Once upon a time there was a mythical land called California. The
Kingdom was a lovely place to live, and had many loyal subjects.
Over time, the best artisans and craftsmen moved to Bay City in
California and created a wonder for the world. A marketplace filled
with inventions, creations, and contraptions to behold. They didn't
think of it that way at the time, but as more and more craftsmen
and artisans gathered, it became a font of ideas, exchange, and
innovation. It became the Golden Market. The Golden Market made
it possible for many of the peasants to make a fortune, all without
taxing anyone! And the rest of the world benefited from the Golden
Market as goods and services poured across the border of California
to Kingdoms far and wide. Other
Kingdoms looked at the Golden Market with envy, and those with
Kings encouraged their peasants to make their own. Several
did. Other cities in California made their own Golden Market,
but the original Golden Market in Bay City would stay the largest
in the world for a long time.
As the wise men said, "And This Too, Shall Pass".
One day, a terrible King became ruler of California. His name was
King Grayson Davos, and he ruled the land with an iron fist. From
his castle, he taxed the peasants far and wide. He was a shrewd
King, however, and had learned to take from the peasants second
hand in addition to their already high levy. He would create taxes
so difficult to understand that most of his serfs didn't even realize
they were being taxed. When the famine finally came, only a handful
of the peasants realized that it was actually the King who had caused
their misery. When they proclaimed it, they were derided as madmen.
"California is still the strongest of all the Kingdoms,"
the other peasants cried. "We have the best and biggest Golden
Angel City was the largest city in the Kingdom of California, but
had only a small Golden Market of their own. Even though Angel City
had barely enough food for the peasants who lived there, many more
came into the city from a neighboring Kingdom. The city coffers
were nearly empty in this time of need, and the stores of city bread
would soon begin to run out feeding all of Angel Cities peasants
and those from the other Kingdom. One day, nearly a year after the
famine had begun,
the Exchequer to the Baron of Angel City had an idea to fill the
city coffers again. He would tax the Golden Market for goods
in other places! He realized that the Golden Market made wondrous
baubles for world. While most Kingdoms placed a levy on them, some
did not. He could start by taxing the artisans for goods in the
no tax Kingdoms!
The craftsmen of the Golden Market cried out "You cannot levy
against our baubles in other Kingdoms!" But the stern judges
of Angel City drowned their cries "Yes, the Exchequer can."
And so it began.
The coffers of Angel City were filled again as the Golden Market
paid its heavy due. Then the Exchequer, emboldened by his success,
levied another tariff on the Golden Market, then another. Soon,
Bay City followed suite, for all the towns in the Kingdom of California
were suffering under the famine from the King. The craftsmen and
artisans of the Golden Market wailed and gnashed their teeth, but
to no avail. The judges had ruled. The peasants might have come
to the aid of the craftsmen if they had understood, but they were
too happy to get bread instead. The peasants had the power to tell
the judges no, but they didn't.
Then a strange thing happened. It didn't happen all at once. In
fact it was so gradual that most of the peasants didn't notice,
nor did the King, nor his Barons. The craftsmen and artisans started
to leave the Golden Market they had created. They
journeyed to other Kingdoms, and dispersed far and wide. They
made new Golden Markets in a hundred different cities in
dozens of different Kingdoms. The coffers of the Cities of California
that had been temporarily filled, went completely dry as the Golden
Market shriveled and died. The illusion of plenty gave way to the
reality of scarcity. The famine redoubled.
One day, King Davos heard a commotion and looked out over his castle
ramparts. He saw an army of peasants gathered.
"You killed the Golden Market," they cried. "You
have given us famine and grief."
"Guards. Guards!" he called. The guards were gone. The
peasants stormed the castle and killed the King, but it was too
late. The Golden Market was gone from California and would not return
for a hundred years.