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The Equestrian Economy · 9:05pm Jan 26th, 2013

I don't get it.

*is fiddling with possible scenarios and base constructs for the market as seen here*

[Spoilers about today's episode below]

Alright, so it was revealed today in today's episode that Equestrian jewels DO have value and can be exchanged for bits. That part didn't phase me. We see that they used gold coins (bits) for currency, so the idea of gems being traded commodities didn't seem out of touch in the slightest. What boggled my mind was HOW VALUABLE THE DAMN THINGS ARE.

Okay, just bear with me. Spike goes around getting all these gems as payments. Flutters gives him a massive emerald, and all the gals gave varying other sizes. Almost died when I saw that Rarity, the Element of Generosity, gave him the smallest possible gem. Like... really? He's watching your cat for you. Maybe sweeten the deal just a little bit more, Rarity? Its not like you cant just find anoth- oh wait.

That part that caught me off guard, though, was when Spike was bribing the CMC to watch the pets for him. They said they needed to buy toys, treats, and beds for the pets. Now, I know for a fact that those things aren't "cheap" for six pets. I mean, they're not expensive, but a kid on an allowance cant walk into a pet store and just get them cheap. This is easily a 150-300 dollar shopping trip here. So Spike goes and gives them his smallest gem to get these things. Meanwhile, I'm thinking, damn Spike has some nice loot there.

What made me do this

was when I saw that the CMC had purchased a INDUSTRIAL SIZE PET HAIRDRYER (and seemingly assorted cleaning products) with that gem.

I.. just... don't... who... did you ponies SEE that thing? Tens of thousands, if not borderline hundreds of thousands of bits piece of equipment. Unless the CMC has a treasure horde they're hiding somewhere, the only way they could've snagged that is via Spike's gem.

Okay. So maybe, just MAYBE the gem Rarity gave him was far more valuable. Like how a 1 carat diamond is worth more than say, a slab of quartz. But that doesn't make any sense either since Fluttershy gave him a massive emerald. Why would Spike part with his most valuable gem first over something small? Or, better yet, how wealthy is Rarity if she can find those damn things so easily?! How wealthy is Applejack if she could give a gem to Spike to pay for watching her dog? How expensive is it for Twilight to take care of Spike? Why isn't Ponyville more prosperous with some many gems pits nearby?

This doesn't make sense...

Let me tell you. If a portal to Equestria EVER forms, I'm snapping my pen, giving up writing, and becoming a miner. Hopefully getting my cutiemark in something about gemology. Real thing, look it up.

Whats your take or answers to the equestrian economy?

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Comments ( 29 )

I was wondering that too, but I'm thinking something along the lines of quality over size and all that, with maybe some kind of sorting system by color, with red being high up there. or maybe smaller gems are more valuable. or maybe everyone is loaded because of Rarity's gem finding skills and she just hands them away to her friends and we only really see it because they're the focus. Or or or or maybe Gems are in a weird weird place seeing as how even though they're valuable they can be baked into a cake. Been baked into a cake enough times that there are cook books out there about it.

I dunno about how all that shiznit fits in with pony economy, but I can say that spike giving up the smaller one first at least seems to be from his point of view, that of gems are food. The smallest one may have been more valuable to ponies, but it was the least desirable to a dragon belly.

Of course that brings up the point of having a roommate who basically likes to literally eat MONEY.

The writers of the show just enjoy ****ing with us. That's all I can come up with.

There is another, also strange, possibility: In Equestria, you can buy industrial machinery with pocket change.

There are gems everywhere, but most of them are shipped off to the dragons to bribe them from razing Equestria. Also, it could be used to bribe them to keep there hoards more secure from outsiders when they die, for a single dragonic hoard in the wrong hoofs would cause massive inflation that would turn Equestria into a third-world country.

Or, in ages past, the Crystal Empire was the closest thing to a Fort Knox, with most of the gems avalable used to make it to keep the gem standerd up. Of course, a thousand years let some gems to grow, and ponies keep using it because they are ignorant of anything outside there little bubble.

Or, everyone knows that there are gems underground that anypony can reach, exept no one is crazy enough to go and explore there. After all, would you risk slavery from David Bowie-inspired monsters?

754772 Exactly what I was thinking in the diamond/quartz concept. But then, the gem he gave to the conductor for a train ride to the Crystal Empire (see North Pole) for 3 ponies, 1 dragon, and six pets wasnt too massive either. That trip could easily cost somewhere in the thousands for all of them (because again, I doubt train trips to the arctic are inexpensive).

Which again comes back... how rich is Rarity, and how can Twilight afford to feed a dragon on a libararian's summary (assuming Celestia isnt paying through the treasury, of course).

