The Long Day Wanes
I live in Atlantis, a city of millions, with runnels and swards of water and grass and life woven throughout its wonderful fabric. Some Atlanteans, in particular the rich or the culturista-liberalist, profess disgust at the degree of government control, sanctimony, antimony, antinomy, economy — it is as if their inability to bend reality to their tastes makes Atlantis a dump.
It is not. It tries very hard not to be. Just the other day, I realised that potable water costs one and a fifth Atlantean thalers per tonne. That is a thousand litres of water, four thousand glasses. Each glass an Atlantean drinks will cost him only three-hundredths of a cent — up to a limit of forty tonnes a month. And this, in what the fashionable call a concrete wasteland of economic soullessness.
And so, I am happy. I am happy that only the rich can have multiple cars, and that it costs the earth if you want to be a heavy consumer. For all I need is books, and that to the tune of not more than 500 Atlantean thalers a month. Knowledge begets knowledge; I earn that much by weaving new knowledge out of old and feeding it to the hungry. Indeed, I earn enough even to pay for my water, and my food.
My current estimate is that in Atlantis, it is possible to get by on ten thalers a day. The question then becomes, "How much work does one need to earn that much?" The answer is: very little. A more important question is: "How much does one need to do to earn enough for a home AND ten thalers a day?" A tiny leasehold of two rooms over 99 years will set you back the enormous sum of 76,000 thalers, or 16,000 if you are poor and qualify for grants. That is about two thalers a day, or perhaps as little as forty cents.
I would therefore try to earn at least fifty thalers a day, were I young again. Heck, why not throw in everything else modern life might consider necessary (the internet, distractions from life which are referred to as 'having a life', and suchlike) — the sum might rise to two hundred thalers a day.
Do you know how much work will earn you that much? Surprisingly, selling coffee will do that for you. There are many avenues for the unskilled to earn that much. What people won't say is that they don't want to tell others about that because such jobs are limited — too many baristas and each barista will earn less.
The entire shebang is run by the Gnome's successor. Atlantis is not poor. It is only the half-rich who tell the half-poor how terrible their (either side's) lot in life is. In the end, 60% of the population remain sufficiently clear of mind to keep the priests of the Thunderer in business. The cult of the Hammer is rising though; people think that perhaps lightning proceeds better from a Hammer than a Bolt.
They are of course mistaken. Lightning is the cause of thunder, and thunder is a sound similar to the echo of a hammer. Nothing rules the lightning, but it does tend to pass through the highest point in the forest. Only the hardiest spire can control the flash of doom.
And here I sit, drinking pale gold wine in a pale gold room. I think that the main problem of all problems is that there are people wealthy enough to waste time trolling and surfing the Net, who have the gall to complain that they are too poor. I laugh sadly, and think about the goldenly unbearable lightning-ness of being.