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"...in fifty years, do you believe that people will be recognizably human?"
- Greg Bear

Strakh  
  The prestige or social prominence which serves as a medium of exchange on the planet Sirene.  

On the Titanic littoral, on the planet Sirene, food and resources are available in such abundance that the finest things of life are available for the taking. The natives of Sirene, rather than pursue material goods, instead put their energy into intricacy.

Intricacy in all things: intricate craftsmanship... intricate symbolism... and above all the fantastic intricacy of personal relationships. Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh. Every man has his characteristic strakh, which determines, when he needs a houseboat, whether he will be urged to avail himself of a floating palace... or grudgingly permitted an abandoned shack on a raft. There is no medium of exchange on Sirene; the single and sole currency is strakh.

... it would be catastrophic to Sirenese self-respect to gain advantage by means other than the exercise of strakh.

From The Moon Moth, by Jack Vance.
Published by Pocket Books in 1976
Additional resources -

For example, all Sirenese wear masks to reflect their strakh; you just walk into a maskmaker's shop and pick out what you want. Of course, there's a catch:

"...Wear any mask you like - as long as you can make it stick. This Tarn Bird [which I wear] for instance. I wear it to indicate that I presume nothing. I make no claims to wisdom, ferocity, versatility, musicianship, truculence, or any of a dozen other Sirenese virtues..."

"... it's rather important not to take anything from the shops until you know the strakh value of the article you want. The owner loses prestige if a person of low strakh makes free with his best work."

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Moon Moth
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Moon Moth
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

Strakh-related news articles:
  - RapLeaf, Whuffie and Strakh
  - Reputation As Property
  - Klout Score Measures Your Influence

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