0017: A Discussion of Credits

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0017: A Discussion of Credits

Postby Darkfeather21 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:12 am

Image

I'll be honest, I really don't understand understand economics that much, but...
Tailsteak wrote:Different things cost different amounts depending on who's buying them

I do know enough to say that this is a bad thing that is more than easily exploitable.
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Re: 0017: A Discussion of Credits

Postby GruntBlender » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:40 am

There's also the fact the system encourages rampant consumerism.
Starting with a balance of zero, after a time Lee has:
Day 1: 72
Day 2: 102 (only 30 creds gained)
Day 3: 115 (only 13 creds gained)

In the first 6 hours or so they get 25 creds. If you think in terms of candy bars, you can buy a lot of 25 every 6 hours or so and have 300 bars in 3 days, or you can wait 3 days and only buy 115 (missing out on 185 candies, even if you don't need them).
In this system, it makes sense to keep buying duplicates or triplicates of all the stuff you have just in case it breaks as soon as you have enough balance.
Then, say, you need new tires for a car (assuming they exist in the future, because dammit I want one.)
Say they're 40 each and the full set is 120 with a discount. 120 creds would take almost 4 days to generate. Or, you could buy the tires separately, one every 11 hours, and have the set in under 2 days.
That, or there are lots of "24 hour subscriptions" going on, where you have a high rate for a short time to get around the tax issue. Bulk credit transfers don't really make sense in that economy. Neither does business, but I digress.
Actually, this sort of system seems to really benefit people who can plan their finances well and game the system. Sure, out current one does the same, but is that really what we want in a post-scarcity world?
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Re: 0017: A Discussion of Credits

Postby realbrickwall » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:58 am

Ah, but if everyone is provided with a finance planning program that can optimize finances for them, everyone is on equal footing of system optimization, and the system can be made to adjust.
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Re: 0017: A Discussion of Credits

Postby GruntBlender » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:44 am

Then you might as well have a requisitions AI that handles resource distribution for everyone and just do away with the whole credits thing altogether.
AI, I want a candy bar!
<No problem>
AI, I want a new car!
<Try working for a while, then we'll talk>
That kind of thing would minimize waste, since people won't need to plan or worry about finances at all unless they want something extraordinary. It's not like the credits are tied to production in any meaningful way anyway. The described system does prevent Lee from outright buying something worth 500 credits, but not ten things worth 50 credits each (ignoring the whole temporary-subscription-payment-plan option, since that invalidates the whole purpose of the balance in the first place.)
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Re: 0017: A Discussion of Credits

Postby robertliguori » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:39 pm

This system seems...well, I don't want to say 'insane', because weirder things have been decided upon and enforced...

But a system in which there is both a baseline technical competency of perfect cell phone use, and one with variable prices per user (and the same implicit effect as mentioned above with people personally having vastly different spending profiles based on the current balance of their wallets)...

This has to be play-money. There has to be a giant governmental construct which is absorbing the cost of, e.g., the insurance, medical, and housing industries catering to the basic-income folk. Because otherwise, it would literally be more profitable for DemeGeek to have babies, and raise them bombarding them with propoganda that the most important thing in their lives is to offer a supply of their basic income back to DemeGeek.

And even if it weren't...who the hell would bother to build an organization which traded a valuable resource (medical care and housing) for one which would evaporate into the aether? Who, if they were running a successful business, would want to accept credits?

---

And the more I think about it, the more the economics of Zoa make no goddamn sense. My best guess is that there's an entirely different layer of the economy that deals in actual salable goods and durable currency, and that companies (in the future as now) like to make big shows of charity, and so DemeGeek makes a point of being able to say that their Social Welfare robots collectively collect N credits from the deserving and worthy people of Canada (which they then let expire, because they are a noble and charitable company). Meanwhile, there's a tiny robotics department on a shoe-string budget forced to re-use and re-purpose models (and, presumably, personalities) so that the people in charge can meet their charity targets.

Extend this out for a while, and you get a pair of engineers saying to each other "Fuck it. I give up. What the hell are...hold on, we've got that surplus shipment of phatex mouthsleeves. OK. We slap on a make-up paint job, a hairpiece, weld on some falsies, and bam! Robohooker! That's...good, right? Aw, hell, she won't be photogenic at all, but hey, fuck it, no one looks at the details of what we're doing, so let's go with it."

