Somewhere along the way in school they touched on the rise of the merchant class. It was presented in the historical sense of taking away the land from the aristocracy. This was a result of merchants gathering enough cash to be able to lend to the aristocracy so they could stay afloat during their political intrigues while maintaining their divine rights. School neglected to talk about the people who developed out of this historical growth, the people who lived in just the world of cash. I suppose that group of people only came into their own during the industrial revolution during which time they did master how to exploit the laborer. The rarified world of offshore accounts and virtual cash only came to fruition over the last 50 years when money became an entity in the digital realm.
The stores, bazars, supermarkets, souks, stalls, flea markets, etc., that is where us common laborers, service workers, your smuggler, and pilot fish merchants live. We all are just part of that consumer world. The physical entities that bring digital tokens back as goods and services for ourselves and others.
Then there is the stock market and rich people’s connection to it. That is the true digital realm of money. People with lots of surplus cash can make the market look good by buying lots to stock. They can afford to lose and for a bit they might have controlling interest on the board of directors. But people with surplus income can afford to sell off shares anytime they want and make the market look bad. Multigenerational wealthy need tax accountants, lawyers, and investment counselors they can trust to let them know what is going on in the “real” world. These seneschals translate our consumer world for them as well as explaining the political intrigues that are still in the hands of the aristocracy. They will let the rich know who is shaping the narrative and help protect their interests.
Like anybody else, rich people have lives. Money is just their day job. They pay people to take care of that stuff. The smart ones learn to leave their 40 hour a week job at work and get to the forgetting about the burden of all that money/workday. Domestic problems you can just solve with a check. However, they are people just like us. Some of us take our work home with us and worry about it all night and weekends too. We go the better living through chemistry route or throw ourselves at risky ventures just to try and forget. We lose sleep over the job. We overeat; we gamble. The really dangerous ones get into human trafficking and drugs. If we do not get it under control, we lose our job or our fortune because the consumer is always ready to try and claw their way up to that digital world of money.
The rats and the cockroaches of the “real” world are still there to eat everybody alive. And the people who are out in the non-stock market flea markets are always looking for ways to not have to chop the wood and carry the water. We have lots of problems down in the bazar, but if you do not develope too much of a case of agoraphobia, it is a much more fascinating world than the carefully crafted world of the palace. That is why in all the old stories, the young princes and princesses are trying to break free.