Role-playing economic issues - version ii

  • For those of you who did not read my polemic on role-playing economic matters, I have one question: "Why not?" 🙂

    In a nutshell it identified a problem in that nations can state they are taking economic decisions and RP any outcome they like from it, no matter how unlikely the outcome is. I am as guilty of this as others in having recently substantially lowered my interest rates in order to garner all the benefits of a lower exchange rate without having encountered any of the downsides.

    With this in mind, I have devised an economic model that operates on Excel that if adopted would allow us to RP economic decision making more effectively. I am seeking opinions on whether this is an appropriate way forward.

    The system that I have devised requires that we effectively start all the economic RPing from scratch, starting with a regional economy that is equilibrium, with no Government running a budget deficit or surplus, all currencies being at parity, so that at the start one unit of any currency equals one unit of every other currency.

    The system would require us to take a snapshot of each nations economic statistics on NS to start as a baseline position. The every month we would re-run the spreadsheet using some updated statistics from NS and three figures which will be the choice of the individual nations involved.

    As the model stands at the moment, a nation would be able to amend its tax rate, base interest rate and money supply.

    From this, the spreadsheet would calculate a revised Gross Domestic Product, an inflation rate, an exchange rate, a Government budget surplus/deficit, National reserves or debt, a trading balance surplus or deficit and a net annual income per capita. All the currencies will float against the Euro and so the actions of each nation will affect the other economies to a greater or lesser degree.

    My vision of this is that it would require a new Economics sub-forum in the Role-play forum alongside the politics and warzone. Then each month nations could give their tax rates etc for the following month. The figures from NS used on an ongoing basis are the economic performance indicator (e.g. thriving/reasonable/basketcase etc.) and the proportion of your economy that is taken up by Government spending, so your actions in both NS and the EU role-playing region will effect your economic figures.

    There are areas that I can see where we can make further improvements to the model, to account for trade between our nations, but that will take quite a bit of work, so I don't want to start that un-necessarily.

    Okay folks, what are your thoughts?

    Bob from Framptonia (who has been frantically boning up on his 30 year old economics degree)

  • Speaker of Famptonia, I think everyone agrees that economic system is flawed, and does not consider key parts of reality. But the true question is how we are going to integrate this system of your into our already overwhelming Role-Play system. Is it possible that would mean that the very system we knew would have to be restructured as well? Afterall, I have never seen a nation in real life declare war on another nation 2 days after a crisis breaks out(*cough). We also have to consider the rate of population growth, and how much we are going to rely on nation states anymore. Like I said Mr. Speaker, I do not oppose your statement of our system is flawed, but I do believe integreating this to new players especially will be a disaster.

  • @Kalmar Thank you for your response. I will try to answer your questions as far as I am able.

    Under the system which I am trying to develop, I do not see there to be any need to amend other role playing activity. To contribute to this will take at most 5 minutes for each nation each month. The rest is done by the spreadsheet.

    The system accounts for population growth, but in a different way to NS, which simply increases the population exponentially resulting in nations growing to over a billion residents in a few months. The spreadsheet generates different rates of growth to nations based upon the net income per capita with the populations of poorer nations growing considerably faster than those of larger ones. This has been done solely to make the economic RP more realistic and I do not intend to publish the amended population figures or use them for anything else. So the divergence from NS and the War spreadsheet is I think of no relevance.

    I have considered the position for new players entering the region and my estimation is that it takes less than 10 minutes to enter them into the spreadsheet. They would join at baseline in the same way as existing nations do. The purpose of this system to be honest is to stop nations arriving and claiming from nowhere to be an economic powerhouse with a booming economy, whereas in fact they have a tiny or under-performing economy. As mentioned above it will only take each nation five minutes a month to update their figures for the following month and I intend to design a form on the forums (assuming this goes ahead) to facilitate it,

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    I'm all for the idea of a spreadsheet in principle, and I know the UK has also been working on one for some time. What I would stress about a spreadsheet is that it would need to be user-friendly. Compare and contrast the UK's London Stock Exchange, which is easy to use and popular, with the various iterations of Llanowar's stock market system, which go miles above pretty much all our heads and so isn't used by anybody else at all. That and transparency is also key - people just won't engage with a system that tells them they have X catastrophic economic problem for no apparent reason.

