Discussions and thoughts toward implementation would indeed be useful. Merchants are not far beyond what's already in the documentation. I don't know exactly what you've seen... but a search on "merchant" here at the forum should give you it all. (look in the 'Best Way...Suggestions Implemented' thread for how). Why don't you start with your thoughts right here, and we can link it to one of the econ threads.
Beyond whats in the docs the only idea I've had lately is that merchants might have contracts with cities that are entered into the turn before. I thought this concept would smooth things out a bit. Anyway, fire away, and I'll respond when I can. Thoughts on how they'd interface with the general econ framework would be valuable too.
[This message has been edited by Mark_Everson (edited October 13, 1999).]