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Tau economy
Old 23 Apr 2008, 16:43   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
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Default Tau economy

Just a question that I'm curious about. I was wondering about how people think the Tau economy works on a grand and small scale. I've got my own ideas which I may post down once I've seen what you have come up with. So how do you think the cogs turn in the Tau empire?
One caste for the protection of our race,
for their skills and strategies will defend us all.

One caste for the construction of a safe place,
for without their technology our empire would fall.

One caste for our faraway travels,
for their ships will bring us through the galaxy.

One caste for the talking at all levels,
for their smooth words will pave our road to victory.

One caste to rule them all, one caste to guide them,
One caste to bring them all together, and in the era of the Mont’au, bind them.

In our galaxy there will only be the Tau’va.
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Old 23 Apr 2008, 16:48   #2 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
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Default Re: Tau economy

I think that with the caste system and the greater good, that a large portion of the economy is done for free/without reward - a communal economy. The ethereals/greater good compel the people responsible for this to not feel slighted "its for the greater good of the empire".

However, there is a mention of a resort planet in the codex so I think that there is some level of stratification/discretionary income, and the tau frequently buy off their neighbors as a form of conquest, or use trade to otherwise influence a planet's disposistion towards the tau.

In other words, I envision that there is a communal minimum standard of living that is guaranteed by the greater good, and then it goes up from there - I don't envision there being any rich tau, because a rich tau IMO would feel compelled to spend his riches to help the greater good, or if he was a water caste member might use his riches as a political resource with other non-tau species.
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Old 23 Apr 2008, 16:52   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau economy

We know very little about it.

My guess is that the Fire Caste and Air Caste operate on a sort of "company-town" credit system. Most of their equipment costs and living expenses would be paid by the Empire. On top of that they would have a small stipend for their own use, which would towards entertainment and other discretionary expenses.

The Earth Caste might internally be closer to true Communism, with a "cadre" of Earth Caste representing a single factory. There would be oversight from caste leadership, but apart from that it would be the responsibility of that group of Earth Caste to manage it on the day-to-day. Roughly the same thing would be true for service-oriented groups like construction crews and research labs.

The Water Caste might be more diverse, with the diplomats operating more on the credit/stipend system and the merchants operating more like the Earth caste communes, but on a smaller scale.

In all cases the higher councils and the Ethereals would have the ability to bail out a failing operation and redistribute its personnel to other tasks.


I agree with Andy06r that there are probably no rich Tau, and I would add that there are likely not poor Tau either. And because their family ties are a little different from those of humans, you would not see a great deal of wealth passing between generations. So I would guess that a Tau's spending power is based on little more than his or her rank at that time.
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Old 23 Apr 2008, 16:53   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau economy

perfect society , no money , no greed , tau building and designing for the greater good , and the betterment of a species.
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Old 23 Apr 2008, 17:06   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau economy

Basically it is communism that actually works.
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Old 23 Apr 2008, 17:29   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau economy

i think there must be some kind of monetary system which each caste (excluding the ethereals and probably the Earth caste as Khanaris has pointed out) uses. And for that matter I don't think Greed exists, but that doesn't mean there is no money.

Money is a way of, essentially, dividing value and you have to remember that the Empire does trade and has multiple species that exist within its state.

That being said I would believe there is a universal currency (empire wide) or that there are two different types of currency- Tau and Alien. The Tau would be given essentially an allotment sheet as in an amount of resources they are allowed to consume. This would mean that depending on where you are in the empire the allotment sheet changes. Meanwhile for the Alien there would be an actual division system of 1 credit, 5 credit ect. bills which they can use amongst themselves and with, presumable, Tau merchants.
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Old 23 Apr 2008, 17:33   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau economy

I rather imagine the Tau would have some kind of pay card. A "national" ID that works. Overall though, I agree with Kharnis. There's real no need for the Tau to use money, except a small bit for inter-caste relations and for some entertainment.
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Old 23 Apr 2008, 18:52   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau economy

Genmotty disagrees with quite a bit of what has been said;


Genmotty's Interpretation of Tau Socio-economic System

The way I see it there are two concepts of 'value' within Tau socity, but no form of money for power. Yet there is a very real and strong sense of greed in the Tau society.

