:

Golem horses - definitely horse-shaped! How else do we know they're horses? :lol: Also very interesting despite Terry virtually throwing them away in this book. Same reason for the Golden Golems and all the others being human-shaped (but sexless) but it does beg the question on how Golems work, 'cos these don't have any sentience of their own because they don't have normal chems (or not ones that can be taken and adapted) - so they're not even robots because they're not really 'programmed' for anything useful at all. How is a robot different from a chem Golem who's bought itself out of servitude? :D

In Roundworld robots are machines that have been programmed to work at certain tasks. When the concept of a slave machine (which is effectively to rid humans of the need to do menial industrial or even domestic tasks) they were in general human-shaped - as in the breakthrough sci-fi film Metropolis back in the silent movie era. Why? Robots in the shape of what came to be called androids (think C3P0 not R2D2) caught at the imagination, so much so that the late great Isaac Asimov wrote about them a lot and Terry has followed his 'positronic brain' concept and creed of those type of robot who cannot break their programming not to harm human beings in any way, except with a huge effort which generally resulted in their being rendered permanently unusable because it wrecks their normal functions (I'm thinking here of the mutant mind-reader robot in Liar! where Susan Calvin deliberately induced a brain breakdown because it tried to make her happy and said another scientist was in love with her). Terry has developed the Golems along those lines, but because the chem is magic he's chosen to go the fully sentient route.

In Roundworld this didn't happen because we don't have android-type robots - we have robots that are most definitely machine and are designed to do specific tasks better than humans, but with no self-reasoning ability whatsoever except in engineering terms. The motor industry is the best example of this as it makes horses with with various types of robot (where once it was men doing that task less efficiently) that are far stronger and faster than it's biological inspiration. Horses...

How long is it going to take for the artisans of AM to build a ceramic (or some other material) horse that doesn't look like one and doesn't have a chem because it doesn't need it. They've seen the use for mounting their post couriers so how long before the mail coach, which is of course a horse-drawn carriage, goes the same way... How long before the horse-drawn bus system we see in UA goes the same way? :lol:

Now isn't that a much more interesting avenue of advancement than raising poxy taxes? :twisted:
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Postby poohcarrot » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:43 pm

Golems can communicate telepathically with each other.
The golden golems weren't happy about being trapped underground.
They are now trapped underground again, but can communicate with the free golems.
Mr Pump has a licence to kill.
It's pretty obvious what's going to happen next.
The golems are going to revolt, then it's
GOLEM WARS! :twisted:
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Postby mystmoon » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:54 pm

Aren't the golems already having a revolution?
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Postby swreader » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:39 pm

The problem with the buried golems of Um is that Terry created them to explain Adora Belle"s absence from the city while he is setting up what is supposed to be the main theme of the book -- Moist's reform of the banking system. Reading through the various descriptions of the Uminan golems, one finds that Adora Belle (hereafter Spike) knows almost nothing about their use since all she has to go on is a report of the song of the buried golems reported by another current golem. She expects, apparently, that they are "golden" as does Professor Flead until he studies the new information. After their arrival, Spike has only discovered that their heads cannot be opened but that they have a "chem" written in their clay which says "Guard the city".

However, it seems pretty obvious that they can be instructed (by someone dressed in a golden suit and speaking Umnian) to do almost anything. But if Professor Flead is at all correct about them, they were super-intelligent and capable of creating and building all sorts of things. We don't know what tasks they're capable of performing if properly instructed. And that is what makes them so dangerous.

What we do know, as Hubert tells the assembled crowd, is that putting the 4000 Uminam golems at work in the city would cause the greatest financial crisis ever in AM, putting everyone out of work and therefore unable to buy (or sell) anything.

The horse golems are indeed horse (& saddle) shaped and there are about 20 of them. That would seem to make it rather unlikely that they could be used as draft horses. They could, however, be used (as could the other golems) to move treadmills. Moist says he wants some to replace the donkeys that are at each clacks tower (first time we've heard anything about how the clacks stations are powered).

To go back to my original statement in a much earlier post--the golems are perhaps the biggest (dreadful pun) example of slapdash writing in this book. About their only use is that they give Terry a chance to do some funny scenes (such as the Cabinet and use Professor Flead).

It's quite clear that Terry hasn't thought about them, or about the real problems of finance. The original idea seems to have been to substitute paper money for the coins presently in use and to get people to turn in their coins. But by the end of the book, we have currency backed (so to speak) by the returned gold and by golems. Gold, as both Moist and Vetinari know, really has no value. The commerce of the city creates the value of it's money.
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Postby poohcarrot » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:57 pm

mystmoon wrote:Aren't the golems already having a revolution?
...but what happens when all the free golems have bought all the non-free golems? Golems won't need money, so why work? What will they do?

In fact, if all the golden golems cut off a little bit of gold (as in "Feet of clay") they could probably buy all the non-free golems tomorrow.

Then they'll all be hanging round at street corners in their hoodies, frightening old women. :shock:
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:23 am

Hang on - the golems aren't made of gold, are they? I understood that the word 'golden' in the context of the writing that Spike had discovered, meant 'thousand' rather than 'gold'. :?

And if nobody but Moist (or someone in a golden suit) can control them, who ordered them to march to A-M? If it was the regular golems - the ones that Spike left behind, then all anyone would have to do to control the golem army would be to get a regular golem to give them orders.

It makes no sense to me.
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:16 am

Tonyblack wrote:Hang on - the golems aren't made of gold, are they? I understood that the word 'golden' in the context of the writing that Spike had discovered, meant 'thousand' rather than 'gold'. :?

