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06:15:06 PM Sep 30th 2017
I made a Post-Scarcity Economy page, might want to take the folder off here.
03:05:06 PM Jun 16th 2015
Despite not having the time to fix it myself, I'd like to mention that the Star Trek example has become natter-land.
09:31:28 AM Apr 1st 2015
So is there any reasons why an entry on A Song of Ice and Fire's lack of economic collapse was not shown in literature? Is it A. written before Feast For Crows or any novels that showed the devastation of War of the Five Kings. B. limited in one region, especially Riverlands, rather than the whole continent. C. Northern France and Sengoku during Hundred Years War.
10:55:24 PM Nov 20th 2014
edited by
Reposting this from the main page, because it was natter there:

[Money made from precious metals] is called Specie, or Commodity Money. Specie can be used as a form of currency, and has been. We're getting into semantics at this point. The concept of Commodity Money is as old as modern ideas of economy. In the above, case, steel may very well be a great form of money and has the benefit of being converted into something of utility. The only thing that makes gold valuable (or used to, until the advent of computers that use gold in their circuitry) was its beauty and its scarcity. Scarcity is only one of the many candidates that makes a money useful as an exchange medium.
11:00:03 PM Nov 20th 2014
The primary value of having a scarce good as money is that it takes control of the size of the money supply away from human decision-makers. In theory, that means that the government cannot pay its bills by printing money. In practice, nothing stops the government from debasing coinage by alloying the precious metals with less scarce metals. The Roman Empire did this for centuries until there was hardly any gold left in their gold coins.

The other (related) downside is that it can easily lead to deflation. If the economy grows, but no new supplies of gold are discovered, the value of the gold coins relative to goods and services rises, depressing consumption. As time goes on, this can lead to a deflationary spiral, causing recession.
06:33:12 AM Dec 6th 2013
Many Real Life conspiracy theories claiming AIDS or cancer (forgetting that cancer is not just one thing) "really" has a cure which is being suppressed by Big Pharma and or the government suffer from the same poor logic.

This logic, however could be argued on the lack of non-hormonal male contraceptive pills. Having a lot of men using it means less children, which would obviously reduce the number of potential customers in the future. Hormonal ones are known to be hazardous to health, so not many people would take them and the reduction towards the future customers would be minimal.

Anyone agree of disagree with this?
11:10:18 PM Nov 20th 2014
Yes, of course people disagree. First of all, the fertility rate of a society only depends on the number of fertile men at the very low extreme. In any normal society, the fertility rate is a function of the number of fertile women. To put it bluntly, a single fertile man could impregnate dozens of women. So no one is going to worry about depressing the fertility rate with an oral contraceptive for men.

Secondly, no one who knows anything about the pharmaceutical industry, business in general, game theory, or basic human nature would ever believe that pharmaceutical executives would ever think along the lines you are imagining. They do not think in such long time horizons, because it is not rational for them to do so. For one thing, by the time the existence of an oral contraceptive for men has substantially affected the size of a pharmaceutical company's customer base, the CEO will have long since retired. For another, any CEO considering developing such a drug knows that the only way to prevent such a drug, were it possible to make it, from coming to market, would be if every pharmaceutical company were to agree not to develop it, but the one that did develop it would stand to make a fortune while it was under patent; so there would be an insurmountable collective action problem preventing such collusion.

Finally, the simplest explanation for why there is no oral contraceptive for men, especially no non-hormonal one, is that it is impossible. How would one even begin to design such a thing? The birth control pill for women works because women naturally become unable to conceive when they are already pregnant, so it is relatively simple to render them infertile by giving them hormones that simulate the hormonal effects of pregnancy. The body "thinks" it is already pregnant and so becomes infertile. The male reproductive system does not work that way. And there is no non-hormonal oral contraceptive even for women, much less for men. The whole thing is impossible.
11:12:27 PM Nov 20th 2014
Actually, the issue with oral contraceptives for men is more that there is no straightforward principle of function. Contraceptives for women are patterned after hormones. No such mechanism works for men.
01:58:01 AM Nov 28th 2013
Removed because it's not an example.

Unless you're already rich enough to hire someone to manage your money full-time (or have a sentient AI willing to do it for free), you cannot count on your investment holding its value against inflation, much less beating it to incredible degrees. A millionaire could invest their money, go on a trip, and come back much richer (up to the point where their investments get large enough to be a significant influence on the economy), but the average naval ranking can't.

