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Refactoring (was: Refactor preview)

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[violet]
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Refactoring (was: Refactor preview)

Postby [violet] » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:03 pm

Update! January 19, 2015. Refactoring is now live. Thank you for your feedback! Please use this thread for bugs and general feedback (but do see "Known Issues" below).


There's a change coming to the NationStates economic model! This aims to correct a few insanities that can occur in some nation types.

Please preview the change here!

Some nations may not notice much difference. Others may change a lot, especially if they have strongly opposed some types of government spending and/or industries.

Generally we've found refactoring to produce a much more accurate assessment of nations. There may be weird corner cases, though, so please help identify those by posting below!

Known Issues:
  1. Some nations may see new government departments spring into existence even though you have ordered them to be eliminated (especially Spirituality!). This is a transitional problem, in that there is a long-running problem with the pre-refactoring method of zeroing departments or industries in some nation types, and the refactoring exposes that problem. It also fixes it going forward, so this will go away as you answer issues.
  2. Some nations may consider themselves to be strictly socialist, but see a number less than 100% for "Public Sector Size" and "Publicly owned industry." This isn't a bug but means the nation hasn't actually outlawed private enterprise.
Last edited by [violet] on Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Refactoring goes live

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Unibot III
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Postby Unibot III » Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:56 pm

I think it produced a fairly diversified result on my own nation; I like it.
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Zemnaya Svoboda
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Postby Zemnaya Svoboda » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:14 pm

Why is it eliminating this nation's Welfare :blink:

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Eluvatar
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Postby Eluvatar » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:17 pm

Why is it eliminating this nation's Income Tax :blink:
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[violet]
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Postby [violet] » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:20 pm

Zemnaya Svoboda wrote:Why is it eliminating this nation's Welfare :blink:

It's not a huge difference, but the answer is that while you favor Welfare spending, you do so only slightly, which is not quite enough to counteract your opposition to government spending in general.

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[violet]
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Postby [violet] » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:24 pm

Eluvatar wrote:Why is it eliminating this nation's Income Tax :blink:

Wow, that's quite a change. It's saying income tax is unnecessary to support what is a very small government relative to the size of the overall economy--your Industry Size is almost an order of magnitude larger than your Government Size.

Edit: I just spotted something I want to fix there. Your refactored income tax is now 3%, not 0%.
Last edited by [violet] on Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nephmir
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Postby Nephmir » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:27 pm

This won't effect our trends in anyway, will it? Just the information provided and potentially the nation category?
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Northwest Slobovia
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Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:28 pm

Strange. Northwest Slobovia's income tax disappears, but the government gets rather large.

Edit: is the refactoring going to affect which Rift banners we have available?
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[violet]
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Postby [violet] » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:45 pm

Nephmir wrote:This won't effect our trends in anyway, will it? Just the information provided and potentially the nation category?

It will (only) affect:
  • Some descriptive parts of your nation page; e.g. describing how large your government is
  • Income tax
  • Chart: "Government Expenditure"
  • Chart: "Economy"
  • World Census: "Largest Public Sector"
  • World Census: "Government Size"

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Eluvatar
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Postby Eluvatar » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:47 pm

[violet] wrote:
Eluvatar wrote:Why is it eliminating this nation's Income Tax :blink:

Wow, that's quite a change. It's saying income tax is unnecessary to support what is a very small government relative to the size of the overall economy--your Industry Size is almost an order of magnitude larger than your Government Size.

Would that not mean that the government can fund itself off a tenth of the economy? :shock:

I'm also puzzled by how the refactor is increasing the extent to which our neighbor Myroria's Industry is larger. But that's less confusing than the questions I've already posed.
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[violet]
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Postby [violet] » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:57 pm

Northwest Slobovia wrote:Strange. Northwest Slobovia's income tax disappears, but the government gets rather large.

Rather large for a new nation of 5 million people, perhaps, but almost non-existent given your population and industry size. This looks like a clear fix to me, as there's no reason your citizens should be paying 14% income tax. That would raise a massive amount of revenue, far more than your government is spending.

