So, I'm pretty sure the soul bubble has burst.
Part of it is obviously the problem of over-leveraging. Part of it is outright fraud, it wasn't (and isn't) uncommon to see people sell their soul to multiple different entities for multiple different reasons. Since they had only one soul to begin with all sales after the first were fraudulent as the asset promised wasn't owned. Unfortunately a lack of accountability led to these fraudulent sales making it into accounting records as if they were legitimate causing an appearance of many more souls than there were.
While some may compare this to taking out multiple mortgages on the same house the process isn't the same. The souls in question weren't offered as collateral, they were offered for sale. Someone might betray everything they believe in and sell their soul for the illusion of security and then go the next day to sell their soul to a real estate developer who wants to destroy the family farm and then take an afternoon selling their soul in order to get a leg up in their workplace. Three sales, but who really has the soul in the end?
More than that you know every one of the three places claimed to have the soul, bundled it, and sold it to some other soul investor.
But worse still is that there has never been a fixed price attached to souls and so it was impossible to accurately place a value on these bundles as they were shuffled through the economy.
The multiple sales of the same soul created the illusion of soul multiplication which gave the naive investor the impression that a soul was an investment that would grow over time.
The soul speculation was something awful.
But none of these things were really the problem. If anything the masked the problem and made the crash lighter when it came.
The problem was this: in the past hundred years there has been an explosion in soul availability. The supply has increased at a rate that demand could never hope to match and while the speculators buying up souls as if they were the best investment ever did some to close the gap in the end there was nothing that could mask or change the fact that there are so many more souls now than there once were that they simply cannot have the same value.
A hundred years ago there were less than two billion souls in circulation. Today there are more than seven billion. Yet the population of those who actually buy souls, the devil and similar demons, has grown at a glacial pace. Immortals simply don't feel the same pressure to breed as mortals.
Moreover it has recently come into question whether souls, in themselves, have value. They are not freely exchangeable with any form of currency and when traded between humans, corporations, or other non-demonic entities (outside of speculation, of course) they're usually thrown in as a sweetener, not the product itself. A developer might take someone's land and their soul, and be significantly more concerned with the land while considering the soul a useless cast off.
And so we come to the question of what those soul bundles are actually worth. What does one get out of investing in souls?
Demand has barely changed in a century, supply has doubled, doubled again, and added another half billion to boot. On balance sheets souls might seem impressive, but when one tries to actually find what they're worth it quickly becomes clear that it's almost impossible to unload them.
The market is completely saturated.
Supply has so outstripped demand that I can't believe souls are worth all that much these days and things are only going to get worse when the speculators realize this and try to unload their own supplies of souls which have thus far, mercifully, been kept out of the actual market and thus prevented from driving the value of souls still lower.
In truth, I would not be surprised if souls begin to be offered as, "Free to good home."
At one point souls seemed to be worth something, but that was when there were far fewer souls around.
The original post:
Also, I'm pretty sure the soul bubble crashed years ago. It's not just that people were over-leveraging them, it's just the explosion of soul availability in the last hundred years. Supply is clearly outstripping demand and I can't honestly believe that souls are worth all that much these days.It wouldn't surprise me if we start seeing people offering souls free to good homes.