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Hearth's Warming Helper

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Found 7 results

  1. I've no intention of turning this into a debate. The sole intention of this thread is to let you know about a very interesting development. Some may take interest, others won't. If anything at all, I would encourage people to further explore the issue. What your opinion ultimately becomes is really none of my concern. With that out of the way, let's get right down to it. I'll take some snippets from The Telegraph to give a basic idea of what's going on here. This entire conversation ultimately has to do with how banks create money. This process is called Fractional Reserve Banking. If you're unfamiliar with that, well, it's an incredibly tough topic to chew on in one sitting so I'm afraid you'll have to do some digging into that yourself if it interests you to that extent. So, do you believe this to be a good move on the part of the Swiss? This is something other countries are in the consideration phase with so Switzerland isn't alone in this. Should your country give this idea consideration as well? Will this help or harm a nation's economy and/or the standard of living? Just what what is this Vollgeld Initiative all about in the first place? Don't answer these questions for me, answer them for yourself. Good day.
  2. Source: Metro and Fallout: Illustrations of a Post-Apocalyptic Economy
  3. Humanity will always find a way to build a market. The market is the cornerstone of all civilization, and it has been for a length of time far predating known history. For as long as there have been civilized people, those people have had surplus items to trade, and they expected something in return. But, how will humanity fare in a world where today's economy simply vanishes in the blink of an eye? Surprisingly well, if gaming is to be believed. Metro and Fallout are two fantastic post-apocalyptic franchises, and they both include surprisingly realistic systems of currency (aside from Fallout 3). Dare I say, you could even look at them side by side, and see a complete economic history in microcosm. But, only if we skip a step. This first step, of course, is that of barter. Barter is the direct exchange of goods with no medium of exchange. Ergo, it would be akin to trading a Chinese Assault Rifle for a Brahmin without involving caps. Barter is a very primitive form of economy, and is flawed in that it relies on the farmer with the Brahmin wanting a Chinese Assault Rifle. If he wanted anything else, like say, a crate of purified water, then you and your rifle would be out of luck. It doesn't matter if the Brahmin, the rifle, and the crate of water were all worth the same thing, the farmer will still only trade for what can benefit him. This step is not featured in the above games, mostly because it isn't very fun to play with, however, it is greatly implied to have existed. This is especially true when you consider Metro's exceptional job at illustrating step 2. The Commodity is an item that is very widely traded due primarily to its own inherent value as a product, and naturally becomes a currency of its own through frequent bartering. In Metro, this would be the Pre-War 5.45x39mm Military Grade Round, or MGR for short. The MGR was introduced into the economy from day 1, when soldiers took shelter inside of the metro tunnels alongside everybody else, bringing their weaponry with them. As time went on, people saw need to defend themselves from the horrors of post-apocalyptic Moscow, and that meant not only acquiring a gun, but finding something to feed it. That was the MGR. The splendid stopping power of the bullet proved incredibly effective against mutants and bandits alike, and so, demand rose. Scavengers could scour the surface and find a great many of these rounds, but they could never find the technology to create them. So, when they would return to the tunnels, they would trade the rounds for food, water, shelter, and various... creature comforts... because they knew that any settlement would accept them. Everybody needs to defend themselves. And because everybody grew to accept the MGR in a trade, it became far more useful as a medium of exchange than they were even as ammunition. So much so that bootleg ammunition became a thriving industry because people didn't want to waste their life savings on mutants. Wastelanders (the player included) ceased to put MGRs in their guns because they knew that they were far more valuable than the cheapo ammo. They were preserved because, even though they had far more stopping power than the bootleg bullets, they had a role far more valuable to the rebuilding of humanity. They were the first currency in our rebuilding world. Step three takes us more than a hundred years into the future, into the Californian wastes of Fallout 1, where the humble bottle cap has become America's currency of choice. How? Because Fallout takes place loooooong after commodities are an effective medium of exchange. The use of caps as money originated from a city called The Hub. The Hub was a settlement built around a desert oasis that came to the logical conclusion that Wastelanders are going to get really damn thirsty. And so, they started selling water, lots of it, until they came to the inevitable problem that large amounts of water were difficult to transport, especially if one were to use it as money. To get around this, they introduced bottle caps as a Representative Currency. Representative Currency is not a useful commodity in itself, rather, it is an IOU for a set amount of a useful commodity, and can be