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The Cambist and Lord Iron is a novella written by Daniel Abraham about Olaf Neddelsohn, the official Cambist of the city, and his interactions with the terrible, salacious, famous, intensely Byronic Lord Iron. It's also a fable about economics, value, and exchange rates. The story begins with Lord Iron deciding for a gaff to have a currency from a long defunct polity exchanged for the local coin. By law our cambist must exchange them for a non-arbitrary price and he must do it in twenty-four hours or face losing his licences. If you want to know how Olaf resolves this I suggest just reading the story. It's short and available for free in text here or read aloud here.

The story continues with the Cambist being called on by Lord Iron twice more to devise even more bizarre objective comparative valuations. The trick of the story is that there are no tricks. In each case Olaf devises actual exchange rates for things which on their surface have no objective commensurability and in the doing reveals important details about what value is in principle and practice. What is a day in your life worth? What would you trade your honor for? Where does wealth come from? The Cambist and Lord Iron is a thoughtful and charming little tale with an insightful and heart warming resolution and while it gets a bit dark and a bit heavy in parts I would recommend it to anybody and everybody with the slightest interest in economics or fables.

IRON NODER THE THIRTEENTH