  • Despite being an otherwise amazing author who does the research, Orson Scott Card spit in the face of this trope in his second Ender book Speaker for the Dead. Here's the problem: the Space Navy regularly "patrols" planets, and there is a very large shipping industry, but relativity is a core mechanic to the series so a round trip to one planet and back is roughly 150 years of time gone- enough that depositing any money in the bank will gain you huge amounts in return. There is no way anyone could run a shipping company, because even if you were flat broke, you could collect your wages from one trip, bank it, and go on a second trip, and bam! mega-milloinaire. The Navy could never afford to pay anyone, especially because if you deploy once you are guaranteed never to see any of your family ever again. Since anyone can do this if they are comfortable giving up their old life, there is nothing stopping anyone from taking run away interest with them on a new planet. Low on money? Trip to a new planet! Yet surprisingly, no one ever does this, despite it being canon that interest accumulates on money in real time. Even if most of Ender's money came from Jane manipulating the markets, any sensible conservative investment group could take a spacefarer's money and promise them a thousand fold return after a minimum of seventy years .
    • On the other hand, assuming risk-free guaranteed returns in excess of inflation is an even bigger economics failure. Without Jane to manage your investments, there's a good chance of losing everything (consider someone in 1900 who invested in the Russian stocks instead of American ones)
01:01:41 PM Sep 19th 2013
Does the Doctor Who example for Voyage of the Damned belong here? I mean, yes, a 160 USD debt is considered crippling by a couple of people who are established to be impoverished, but... that doesn't say anything about the standard of living of their state, or their actual or disposable income. It's entirely possible that for a couple at the bottom bracket of an interstellar race that they live 'very' cheaply, are paid 'very' little and as such that debt would be legitimately crippling. (160 USD will buy you a hell of a lot more living in the Philippines than it does in New York, for instance)

It looks weird at first glance but I don't see it as bonkers, just odd.
07:51:40 AM Feb 23rd 2013
I have been doing some research on video game economies for a discussion in another forum. I came across a type of inflation called MU Dflation. Where the general economic structure of a game usually MMO's is easily affected poorly controled currency inflation.
04:21:23 PM Jul 20th 2011
Why do we have a General folder? Most of the examples in it seem to fall under mediums that already have folders on the page, and if they don't have a medium folder, we could just make one. Right now, it's just a disorganized mess.
04:31:05 PM Mar 24th 2011
edited by RTanker
Cut this comment from the Other People's Money example:
** Except that it had already been established earlier in the movie that the wire and cable division had been losing money and the other divisions of the company had been keeping the wire and cable division afloat, meaning that Larry the Liquidator's argument was sound and relevent. Larry uses the example of the buggy whip's eventual demise to make his point.
Because the fact that the movie as a whole fails economics doesn't mean that the example is invalid. If the wire and cable division is losing money, it cannot also be gaining market share, unless it is gaining that share by selling its products at a loss. In which case, it will start making money hand over fist once it has driven its last competitors from the stabilized market, and the current losses are just an investment in future profits. The buggy whip analogy doesn't hold at all, because there never was a publicly traded buggy-whip manufacturer; there were skilled leather-workers who made buggy whips along with a variety of other leather goods. There still are skilled leather workers who make a variety of leather goods, and they make decent livings; the market for leather goods still exists, and is going strong.

Also cut this:
** Also, it's not necessary for a market sector to shrink away to nothing. There can still be a sizable market that is still too small to sustain the needs of an individual business.
Because while that's technically true, you're really just saying the same thing in a different way: the market has to be so small that it cannot sustain a business of the size in question, but since the wire-and-cable division in the movie appears to consist of one large factory in New England, the market really would have to shrink to almost nothing.
12:56:50 PM Mar 11th 2011
Moving this over here to be sorted out. It's not clear, from the original entry and the follow-ups whether this is an example or not. If it is, it needs to be pruned down to a simple statement of what they are getting wrong and replaced on the main page. If it isn't, it needs to stay off the main page completely.