freely exchanged whenever the owner desires. Everyone in the core region would need to stop by the hub to trade for food, weapons, armor, and of course, water, but they couldn't just lug 20 gallons of the stuff from vendor to vendor as they browsed their wares. Thus, the bottle cap was born. The bottle cap was introduced as having a set value representative of a certain amount of water. So, traders could trade 40 bottle caps for X amount of water one day, come back in two years, and find that X amount of water is still worth 40 bottle caps. Therefore, trading for caps was practically the same as trading for water, except it was far more durable and far easier to transport. If you spill a bag of caps on the ground, you can pick them up. If you spill a bag of water on the ground, it's gone. Caps provided numerous advantages to simply trading with water, and as such, eventually grew such acceptance that people no longer cared that they were exchangeable for water. The NCR, when they took root in the region, saw fit to introduce a more traditional form of representative currency in the form of NCR Dollars, a government-sponsored currency backed in this case by the NCR's gold reserves. This, tragically, takes us to our fourth and final stage in a currency's evolution. NCR money was initially very widely accepted, even replacing bottle caps in most instances. This was, however, short lived. Less than 40 years into the NCR Dollar's golden age, a war with the Brotherhood of Steel ended up destroying the NCR's gold reserves. The notes, while not immediately worthless due to their existing market value, became critically devalued. The $1 coins featured in Fallout 2 were phased out in favor of $5, $20, and $100 paper bills backed by absolutely nothing but positive thinking. When currency is backed only by market value alone, with no inherent value as an item, this fragile type of money is known as Fiat Currency. The now fiat NCR money dropped in value rapidly, to the point that it took $2.50 to equal just one cap by 2281. To put this into perspective, a bottle of Nuka Cola had a market value of $3 NCR in 2241 (Fallout 2). 40 years later (in Fallout: New Vegas), a Nuka Cola is valued at 20 caps before markup, or a whopping $50 for a single bottle of soda. NCR money, lacking a standard, became utterly worthless, thus ending our journey from brahmin, to bullets, to bottle caps, to big bucks. You may have found yourself learning something as you read through this topic, or maybe you just enjoyed reading about video games. Either way, I have had way too much fun writing this topic, and am interested to know what you all think. Are Metro and Fallout effective illustrations of a growing post-nuclear economy? What do you think we'll be using for money after Armageddon? Is there a game I missed that effectively portrays a realistic barter economy? Let me know.
  4. I thought it might be interesting to discuss classism in Equestria. I think we'll leave out the whole alicorn issue since there are so few of them, and focus on the earth, pegasus, and unicorn divisions. Unicorns are the only ponies really suited to fine manipulation of their physical environments. They all seem able to use telekinesis handily, and anything beyond that is probably tied to their cutie mark. Who needs hands and fingers when you can just levitate things around? Because of their equivalent to fine motor skills, you'd expect to find unicorns working as fine artisans, in clock repair shops, tailor shops obviously...anywhere fine manipulation is required. Pegasus ponies have no fine motor advantage over Earth ponies, but with their wings, they're able to do all kinds of tasks neither other group are well-suited for. Whether it's courier duty, repair work several stories up, weather control, or dragon combat, you'd have to be pretty hard-up to consider anyone but a pegasus for the job. Finally we come to Earth ponies. As far as we know they have no special aptitudes at all, and before you say strength, remember that Pinkie is an Earth pony and never exhibited special strength that I can recall. Strength came to Applejack and Big Mac through their daily work, as it would come to anyone who does that sort of labor every day. Any time an Earth pony wishes to use a tool, they either have to use their mouth to grip it, or potentially bind it to a hoof (I've never seen this done, but I don't see why it couldn't.) There's never any suggestion that Earth ponies aren't useful, because (The Hearth's Warming Eve episode certainly suggests) the other two types certainly don't want to plow up dirty old fields and plant vegetables. Because the Earth ponies grow food for the rest of the pony population, perhaps that's reason enough to believe there will never be an unemployment problem for them, despite their relative shortcomings. Would you be happy in this system, as an Earth pony? What if your cutie mark had nothing to do with farming? Or you had yet to earn one, but disliked working in the fields? What if Applebloom hated apples? Does she have many alternatives? Sure, the Cakes have a bakery, but what would happen if a unicorn baker opened up shop in town? They would be able to turn out treats in a fraction of the time and make more delicate confections, perhaps even magical desserts. There'd be no competing with them. Flim and Flam almost put the Apple family out of business in a couple of days. If they'd had a bit more sense... (Yes, I realize I'm overthinking the show, But since a number of us do roleplay in the universe the show spawned, I don't think it's a bad idea to spitball some ideas back and forth, and reinforce the framework.)
