[MUD-Dev] Re: Character maintinence - expenditure of resources

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Wed May 13 11:42:32 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Thu, 7 May 1998 21:10:34 -0700 
John Bertoglio<alexb at internetcds.com> wrote:

> From: J C Lawrence <claw at under.engr.sgi.com> 

> Actually, the LET idea has great value if a game world. Economics in
> game world are tricky because much of the economic engine is
> invisible and mundane, so there is a strong tendency on the part of
> the designer to cut corners and simply make goods available. Don't
> have time to do a full post on this right know but suffice it to say
> with out continuous demand for simple items, (food, drink, shelter,
> basic weapons and armor) it impossible to model even a
> semi-realistic feeling economy.

The whole LETSystem concept has another large area of appeal to me for 
MUDs:  currency is now localised, and we are (in UOL's case),
attempting to also create localised societies, cultures, and social
contexts.  LETSystems would seem near perfect parallels and supports
to that.  Localised society, localised culture, localised currency.

> I wold be interested to see how this works in other countries
> because my experience with local barter group was less than
> stellar. 

Read thru the LETSystems bumph and in particular the case studies
(there's some exceptionally good stuff under the URL I posted a couple
days agao).  

> Barter groups have the same power as the central
> banks...they can create money from nothing...the classic notion of
> "printing money" (of course now we just create entries in computer
> ledgers). The danger of inflation in a barter group is
> real. Typically the barter company pays for its expenses with barter
> dollars. A little of this is actually stimulating, too much and you
> diminish the value of everyone's currency. 

LETSystems tend to (ie can) have rather self-correcting means for this
type of thing.  I recall extensive discussion and moderating effects
being in place in the Australian Trade-Dollars model to prevent just
this effect.  

Then again, fiscal management in MUDs?  MUD Bankers?  MUD ursury?
Money changers?  Currency exchange rates?  Money markets?  Interest
rates?  I can see it now...

> My experience is that service providers like plumbers and computer
> programmers find few hard goods (like pipe and disk drives) because
> of the relative cost of providing the goods.  A program (if written
> in time not already commited) costs pennies in out of pocket
> expenses. A $300 harddrive might wholesale for $250. What happens is
> all the hard good get bought out in the system as service providers
> accumulate trade dollars in their slack times.

Yes, much gets imported, purchased in AU$ and resold in Trade$,
resulting in an imbalance.  The result is that the border points
become Trade$ rich and Au$ poor.  To remain financially viable their
Trade$ *must* be liquid.  Thus they persuade their suppliers to accept 
Trade$ rather than AuS, and thus the boll rolls.

Yes, this is a population size question with a high threshhold value.
I don't know how Oz broke thru the threshhold value.  The apparency is
that they have.  My brother owns and runs a company manufacturing
cleaning supplies.  He buys much of his raw materials in trade
dollars.  Many of his clients pay him in trade dollars.  Much of the
downpaymant on his house was in trade dollars.  The swimming pool out
back was paid for in trade dollars.  Conversely, few retail stores
(esp grocery) accept trade dollars (think of the population supply
dynamics for the reason why).

The sheer fact of the accumulation of trade dollars __requires__ the
ability that those trdae dollars be able to be spent somewhere for
reasonable value.  If they can't be so spent, then thay are, more or
less, valueless.  It makes for a heady incentive (once the threshold
is approached or passed) to ensure that trade dollars remain liquid.

J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                               Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------(*)                     Internet: claw at under.engr.sgi.com
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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