  • The Second Renaissance cartoon of the Animatrix is an interesting case. It appears to show the Machines achieving an amazing level of efficiency in terms of industrial production, leading to a flooding of Machine imports in Human countries and the fall of humankind's economies, in a manner akin to the Export Good/Import Bad fallacy. The truth is much more complicated, as such a scenario would lead to some human companies/sectors (such as mineral exporters, logistic companies) improving, others (manufacturing companies) as losing, with a large redistribution of wealth in all economies. However, given that industrial output represents only 1/3 of the world economy, it's debatable whether this would lead to the devastating collapse in the manner shown.
    • Moreover, part of the buildup to the war included a massive blockade of the Machine Nation, presumably to keep all these high-quality, inexpensive goods out of human countries. It makes no sense why human countries would impose a blockade instead of traditional actions like heavy tariffs or just refusing to buy their products.
    • The foundations of most houses represent a lot less than 1/3 of their volume or mass, but taking them out will cause the whole structure to fall. Not that industrial production is the foundation of economy (that would be agriculture), but it is the 1st floor that holds the "service economy" up. Basically, agriculture makes up the majority of economic growth until most people have more food than they can eat, then the focus switches to industrial production, then to services, then to things like this Wiki. But that's only possible because you don't have to worry where your next meal comes from, or your next pair of shoes. That's why "service economy" is and will remain basically meaningless economically until nanomanofacturing or 3D printing or whatever will free us from dependence to factories and farms for any physical goods. After all, people need food more than they need new shoes, and they need shoes more than they need hairdressers.
10:49:45 AM Jan 10th 2013
At it's most basic level, it doesn't seem like the end result would be much different from what happens to a developing/developed economy that loses manufacturing jobs to a less developed region where education is rare and labor is cheap.

That being said, there are so many questions about what exactly an AI-based economy looks like and desires (personally, I think it might be the only workable form of communism) that I suspect this entire argument is merely an exercise in speculation.
09:58:25 PM Nov 11th 2010
Justifying edit and discussion on the main page:

  • Since the Separatist movement was being directed by the Sith for the Sith economics reality probably had no impact.
    • The best possible answer would be that the Guild had expected a quick victory after which they would make massive profits. A better question is why the Guild didn't move to switch sides once it became obvious that the war was taking far longer than they had anticipated.
10:52:33 AM Jan 10th 2013
There's two possible answers, and I apologize if this is already brought up somewhere, I'm not a SW EU expert.

The first is war-profiteering. There's a lot of money to be had in weapons manufacturing, and there are plenty of historical examples of civilian industries being repurposed for military use.

The second is much simpler- blackmail. This does involve the Sith, after all.
02:41:05 PM Nov 3rd 2010
Moved here because "if...then...", and "yes, but...", and "well, actually..." discussions go on the discussion page, not the main page.

  • Also, like the Ultima VII example below, there are spells that can easily break the economy (at least on 3rd Edition). Wall of Iron, for instance, costs one pound of gold (or steel, in Dragonlance) to cast and creates a block of iron measuring at least 45 cubic feet. Add some charcoal, and Fabricate can transform at least nine cubic feet of the wall (more likely eleven or more if the same person is using both spells) into an equivalent mass of steel crafts (or coins in Dragonlance).
    • The flaw in this thinking is assuming that people will accept those coins that you made using the steel you melted down. In the real world, most paper currency costs less to make than it is worth (especially at the higher value bills), but they have value because they are backed by the government. Paper money made without backing from the government is called "counterfeit," which is a problem that governments have to deal with quite often, and basically amounts to the above example of melting down a 10 coin sword to make 15 coins with the additional step of carving a pattern in the coin to make it look legitimate. Imagine if someone came your shop and said they would pay in quarters, and pulled out a stack of round, quarter-sized disks of the same metal that quarters are made out of, but with no design on them, and you understand why this step is needed.

  • Could be Fridge Brilliance, considering Wario's Screw You Guys, I Have Money attitude. No matter how much inflation he causes, he'd still have INFINITE coins to spend. Everyone else would be screwed, but the owner of the Stack wouldn't have to care... even if everyone switched to a different form of currency, Wario could just bury the owner of anything he wants under his infinite coins, until the seller either surrenders the item or dies a cold hard death...
05:39:37 PM Dec 15th 2010
Regarding Wario Shake, both the original point AND the "natter" are important. When infinity is invoked, non-intuitive things happen, in both mathematics and economics. It's important to note both what is expected to happen, and what other possibility could actually happen.
05:09:00 PM Sep 26th 2010
edited by Madrugada
Moved over here to be sorted out:

