DESIGN: Money Money Money

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Daveybaby
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#91 Post by Daveybaby » Wed Mar 10, 2004 2:09 pm

You seem to be arguing that money is unrealistic, and couldnt possibly work in the real world, and that its impossible for me to convert one resource (me writing software) into another (a pie for dinner). But thats what happens, every day, at an individual and a governmental scale.

Money is an abstraction. Its a promise to pay. It doesnt do anything, in itself, at the moment its spent. All it does is give the ability to use that money for something else later on.

It can speed production, mining or research by employing more workers (and not just because a proportion of it was taxed from population in the first place), buying better equipment, or importing more or better raw materials.

Money is dynamic. It doesnt work in an instantaneous sense. If everyone in the world suddenly wanted to cash in their money to get something real out of it in 1 'turn' the world economy would collapse.

Money is a fiction. A lie. A trick. But it works. Arguing that it wont work because it allows players to buy minerals with PP is no more ridiculous than the idea that you can somehow save PP and use them to buy more PP later. What exactly would that mean? That i can somehow save work effort away somewhere so that i can pull it out again when i have a deadline coming up? Maybe if ive saved enough i can sit back and watch the work do itself.
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#92 Post by luckless666 » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:16 pm

emrys wrote:If we have something called "money" then we think "you tax PP,RP, mineral and food output and get money" and we think "you have money, with which you buy stuff". The result of these two seemingly perfectly logical thoughts is that, amongst other problems, you get yourself into the situation where you can convert any resource into any other resource by going via money, irrespective of how much you produce of each of them. So if you're not careful you end up with the situation where you don't need to do anything but grow food, then sell it even though no one wants it, and buy starships, even though you have no manufacturing base, or equally you can concentrate only on an industrial base and simply buy the research and food from nowhere etc.
This is wrong due to us half agreeing that money (if implemented. if not PP) can only double PP output. So, if you only produce food, get the excess as money, and put all that excess (remember you can only increase it by 100%)...thats Y x 2 (Y is 0 as you already stated there was a no production base) so 0 x 2 = 0 increase in production. so you can't just produce food, as you need a manufacturing base to begin with!
emrys wrote:Or equally we end up creating "money generating colonies and buildings" which effectively create stuff out of thin air.
Your not creating things out of thin air. You have a limit by how much you can speed it up by (say 2X again). All this basically represents is you paying the workers\researchers\farmers\whoever overtime and providing incentives for getting it done quicker PP couldn't possibly transfer meaningfully into RP, though Food is a different story (newer equipment)
Daveybaby wrote:Money is a fiction. A lie. A trick. But it works. Arguing that it wont work because it allows players to buy minerals with PP is no more ridiculous than the idea that you can somehow save PP and use them to buy more PP later. What exactly would that mean? That i can somehow save work effort away somewhere so that i can pull it out again when i have a deadline coming up? Maybe if ive saved enough i can sit back and watch the work do itself.
Well put.
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#93 Post by Underling » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:28 pm

Look folks, this is getting just a wee bit ridiculus here. We have some folks who are arguing semantics such as not using the word "money" rather than substantive arguements about how to define the term. Well, you can call the $30 in my wallet everlasting gobstoppers or whozawhimjammies or wallawalla-wickety skadoos or whatever you want. Know what?Its still money.

Trying to remove the term from the discussion is a not so subtle attempt to direct the discussion away from one standpoint in favor of another. I've enough knowledge of debating theory/tactics to call that one from a mile away. :roll:

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#94 Post by Underling » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:30 pm

And as for a more subtsantial arguement....

I thought KISS was one of the guiding principles of this project? Everyone knows what money is. PERIOD. It is one of the most recognizeable concepts in the modern world. What could be simpler than using a concept that everyone knows in a way everyone understands?

Money represents purchase power. Note that I say purchase power and not production values or product stockpiles. Let me give you a historic example of why this distinction is important.

During the Interwar period in the Weimar Rerpublic (Germany), inflation reached such epic proportions that the money necassary to purchase a loaf of bread in the morning, may not have been enough to purchase a slice or two by that evening. Did the value of the money change because stockpiled items dissapeared? NO. Emphatically NO. Money was purchasing power - it represented a specific amount of economic influence, that could vary based off of circumstances NOT stockpiles.