And if nobody but Moist (or someone in a golden suit) can control them, who ordered them to march to A-M? If it was the regular golems - the ones that Spike left behind, then all anyone would have to do to control the golem army would be to get a regular golem to give them orders.

It makes no sense to me.

:oops: They're not made of gold. I lied! :oops

And a regular golem can think for itself, so if a regular golem could control the whole lot of 'em - telepathically - I'd call that a bit dangerous.

Smash the lot of 'em before it's too late. :shock:

And if their job is to defend the city, how long before they realise that being buried in a big hole isn't doing their job. And defend the city from what? From its own inhabitants? From the thieves and assassins and other ne'er-do-wells?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:50 pm

They don't need another police force - but if they want to do emergency services then they could be firemen too... :)

However -
pooh wrote:Smash the lot of 'em before it's too late. :shock:
And deliberately crash the money markets - how could you! :roll: :twisted:
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Postby raisindot » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:59 pm

swreader wrote:The horse golems are indeed horse (& saddle) shaped and there are about 20 of them. That would seem to make it rather unlikely that they could be used as draft horses. They could, however, be used (as could the other golems) to move treadmills. Moist says he wants some to replace the donkeys that are at each clacks tower (first time we've heard anything about how the clacks stations are powered).

To go back to my original statement in a much earlier post--the golems are perhaps the biggest (dreadful pun) example of slapdash writing in this book. About their only use is that they give Terry a chance to do some funny scenes (such as the Cabinet and use Professor Flead).

It's quite clear that Terry hasn't thought about them, or about the real problems of finance. The original idea seems to have been to substitute paper money for the coins presently in use and to get people to turn in their coins. But by the end of the book, we have currency backed (so to speak) by the returned gold and by golems. Gold, as both Moist and Vetinari know, really has no value. The commerce of the city creates the value of it's money.


Have to disagree with some of this. Moist wants to keep six of the golem horses to use for the mail coaches, so they clearly can be used for this purpose.

The golem plot may not have been well integrated into the story (you could cut the whole thing out and the story would have worked fine on its own), but Pterry included because he wanted to continue to explore the golems theme he began in GP. Without golems, there's no need for Adora Belle, and without her, Moist doesn't really anyone he can be "honest" with.

But I do think in GP he really does take finance seriously as someone who is not a professional financier can. As Moist said in the story, the economic strength of a city is not based on how much shiny yellow stuff sits in a vault in a bank but by the ingenuity, innovation, and hard work of its citizens and their willingness to give up old ways of thinking (the Lavishes, Mr. Bent, the guilds, coins made of metal, the 'old banks') and embrace the new ideas (Harry King, Vetinari's plans to 'excavate' the old dwarf tunnels, utilizing the new 'devices' left behind in Thud!, CMOT plans' to get a new cart, the hundreds of AM citizens who are borrowing money to start new businesses) that propel a city foward.

Of course, many of these same ideas lead to inflation, unwise use of credit, speculation, derivatives, and other abstract ideas that lead to things like, oh, the collapse of the global economy in 2008). But Pterry was not exploring this particularly issue in MM. Perhaps in the next book.

And the currency at the end of the book is not guaranteed by the returned gold. This is an afterthought, since everyone has already accepted paper money and the concept of the golems as the new standard. The returned gold will only make matters worse, since it may potentially make many people revert to their old ways of thinking.

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Postby Bouncy Castle » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:05 pm

Jeez. I just thought it was a rollicking good tale, with lots of LOL moments.

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Postby raisindot » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:16 pm

We never really know what's in the golden golems' "armband orders." It probably isn't "Defend the City," because Moist is able to order them to do something other than defend the city. It probably is as simple as "Only obey orders from from an Omnian Priest or someone who dressed like one."

Pterry's use of golems in this book is very problemmatic. After seeing how they progressed from slavery to sentience in "Feet of Clay" and developed more complex personalities and feelings with Mr. Pump and Gladys, the golem army creates a number of ethical issues. The free golems don't like them because they remind them of what they once were--unthinking slaves with no will of their own. Adorabelle doesn't like them that much either, because their sheer mindlessness contradicts her own sentimental feelings toward the golems she helps to free and her belief that golems can find self-fulfilment through the strategic rewriting of their chem. Yet, they all can't be completely unsentient, because the whole pilgrimmage began with one lonely gold golem calling out for company in golem speak.

And I always find it rather perplexing why Vetinari believes that revealing the golden secret to the world will keep any other nation from trying to win over the golems. The point is is that there's only one living person in the world who can order the golems around, and that's Moist, because he appears to be the only living person who knows enough ancient Omnian. to get the moving. This would certainly make Moist a potential kidnapping target for any crackpot who wanted to take control of the golems.

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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:20 pm

swreader wrote:. The original idea seems to have been to substitute paper money for the coins presently in use and to get people to turn in their coins.

J-I*b wrote:and their willingness to give up old ways of thinking (the Lavishes, Mr. Bent, the guilds, coins made of metal,

I thought he wasn't trying to get rid of all the coins, only the high denomination $1. All he's doing with this paper money is making it easier for people to carry large amounts. All the coins under $1 are going to be kept, aren't they? :?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:28 pm

See! Money is so bloody boring unless you've got stacks of it - even if you can argue about it! :lol:

Wasn't the metal in one of their really low denomination pieces (a groat or something and it was silver rather than gold?) worth more than the dollar piece. Anyway the point was Moist wanted to rationalise the coins so they didn't cost too much to make and phase in the paper for the higher dollar values. :roll:

Coins are useful anyway so long as it's small change - you can play tiddly winks with 'em for a start :P
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:30 pm

raisindot wrote:We never really know what's in the golden golems' "armband orders."
J-I-B

It's not just me who thought they were "golden". :lol:
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