Content of the article: "Why does the East Coast use bottle caps?"
I've tried to find an answer in game for a very long time, but have been unable to do so. Therefore, I began trying to come up with a suitable reason for the Capital Wasteland and the Commonwealth to be using bottle caps as a currency. And, after wondering a lot, I came to the conclusion that the catalyst for it was trade. Stick with me.
Although there are many big and important assets for the american government on the West Coast, such as the Mariposa Military Base and the Enclave's oil rig, it is undeniable that the most important holdings of the US military were on the East Coast. The Pentagon, the Institute, the aricraft that would become Rivet City, Vault 87, etc. That's why I believe it is reasonable to assume that the East Coast was only able to pick itself from the ground much later , since China would have dedicated much more nuclear fire to it. And the game itself proves it. In 2277 Washington D.C. was still reduced to a smoking pile of ruble with two city states to speak of. Meanwhile, California had already bent together under the flag of a strong, democratic state, that was waging war against another country to acquire strategic resources because, you know, war never changes.
The dicotomy is truly striking. It leads me to believe that, if someone were to ever ride out on Intertate 80 to see if someone was still alive on the other side of the country, it would have been a californian. Multiple traders would have done this at one point or another, with some of them finally reaching the Atlantic Ocean. The profits would be immense, almost like a modern (futuristic?) Silk Road. Just imagine how much men like Gizmo would have payed to taste things like Mirelurk meat, or some other of the fabled exotic products fromt the Far East. The reason why we never see these commodities in game is because the trip across Interstate 80 would be so hard that products from the East would only arrive at the West, and vice versa, every few decades.
But this profitable undertaking would have had a barrier: currency. Since the traders would have been westerners, they would use bottle caps, and the easterners would be the ones to adapt, even though none of them would ever exchange a bottle cap for water in the Hub. It reminds of an event in our history. When the british rolled up on chinese shores, the chinese tried to communicate with them in Latin, since that was the language spoken the last westerners they talked to, the romans. The same thing happened to the East Coast, that stuck to bottle caps even decades after the NCR stopped using them.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on my little theory.
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