There are some very intelligent people on these boards. Many of them are eloquent posters, and obviously well read. Simply because you can construct a persuausive arguement for a point you favor does not make that point true.

There are no real world examples where money is in fact based off of stockpiled production AND soley stockpiled production, as has been argued in this thread.

Money can be generated by Intellectual Property (SCO anyone?) and money can be made/lost based soley of off ideas (a TV concept, a script for a movie, a play, a patent, etc...)

Selling food can also make money. How else does Stop & Shop stay in business?

Money can also be gathered simply through currency exchanges and interest on loans.. 2 more examples of money generated from sources other than production stockpiles.

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#95 Post by Aquitaine » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:34 pm

Okay, so, I just read through the last three pages of this thread, and my brain now hurts and I'm no better off than I was before I started.

I think we have all answered the question 'do we need something to act as an object we can trade/use to purchase things/use to pay fleet maintenance.'

Converting whatever this thing is into RP or food or anything else is not on the table right now. That is beyond the scope of this question. However, trading one resource to another Empire and receiving a second resource in return is probably a safe assumption; this, however, does not involve money specifically, so again, let's take it off the table.

There seems to be a reasonable question about whether or not it's useful to call money 'excess PP' or something else. I've read emrys' posts, and I usually find myself agreeing with most of what he says, but in this case I don't think I do - simply because it ties us into the 'production' of money. It also means PP are not really just for production, they're simply some measure of value that you sometimes use to build things and sometimes use to pay for things. But the biggest reason why I don't like this system is because it means that the amount of money you have is -always- tied to how much you're producing. There's no 'tax' indicator, even something simple like MOO2's.

I guess I feel like this is a case of square peg, round hole.

I like the simplicity that emrys and company are going after. It is very much in keeping with our mission and the things we've passed so far. But while I agree with the goal, I think we can make an implemetation of actual money without making it very complicated. Furthermore, I do think we need the seperate resource. I understand that money means nothing in and of itself, but likewise, making PP serve as the basis for transaction I find counter-intuitive. But in both emrys' case and mine, the amount of money you have is tied to your production; it's just that, in emrys' case, it's a stockpile, while in mine, it's a percentage taken off the top. We don't need to tax food or RP production at first; we can keep things very basic, see what there is to spend money on, and then figure out how it needs to work. I don't agree that there will be an untoward amount of balancing because of this; what I'm suggesting is pretty much what MOO2 does -- nothing like the byzantine tax system of MOO3.

But if I'm the only one who wants something like this, I'll rethink my approach to it.

-Aq
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#96 Post by luckless666 » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:44 pm

Aquitaine wrote:I guess I feel like this is a case of square peg, round hole.

I like the simplicity that emrys and company are going after. It is very much in keeping with our mission and the things we've passed so far. But while I agree with the goal, I think we can make an implemetation of actual money without making it very complicated. Furthermore, I do think we need the seperate resource. I understand that money means nothing in and of itself, but likewise, making PP serve as the basis for transaction I find counter-intuitive. But in both emrys' case and mine, the amount of money you have is tied to your production; it's just that, in emrys' case, it's a stockpile, while in mine, it's a percentage taken off the top. We don't need to tax food or RP production at first; we can keep things very basic, see what there is to spend money on, and then figure out how it needs to work. I don't agree that there will be an untoward amount of balancing because of this; what I'm suggesting is pretty much what MOO2 does -- nothing like the byzantine tax system of MOO3.

But if I'm the only one who wants something like this, I'll rethink my approach to it.
I agree with this. A simple MOO2 system would be good...MOO3 was a little to much. I still think RP, Food etc. should be included, but as you stated, its beyond the scope of this thread.
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Daveybaby
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#97 Post by Daveybaby » Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:12 pm

Just tax (employed) population. Worked pretty well in Civ.

Regardless of the outcome, this has been a very interesting and enjoyable thread. Kinda reminds me of the old delphi days.... ahhhhh...
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#98 Post by tzlaine » Wed Mar 10, 2004 6:27 pm

I agree with emrys on this issue. I think having a separate cash resource is unneccessary. For me, game design is more about why than what or how. Why should we have a cash resource? What does it provide the game, that the game would be lacking without it?

If PPs are not cash spent on government and military projects, what are they? Are we to expect that the entire government and military production infrastructure of each empire is owned entirely by that empire? It seems more appropriate to conceptualize it like this: there is some amount of industry in each empire, and that PPs are the subset of the amount that are used to build ships, buildings, etc. That subset is bought, in cash, by the government for use by the government. The leftover is still cash.

