Swanwick, Michael. 'From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled...'

Michael Swanwick, "From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled..." (2008). Features a civilization, the millies, who use trust as currency. It is a maddenly subtle choice of buck. On the one hand, this could be a cosmetic alteration to our own economic system. Money is, after all, typically without intrinsic use value, and only functions as money insofar as it is trusted as a medium of exchange, store of value and unit of account. So perhaps these "millie-on-airs" unmask and demystify what goes on around us every day. On the other hand, trust is so deeply and intricately implicated in what money is, that it's not clear it could fulfill the role of money (at least, not in the ways we're used to). You can put your trust in shells or brass rods, but can you put your trust in trust itself? Story online at Clarkesworld.