[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Active and Inactive currency

Freeman Freeman
Fri Apr 23 09:58:38 CEST 2004

From: John Buehler
> Jeff Freeman wrote:

>> It seems to me that the problem there isn't the faucet at
>> all. But how do you address it?  All crafters will take any cost
>> or drain that you throw at them and use that to establish a base
>> price, charging everyone else that plus a little more, and
>> therefore accumulate cash.

> 1. Competition and anti-trust laws.

This won't address the problem of cash 'pooling' on cookie-makers.
Even with reasonable/fair prices, all the money in this example
flows to them and stops.  The only way to make money flow the other
direction would be to force the cookie-makers to sell cookies for
less than it costs to make them.  I think players would refuse to do

> 2. Don't make cookies a mandatory consumable.

I think that would only slow the rate at which money is flowing to
them, since it'll swirl around a bit before it gets there.

> Consider the oil industry.  Oil is the lifeblood of western
> civilization.  Without it, we're toast.  There are only a few
> companies that are cranking out petroleum products in volume. If
> they acted in collusion, they could extort arbitrary amounts of
> money from us.  Except that we have laws against that sort of
> thing, so theoretically they are in competition.

Right, but if we pass laws that force them to sell oil for less than
it costs to produce, they'll just quit doing it.  What prevents them
taking a lot of money out of the economy (making it inactive) is
that they invest it (or bank it, and the banks loan it back out).

Competition and anti-trust laws don't prevent them from making
*some* profit.  In a game, most of that profit would be converted to
inactive currency.  Essential acting as a drain, removing money from

> Something that I want to stress is competition comes in many
> ways. It's not just two companies making cookies head to head.
> Cookies provide something to people.  It might be the energy
> boost. It might be social status.  It might be taste.  Whatever it
> is, it might be something that can be provided by other goods and
> services.  So competing with cookie-makers for taste might be the
> bread makers. Competing with cookie-makers for energy boosts might
> be the chocolate-makers.  Competing with the cookie-makers for
> status might be the coffee shops.  And so on.

They're all still collectively, "where money ends up".  And since we
don't have banks re-investing the money, it's not just where money
ends up, but where money *ends*.  So instead of pooling on 15
cookie-makers, it pools on 5 cookie makers, 5 coffee-grinders and 5
bread-bakers.  Competition and anti-trust rules can keep the prices
reasonable, but it won't stop the money from flowing one-way,
pooling, and going inactive.

My conclusion: The Crafter in a game performs the role of economic
drain, by removing money from circulation.
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