This also explains why Zoa doesn't have the ability to log into the metaphorical Starbucks's metaphorical free wi-fi; she's an afterthought of an afterthought, so no one with any kind of authority to negotiate with any kind of municipal services has any interest in returning her calls.
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Re: 0017: A Discussion of Credits

Postby GruntBlender » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:16 pm

Business almost makes sense in terms of subscriptions. If you have a bakery with 10,000 customers subscribed for 0.0001 credits per second your business gets 1 credit per second that you can divvy up between employees, owner, and a subscription to local farms for a certain amount of produce per day in exchange for a certain rate of credits per second. From there you bake your goods and the customers with subscriptions can collect these goods with some limits imposed (like the old bandwidth limits on technically unlimited internet). But again, this gets into the problem of enormous waste. Not only do you have to plan the state of your business in advance, you have to plan out your rates of consumption. You're subscribed to a ton of flour per week, that's what you're getting. Ok, you can vary the rate and receive various amounts of flour depending on your consumption, but that just over-complicates the accounting to the point where accountants need to know calculus. (OK, AI does all the accounting, whatever, why not have robots do the baking too, and run the business with AI, and whoops you're out of business now because that's exactly what everyone is doing.)
This credit system is MegaPatreon, where you have a subscription and you get a service from the provider, be it a show, comic, daily food basket, whatever. But what about one-off purchases? A candy bar delivered in hand canonically costs about a credit. Why would a business accept a lump payment of an entire credit? It evaporates very quickly. It's not like it goes into an account and sits there waiting for the business to spend it on equipment, it's just gone. Speaking of funds just sitting there... Why would a business keep any funds around at all? The smart thing to do would be to increase expenses to match income, so as little of the income evaporates to tax as possible. Sure, that's a good way to make sure wages are maximized, but let's be real, the extra income will be spent on future-proofing by over-ordering materials, over-producing goods, etc. In other words, more waste. Supply goes through the roof, bringing down prices (because supply and demand exist even without money) and profits.
Ok, great, we have the small goods and the service industry all sorted out. What about the big things? Am I allowed to own a house in this system? How is owning a house any different than renting it here? If I own a house and I'm about to be evicted because I can't affordthe tax, can I burn it down out of spite? No? Then I surely can't build an extension when things are going well. Who's building houses? Why, the government, of course, or a large corporate body that can afford a constant supply of labor and building materials.

tl;dr: I don't like this system, and while it is workable, if barely, it invites a lot of problems that just aren't necessary while adding no benefits or features that could be remotely useful.
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Re: 0017: A Discussion of Credits

Postby MarkGyver » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:24 am

I'm just gonna point out that the per-second microcredit stipend and asset tax looks pretty much like Florenovia's economic system, as originally elaborated upon by Tailsteak here and discussed most extensively here.

So far, the main differences between Forward's and Florenovia's worlds seem to be that Forward hasn't had a male-extinction-causing plague, there haven't been any AI apocalypses, and politics might not be based off of whoever has the most money and interest just buying positions.
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Re: 0017: A Discussion of Credits

Postby Truec » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:13 am

I'm not prepared to try and make an argument for or against Tailsteak's... interesting economic system, so I'm going at this one from another angle. Food vs. Electricity!

Food has one major advantage in being able to enjoy the vast variety of flavors. To a lesser extent, being able to render things other than energy from it, including the various minerals, vitamins, proteins, and whatnot that keep us functioning, that's probably a bigger deal from a utilitarian standpoint. Electricity, on the other hand, requires no preperation time, no special need to go and get it from a store (although in Forward!world apparently these are non-issues). Powering a machine, even one as advanced as a sentient robot, is hundreds of times more efficient than the monstrosity that is the human digestive system. On the downside, all it provides is energy, while anything else the robot body needs has to be sourced elsewhere, at additional cost of money and time.

Either way, it seems to me the real advantage in this world is being legally considered a person, which might be what Zoa is really envious of.
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Re: 0017: A Discussion of Credits

Postby Piomicron » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:16 am

The destruction of men seems to be present. From what Tailsteak has said, nobody really 'identifies' as male or female anymore.

I'm surprised, given that it's only a tiny percentage of the population that identifies as anything other than male or female.
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Re: 0017: A Discussion of Credits

Postby GruntBlender » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:31 am

MarkGyver wrote:So far, the main differences between Forward's and Florenovia's worlds seem to be that Forward hasn't had a male-extinction-causing plague, there haven't been any AI apocalypses, and politics might not be based off of whoever has the most money and interest just buying positions.

*yet. No extinction or apocalypses yet.

Truec, you'd think the robots are more efficient, but for all we know Zoa's main processor is gobbling up a few kilowatt to achieve that level of intelligence. Connecting to the power grid did dim the lights after all, indicating a rather substantial power draw. Speaking of that much energy being transferred wirelessly, with the magnetic flux required to achieve that... how long do you think Lee has left to live? Can't be long, what with a decent portion of their cells being fried by the EM radiation from the wireless charging.
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