3

I'm wondering if we know what latinum can buy.

Items like, for example, biomemetic gel, Romulan ale, stem bolts, or starships don't help us since they're not readily available on Amazon, as far as I know.

Is there any canon reference to any transaction which can relate latinum to any real-world commodity?

(Related: What are the exchange rates/units of circulation of latinum?)

  • Likely candidate: precious metals or gems? – ThePopMachine Sep 8 '15 at 17:33
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    Much like a Stanley Nickel, it is the same ratio of unicorns to leprechauns. – Jack B Nimble Sep 8 '15 at 17:40
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    What are you going to do, figure out the likely price changes in that real-world commodity in the next 300 years? – Paul D. Waite Sep 8 '15 at 17:55
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    @PaulD.Waite Yeah, it's not like it's useful to say how much gold latinum can buy, since it has been explicitly mentioned several times in the series that gold is essentially worthless. – user11521 Sep 8 '15 at 18:52
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    Hmmm but Romulan Ale is available on Amazon. – chue x Sep 8 '15 at 19:30
15

In addition to the root beer crate transaction of 10 strips.

Memory Alpha also offers this comparative chart

The following provides comparison on the value of latinum for specific items. Further details of each item may be seen above.

  • Clothing
    1. Cadet's uniform - five strips
    2. Dress from Garak's Clothiers - seventeen to twenty strips
  • Life savings
    1. Nog - five bars
    2. Quark - one hundred bricks and six hundred bars
    3. Rom - seventeen bars, three strips, and five slips
  • Wages
    1. Morica Bilby - five to thirty bars a week
    2. Quark's [Bajoran] employees during the Cardassian Occupation - one slip per day
    3. Quark's dabo girls on DS9 - fourteen strips per pay cycle (undetermined)
  • Profits
    1. Janel Tigan - more than a thousand bars a day
    2. Quark - five bars a day
  • Holosuite programs
    1. A Visit with the Pleasure Goddess of Rixx - ten strips
    2. Custom holosuite program - one bar

I think the most relevant indicator is the wage of the Dabo girls. They are basically dealers in a casino who are also hired for their looks. Not only do dealers earn a salary but they also often earn tips when the players are winning. We don't know what a 'pay cycle' is, but if a Bjoran slave only made 1 slip per day and a Dabo girl makes 14 strips per period (maybe 1 strip per day (in a 2 week pay period), or 100 times more than a Bajoran slave per day) and the average Blackjack dealer makes roughly $601 every two weeks, we can guess that a strip is worth around $43 in today's money, and a slip is $0.43. This makes a bar worth $860.

I also have this anecdotal evidence from the chat room.

Wad Cheber - $5
Jack B Nimble - buck twenty five.
phantom42 - tree-fiddy

  • Well, most of these items are not available today, unless you want to try to compare wages or the cost of tailoring. It would also be helpful to canonicalize all the prices into one unit (bar or strips) – ThePopMachine Sep 8 '15 at 18:05
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    Nice. Wages are probably one of the better ways to compare currency values across the centuries. – Junuxx Sep 8 '15 at 18:06
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    @Junuxx Would the wage of a tailor from three centuries ago really be comparable to the wage of one today? – Xantec Sep 8 '15 at 19:47
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    @Xantec: Not very precisely, but they would necessarily scale with the cost of living. – Junuxx Sep 8 '15 at 20:22
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    @Xantec just think about it more abstractly; if tailoring is a middle-class job (depending on how specialized and the location, and with the vague notion that DS9 is somewhat middling: an important location, but out in the middle of nowhere) in both time periods, then the real wages are roughly equivalent. – Nick T Sep 8 '15 at 22:27
7

According to Memory Alpha's entry on latinum:

Quark charged Rom ten slips of latinum for a crate of root beer to be given to Nog. (DS9: "The Ascent")

Of course, that doesn't tell us much given we have no idea how much that case of root beer was worth in that time and place. If we want a ballpark figure, the script lists the crate as having "several dozen" bottles of root beer. If we assume about six dozen, that's 72 bottles. A sample of gourmet root beer prices shows that Henry Weinhard's Root Beer, Draught Style Head goes for about $15 per six, which would suggest each slip is worth about $18. Again, that's making a lot of assumptions.

  • I would have thought a crate of root beer is more like this: around 24 bottles. – ThePopMachine Sep 8 '15 at 18:00
  • That would put a slip as more like $1-$5, ignoring the unknown rarity of the rootbeer in the future. – ThePopMachine Sep 8 '15 at 18:02
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    Ah, but how much does a case of root beer cost on a military base? And how much in a post-scarcity world, when at the very least the bottle, if not also the contents, could just be replicated? After centuries of shifts in popular drinks, is root beer a common drink or a luxury item like champagne? I mean, +1 for effort but I think the question is pretty much unanswerable. – Junuxx Sep 8 '15 at 18:02
  • That could be too. Probably best would be someone to watch the episode and count from a still. I can't at the moment. – FuzzyBoots Sep 8 '15 at 18:02
  • Could also be there's a certain cachet to the non-replicated version, much like how some people swear by mined diamonds over synthetic ones, or insist they can tell the difference between GMO and "organic" vegetables. – FuzzyBoots Sep 8 '15 at 19:07

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