  • A Mind Forever Voyaging, while having a complex and very interesting premise, ends up being a game-length Take That! to Reaganite policies. Double failure, in that none of the economical policies promoted by the in-game strawman party have anything to do with Reagan and/or conservative economics, and that those policies turn the world in a Straw Dystopia for no other reason than "because".
    • Except that the economic policies actually *do* have a lot to do with Reaganite policies — if you catch the key fact that both Reagan and the strawman party were consistently *lying* about their economic policies, i.e. not implementing what they advertised. And there's some pretty clear indications that the general governmental lying is part of what creates the exaggerated Straw Dystopia. So this one doesn't belong here at all, as it's only tangentially about economics. The idea that a computer could actually predict the future at this level of accuracy, however, is some other sort of You Fail Science Forever.
12:00:30 PM Aug 14th 2010
Any sane, independent economical analysis of the Imperium of Man should suggest that it's not only nowhere close to ruin, as Games Workshop official fluff tries to beat into fans' heads, but is positively bustling. On the economic side Imperium in M42 is as prosperous as it never was since the Dark Age of Technology it's just that the distribution of this prosperity is extremely unequal, and Administratum's impotency prevents its translation into administrative and military improvements. Essentially, due to Imperium's government inefficiency all this enormous added value is simply wasted.

i'm sorry but i'm not seeing where the economics fail is here.
05:08:14 PM Sep 26th 2010
edited by Madrugada
sorry , meant to start a new thread.
07:46:32 AM Jul 15th 2010
Moving these two chunks of discussion over here. They don't belong on the main page.

(from the 'Scrooge wants to spend money, but winds up richer because everything Donald and the boys buy came from a company Scrooge owned' example):

  • Actually that makes sense. If someone makes a car with 10.000$ and sell it with 15.000$ they make a profit. It'd go out of business if the buyer would buy the car at a smaller price than the one it was made.
  • Wait, how does that work? If Donald buys that car for $15,000, then Scrooge pays the $10,000 to make it and the $15,000 that Donald spent, and only gains $15,000... So how does that make sense?
11:02:43 AM Jul 1st 2010
Sorry (economics is not my strong point) but shouldn't we add Spiceand Wolf to the aversion list? I mean "I Watch It For The Economics" is almost a meme.
02:54:27 PM Jun 8th 2010
Why the big change in the page:

See this discussion.

Long story short: the entire description was made to service arguments between economics majors belonging to different schools of thought and had nothing to do with what fictional examples' got wrong.
12:39:32 AM Jun 9th 2010
edited by Madrugada
And just in case you can't be bothered to read the thread, it boiled down to this: The page was an unreadable mass of natter and economic jargon that didn't address the actual purpose of it — economics in fiction that simply wouldn't work. The choice came down to ruthlessly prune all the natter or cut the page entirely.

Crap it up again and it will go away entirely.

Keep your arguments and discussions about the whys and the wherefores and the "but under these circumstances..." on the discussion page and off the main page and it'll all good.
05:50:46 PM Apr 23rd 2010
edited by
The 'Socialist' bit is a fallacy in itself. Should be put under 'you fail politics forever', as whats described there is State Capitalism, or Stalinism, which is quite different, even if they do claim to be socialist. You going to call Zimbabwe democratic? Socialism is more about replacing price as the supply and demand mechanism with votes, so that it isn't how rich you are that matters, its on an equal basis. Also, in terms of 'most economists define', how does that make sense? Thats like letting Al Quaeda define Christianity, or letting Conservapedia define Liberalism for you.
03:16:54 AM Apr 24th 2010
edited by StudiodeKadent
First, "State Capitalism" is a contradiction in terms. "Capitalism" is defined here as a free market economy (see the definition on the page itself) and this kind of situation cannot coexist with Statism by definition.

You seem to be definiting systems in terms of intentions, i.e. "something is capitalist if its intention is to enrich an elite." But this is the Artistic License - Economics page and economists care about methods by which things are allocated, not intentions.

As for "most economists define," this makes sense because this is a page about economics, and (surprise) economics is studied by economists! Just because most economists are more pro-market than you are, that doesn't mean they are biased.

Also, if you define "Socialism" as "about replacing price with votes" then maybe you should remember that purchasing a product is in effect voting for it. Although yes, Socialism classically is concerned with capital goods rather than consumer goods, but "planning economic activity via direct democracy" inevitably collapses into either 1) shocking inefficiency and/or 2) statism. Here's why; economic conditions change. Rapidly. People's needs and desires fluctuate on multiple dimensions; their ends are not fixed. So, as such, you can't have an entire population vote on what to produce and in what quantities every time these conditions change.

Therefore you'd need to elect a planning board to do the planning. So already direct democracy has been replaced with representative democracy.

Of course, as the scale of an economy grows, things get more and more complex, meaning that you need both 1) more decision makers, and 2) more power for each decision maker (i.e. less accountability to the electorate). This increases bureaucratization.

Thus, for a large-scale modern economy, economic planning via direct democracy is simply going to be at the very least shockingly inefficient, and more likely is going to collapse into totalitarianism.