I also think taxing PPs, RPs, and food is silly. "We, the government, have decided to tax our own expenditures." If there is to be a tax-base system, we should devise some relatively simple formula that tells us what the taxbase is for our whole empire based on population, tech, etc., that takes into account the whole enchilada, not just the government spending part (PPs and RPs).

So what exactly does cash get us? I don't think it gets us anything. On the other hand, PPs as cash gets us the same thing as cash as a resource, including the ability to buy production, make bribes, etc.

It doesn't have to make sound economic sense; it just has to work within the context of our game.

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#99 Post by Aquitaine » Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:48 pm

It doesn't have to make sound economic sense; it just has to work within the context of our game.
Your argument seems based more on sound economic sense than it is on the context of the game.

The 'why' question seems to have been answered already, although in some of those cases a 'money' resource is not the only answer. The ones I've read so far:

- Fleet maintenance requires X amount of cash per turn, depending on the size of your fleet. Similar in some ways to MOO2 and MOO3; the Total War engine does this, as do EU2 and Victoria.
- Buy things from another Empire (although this could be done in any number of ways; it's more of a 'trade X for Y' where X and Y could just as easily be ships, technology, or stockpiled resources)
- Pay salaries of 'leaders' or some other type of character involved in the game;
- (Buildings? Special projects? Wonders?)

PPs were never explicitly meant to be 'cash spent on government and military projects.' They weren't meant to be otherwise, either, so I agree that this is a viable solution; I'm just not convinced that it's the most viable, because we've really set up PPs as your industrial capacity in the sense that 'you need X industrial capacity to build Y. Or, if you build nothing for a few turns, you can stockpile your industrial capacity and ... bribe somebody?' That's the disconnect, for me; I get that PP has more to do with cash than, say, RP or food, but I don't get that PP /is/ cash.

However, more convincing on your side for me is to simply remove the whole idea of cash; maintain fleets with your industrial capacity and then never do anything with it that really sets it up as 'money.'

-Aq
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#100 Post by noelte » Wed Mar 10, 2004 8:55 pm

I agree with most of your points.
Aquitaine wrote:Or, if you build nothing for a few turns, you can stockpile your industrial capacity and ... bribe somebody?' That's the disconnect, for me; I get that PP has more to do with cash than, say, RP or food, but I don't get that PP /is/ cash.
Maybe we can just produce trade goods from leftover PP?
Aquitaine wrote:However, more convincing on your side for me is to simply remove the whole idea of cash; maintain fleets with your industrial capacity and then never do anything with it that really sets it up as 'money.'
-Aq
I think cash should be in, as you said in your first points (paying leader, buying tech, support fleet, ...). I believe tax should only apply on pp.

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#101 Post by Daveybaby » Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:06 pm

Aquitaine wrote:However, more convincing on your side for me is to simply remove the whole idea of cash; maintain fleets with your industrial capacity and then never do anything with it that really sets it up as 'money.'
This, to me, sums the whole thing up pretty nicely.

If youre going to have money, have money properly. Raise it from taxes, spend it on whatever it needs spending on. Use it to enhance productivity, or use it to buy things directly from other empires.

If youre not going to have money, then dont have it. Maintain fleets with PP. Trade food/minerals etc directly with other empires.

The stockpiled PP thing just doesnt work on any level for me. Its a halfway house with all of the flaws of each of the other two solutions, but no real advantages over either of them, and the added bonus that it doesnt make any goddamn sense.
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#102 Post by Underling » Wed Mar 10, 2004 10:42 pm

Daveybaby wrote:
The stockpiled PP thing just doesnt work on any level for me. Its a halfway house with all of the flaws of each of the other two solutions, but no real advantages over either of them, and the added bonus that it doesnt make any goddamn sense.
I guess its obvious which camp of this arguement I fall into based off my prior posts. I would be happiest with a simple Moo2 style money system as mentioned by Aquitaine above. This seems to be closest to real world models and has none of the logical inconsistencies of PP= bling bling.

However, a no money system could work too. My main goal in my suggestions was simply for in game mechanics to be as recognizable to "virgin users" post 1.0 as possible. I understand the simplicity of the PP only system but it wasn't an intuitive concept to me. My fear is that others would have the same conceptual difficulties.

