Whispers Ch7 bit – It’s an Expense

Ja’far frowned. “You have a plan to eliminate Kou influence here, if you can avoid a war?”

“I’m… not sure,” Alibaba admitted. “I’ve got one that’ll deal with the expense, but not the problem.”

“The expense?” Morgiana frowned.

“If enough money can solve it,” Alibaba started.

“It’s not a problem, it’s an expense,” Ja’far finished, gray eyes sober. “You did learn from Rashid.”

Color bloomed in Alibaba’s cheeks. “Getting Balbadd out of the debt hole – that’s the expense. We’re working on it.”

“By devaluing the Fan,” Ja’far nodded.

Leaning back in his chair, Jahan chuckled. “Ah, if only it were that simple!”

White brows rose. “Now I am interested,” Ja’far murmured. “What are you up to?”

“First, we got trade going again,” Alibaba obliged. “That got funds and metals moving. And knocked the value of the Fan down to pretty much zero… in Balbadd.”

“Oh,” Ja’far breathed. “Oh, that is evil. I like you.” He nodded to himself, short and sharp. “And the Fog Troupe has been robbing noble houses. Stealing everything not nailed down. Including the Fan.”

Alibaba smiled.

“Um….” Lost, Aladdin looked at Morgiana. Who shrugged, equally confused. “What does that mean, you just made it worth less in Balbadd…?”

Oh. Oh wow, if what he thought was right, that really was evil. “You mean, the Fan’s still worth something in the Empire, right?” Aladdin said, feeling his way through what seemed like an awful complicated mess. “So… you’re making it so the people here don’t want the Fan, they’re not using it. And then you’re stealing it from the nobles, so… you can buy back what Abhmad sold?”


27 thoughts on “Whispers Ch7 bit – It’s an Expense

    1. *Nod* Very true. But if the Kou Empire gets to the point where they’re publically not taking the money to pay back the debt, when the things Abhmad’s signed away are supposed to be collateral until he can pay them back….

      Then, ladies and gents, this is no longer a mere money contract, and all kinds of interesting things happen as a result. Including Balbadd – and Balbadd’s allies, if any – hi there, Sinbad! – having just cause to start distinctly not-money hostilities.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. *AND* also devalues the Fan in non-Balbadd nations. After all, the idea behind paper money is that there is hard currency backing it up and that at any time you could exchange them. In theory, today’s market is, bit different. But, by *not* taking the Fan back in return for debts, it paints an ugly picture about the value of the Fan. Like Michael Banks causing a run on the bank in Mary Poppins, just because of a, perfectly understandable, well, tantrum being misunderstood.

        It makes people not trust the Fan.

        And Ja’far is so pleased with his “in-another-universe” student. It makes me giggle.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. *Nod!* Alibaba is giving the Empire a choice. Or throwing down the gauntlet, take your pick. 😉

        Basically – take your losses, regroup, maybe try again later. Or press what you think is your advantage, and potentially destabilize huge swathes of your Empire.

        Alibaba also has a few other tactics he’s planning on using. The Kou will probably like them even less.

        As the TVTropes entry on Alibaba notes, the guy is a Combat Pragmatist. As far as he’s concerned, the Kou started a war with Balbadd. He is not going to play nice.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. *grins* Oh that’s clever. And delightfully evil. Excellent (in one’s very best Mr. Burns’ voice).

    I love this monkey wrench. Granted, as mentioned by the above comment and Vathara’s reply, Kou is not going to want to give back those things but they are going to look very shady if they aren’t accepting payment for the collateral like they agreed . . . Refusing would damage their international reputation by making their word worthless which would give Kou all sorts of headaches.

    Of course, Al-Thamen and Kou are unlikely to take this lying down but somehow I doubt that will be the move they are expecting their opposition to take and probably won’t know how to counter immediately without creating further problems for themselves. *chuckles evilly*

    Liked by 2 people

  2. >> “And then you’re stealing it from the nobles, so… you can buy back what Abhmad sold?”

    And that, ladies and gents, is one definition of a short term loan. Though the interest on this loan is murder…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. >Alibaba’s going to do some very, very unpleasant economic things to Kou.>
      More than that he’s also altering how the other countries view the Fan.

