Economics between dragons and wars : Game of Thrones

Westeros is a feudal economy and what this means is that most of the citizens are relegated to work in agriculture under the governance of local Lords who fall under the governance of high Lords who fall under the governance of the Crown. These citizens will work the farms in exchange for a share of the Food and a promise of protection from their respective Lords and their armies. Very little time is spent on what effectively adds up to a vast majority of the population of westeros, but it shouldn’t be forgotten. That this is ultimately the foundation of the Kingdom. Beyond this, small instances of private enterprise do exist, mainly represented in the form of brothels. Smith season ends. This is very reminiscent of medieval England, in which the land of Westeros is loosely based. Manufacturing does not really exist and products of Westeros are primarily limited to regionally produce limitedly complex items that are more or less one offs. A silly example of this is that there is no central factory specializing in making tables for all the individual regions and keeps likely have a Carpenter who could make tables and chairs and beyond this build wooden structures and conduct repairs on their respective Castle. In this example it would be far more efficient for one region of Westeros to agree to just make wooden furniture and share it all over the nation taking advantage of economies of scale. This doesn’t happen though. Great few reasons. Trade and transportation in Westeros is very limited. Sure, we occasionally see merchant ships. On the trade, but we also see that getting from one side of this nation to the other side is a pretty dangerous. The other big consideration is that the nation is pretty much constantly at war in some form. There is no point letting the Lords of the reach set up their furniture factory if I’m just going to be at war with them next year, I will be cut off from my table and chair supply and their factory will be cut off from business because of something half of their customers want to do. This is of course very particular example of how unstable and not advanced economies miss out on economic efficiencies that work to progress. That is something that is highlighted really, really well in the show. Areas of the Kingdom, like the North that have a limited and sparse population and a very non specialized workforce and are shown to have very basic utilitarian furniture. Even in their greatest Castle winterfell.  Conversely, areas with a larger, more concentrated population like Kings landing will allow for people to start specializing in more specific roles like a dedicated furniture maker. Furniture shown here is far more ornate.

Now let’s look at debt collection. The Iron Bank is referenced as one of the most influential powers in the fictional world. The bank draws many parallels with the banking houses of the medieval Europe. This is, of course, a departure from the historical time period that most people associate with the story of Game of Thrones. But part of Martins fantastic storytelling is his ability to pick and choose curiosities from throughout history, and we’ve enjoyed topical fantasy story, the banking houses of the Napoleonic era, most notably the House of Rothschild, were instrumental in funding the war efforts of England and France. Around this time will have become an expensive undertaking. The reliance of armies on new technologies like cannons and muskets, made increasingly a struggle of who could raise the most money. The banking houses were happy to accommodate and knew that they would hold a lot of power. Any nation that tried to Renege on their debt obligations would find it incredibly hard to raise funding to go toward ever again. And then the banks would then just find a more accommodating army who would set things straight and get to work repairing. These banks basically introduced modern finance that exists today. Of course, instead of financing cars and homes to mom’s and dad, they were financing armies to hostile governments, the Iron Bank and historical banks had similar roles.

They actually sought peace and stability, so the Kingdom that they found that could get down to paying back their decks. So these banks loved figures like Tywin Lannister; powerful stabilizing individual. A Lannister always pays their debts, which was like the westerosi equivalent of a strong credit score. I guess these banks were also happy to flip flop on who they supported as soon as the stability of their repayment was compromised. They were more than happy to finance a new leader. The silent hand of the bank has also been speculated to be a huge determinant factor in the final outcomes of the war. There. In the classic adage that goes that. When you owe the bank one million dollars and can’t pay it back, you have a problem. If you owe to bank a billion dollars and can’t pay back, the bank has a problem. It was noted in season five of the Lannisters were deeply in debt for the line back. Many have speculated that this was a cunning plan by Tywin Lannister that the Iron bank would have to continue to support him if they ever want to see a return on their huge loan. When Cersie just wanted the gold of Highgarden certainly potentially made a fatal mistake in doing what ministers do best and repaying their destiny. Iron bank with this no longer had to cover its financial position and was free to do another cost benefit analysis, which heavily favoured the army that had those Dragons. Is it something the comic complexity of the show does allow you to speculate about? It’s certainly something I find used in public economics can be used out of good storytelling.

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