Chapter 012.1 — Salt 
Author: He Feng Yan
Wu Ye wondered why the stall owner changed his mind. He was about to argue, but Ji Yun pulled him back and looked around furtively. He then gave his address to the stall owner, and made an appointment for the evening. Wu Ye was not a fool. There should be something going on here. Sure enough, the stall owner put the tablet away as soon as they left.
It was only when they were in a secluded place did Ji Yun explain things to him, and made Wu Ye understand just what had happened.
In addition to Lan Cheng’s income tax and rent tax being expensive, business tax here was also quite heavy. Transactions in the trading area could only be settled using the temporary ID card. When a transaction is successful, the money would be deposited into a business owner’s temporary card account. Lan Cheng base tax system would be automatically notified of this transaction and would deduct the corresponding tax accordingly. That is, if the transaction happened using the ID card.
Another important point was the fact that taxes in Lan Cheng were set differently depending upon the volume of transaction and the type of objects being traded. Truth is, electronic products from this place were not as expensive as Wu Ye thought. It’s now the apocalypse age. Before the apocalypse, these electronic gadgets where necessities to humans. After the apocalypse, however, how could these useless things compare to precious food and weapons?
This electronic product was one of the cheaper items in the trading area, with a tax rate of only 20%, which is nothing compared to the 35% tax on food and weapons, and a 50% tax on ‘luxury goods’ such as salt and cigarettes. Small business owners and stall vendors wouldn’t let go of any opportunity to earn even half a crystal nucleus. This is why some vendors who secretly evade paying their taxes. Just like that stall owner, he wouldn’t talk to interested buyers in trading areas. Instead, he would arrange to meet them at their homes and trade with real gold and silver to avoid the base’s tax system. This way, both sides could benefit.
Of course, these schemes did not escape the watchful eyes of Lan Cheng base managers. They had drafted regulations that would exact severe punishments to people caught engaging in these ploys. When caught, the upper management would seize both seller and buyer’s properties, and both parties would be driven out of the Lan Cheng base.
But, no matter how heavy the punishment was, the taxes imposed on trading transactions were exorbitantly high that some business owners would rather risk getting caught out of desperation. After all, water that is too clear has few fish in it*. Which inspector in the trading area does not want to live a better life? As long as it was not too much, they would open one eye and close the other.
T/N: Water that is too clear has few fish meant you can’t expect everyone to be squeaky clean.
Since, this particular stall owner dared to ‘solicit’ customers in broad daylight, and the patrol guards were ignoring his section, there was no doubt he was covered by someone.
Ji Yun had moved and lived in Lan Cheng base for nearly a year. He was already aware of the twists and turns in this place.
After this encounter, Wu Ye took a stroll around the entire Lan Cheng base trading area, accompanied by Ji Yun. This leisurely walk was a great eye-opener for Wu Ye. He could not help but associate these excessive prices to his pithole of a system.
As they walked, Ji Yun bought some potatoes and hollow cabbages for dinner. While he was doing that, Wu Ye noticed that a noisy group of people gathering outside one of the small shops in the trading area.
“What’s going on over there?” Wu Ye curiously asked Ji Yun who had finished buying.
Ji Yun’s face slightly changed when he saw the area Wu Ye was asking about, and said, “That is the only salt shop in Lan Cheng base. That shop is owned by the top people in the base. There must be something wrong over there, let’s go and have a look.”
If he was unaware of things, Ji Yun would not be surprised. But once he discovered it, he was completely taken aback. The price of salt was already expensive in the first place, but now, it actually rose to double its original price! 10 grams of salt was now sold for 10 grams of gold*!
Note: *10g of gold = 2 crystal nuclei
How much is 10 grams of salt?
A beer cap has a salt content of around 3.5 grams. While a diet with a salt intake of 3 grams per day is already considered ‘salt-free’, a person’s daily salt requirement is around 4 to 6 grams a day. According to Chinese cooking habits, people from the south, who prefer light tastes, eat about 8 grams of salt a day. On the other hand, people from the north, who prefer rich tastes, eat almost double the amount of salt. Not to mention, diet standards set a minimum intake of 360 grams of salt for a family of three. Convert this to grade 1 crystal nucleus, and a family would need to spend 72 crystal nuclei. Convert this to gold, and a family would need to spend 360 grams of gold. By increasing the price like this, wasn’t this pushing ordinary people to death?
HeXie: Will be slowing down a lot. This month and next month is my moment…nearing the judgement day…whether I could go past the finish line or not!! Please lemme off if I happen to be later than I used to!! Life is tough and nasty…
HEXIE: Going AWOL next week~ Will try my best to update on time…~ wish me all the best for my final please so I can graduate.