  5. I found this rather interesting article about abandoned malls in the US. When I scrolled through the pictures, I was shocked that they reminded me of The Last of Us so strongly, I bet they used some of these photos to design certain parts of the game. (inside malls) Back to the topic at hand... Malls are declining... and not just small, no-town malls. Large malls with over hundreds of stores... I don't know if this will continue on in our current time of financial events, but I certainly hope not. It fascinates me though. The feel you get when looking at these pictures is so... surreal yet disturbing. It kinda makes me want to go abandon-mall hunting. XD As if these places are historical landmarks... which I kinda guess they are since they once did serve a purpose on our planet. Another thing that I found interesting was this specific quote, "That all changed in the 1990s. Cloverleaf’s best customers, women, began staying away from the mall, fearful of the youth who were beginning to congregate there. People started seeing kids with huge baggy pants and chains hanging off their belts, and people were intimidated, and they would say there were gangs.” ^ That right there personally relates to me. (not the mall though) Back in the day, we were all known as skaters.. goths.. punks. We wore trip pants with chains, mostly all black. We did look intimidating but as far as my group of friends go, we were completely harmless. We actually supported the mall by spending tons of money at the arcades due to that place being our hang out spot. We also ate in the food court like NO tomorrow. We were just as much as a customer as the next guy. That seems pretty spiteful.. But just out of curiosity, anyone else on here use to be a part of that group? Here's some of the pictures:
  6. I honestly cannot seem to make up my mind as to what I want to do with my life. I am uncertain as to what degree, major, or career to go for. I'm doing this project in Economics which requires me to list three potential careers I am considering for my future and I have to find what college major would be most appropriate for each. I can't even particularize three careers I want to go for. I have numerous thoughts and ideas for multiple majors I can go into and many career paths I could take but I cannot specify three in particular that I would want to pursue. First off, here is every major I have ever considered thus far: Economics Finance Accountancy Business Administration Entrepreneurship Business Management Communication History English/Literature Graphic Design Web Design Software Engineering Geology Meteorology Physics Astronomy Culinary Arts Liberal Arts Engineering Botany Biology Medical Science Psychology Sociology Environmental Science That just about sums it up. The ones that are crossed out are, at this point, hopeless endeavors. Gave up pursuing those years and years ago. The ones that are italicized are ones that have been more profound interests of mine for many years now. Though I'm afraid I may not have the mental capacity to endeavor in those fields due to the immense amount of science and highly advanced mathematics that they may entail (e.g. Trigonometry, Calculus, Linear Algebra, Integrals, etc). Mathematics is indubitably my greatest weakness here. A lack of confidence is also another weakness of mine which may hinder me from pursuing anything in Business and Communication. I do not think I have the leadership-like mentality to handle much in the business field, as much as it intrigues me. Economics, Finance, and Accountancy may also be quite rigorous due the immensity of number crunching and the fact that I am not even sure if I want to actually pursue the careers of such fields. It is practical and it will grant me much pay which is good but will I enjoy it? I don't know. Overall, I feel as though I am struggling to balance out these two factors: Practicality vs. Recreation Many of the aforementioned majors and fields of study I have listed are quite practical. Almost half of what I listed just so happens to be statistically among the highest paying majors in America. Whether it be Economics, Finance, or the field of Medical Science - these are all good paying jobs which would endow me with more than enough yearly income to buy a house and support a family. Sounds great! Sounds ideal. But do I have what it takes? I don't know. I have never been good at mathematics. It was only until last year that I barely began grasping the concept of Geometry and a little bit of Algebra. I've been doing well in my Algebra II class this year insofar that I may be able to pass by the time the school year ends. I am currently going through my last and final year at high school as a senior. With only around four more months remaining. Then that's it. I am done with high school forever. After this ensuing summer will be the start of my first year at a two-year community college. It's all general education and after that, I will have the ability to go to a university of my choice and finish off my remaining two-three years and get a bachelors degree. In what though? I have no idea. After going through much thought, contemplation, and self-evaluation, I realize what my true passions are - I am immensely fascinated with human behavior - whether it be by an individual or group and the underlying reasons for that. I admire reading about history and studying the various cultures and past civilizations. I am also greatly enthralled by the beauty of nature; the mountains, the trees, the plants, the atmosphere and both its tranquil and tempestuous nature. I know. I seem to have the potential to partake in the studies of Psychology, Sociology, History (some particular area), Environmental Science, etc. Yes, both the various sciences and the humanities fascinate me to an extent but the very thought of having to process numbers and complex equations gives me great trepidation. I'm okay with a certain degree of math but I am not sure if I have the potential to master it enough to where I can familiarize myself with its essence and use it as a valuable asset in assisting me to reach my dreamy endeavors. All I know is that I want to experience nature at her fullest potential! I want to live among the mountainous heavens. I want to live in peace and I want my future family to live with me in the realm of nature and experience her beauty altogether. I want to be knowledgeable in the sciences of nature and humanity and know all the various humanities - art, history, philosophy, etc. But how will such endeavors support me? How will I get a job with such passions? I don't want to be stuck in an office counting numbers for the rest of my life but that may be my most reliable option; the most practical approach to life I can take. I just feel so lost right now.. I just want to make my life an adventure; an adventure I can someday look back and remember and proudly reflect on...
  7. I've been studying and doing a bit of research in financial planning lately. I've recently came across a lot of articles that claim that although going without using a credit card is more difficult and requires some planning and establishing good savings, it is a much better option than having to rely on credit card to cover your expenses. I am still no expert on the fundamental economics and finances that comes into play here, but that's why I decided to post this topic. To gather some of your thoughts. A good majority of the community here is composed of adults ranging from their early twenties to thirties, with a whole lot of experience in the economic world where balancing budget, personal finances, and savings is a real necessity. So I'd just like to know your guy's thoughts on using only cash as opposed to using credit cards or both. Like how does one balance that out? How do you handle your credit and finance?