754779 Makes complete sense if being viewed from that point, but then also its backwards. Why would they give him such valuable gems for just watching their pets if he's just eating them?

754796 Those would actually be good world-building points. Hmmmm... personally i always thought dragons kept the hoarde cause they occasionally woke up from their naps, and they wanted to keep a food source close.

As for the David Bowie monsters.... yes. Yes I would. Life and limb. Id probably chuch smallpox blankets down there first, though.

754807 Well, of course, but when a pretty pony princess tells them that she will supply them with gems if they do not do something that they were never planning on doing anyway, they just smile and nod.:coolphoto:

I'm pretty sure the whole "if it's funny, throw it in despite consequences" has been a staple for a while. Sometimes this can work, sometimes it doesn't.

I really don't envy the kind of time pressure the studio folks are under. I mean seriously, an extra month of pre-production probably could've ironed out a lot of the complaints that Season 3 has had.

Most of the dryer costs were covered by future positive humor energy dividends from pancake Winona.

Just watched the scene again. Scoot says "paid" for the hairdryer. Although it usually means "buy," it doesn't necessarily have to be. It could be rented. It may still be a decent amount of money tho...


For the train ride, it seemed that Spike didn't count as a "chaperone" (talk about dragon racism...) nor the pets as passengers, but the CMC did...? maybe they got a children's discount? Given what I know about trains and train ticket prices (not much mind you) I've heard that a ticket from St. Louis to Chicago costs about twenty bucks. So I'm wondering if that whole train ride wasn't just a 60 buck trip and the guy took the rest as a tip or something. As for Rarity, I'm gonna assume she gives away her gems whenever she can because generosity, and wanting to make it on her dress making abilities and all that.

Equestria has insane inflation. Perhaps on the order of Zimbabwe.

You think about the monetary worth of gems, but maybe Spike just goes for the taste and the size of the actual stone? He is looking for ingredients for his cake after all. And Rarity just takes some artists viewpoint?
But if emeralds and rubies are actually that different in value, the dressing room scene from episode one gets even better: "Emeralds?! What was I thinking? Let me get you some rubies!". Rarity is just that loaded.:raritywink:

Spike isn't buying things with those gems, he's eating them. So unless he REALLY likes the taste of rubies the commercial value of his gems realy doesn't mean that much. He seemed just as happy eating diamonds and rubies as he does eating that blue stuff from the desert that I can;t for the life of me remember the name of.

You could argue that if that were the case then spike could have just taken the rubie and bought a metric ton of quartz but I don't think he;s the best long term planner...

I think the part of the large emerald, was its size that was the worth to Spike. He wanted to make a cake, and the largest of the bunch would definitely fill in for the others if he had to part with them.

On the actual worth: They are all worth so much, that it didn't matter how he parted with them. All the ponies are loaded, living it up discretely, and gettin' mares...or something along those lines.

Sitting there thinking about it, there is another answer. Something a lot of people don't seem to realize is that gemstones aren't as rare as they seem on the surface. In some places in the world, you can literally walk into a stream and pick up diamonds out of the water. The reason we see diamond prices so high, however, is because jewelers, especially the big ones, buy up large amounts of excess gems and liberally hide them to intentionally drive up prices. In fact, not too long ago there were a number of very big name scandals from which jewelers were buying up conflict diamonds and hiding them away. Kinda says something about the poor sap in the first world who buys a ring with three months' salary for his special somepony. It's a supply and demand thing.

Now, assuming Equestria has a gem industry similar to ours, it just might be that rare, high quality stones are somewhat common in Equestria, like they are in Africa, but without the conflict part, obviously, but not so much in the rest of the world. This would mean that jewelers could pay out well for individual, high end stones, thereby encouraging ponies to sell to them, both for convenience and profit purposes, and then turning around and reselling those gems to other species at a massive profit. Given the fact that this world has things like dragons, who are genetically predispositioned towards hoarding, and have a preference for gems, what with them being pretty, valuable and a food source, it makes dragons alone huge consumers of Equestrian gems. This logic applies to and from the Equestrians and every other race as well. Equestria is to their world what the and gems what the Middle East is to ours and oil. It's not just about wealth, either. With a large enough market they don't need an industrial base because they can afford to buy or trade what they need or want for what they have.

Of course, without the conflict of either Africa or the Middle East slowing productivity, their productivity numbers must be through the roof. It's like they're the Dubai of their world, and thanks to the fact that their rulers are both immortal and have absolute control over two world-ending celestial bodies, they don't have to fear invasion either, which means they don't have a dedicated military force aside from the guards, which seem to be more police than soldiers. Hence, they're a resource rich, utopian nation that has enjoyed a period of a thousand of years of peace and prosperity, meaning they have become THE economic superpower of their world.

