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Pokemon World: Economics

3/17/12 9:43pm
tl;dr

This post looks at the economic structure of the Pokemon world, specifically currencies and careers. Long story short, money comes from Pokemon, there are more jobs than you think, and there is a parallel economy between Pokemon goods and regular everyday goods.

Hello, and welcome once again to "Pokemon World", the blog that questions how the Pokemon universe would function in reality. Once again I would like to preface this post with the fact that I am looking only at the main series of games  (Red/Blue/Green/Yellow, Gold/Silver/Crystal, Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, Black/White), and not spinoffs or the anime/manga/movies.

This post, I will be taking a look at the economic situation of the Pokemon universe. Things like the currency, the creation process of that currency, and the jobs in the universe.

First, a look at the jobs in the Pokemon world. At first, it seems that there are very few jobs in the Pokemon world. Trainer, researcher, and Gym leader appear to be about it. But you also need to remember the Shop Owners and the people who work at the shops; the radio stations with all of their employees; the ship captains and crew for boats like the SS Anne; the nurses at the various Pokemon centers. Indeed, the number of possible jobs grows larger. However, let's not forget that, where technology exists, there also exist people to fix technology. The elevators in the department stores must need maintenance. Not to mention the various radios, televisions, and Nintendo consoles people have. Which brings up another point: Manufacturing these devices. The Pokegear needed to be made somewhere, as did the bicycle you get. And every building needed to be made by somebody.
 

Now, I will admit, a lot of these jobs can be taken care of by Pokemon (and probably are). But behind those Pokemon is someone who trained them to do the work needed. In a way, these people are still Pokemon trainers, but not in the traditional sense associated with them. A construction worker that teaches Pokemon to build houses is different from a Pokemon Trainer who wanders the world teaching them to fight.

But how do they get paid? It would be nice to think that there is some sort of trade and barter system, that for every service a good or service is offered in return, but it can be seen in the games that this is not the case. The shops do not operate this way, they expect to be paid in currency. The Pokemon Dollar (as it is referred to on <a href="http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon_Dollar"> Bulbapedia</a>) is the currency used when purchasing items such as Potions, TMs, or PokeBalls. It is also the currency won or lost during Pokemon matches.

But, the Pokemon Dollar is never used for normal, everyday things, only for items related to the capture, training, and general upkeep of Pokemon. They are not (typically) used to pay for food, clothing, or other necessities.

What this suggests, in my opinion, is that the Pokemon Dollar exists with a second currency. The Pokemon Dollar is used for and by trainers, for Pokemon related goods. However, I believe there is  another, regular currency (I will refer to it from here on out as Yen, in honor of the country that created this wonderful series of games, and because Yen is different enough from Pokemon Dollars to avoid confusion.) These "Yen" would be the currency used for the purchase of food, or housing, clothing, etc. The Yen would be what the regular folk of the Pokemon world earn at their jobs.

But how does this work? This ties back a bit to my previous post about the <a href="http://www.screwattack.com/news/pokemon-world-political-structure"> Political Structure of the Pokemon World</a>, and how I believe that the Elite Four basically rule the regions they are in. I believe that the Pokemon League are the ones who create the Pokemon Dollars. The Yen already exists as a currency, the way real  dollars already exist, or real Yen.  But the Pokemon League use their greatest resource to create these Pokemon Dollars... the Pokemon they train.

Remember, if you will, that Meowth and Persian can learn a move known as <a href=http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Pay_Day_(move)">Pay Day</a>. This move throws coins at the opponent. My theory is that there are large numbers of Meowth or Persians that are essentially farmed for these coins. Now, I admit there is a problem here, in that the actual move description only states that the coins are thrown at the opponent, which could mean the Pokemon already have coins on themselves. However, this total is later added to the Trainer's total money, so it did not come from the Trainer's pockets. Either the Pokemon was holding the coins on themselves (a possibility), or it is created from this move.

However, if Pay Day isn't the solution, there are two more possibilities. Meowth can be seen to have a coin on his forehead. If they are born this way, then presumably it would be possible to remove these coins. Not a terribly nice idea, but a possibility nonetheless.

Or, there is another possibility. Pokemon are known to have many varied abilities and skills, far above what humanity can do. As such, I don't think it is much of a stretch to assume that there are mines and forges operated by Pokemon. I am sure a Charizard could melt down metals, and many Pokemon could dig through the Earth to search for minerals. In fact, this would seem to be the most logical option for currency creation.

Once the Pokemon Dollars are created, they are distributed by the Pokemon Leagues. Shops are instructed to take these dollars for Pokemon related goods, and Trainers start to carry this with them. It becomes an acceptable cost for losing a battle instead of taking anothers Yen, which they would use for food or shelter. In this way, the Elite Four gain a stronger foothold in the territory, controlling distribution of a currency that they could stop supporting at any time, possibly ruining the area in the process. The entire Pokemon Dollar currency is another ploy to help keep the current balance of power from shifting.

The Yen is not mentioned in the game because it is inconsequential. It can be assumed you eat during the day, and you would need the money to buy food. Adding this mechanic would bog down the game, so it is not included. However, if you had to use the Pokemon Dollars for things like food, then you would be losing money as you progressed in the game. However, because you don't, but you are obviously eating, it can be assumed a second currency exists.
 

If you like, you can think of it like regular dollars and Canadian Tire money. (If you have never been to Canadian Tire and don't know what I'm talking about, I'm really sorry. It's basically like a special currency you can only use in their stores.)

 

Okay, so that's about it for this issue of Pokemon World. Sorry it took so long to post, I've been a bit busy with work, but I hope to be able to post more often from now on. Also, I look forward to any comments you might have, including other theories about this or why you disagree about my theories (as long as they're intelligent reasons, not "I disagree because you suck" type things.)

 

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