Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gearscore is like Communism

It's such a great idea to better coordinate and organize everything for perfect efficiency and happiness. As long as it isn't abused by people with god complexes and excessive paranoia.

What I'm trying to say is, if you use gearscore, you're a communist.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Theft vs. Welfare: Efficiency

A few months back I suggested that welfare be replaced with theft. Actually an Anglican bishop suggested it. But I liked the idea. It got me thinking: how efficient are these two systems as methods of delivering undeserved wealth to the poor?

Welfare has the noticeable disadvantage of bureaucracy. This stems from silly ideas like having different brackets of welfare depending on perceived necessity and so there are food stamps, housing, subsidies, all manner of complicated structures. It's clearly more expensive than a flat benefits system of giving nothing at all. Okay that's obvious, but whatever benefits are handed out, the rating system makes it more expensive.

Theft doesn't have this problem. It's individually-driven and free of government bureaucracy. That means low cost to run it.

There are problems with this free-market solution.

Presumably the poor have similar consumer demands as the employed. If they were significantly different, in a rational way, they would be in the cheaper direction and so they'd be comparatively less poor; but clearly that isn't the case. Maybe poor people like more expensive goods; and this has actually been proven if you look up studies on conspicuous consumption and income levels. Basically poor people try to be flashy to stand out. But this isn't applicable since those are poor people with money trying to stand out from their welfare peers. They are not the target demographic here.

If the poor want similar products as normal consumers, this would seem to create a perfect situation: they will steal what is most readily resupplied due to the high demand and quick supply movement. This also means they steal those items which are presumably profitable enough that the losses can be offset. I doubt it would work out this well. Instead stores would attempt to minimize theft by not carrying those items which are most easily or commonly stolen, creating a sort of counter-market force; with demand causing reduced supply. This also means they'd carry less of what consumers want, ruining business and consumer satisfaction, driving them to less desirable products and therefore to less mutually profitable exchanges.

In effect, welfare can be considered a government program to negate the harm that the poor would otherwise cause to the free market. While the taxation is bad, creating an active counter-market force is possibly much worse. In this regard, taxation and welfare may be the less damaging than theft and therefore more efficient.

There is another problem though: The rise in theft will inevitably lead to a rise in demand for policing. That means another cost. Even worse, this means direct conflict between the poor and society, leading to violence which is the worst possible condition for an functioning economy.

It appears that welfare is a more efficient system than giving nothing at all.

Monday, February 1, 2010

GDKP: free market spending with Marxist labor

I've developed a theoretical love for GDKP recently. In short form, this is a raid in which items are bid on and the pot is split up at the end. The specifics vary, but in general the result is you walk out with loot or a lot of gold.

They're a sort of free-market raid. You are rewarded based on how much you're willing to invest. Or spend. Those who have a lot of gold have earned a great deal of purchasing power through their wise investments outside the raid.

It creates an interesting exchange in that the loot effectively starts out collectively owned. That means of course that no one owns it or can use it except at the permission of the dictator/loot master. Then comes the free market in which capitalists assert property rights. Whoever values the item most and can back up his greed gets the item.

This is actually a rather socialist system if you think about it some more.

Whose loot is it?
When the loot drops, everyone owns it. Then the capitalists bid and the gold goes to those who did not bid. The effective result is that the capitalists are conducting an exchange only with those who did not bid. The poor effectively have control over the item. This exposes the great lie of socialism: equality. It's not equality, it's giving the poor, the non-investors control over what was claimed to be collectively owned.

Oh sure, argue that the capitalists already had partial ownership. They merely had to buy out the ownership of the others. Fine. But who is thinking this way? I doubt anyone. If this was the case, then prices would be 4% (25-man) to 10% (10-man) lower, to reflect not needing to but out their own share. But no, people bid as if they don't have any initial shares at all; meaning that this collective system is encouraging people to overpay by a non-trivial amount. It is actively interfering with the free hand of the market.

As an alternative, maybe the loot is controlled by no one. But in that case, why does the bidder need to pay for anything more than the time it takes the master looter to send the item over? Obviously this could trigger a bidding war, but the expecting starting price would be much lower, creating different value perceptions, and driving down the end price as well. Clearly socialism is driving much more than 10% deflection from the market price.

Marxist labor
"From each according to his ability".
That's Marx for you. And that's the raid. Unless someone is blatantly holding back the raid, they are carried along. I won't be an idiot and assume that they are leeches, at least not yet. They do enough. That's fine. But when the payment comes, the bottom DPS and the top DPS have the same share of the loot to buy out. Everyone works, but some pay better attention or are more skilled, and yet where is their advantage? I have never heard of a loot master declaring "if you're 10% below the average DPS, you must pay 10% more to compensate", or the reverse. High achievers are not rewarded within the raid. There does remain the gold component, but there is only a very tangential link between that gold and raid success; that link of course being their market activities raising all boats and enabling the raid to have consumables and gems and crafted gear. But that's a tenuous link and hardly comparable to the difference between a high and low DPS.

Told you so
My blog description says there's socialism everywhere. This is true. This is a perfect example: a supposedly free-market exchange in which reward matches contribution, but in the most significant way: skill and contribution within the raid, there is no link. I really am quite surprised at the ingenuity of it; the lazy leeches have convinced the investors that it's a free market which rewards them, while instead it rewards most those who invest nothing except a bit of unskilled labor.