And that little fillies can afford to buy, operate and possibly destroy an industrial size hairdryer with no ill consequences.

There's a wide variety of factors at play here.

* Different types of gems are worth different amounts. Even two of the same type of gem might be worth drastically different amounts due to flaws and impurities. Sometimes it takes a lot of skill to spot these differences, too.
* Different gems are worth different things to different ponies (and dragons). Rarity needs gems for her art, so appearance is paramount for her. A watchmaker needs gems for bearings, where hardness is paramount. Spike wants to eat them, so taste is most important to him. Spike was using them in barter, not as a currency, so they'd be all over the place.
* The Crystal Empire just reappeared. Depending on what those crystals actually *are*, the bottom may have just fallen out of the gem market and everypony else is just as confused about what the value of a gem is as you are.
* Gems are consumables. Dragons eat them, and in my headcanon they also serve as magical "batteries" to power long-lasting or high-energy spells.
* Gems are renewable. In my headcanon that's what Pinkie's family is farming - they use Earth pony magic to grow seed gems using rocks as "nutrients."

755106 I am sorry. I can only thumb up your comment once. Forgive me.

THAT is both genius, and I would have never thought of it. Just... I'm blown away by the implications of that.

So, just to confirm: Equestria is resource rich nation (mostly via gemstones) that exports such stones to neighboring countries. This, coupled with the fact that their rulers are immortal, celestial gods, means that...

Holy crap. I don't even want to think about how wealthy the nation is now. But that would explain why you could have your entire population do what they loved most instead of as a labor pull to further societal production. But that answers... like... literally every question I posed about the society...

Dude... you're a freaking genius...

*saves his comment to his computer as a plot reminder* Its headcanon now.

Didn't read cuz spoilers... but I shall comment nonetheless. That gif is gross and should be ashamed of itself, and its whole family too.

It's simple. Comedic value. That little itty bitty gem for that oversized hairdyer. A small investment for a Large laugh return.

The real solution is that they live in a post-scarcity society, and things are just that damn cheap.

Part of my theory of it too was that Spike doesn't think in terms of value but in terms of taste and appeal. So to him the huge (And perhaps less valuable emerald) Is worth more than the puny (and less tasty) ruby.

Maybe they only rented the hairdryer.


My theory is that while they are called gems they are actualy grown crystals. Thier own real value comes from trade with dragons and perhaps diamond dogs. Now keep in mind most dragons seem to be wild creatures but i am certain that there are enough civilized ones that things like the Pie rock farm can indeed be a viable buissness. then there are the diamond dogs who also deal in gems. now for both races this could be a food source.

Spike has shown dragons can eat anything however. So perhaps it is a prefered food source/bedding.

Now the mane six deal with a dragon quite often so they may have taken some gems in leu of payment for their work so that they would have something to pay spike with. rarity whose job is the priciest may have aquired some more expensive gems, or that little one could have been a left over from a dress.

the CMC could have traded the gem in a exchange for bits and even rented or borrowed the hair dryer as we have no idea what scooaloo and sweetiebelle's parents actualy do for a living.

It may be common knowalge what the exchange rate for gems vs bits are so the cmc may know what the rate is from school. it seems most other race aside from ponies has a thing for gems [maybe griffons no clue there] so while they have little value to ponies they have quite a bit of value as trade items and thus some compinies might keep a trade stock of them for that purpose as they know they can either sell the gem to a trade broker or they have clients who might want it.

Maybe the gem Rarity gave him was more valuable, but not for Spike, given the fact he only wanted to eat it so size is probably what matters the most.

Haggling, it's all about closing the deal. Sweetiebell just has far more clout in closing business deals that anypony gives her credit for, especially when she has :applecry: backing her up with puppy eyes.

Gems have no set value, they're bartered based on how much the recipient is interested in them.

Why to the Mane 6 always have them?
Rarity. :duck:
She spends time digging up so many, and covers her high overhead costs by borrowing from her friends, with gems as collateral.

Gems that are rare have more value than more common ones. Its possible that in Equestria something like an emerald is dirt common, while rubies could be scarce (rarity herself said that baby blue sapphires are extremely rare). There's also the clarity of the gem, which might also effect value. plus the surface of gems are never smooth strait from the ground (even if they appear so in the show). Its possible Rarity gave him a cut ruby, therefore it was more valuable. Of course she gave him the smallest one because it directly contrast her element of generosity (thereby making this scene very funny). Also gems may be hard to find. After all it is her special talent that alowes her to find them (although she does have that spell. Hmm...)

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