Release that Witch Chapter 1256
Chapter 1256: Reception and the New Plan
"How's the currency exchange going?"
Three days after the release of the new currencies, Roland held a director meeting in the castle boardroom to discuss the response of the public to the currency reform.
Roland had learned from the history that it was extremely hard to foundamentally change the conception of money and break the tradition that had been observed over the past thousand years. A tiny error might result in an avalanche of disasters. The failure of the currency reform would possibly jeopardize the public's confidence in the Administrative Office and even the king himself, which had taken Roland so long to build.
"Fewer people exchange the currencies then we expected, Your Majesty," Barov said, looking pretty relaxed. "The transaction amount over the past three days is 1,000 gold royals. Considering there will be a lot of changes at the beginning of the reform, we could use the gold royals in the treasury for the time being before everything is stablized."
To avoid a bank run, the amount of bank notes printed this time would be equal to the payroll expenses this month. Therefore, even if they were all replaced by gold royals, they would still have two months to print new notes. However, if that happened, it would mean that the reform had failed.
"I think your worry is unnecessary, Your Majesty," Barov said smilingly as he stroke his beard. "Most of the subjects would not choose to use new currencies in exchange for old ones, unless it's absolutely necessary. They don't want to pay the transaction fee."
"But it doesn't mean that people accept the new currencies," the Minister of Agriculture, Sirius Daly, replied cautiously. "I notice that the sale of food has increased a lot recently in the Convenience Market, including the sale of spice and dried food."
Roland was a little taken aback by the unexpected increase.
He then smiled and came to the realization that the subjects did not want to pay the transaction fee, so they purchased a great number of life necessities as a backup. In fact, food had once been used as a universal equivalent in the history. Dried food and spices had a long shelf life, so naturally people would buy them in bulk to prepare for any future emergencies.
Roland somehow thought of an advertisement which said, "Paper for food. Nothing to lose. What are you waiting for?"
But Roland was relieved.
People were not likely to accept the change within a few days. The increase in the sale of goods did not really affect the Administrative Office. There were sufficient wheat, eggs and cheese for the entire Western Region. By the time the Administrative Office received the part of sales profit they were entitled to from the Joint Chamber of Commerce, he would be able to know the result of the currency reform.
Roland thus said to Sirius, "That's fine. Let them buy as much as they like, but you have to keep an eye on them and make sure there's no shortage of food. As long as residents don't exceed their personal limit, they can buy whatever they want."
The Convenience Market mainly supplied life necessities. It was a store directly controlled and supervised by the government. Residents had to show their identity cards to make the purchase. It was highly unlikely that the city would run out of food, provided that no merchants interfered with the market.
"Yes, Your Majesty!"
"By the way, what's merchants' reaction?"
Barov replied quickly, "Your Majesty, the merchants in Neverwinter are roughly divided into two groups. Traveling merchants are on the fence about it. Many stores are shut down. Do you think we should..." he broke off and made a gesture that suggested driving those merchants out of the country.
Roland shook his head. It appeared that many business owners resisted the new currencies by closing their shops. He said, "Let them be as long as they don't break the law. Their lease has not expired yet anyway. It's up to them to decide whether they should continue with the business. What about the other group?"
"There was not much feedback from the big Chambers of Commerce at the Fjords. Many are still running their businesses. They asked whether they could use the new currencies to purchase steam engines and paddle steamers. I gave them an affirmative answer as you instructed."
A flurry of whispers swept over the boardroom.
Apparently, everyone was surprised at this reaction. They were mortified to see that foreign merchants gave more support to the king's policy than domestic tradesmen.
Roland did not really mind that, however.
It seemed the Fjords people were more willing to accept new things. For example, Margaret was the first person who had shown an interest in the steam engines and provided financial assistance for the industrialization of the Border Town.
"There's an exception though," Barov said on a cough. "A clothing store named Rainbow Stone remains open. The owner even put up a banner celebrating the currency reform and offers discounts. I've heard that residents lined up to buy their clothes."
Roland blinked and chuckled. He knew that was Victor Lothar who had requested to collaborate with Leaf.
Was it just a bold action or he actually understood the importance of the currency reform?
"Very well," Roland said as he looked toward the Minister of Publicity, Honey. "Make a report of that. Trust is now more important than gold."
"Got it," Honey said with a nod.
"That's right, trust is more important than gold, Your Majesty," Edith, who had been silent, suddenly spoke. "Please beware of upcoming rumors. I believe it'll be not long before we hear them."
"What do you mean?" Barov asked, frowning. "Is there going to be someone attempting to subotage the currency reform?"
"That's very normal. Everything has two sides. Merchants who don't like the paper notes or who simply want to destabilize the government would spread rumors. Do you really think the nobles would submit to His Majesty's ruling in just two years?"
"Er..." Barov was at a loss for words.
They certainly would not. In fact, they were just bidding their time to overturn his sovereign.
They did not care whether the demons had invaded the city or not.
"Don't worry. Honey and Summer will look after it."
"Also, the mining area in the Western Region always needs people," a cold voice said in the boardroom. Although nobody new who said it, everyone could tell the person was serious.
Roland surveyed the room and said, "Alright, this is just the beginning. I believe the new currencies will be spread out throughout the whole nation in a few months and replace gold royals. It's very important to the Battle of Divine Will. Everyone must keep working on it!"
"As you command!" everyone chorused.
"Your Majesty," Barov said hesitantly, "Can we print so many notes within a few months?"
"The amount currently available is just enough to pay out salaries, but we can definitely print more. You don't have to worry about it," Roland returned.
Although a note was just a piece of paper, it contained the most advanced technologies in Neverwinter. Considering there was a huge number of gold royals and silver royals that had been accumulated over the past thousands of years, Roland was not going to ask Soraya to take the workload all alone. The pulp used to make bills was mixed with a certain amount of rubber worms' slimes to enhance the durability of the finished products.
The number on the face of the note was actually pre-printed on foils and served as an anti-counterfeiting mark. Only Neverwinter could produce extremely thin foil paper.
A new rolling press machine was used to print notes, and the ink used for printing was jointly produced by Darkcloud and Broken Sword. The color was very pigmented and long-lasting, much better than the pigments extracted from plants and minerals. Roland believed that they could last for a very long time before the next printing.
Overall, a large part of the manufacture process was completed by ordinary people, whereby the witches only provided raw materials. The production was highly efficient, which made mass production possible.
Roland was relieved that he finally carried out this currency reform. Now, he had both men and money, so the problem next was how to utilize these resources and increase productivity.
"I have a new project that requires approximately 20,000 to 30,000 people, which is about the population of a major city," Roland said to Barov. "You and the other directors shall work together and draft a plan."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"First of all, the Ministry of Chemical Industry — " Roland broke off and looked at Kyle Sichi.
Apparently, it was time to produce more ammunition.