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The True Worth of a Rupee

TheGreatCthulhu

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After thinking about this, I decided to do some math to determine the actual, real world value of a Hyrulean rupee.

In Breath of the Wild I got curious and decided to sell some monster parts to Beedle and Kilton to determine if Mon and Rupees have different intrinsic value. Turns out, the exchange rate is 1:1 which makes the math easy.

I can buy a wooden mop for 19 mon from Kilton. Since the exchange rate is 1:1, that means the mop is worth 19 rupees.

In reality, your normal wooden mop is worth $16.98.

Using a simple exchange rate formula, C = A * B, where C is the money after the exchange, B is the exchange rate, and A is the currency you have.

By dividing by A, we can isolate the exchange rate, so C/A = B.

So all we have to do is divide 19 by 16.98 to determine the exchange rate.

19/16.98 = 1.1189634864546525323910482921084‬ or roughly, 1.12.

Thus if we use the US dollar, one US dollar can buy 1.12 Hyrulean rupees.

That means, if we divide one US dollar by the exchange rate, we can determine the actual dollar amount of 1 rupee.

1/1.12 = 0.89368421052631578947368421052632

Therefore, one Hylian rupee is worth, roughly, $0.89.

Take from that what you will.
 
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Unfortunately we're comparing a rupee to the US dollar, which is defined by the Gold Standard and the value of earth currency in retrospect to Hylian currency. "One Rupee" here is still "One Rupee", which doesn't transition over to an Indian "rupee" since Hylians purchase all goods with the same kind of currency. As we have no singular piece of Hylian currency to actually compare to earth-money values, it's speculation. But that's why we're here, aren't we? Theories!

I'm really pleased and impressed at your math, though. If Hylian rupees did exist and we used them in our own system, I'm sure your theory would hold water!
 

TheGreatCthulhu

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Agreed. It is a rough calculation based on real world markets and Hyrule's market, which is always prone to fluctuation, and my calculation is only based on one item.

I just got back from a DND campaign, and didn't have much time to do a spreadsheet with different items, so it is a rough estimate.
 
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Agreed. It is a rough calculation based on real world markets and Hyrule's market, which is always prone to fluctuation, and my calculation is only based on one item.

I just got back from a DND campaign, and didn't have much time to do a spreadsheet with different items, so it is a rough estimate.
It was a good attempt, I can see you put a lot of effort into it! Although our theories differ, I'm sure that if it truly is real currency your estimate would definitely be invaluable to the forums under their category!
 

TheGreatCthulhu

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Thanks mate. I like to overthink. Like in the current book I'm reading, Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive, their currency is based on Stormlight infused spheres with gemstones determining the value of that sphere, which is magic currency. I'm not opposed to the idea, but I think in real numbers, so I'm always overthinking this kinda stuff.
 
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Thanks mate. I like to overthink. Like in the current book I'm reading, Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive, their currency is based on Stormlight infused gemstones, which is magic currency. I'm not opposed to the idea, but I think in real numbers, so I'm always overthinking this kinda stuff.
A mind like yours is needed to challenge ideas! I think the evidence stands to empower your statements, even if there isn't enough evidence on the rupee itself to support which one is the case. In a land of magic, it's no holds barred!
 

Satan

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cost and worth isn't necessarily synonymous. while the value of the us dollar fluctuates, its worth is always universal across the country but costs for the same items in one part of the country may differ in other parts of the country. you're making the incorrect assumption that hyrule has the exact same demand for mops as wherever in the united states you got the 16.98 price for a mop. even so, kiltons mops arent even in rupees, no? he uses his own currency and if you want to use real world applications, the "exchange rate" wont necessarily convert to an identical price of what you would buy a mop for with rupees. if you calculate using the exchange rate of euros to consider the cost of a 60 usd game, it wont match the price you actually would pay for that game in euros. so kiltons rupee equivalent in mon for mops doesnt necessarily equal what a mop is actually worth in rupees. you cant get technical and then carefully omit all the technicalities, sorry
 

