Begman banking is controlled by the central, government-backed First Bank of the Republic of Begma. The central bank controls all monetary policy for all privately-owned banks within the Republic. It is responsible for the stability of the monetary supply and the national currency as well as issuing government-backed loans to other Acting States and acting as a “lender of last resort.” The First Bank of the Republic of Begma keeps the Begman Pound pegged to the Gold Standard. Its greatest power is its influence over global interest rates on loan issuance and control of the Begman Stock Market.
Beneath the First Bank of Begma is a host of privately-owned banks to service retail banking and private accounts. In Begma, a “banking business” is a business that receives money on current or deposit accounts, pays and collects checks drawn on or paid by customers, and makes advances to customers. It supports general public money on deposit, savings and current accounts. Banks may issue Letters of Credit, guarantees, securities underwriting commitments, government bonds and loans.
The Begman Stock Market is a full-featured stock market featuring short selling, option trading, debt-equity swaps, merchant banking, unit trusts and speculative instruments. Begma is pro laissez-faire economics and does not regulate the stock market closely so the occasional market crash and bank run happens from time to time when the market overheats. Like everything else in Begma, the banks and stock markets suffer from the same “let’s try it and find out!” attitude as science, technology, and politics. Hordes of tinkerers and day traders mess about in the stock market and, about every fifteen years, some segment of the Begman economy collapses due to rampant over-speculation.
Oft-times, after another cycle of economic panic, the Begmans tend to blame the media and the University which produces hordes of economists and bankers who wish to have another go. The prisons of Begma are full of over-enthusastic researchers excited at the prospect of putting their economic theories to the test in a “live environment.”
Loans to Other State Actors
The First Bank of the Republic of Begma is happy and willing to offer other States of the Golden Circle large loans and offer debt-equity swaps to subsidize and underwrite financing for wars and other highly expensive ventures. They offer spectacularly good rates because they have no intention of ever collecting on debt. Instead, they simply collect interest in perpetuity while offering more money and offering the buy up more debt in exchange for underwriting more military adventures.
If a friendly State Actor should collapse due to bankruptcy from the interest on accrued loans, they simply offer same or better rates to whatever civilization rises from the ashes. Begma never forgives a loan; instead, should a state actor have non-compliance with the terms of repaying the interest on the loan, they will take the price of the loan out in other ways, including refusal to offer future loans to anyone but the realm’s political enemies, jacking up tariffs on imported goods to the point where they cannot enter the Begman economy, and even war themselves.
East Begman Gold Rush
East Begma, best known for cattle herding and wheat farming, is currently experiencing a gold rush. Small mining towns made up of collections of shanties and half-build buildings are popping up all over the once pristine countryside. The speculators are rapidly pushing in to Eregnor, which is causing friction with the nation on Begma's eastern border. Gold found in the East Begman hills is helping to prop up the Begman economy, forcing it to balloon and bubble over with speculation on gold futures.
Trade and Manufacturing
Begma is all about importing raw materials and foodstuff from other Golden Circle shadows and exporting finished manufactured product and intellectual know-how. It prefers to buy low in bulk and sell high. Begman traders, more often than not subsidized by a Begman Corporation, are always sailing the shadow paths on a quest for the best prices on raw goods to bring back and feed the industrial base.
Begma City proper has a Victorian-era coal and magic-powered industrial base while the other primary cities of Facelle, Dinalo, and Carcil all have smaller established industrial capabilities of lesser size and power. Begma City is the only city in Begma with a large enough industrial base to consistently export excess goods from its markets back to the Golden Circle. The other cities occasionally export when they find they have excess but otherwise the production from the factories is sent to Begma City.
An itemized list of Begman manufactured goods for sale throughout the Golden Circle can be found in the Begman Conglomerated Manufactoring Quarterly Catalogue. Begman manufactured goods run the gamut of nails to difference engines although the object in question is not always useful, worthwhile, or produced in large quantities. As Begma is not completely industrialized, the occasional batch of manufactured items from the BCM catalogue run shortages, break unexpectedly, or come as something completely different. Many Begman manufactured devices do not function without a proper Begman Engineer or Artificer, so the more complicated devices are caveat emptor.
Corporations, Trade, Government and You
Begma takes a very distinct lassiez faire approach to economics and regulation. As such, the government rarely engages in the messy business of import/export services directly. Instead, the government prefers to leave such a thing in the hands of the corporations and allows them to all fight out the lucrative businesses of trade while the government simply helps itself to some of the profits in the form of tariffs and taxation.
The government takes a purely regulatory stance when it comes to trade. It hands down certain laws, controls and standards that the corporations must abide by and certain auditing restrictions placed on the banking process. The government is also easily bribed to look the other way should the corporation in question be engaged in underhanded practices.
This, of course, leads to the corporations wishing to protect themselves from liability in the case something dire should happen, like an attack by pirates during a trade negotiation. Around this worry about liability has sprung the lucrative business of "pirate insurance." Rumor has it that the backers of the pirate insurance issuance corporations are the pirates themselves.