On a side note, this has been a very enjoyable debate. I look forward to seeing where things end up.

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#103 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:06 am

Well, I'm thinking now the 'no money' crowd is probably the best (as long as there are still some degree of tax rates so that people can 'waste' PPs on consumer goods. (or build their own buildings if I want to run a capitalist empire) and when I want a fleet I have to ramp up taxes to get those PPs.

The only thing that money can Do that PPs Can't is be increased by trade.

For Example if I have two worlds each with a specialized (Non Big Four) resource.. ie a 'real life' Trade good. Then they should get something out of being able to trade with one another.

In a no money system, this takes some 'jiggering' to do... of course It's not perfect in money systems either.

suggested 'Jiggers'

Trade does the following things in a 'No money' system (Trade including Trade agreements with other empires as well as Internal Trade from starbases)

1.. Increase Production Output (by giving your factories access to specialized materials)

2..Make the people happier (by giving them access to specialized luxury goods)


I think a 'No money' system could work if it fairly strongly concentrated on the second effect for trade (assuming that your people acclimate to a certain standard of living, and trade then becomes like an addictive drug.. it made them happier the first few times, but now you have to keep up trade just to keep them happy.)

The Trade resources in Civ are somewhat like this.

There should also be some effect for #1.. perhaps allowing Trade to as much as double regular PP output.


With that all 'money matters' (fleet support, trade, rush building, freighters, resource redistribution, etc. could be supported by the Four Existing Resources)

Finally since real 'Money' is merely a medium of exchange and there are only four resources, then the one that would make the best 'money substitute' is PP (it is usable and in demand by everybody... you NEVER have 'Surplus PPs' you could always use them to build and maintain more ships, or provide everyone in your empire with a plasma TV on every wall... you might want food, minerals, or research more right now that is why you would trade PPs away)

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#104 Post by krum » Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:31 am

Underling wrote:Look folks, this is getting just a wee bit ridiculus here. We have some folks who are arguing semantics such as not using the word "money" rather than substantive arguements about how to define the term. Well, you can call the $30 in my wallet everlasting gobstoppers or whozawhimjammies or wallawalla-wickety skadoos or whatever you want. Know what?Its still money.

Trying to remove the term from the discussion is a not so subtle attempt to direct the discussion away from one standpoint in favor of another. I've enough knowledge of debating theory/tactics to call that one from a mile away. :roll:
I was not trying to do some subtle diversion, that was meant to be obvious, and was an attempt to be slightly sarcastic.
Underling wrote:Money represents purchase power. Note that I say purchase power and not production values or product stockpiles. Let me give you a historic example of why this distinction is important.

During the Interwar period in the Weimar Rerpublic (Germany), inflation reached such epic proportions that the money necassary to purchase a loaf of bread in the morning, may not have been enough to purchase a slice or two by that evening. Did the value of the money change because stockpiled items dissapeared? NO. Emphatically NO. Money was purchasing power - it represented a specific amount of economic influence, that could vary based off of circumstances NOT stockpiles.
Personally, I don't need a historical example of hyperinflation as I have personally experienced it just a few years ago. If you also had that experience (which is not something I wish for you), that would've removed your clutural prejudice that money on the grand scale behaves as it seem to for a individual that's a part of a stable market economy, which is an unique western phenomenon, and you would've been able to look at the desing more objectively. I don't mean to sound offensive, and I hpe I don't, that's just what I think. I'd like to thank all participants for this discussion which was somewhat enlightening for all of us, I hope.

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#105 Post by krum » Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:42 am

Underling wrote:I thought KISS was one of the guiding principles of this project? Everyone knows what money is. PERIOD. It is one of the most recognizeable concepts in the modern world. What could be simpler than using a concept that everyone knows in a way everyone understands?
That's the problem, I don't recognise your idea of money.
Underling wrote:Money can also be gathered simply through currency exchanges and interest on loans.. 2 more examples of money generated from sources other than production stockpiles.
Iraq owes Bulgaria a few billoin dollars. Half of this will be erased. The interest has been paid regularly, though. Money doesn't get "generated". Anyway, I don't want to argue about real life economy anymore, that's not what we are here for. It's just that I don't agree with your ideas that you use to argue about real life, which is unnessesary anyway. This is a game and we need a precise mathematical model, but not one of my personal experince, or yours, or anyone's of money.

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