Within the CorpStates, goods and services are paid for by using scan-chips imbedded in either the back of the right
hand or the forehead (if no hand is available) of the associate-consumers. These
chips are linked to a central mainframe that tracks the person's productivity, expenditures, earnings, medical and legal records;
every aspect of an individual is encrypted on these chips. They are also wired
to monitor the person's health; a secondary effect is that the associate-consumers involuntary responses may be used to discover
criminal intent, or locate and stop criminal activities as they happen. As a
result, crime and immoral activity have become almost non-existent.
Housing, food, and clothing are supplied for consumer-associates by UNICorp.
Any goods and services that are not absolutely necessary for survival (defined as "luxuries") may be purchased from
the CorpState out of the consumer-associates' salary bank. Each consumer-associate
has a base salary of fifty dollars per week, which may increase or decrease depending on their productivity. For example, a CorpState Investigator might receive a wage of twenty dollars one week because she was only
able to spend two days (sixteen hours) in research and investigation; the next week, she might receive a wage of two hundred
dollars for exposing an illegal bartering ring, which took sixty hours of dedicated work.
She might want to use part of the extra one hundred fifty dollars in her wage bank to go to a mid-range restaurant
and have a seven dollar meal before shopping for a new personal computer (average cost of one hundred dollars).
Outside of the CorpStates, in the barren lands of the Overworld, the economy is more primitive. Barter and trade are the most common ways that goods change hands (theft is a close second, while gift-giving
is rare). Items have intrinsic value; they are worth as much as the person values
them. Electronic goods, and items that require expendable resources (such as
flashlights, guns, and vehicles) have little value themselves, while the resources that they require (batteries, ammunition,
and fuel) have a much greater value. For example, a rebel leader might trade
a quart of water for a pistol, but he might give four cattle for a box of cartridges for that pistol. The barter system is very individualistic and need-based.