The Tau at hearts are fanatics to the Tau'va therefore culturally giving them the standing point of work for the good of all. Under this guise It is my opinion that the Tau do not ration any basic goods, but take each according to their own need. As resources become scarce then it is the duty of those with power to use their power to improve the supply of goods. The power a Tau holds is directly proportional to the rate and amount they would need to consume resources and following the pyramid structure, therefore would require continual growth to satisfy their greed for the Tau'va.

From this system I believe the 'rank' a Tau holds in society is directly related to the amount of 'free work' or service given to the Empire. A Shas'ui must have given so much to the Empire to be promoted to that rank. The simple 'trial by fire' approach given by the codex may be a symbol of this whereby a Shas'la must have put his/her life on the line to be given that status in the Tau'va. Service has been granted and the Empire respects this with the 'value' of power.

That power will allow said Tau the ability to requisition more resources in line of serving the Tau'va, but not ones that involve personal gain.

All Tau have the option to earn a wage, to make more above the living expenses of life. What do I mean by this? Entertainment costs, but basic food stuffs and resources don't as they are supplied by the Empire, by those in 'power'. As such to make 'money' to 'buy' the ability to entertain ones self or improve your own living conditions resides with your ability to generate wealth for yourself. This involves actions that do not directly benefit the Empire such as trading with Humans or the Deimurg.

As such all Tau have the option (like in Starship Troopers) to serve and gain political clout. Or to further ones self. This allows for utmost political stability from the populace, because it insures only the most selfless gain the ability to provide for all preventing corruption. Such a system works because the fanaticism of the Tau'va leads many to strive for the Tau'va while allowing those less satisfied with the Tau'va to see the immediate efforts of their toil at the expense of never gaining much power in society.

As most Tau will fall in the latter bracket (as seen through La'Kais in Firewarrior and his constant worries about the Tau'va (particularly at the beginning)). Then they will create the base for the pyramid, and a need for those in power to always provide. Therefore the positive feed back system requires perpetual growth to keep the Tau'va working without stagnation and the following corruption. This tenet of growth is embodied by the ideological of the Tau'va leading to a circular system which sustains itself.


Although complex I believe this system is practical and doesn't require a population of mindless drones, or 'suicidal' fanatics to the cause. It allows all to contribute as he/she thinks. Keeping the population happy. The greed as always is power and wealth. You just can't have both, and for those who serve, the act of serving is granting them happiness, while others work to entertain themselves to be happy. If that makes sense? I can imagine some Ui being as more wealthy than El, both both happy with their place in society.

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Old 23 Apr 2008, 19:01   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau economy

I am not sure what you mean. How do you define "greed" exactly? To me the definition of greed is basically just the idea of motivation through the acquisition of personal power or resources. If you are motivated by collectivist ideology, I am not sure how the term can apply. We have no information about what happens to resources that are gained through trading with outside species. If there is a sense of "greed", then it is no stronger than what you would see for Humans (including the Space Marines), Orks, and Eldar. And Necrons, Tyranids, and the daemonic servants of Chaos are puppets for beings that are almost pure manifestations of the idea.

So to me it comes down to how we view the motivation of individual Tau. If a Shas'la wants to be promoted so that he can draw more credit for his stipend, that would definitely be greed. If he wanted the power, that would probably still be greed although in a more abstract sense. But if he viewed it as his duty to the Empire to be promoted, I am not sure you could really call that greed.
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Old 23 Apr 2008, 20:24   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau economy

Greed is a want of somthing more.

It's not a complicated diffinition. If you want to serve the Empire, do so. If you want to make money and have a higher quality of life, do so. If you want to provide for you fellow Tau, do so. It is a greed, one which the Empire allows everyone to aspire to, but never completly satisfy, nor allow for monopolies or corruption.

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