      Because if Balbadd merchants/smugglers aren’t willing to deal in Fan (and these guys KNOW trade) there is probably something wrong. Best to start asking for hard currancy ourselves.

      And the best part is, the Ren family won’t have a clue as to what’s going wrong. They’re all raised nobles and soldiers, not merchants. And Al-Thamen can’t enlighten them to the situation as it might result in one or more of the royal family getting a clue.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Alibaba is an evil evil mastermind and I love how this is turning out.

    Question has the Banker introduced the concept of interest yet? This is important because Alibaba wouldn’t be able to pay back the loan until Ahbmad is dethroned or he’ll reveal his hand. In the meantime, Ahbmad is borrowing Fan like no tomorrow, which could lead to a situation where on paper, Balbadd owes the Empire more Fan than there actually is in the entire country, just on compounding interest rates (in short, compounding interest is when you accrue interest on the interest owed).

    That would be one of the ways the Banker can keep things in check, by making sure that physically, there is not enough Fan in existence to pay back what Balbadd owes on paper. It seems like a failsafe they would put in, just incase the merchant country wises up and does what Alibaba is doing.

    On another note, have you considered a fanfic where Ja’far mentors Alibaba from a young age? As in, when or before Rashid finds him kind of age, because if Alibaba is capable of this kind of Ja’far approved evil now, imagine if Ja’far had been teaching him from the start…

    Then again, that might be why Sinbad unconsciously decided to keep the two apart 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’d have to look up whether compounding interest was involved. But yes, that is indeed a possible trick the Banker could be pulling – not enough Fan.

      Then again, the Kou Empire is really big….

      And hee. I’d love to write something like that, if RL would stop hitting me for a while…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. “Oh,” Ja’far breathed. “Oh, that is evil. I like you.” He nodded to himself, short and sharp.

    Ja’far not only approves, but complemented the evilness. Somewhere, Sinbad just gulped.

    Poor Ja’far, he’s going to think Alibaba is SANE(ish). At least for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Sinbad talks and you think “this is crazy, but it just might work, because Sinbad is that level of insane.”

        Alibaba talks and innocent words sound perfectly rational, easy to accomplish for an individual, and something you Just Do as opposed to anything special. Then you realize you’re flying on a magic carpet with Alibaba, a blue haired kid, and a terrifyingly strong (and adorable) redhead after going through a tunnel of fire, fresh out of a fight with an Eldritch being. And you STILL can’t point out exactly when it went from a trip to the market to Eldritch evil. (But you can narrow it down to approximately when Alibaba opened his mouth.)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I have to admit, three big influences for this fic are Spice and Wolf and Log Horizon (for economics and daring to think beyond the usual boxes)… and Leverage.

        Because that’s what Balbadd needs. Tell me you can’t see Nathan saying just this about the Kou Empire: “They have all the money, they have all the power, and they use it to make people like you go away….”

        Liked by 2 people

  5. For some reason, all this is making me think of the FUBAR that was the Global Rice Shortage of 2008. If anything tells you how much of the modern global economy is built on sand, it’s that. Then add Alibaba or equivalent. Eek. (Then again, Alibaba would, well he wouldn’t be Japan- that loophole wouldn’t be there. He might be the people who suggested Japan bring up the option of selling, though.)


    1. For anyone reading this who doesn’t know about the Global Rice Shortage of 08, in a year with SURPLUS rice production, political and economic guessing world wide thought it was a shortage (again More Rice Than Normal, not less.) A lot of crazy stuff happened to the Global market as countries freaked and made things worse.

      Because of trade agreements from WWII, Japan MUST buy rice from the US (doesn’t mean they have to USE it- and they don’t. They store it.) Some economists contacted Japan and basically said “hey, offer to sell your stored rice. You don’t have to ACTUALLY sell a grain, but it’ll let people know there isn’t a shortage and they’ll stop flailing.” Japan did. The price of rice dropped 200% in a matter of hours and continued to drop.

      If countries were people, I’d say they felt stupid, but they’re not, so they looked for ways to capitalize on almost bringing down the global market over imagined doom.

      TL;DR The global market thought there was a shortage and flailed, almost collapsing. Japan was the shady dealer going “hey, I got some of that.” And the global market realized that not only did they have enough, but there was a /surplus/ of rice.

      Liked by 1 person

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