Animal Spirits
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Economic Magery

From Lois McMaster Bujold (2009), The Sharing Knife: Horizon: Three ranger-wizards talking:

“Look closely at this.” Arkady, mystified, accepted it. “If you found this somewhere, not knowing what it was, how would you judge the metalwork?”

“Well... the raised image of the crayfish is actually quite fine. And the lettering, of course, so tiny, but clear to read”—Arkady squinted—“Silver Shoals City Mint, One Cray. And making things perfectly round is harder than it looks, I suppose.”

“Aye. Yet when we all visited the mint at Silver Shoals, back when we were coming downriver on the Fetch, we saw the machine that stamps these out a hundred at a time. One of these disks is a little work of art. Tens of thousands of ’em... become farmer magic.”

Arkady raised his brows; Dag plowed on. “They’re counters, memories of trade and labor that a man can put in his pocket and carry across a continent. They make things move. With my groundsense, I can summon my horse from a mile away. With enough of these, the folks at Silver Shoals can summon a forty-mule tea caravan from eight hundred miles away. And the ground density and complexity of a big river city like Silver Shoals is a making in its own right.”

“You see a farmer town as a making?” said Barr, his forehead wrinkling at this new thought. “I do.” “What about a Lakewalker camp, then?” “That, too, of course.” Arkady made to hand the coin back; Dag grinned and said, “Keep it. There’s plenty more where that came from”...

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