TheGreatCthulhu

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cost and worth isn't necessarily synonymous. while the value of the us dollar fluctuates, its worth is always universal across the country and costs for the same items in one part of the country may differ in other parts of the country. you're making the incorrect assumption that hyrule has the exact same demand for mops as wherever in the united states you got the 16.98 price for a mop. even so, kiltons mops arent even in rupees, no? he uses his own currency and if you want to use real world applications, the "exchange rate" wont necessarily convert to an identical price of what you would buy a mop for with rupees. if you calculate using the exchange rate of euros to consider the cost of a 60 usd game, it wont match the price you actually would pay for that game in euros. you cant get technical and then carefully omit all the technicalities, sorry
Fair enough. I could do a full spreadsheet to account for such things, and I even admit it's a very rough estimate. I used the mop as a real rough estimate to get a basic exchange rate to then exchange the rupee to 1 dollar. It's very rough, I will freely admit.

And, I do agree that not all currencies function the same, as the Japanese Yen demonstrates.
 

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Wow. o_O Incredible write up. :ezlo:Solid theory!

Now that you mention it, I suppose I never really gave it much conscious thought that rupees are magical. I guess I always just generally assumed they were. It surely does explain why the great fairies would require them in such vast quantities, especially when working particularly powerful spells and enchantments.

More remarkable is that a rupee's value would be standardized based on the amount of magic it has. This would give the rupee a distinct measure of value similar to the gold standard. But instead of valuing a bank note compared to a commodity with intrinsic value, the rupee's value would be inherent to itself. Furthermore, it would also mean that the rupee's value would never fluctuate, provided the measure of magic within each value of rupee remained consistant. The concentration of magic in each rupee would result in the material's different physical properties and colors. Rupees with greater concentrations of magic would presumably be more rare and therefor more valuable.

This would also explain why the rupee is not only found throughout but is also a common medium of trade across numerous lands, not just Hyrule - even extradimensional ones in Termina's case. If the rupee is a naturally occurring resource then it is obviously not limited to specific regions.

It could also explain why there are repeated instances of rupees amassed in vast quantities resulting in horrendous curses being inflicted on their hoarders. Perhaps there are hazardous effects stemming from high concentrations of magic when so many rupees are brought together.

However, while it would make sense that the rupee would be valued as a commodity among anyone who could use it to power or enhance magic, why would the rupee's use as a common medium of trade be accepted among the general public? Under such an economy, the rupee would inevitably flow into the pockets of anyone who can use or harness magic because they are the only consumers who could actually make practical use of the rupee other than as a medium of trade. This would have a largely adverse effect on the economy, as it would influence where economic wealth would concentrate.

Perhaps the rupee is useful to everyone as it provides tangible fortune in the way of passive magical support and assistance, even among non magical beings and anyone who can not use magic, including economically average folk. There could be beneficial effects from the presence of rupees such as greener gardens, healthier food, cleaner premises or a better nights sleep. This would explain why everyone would want to trade and maintain savings of rupees. The more rupees an individual or household possesses, the more they'd benefit from magical blessings.
 

Spiritual Mask Salesman

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The Hylian economy is a nightmare. Rupees can be obtained so easily, so what stops Hylians from going out and doing the random stuff Link does to obtained enough Rupees to be rich? I'm pretty sure I tackled this question before many years ago. I settled on a few things that keep the Rupee in check. Firstly, hoarding Rupees seems to lead to very bad fortune. The richest family in Kakariko Village during Ocarina of Time was cursed and turned into Big Skulltulas. In Twilight Princess, Jovani was also cursed by Poes to be stuck in place as a golden statue over his wealth. Thus, perhaps greed and wealth inevitably leads to curses. This doesn't mean you can't be rich, afterall it seems there are some rich Hylians who live curse free. There might be laws in place against hoarding Rupees, and I do wonder if that is why there are limits on how much can be put into a wallet. We also see that in Termina eventually the banker rejects deposits after a certain amount has been reached for him to carry. There's also the fact that the more desirable Rupees are harder to come across, and usually require that dangerous things be done to obtain them. Things that few would dare to even do, so they'd have to be content with scrapping up the lower valued Rupees.

And bottom line, there is just no way to add practical economic theory to Zelda.
 

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