    As for population, I think Kalmar has a point. It absolutely does matter that population in the econ RP lines up with the war system and our actual RP populations. We can't assume, for instance, greater population growth among poorer nations when in the RP, that isn't actually happening. The population growth issue obviously is a problem, and I think we're faced with two options - either accept that extreme population growth is just part of the RP, and take economic growth as relative to population growth (so, crudely speaking, a country whose economy has grown by 105% while its population has grown by 100% would be taken as having 5% economic growth); or go fully separate from NS and develop our own population system. I don't pretend to have the answer to that problem.

    Regarding the other factors, I think economic category on NS is a particularly crude modifier, not least when NS itself has a more precise 0-100 scale. Likewise, I think we also need to take into account other RP things - sanctions, war, trade deals, economic policies in general, and even social policies with economic impacts. Granted, much of that may be best left to a later date, but I think we still need to bear it in mind. The same goes for different taxes. The government spending indicator also strikes me as slightly dubious, given that NS is deliberately set up to take your politics to its natural extremes - so mainstream left-wingers end up with economies more dominated by the public sector than Cuba, and mainstream right-wingers end up presiding over a state smaller than that of Galt's Gulch. In reality, nobody's RPing either.

    I think ultimately we're going to need to see both your and UK's spreadsheets so that we can know more and come to a decision.

  • @Framptonia I do understand that, but if a country was crafted to be a historical nation that would be a major power, that would be undermining their ability to RP and generally create a rich history. That is why I had a problem with NS because it treated me as if i founded a micro nation. Futhermore, if you look under the fact book in NS i said quote "An exercise of alternate history" and it so happens by names that can be proven, that my nation, Scandinavia is a very influential and powerful economic entity. All I ask is to consider that.

    Secondly, I would like to add the the United Kingdom's spreadsheet is relying too much of NS. Although nation states brought me here, I think we need to scrap nation states in general. The nation states almost completely and altogether evades reality, trade, terrain, and development in general. I do think decisions are key to a nations path, but they should not be relied on what is your nation and people a whole. Ideally, that is my standpoint. According to UK's spreadsheet I have the lowest GDP per capital and one of the worst off economies. In reality, the Scandinavian country are, in fact one of the most well-off countries in Europe. Of course non of us not professional economist including me so what do I know?

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    [quote]I do understand that, but if a country was crafted to be a historical nation that would be a major power, that would be undermining their ability to RP and generally create a rich history. That is why I had a problem with NS because it treated me as if i founded a micro nation.[/quote}

    We all started from the bottom. Not all of us started in the EU with 5 million people, but we all had to bring in a nation with the numbers we said we had. Allowing people to start anywhere, regardless of what NS population they have, opens the door to extreme regional instability. If you wish to become a major power, you must earn that status over time with the development of your nation, cultivation of relationships, growth of your economy and military, etc. Like in real life, the EU's great powers have earned their status, and haven't done anything too stupid along the way. If you strive to attain superpower status, learn from what others have done before to advance and survive. Antagonizing powerful nations while you are still small isn't a smart move. We used to have a roleplay mentor system that helped new players acclimate to the EU and navigate its politics (I wish we still did).

    [quote]Although nation states brought me here, I think we need to scrap nation states in general.[/quote]

    NS is the common guiding fabric that connects all of us. An open-ended RP has been proposed in the past and I maintain the position that it would be a complete disaster.

    [quote]According to UK's spreadsheet I have the lowest GDP per capital and one of the worst off economies.[/quote]

    According to the choices you've made so far, vs the choices that other players have made, you do have low GDP per capita and one of the worst off economies. You can't magically change that. However, we have all gone through that phase and our economies have matured over time. The old nations have gone through thousands and thousands of issues and RPed extensively to get there they are. Your stats eventually stabilize if you make the right choices.

    [quote] In reality, the Scandinavian country are, in fact one of the most well-off countries in Europe.[/quote]

    This isn't real life, this is a fantasy simulation. The map isn't Earth. It's like Earth, and most aspects of life function exactly like they would on Earth, but countries in RL don't exist in RP. There is no Scandinavia. There is a map area that resembles Scandinavia and has a similar climate. How its nations develop depend entirely on the players who choose those spots.

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    Severing the RP EU from NationStates is non-negotiable. It's actually been done before twice, during the second and third iterations of this region. As Manos (Soviet Union) once explained, both times times ended in disaster. Check it for yourself here (link). It has consistently resulted in knobheads coming in, declaring the supremacy of their nations, destroying and nuking everything, and then leaving. NationStates at least gives us some fair structure that applies to everyone. Obviously it's not 100% always ideal, hence why we're moving some systems off of it. But otherwise, as far as everything else on it goes, it's completely fine and quite useful.

