A Pop’s Wealth attribute forms the foundation for its Standard of Living. Pops can also gain more intangible boosts or penalties to their Standard of Living from any number of sources.
Pops accumulate Wealth over time while their weekly income exceeds their weekly expenses. Conversely, if a Pop’s expenses exceed its income, Wealth will decline. How large their expenses are, depends on what and how much they consume, which is also dependent on their Wealth.
What this means is that as long as a Pop’s income remains the same, and the cost of the goods and services in their state and market remains the same, that Pop’s Wealth will over time drift towards exactly the level of consumption they can afford to sustain. Of course, as Wealth changes the consumption also changes, which affects the prices of the goods in the market, which might, in turn, affect their wages, dividends, and so on.
Wealth has a number of functions in addition to forming the basis for Standard of Living. A Pop’s raw Political Strength, excluding any such power conferred by the country’s Voting Franchise, which is treated separately, is dependent on their Wealth. Some privately operated Institutions provide benefits to Pops only in relation to their Wealth. Many Professional Qualifications also require Pops to have a certain amount of Wealth.
Each Wealth level is defined by a set of Needs and an amount of “value” that needs to be spent on goods to fulfill that Need. This “value” is defined in goods base prices, such that the Need for Standard Clothing for a Pop of size 10,000 with a Wealth level of 14 might be fulfilled by buying £87 worth of Clothes, assuming perfectly balanced supply and demand.
If the actual price of Clothes where the Pop lives is over-demanded, their cost to fulfill this need will also be higher. As a result, cheaper goods mean wealthier, happier Pops.