Direct democracy in deciding how to economically allocate various means towards ends can work on a very small scale, i.e. a bunch of friends managing their own resources. However, this is a voluntary arrangement and not a statement about how to organize an entire society. If you want more on this, read Hayek's The Road To Serfdom; even John Maynard Keynes (a centrist) agreed with the majority of the book.

The simple fact of the matter is that after the truth came out; that centrally planned economies were not merely innefficient but inevitably totalitarian, the "Socialist" movement whitewashed their intellectual history and began to pretend that they never advocated State ownership of the means of production and instead claimed all they wanted was "economic equality" (and never defined these terms specifically). In doing so, they deliberately abdicated the duty of specifying an actual method by which to make economic decisions and allocate our limited means amongst various ends. They started defining "Socialism" and "Capitalism" in terms of intentions and feelings rather than actual economic systems.

I'll give you an example. In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, the neo-socialists accused the bank bailout of being "Capitalist" because it was "driven by greed." i.e. if its driven by "greed" it is Capitalist. Here's another example; some of the extreme left called the recent healthcare laws "Capitalist" because they forced people to buy healthcare from health insurance companies (in this, they are correct that the healthcare reforms are a boon to health insurance companies, but that doesn't make it Capitalism. Capitalism (in the sense of the definition used on this page) is not about "the state giving benefits to preferred business entities").

And also, please look at the actual definition of Socialism provided. It is clearly stated that many socialists do not believe the State should be the central allocator of resources! Indeed, it is clearly stated that the State need NOT be the central allocator of resources! It simply said you need a decision-making body with de-facto property rights over all the means of production within its jurisdiction. Nothing in this definition states that said decision-making body cannot be democratically elected or that its plans would not have to be ratified by a referendum.

However, most economists, as well as economic history, argue that this kind of situation necessitates Totalitarian Socialism. How often has Socialism been ran, on a large scale, by any other method of allocation? In the real world the vast majority of Socialism has been conducted under a Statist model. The definition on the page clearly states that "this is technically only one variant of Socialism," and this is true, but until a Socialist can make a specific and concrete description of how an economy can be run in a way that simultaneously manages to involve the means of production being allocated by a body that implements the will of all members of the citizenry equally and accurately and avoiding this body being the State, there is simply no alternative economic system with the label "Socialism."

This is the Artistic License - Economics page. Don't be surprised that this pages uses economic definitions of the terms.
02:51:21 PM Jun 8th 2010
edited by SomeSortOfTroper
This is a "fake economic systems in fiction" page. Don't be surprised that nothing in that long post of yours has any relevance to our purpose.
06:40:21 PM Apr 3rd 2010
edited by
Morgan Wick: The OP references a nonexistent entry, as the first reply notes, and doesn't defend his point. Condensed with Conversation in the Main Page eliminated:
  • As mentioned in "literature" above, the steel based currency in D&D Dragonlance doesn't make sense.
    • It could, though (which is why that entry's not there anymore): not only is good steel actually sufficiently scarce for use as currency, it's more in demand in their Crapsack World than gold. Weis and Hickman were probably going for a medieval version of a post-apocalyptic world where ammunition is a form of currency.
    • That's how it works in Dark Sun, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Steel is very rare and difficult to make, thus making it very valuable, and only very powerful people have steel weapons and armour. In Dragonlance, however, you just end up with situations where a steel sword, if melted and forged into coins, would be worth more than it's original cost (ie. say the sword cost 10 coins. By melting it down you could get enough steel to forge 15 coins).
05:44:49 PM Mar 9th 2010
Has anyone else read through this article and noticed there is a suspicious lack of examples corresponding to many of the proposed fallacies? And that not all of them are economic fallacies. This about economic fallacies committed by works of fiction, not by real people.

05:14:08 PM Apr 6th 2010
Oh yes, the whole article is a mess right now... It needs an extensive clean up, removing the unused fallacies (some economist student just kept adding them up, I guess) and the Real Life section (which isn't a good idea for this sort of trope).

But I don't have the time or stamina to mess around with this one right now...
04:03:00 AM Mar 5th 2010
edited by StudiodeKadent
I wish to propose a condensation:

Fallacies 1, 2 and 3 are all variants of the Broken Window Fallacy. I think they should all be combined, with a disclaimer that certain schools of economics differ on whether or not this applies in the case of an unhealthy economy. For healthy economies, however, fallacies 1, 2, and 3 are all essentially the same.

Tropes 6 and 7 are both violations of Economic Subjectivism; they should be grouped and combined under something like "fallacy of intrinsic value" or something like that.

Anyone agree or disagree with this?
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