    Secondly, NS EU is not at all like the real life EU. We have nations here based on RL, but that's it. It's only based on them. The real life EU doesn't have nations remotely similar to the Duxburian Union, Halsberg, Icholasen, Inquista, Angleter and so on. So, for what reason should it matter that a nation here is based on Scandanavia, and why should that result in priviledges? Considering that the RP north is constantly in turmoil, and is usually filled with less developed nations (with exceptions, of course), compared to the well mannered, and far more prosperous south, there is little to no reason as to why your Scandinavia shouldn't be anything but poor. This is a completely different reality. Like the DU has explained, you ultimately control the fate of your nation, and you can achieve whatever you want with it. However, you have time do it with time. Everyone has built up what they have with time.

  • I think it's great we're finally seeing a spreadsheet, and indeed, I would urge the UK to present its sheet too, although I've heard he's been reluctant in giving details so far. Anyway, I welcome Bob's sheet and think it's a great base for further development. That said, I'm a total economics ignoramus, so I won't be able to really judge one sheet against another.....

    EDIT: Oops, I see the UK's sheet has already been made public.

  • Thanks for your comments guys. I'll answer them each on separate posts as otherwise it will be one long, long post.

  • @Angleter The issue of population growth is a vexing one and I think the two options that you have identified are our only choices.

    I have monitored the population growth of my nation and over the last five weeks it has grown by about 10%, which suggests that week on week it is growing about 50 times faster than might be expected. Reducing the RP population by 98% makes the population levels significantly lower, but it doesn't alter the unrealistic rate of population growth, it simply applies it to a much smaller starting figure. We have exactly the same problem with the GDP figure. Over the same period of five weeks my GDP has risen by 13% - again significantly unrealistic.

    I must say that I haven't grasped exactly where the difficulty in not using NS population figures lies The purpose of my model is simply to give more realistic and meaningful figures for economic actions I don't think it is possible to do this without suppressing the population growth to a realistic level. If we decide not to suppress population growth, then there appears to me to be little point in an economic model, since we can simply use the NS GDP figures too But this means accepting that economies can have continuous exponential growth

    With regard to the use of the economic performance score out of 100, rather than the crude performance indicator, within my model, this is entirely feasible and I don't envisage any difficulty incorporating it.

    In terms of other variables, I fully agree that trade and war need to find a way into the model There is a crude trade variable in my model, but it is very simplistic and I can already see ways to improve it, but that is probably the next stage.

    You have suggested that I should make the spreadsheet public, so I shall make the current version of it available It currently has 7 countries in it (Angleter isn't one yet), but adding another Country takes about 5 minutes. I don't foresee that nations would enter their own figures, since the spreadsheet operates on the basis of the interactions between the economies and so unlike the United Kingdom's model, the decisions of other Nations with regard to their economies can affect yours.

  • I've linked here a copy of my model and a document that explains its operation

    The spreadsheet is located here

    The guidance document is located here

    In this version there are six nations, these being Davishire, Duxburian Union, Framptonia, Inimicus, Kalmar and the United Kingdom. Each nation has its own worksheet. On the national worksheet, the first seven rows are the baseline figures taken from NS.

    Each month of role-play then has a row, with the first month being at row 11.

    The nation defined variables are in the three grey columns. The figures from NS go in the two yellow columns.

    The spreadsheet only works if a row is completed for every nation.

    There are extra worksheets showing the GDP, inflation rates, etc. To play with it, change some of the percentage figures in the grey boxes on row 11 and then check the GDP page etc. The effects are different depending on which nation you adjust because the economies are of different sizes and so interact differently.

    Any questions please shout.

  • I like this idea I really do. Forces people to back thier stats up.

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    @Xeng because yours were so accurate to begin with

  • @The-United-Kingdom Wow ok really? I just said why I like it. But hey if you want to go down this road do I have to remind you as to our thread we you icky kept making up my nation trade tariff and currency stats because let's face it.. That is essentially what you were doing.

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    @Xeng said:

    @The-United-Kingdom Wow ok really? I just said why I like it. But hey if you want to go down this road do I have to remind you as to our thread we you icky kept making up my nation trade tariff and currency stats because let's face it.. That is essentially what you were doing.

    Hey, your statement was shady. I also didn't make your stats up. I got them from NSEconomy. This is what I saw when we did our summit. I didn't know where on earth you were getting yours from. But if you want to go ahead and believe that, sure.