What is the buying power of 1 echo?

Still can’t figure out how much 1 echo can buy in this setting, and how many units of various modern currencies that it’s worth.

what further complicates matters is the cost of living in Fallen London, I can’t imagine it would be cheap. But how much is 1 echo worth on the surface?
edited by Addis Rook on 6/21/2017

You can buy 50 bottles of low quality wine for 1 Echo. Surely that could be compared to how much low quality wine you could purchase with modern currencies?

Yes, but at the same time it’s mushroom wine, we have no idea of the costs of production of such a thing in the Neath, as mushrooms practically grow by themselves down here. I don’t imagine there’s anywhere near the same kind of infrastructure needed for grape wine.

Also there’s the matter of inflation over the course of some 120 years.

There’s also regular, non-‘magical’ clothing sold at the Bazaar. Any clothing that appears to have more of an roleplay-price rather than a bonus-stats price could be used to compare to real world prices. I’m not saying it’d be easy or accurate to try to figure out real world value of a game currency, but comparing items that are similar to real world items would be the way to go.

One penny is enough to pay the price of postage within the city limits of London. So, find out how much it would cost for the post office to deliver a letter to someone within your city and you have a rough approximation of the real value of a 1895 Echo Bazaar penny in present day surface currency.
edited by Anne Auclair on 6/22/2017

That’s not necessarily helpful though; we’re in a pre-email period when post is of necessity both cheap and frequent. (Postal services were much better in Victorian times than they are now.)

Good point. A far superior method would be to look up how much it cost to deliver a letter within the city of London in 1895 - that information has got to be laying around somewhere. Find out the average price and you’d have a rough approximation of the price of an Echo Bazaar penny in 1895 Fallen London. After all, a London postman wouldn’t be all that different from a Fallen London postman, would he?

Nuncio

The cost of sending a letter in 1895 (Surface) London was…

drumroll

one penny!

Failbetter knew what they were doing there. I’m still not sure how to translate that into anything practical, although I did come across a Wiki article dealing with this very question - Uniform Penny Post - Wikipedia

(including most of the caveats I should have felt obliged to include.)

I suppose one might try saying &quotall right, let’s call one penny equivalent to a modern pound and see where we go from there&quot. It does at least simplify the maths.

edit: here is a delightful link. Victorian London - Communications - Post - Postal System

&quotBut fancy the feelings of the postmen who found frogs, lizards, and spiders hopping and crawling about! 4,500 letters and packets were stopped for containing such objectionable things.&quot


Poor Nuncio indeed.
edited by Teaspoon on 6/22/2017

They weren’t originally bottles, though - the units on most items were added later for consistency. When FL started you were just purchasing 50 times the abstract concept of low-quality wine.

[quote=Teaspoon]&quotBut fancy the feelings of the postmen who found frogs, lizards, and spiders hopping and crawling about! 4,500 letters and packets were stopped for containing such objectionable things.&quot

Poor Nuncio indeed. [/quote]
At least those postmen didn’t have to deal with the Tomb-Colony pickles.

What I don’t understand is why Fallen London uses decimal currency, something real-life Britons couldn’t be coaxed into for another seventy years or so. I feel Londoners would have fought this change far harder than any of the other travails Failbetter have inflicted upon them.

That part of a Londoner which demands overly complicated currency is probably well satisfied by a system in which you have forty different kinds of valid monies depending on who you’re talking to and what you’re trying to buy.

(Also Anthony Trollope, inventor of the pillar box, was quite keen on decimal currency. Perhaps it was his reward for presiding over a postal service that had suddenly got much, much more complex.)

They weren’t originally bottles, though - the units on most items were added later for consistency. When FL started you were just purchasing 50 times the abstract concept of low-quality wine.[/quote]

One thing to keep in mind is that most items are still abstract, despite the addition of units on them.

Most story, too, so you have cases where you spend a thousand drops of Honey but the in-game text claims it is &quotjust a little luxury honey&quot, or you get &quota few bottles of fine wine&quot, represented by twenty five bottles of Greyfields and a bottle of Broken Giant.

It’s probably also good to assume most people earn money much slower than the player - the player can, after all, spend fifty Jade Fragments at the Labyrinth of Tiger to eat snacks and somehow earn one and a half Echoes worth of information in the process.
edited by Estelle Knoht on 6/22/2017

Gets a bit more confusing considering the prices of real estate.
A Handsome Townhouse can be obtained for what would be anywhere between 25 and 50 echoes depending on whether you see the Bazaar value for romantic notions as too high. At the same time an Elegant Townhouse costs you 1.000 echoes in Sunless Sea, though those games probably have mutually exclusive canon when it comes to the economy or somesuch.
edited by Infinity Simulacrum on 6/24/2017

The change into specific units for every commodity wasn’t that long ago, but I always assumed that wine was sold in bottles. Was it traded in a more abstract unit than “Greyfields” before 2013? A dozen Greyfields sounds like 12 bottles to me.

Or kegs. Or vats.

[quote=Infinity Simulacrum]Gets a bit more confusing considering the prices of real estate.
A Handsome Townhouse can be obtained for what would be anywhere between 25 and 50 echoes depending on whether you see the Bazaar value for romantic notions as too high. At the same time an Elegant Townhouse costs you 500 echoes in Sunless Sea, though those games probably have mutually exclusive canon when it comes to the economy or somesuch.[/quote]

I have wondered about that…one solitary sapphire in Fallen London, when sold, is worth .12 echoes. One casket of sapphires in Sunless Sea, when sold, is worth ninety echoes. Does a casket then contain 750 sapphires?

Sounds plausible to me, actually. It’s a treasure chest full of treasure!

In Sunless Sea, a Searing Enigma is worth a thousand echos. That’s a pretty big price difference.

Searing Enigmas collected on the Sunless Sea might be a bigger deal then the ones collected in London.

Comparing historical buying power to modern is notoriously difficult, but I generally assume that 1 penny roughly equals 1 modern USD (therefore 1 Echo = $100).

Using Greyfields '79 as an example, you can buy a bottle at the Bazaar for 2 pennies; today, $2 = 1 bottle of Two Buck Chuck (at least originally). By contrast a bottle of '44 Broken Giant is 2.5 echos; $250 for an expensive bottle of wine at a classy restaurant is certainly possible today. A cheap set of Workman’s Clothes is 20 pennies ($20, a reasonable price for serviceable thrift store clothes). A Distinguished Gentleman’s Outfit will set you back 115.20 echoes, or $11,520, which seems realistic for a late 19th century custom-tailored, top-quality handmade suit of menswear that only rich people (or hard-working echo-grinders) could afford.

Obviously this breaks down in a lot of cases. I would not pay $40 for a goldfish. Unless it was very, VERY cheerful.