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Northwest Slobovia
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:59 pm

[violet] wrote:
Northwest Slobovia wrote:Strange. Northwest Slobovia's income tax disappears, but the government gets rather large.

Rather large for a new nation of 5 million people, perhaps, but almost non-existent given your population and industry size.

Aha! I never understood how those scales worked. Thanks.

I was just thinking of the change in relative size from -8 to 131, which suprised me. My other nations' changes aren't as large.
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[violet]
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Postby [violet] » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:16 pm

Eluvatar wrote:Would that not mean that the government can fund itself off a tenth of the economy? :shock:

I'm also puzzled by how the refactor is increasing the extent to which our neighbor Myroria's Industry is larger. But that's less confusing than the questions I've already posed.

I don't understand your first question, but to explain Myroria, there are three things. Firstly, the biggest changes are in nations that have made a lot of decisions favoring some industries and/or government departments while disfavoring others. Under the current model, in some places those decisions cancel each other out in nonsenical ways, allowing a nation that's extremely anti-Defense and pro-Welfare, for example, to "pay" for its Welfare department by continually cutting a non-existent Defense Dept.

Myroria is extremely anti-Fishing and anti-Basket Weaving. So under refactoring, Myroria benefits from removing a sub-optimal canceling out effect.

The second thing is that refactoring slightly expands the NS concept of industry, shifting away from the idea that the "named industries" like Fishing, Auto Manufacturing, Insurance Sales, etc, comprise the entire economy. It's not a big change, but it means you get more results out of issues that have a broad industry effect, rather than targeting one or more named industries. Myroria has acted about 4X more positively there than Eluvatar.

Thirdly, there really isn't that much difference in the refactoring effect on Industry Size between those two nations. Eluvatar goes up 69% and Myroria goes up 75%. It's significant but not earth-shattering.

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Eluvatar
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Postby Eluvatar » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:25 pm

[violet] wrote:
Eluvatar wrote:Would that not mean that the government can fund itself off a tenth of the economy? :shock:

I don't understand your first question

[violet] wrote:Wow, that's quite a change. It's saying income tax is unnecessary to support what is a very small government relative to the size of the overall economy--your Industry Size is almost an order of magnitude larger than your Government Size.

I suppose I'm misunderstanding what "Industry" means. I understood it to mean something like gross manufacturing capacity or gross domestic product, and so to pay for a government ten times smaller, one would need to take a slice of one tenth in taxes, roughly.
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Postby [violet] » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:36 pm

Eluvatar wrote:I suppose I'm misunderstanding what "Industry" means. I understood it to mean something like gross manufacturing capacity or gross domestic product, and so to pay for a government ten times smaller, one would need to take a slice of one tenth in taxes, roughly.

Oh, right. No, that's broadly accurate. It's muddled a bit by the fact that NS directly tracks only "income tax," and is less scientific about all other sources of government revenue, including corporate tax. Also we do a few things like consider how anti-tax you are; governments in nations that are anti-tax are allowed to find ways to scrape by, and deliver the same services at lower income tax rates than tax-happy nations. But yes, your national potential GDP is equivalent to the sum of your Government Size and Industry Size; when the former is larger, income taxes will be higher.

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Mostrov
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Postby Mostrov » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:01 am

This is very interesting, although as is noted it will need time to 'settle' in most nations. Personally I find this far more interesting than Rift.

Is it supposed to more quickly reacting? Presumably the slowness in most nations industries and governmental spending was because of it being a integer rather than percentage.

Are the government size and industry size meant to be shown?

Are negative values WAD? Out of curiosity if they are, what is that supposed to represent.

And is 100% taxation with minimal public industry also WAD?

Taxation is related to government size in terms of how much is raised? And that revenue is determined by the economy seemingly. Surely it should be reversed, such that you have governmental spending both determining tax rates and what would otherwise be deficit spending (Admittingly this is probably too detailed) - but it does seem somewhat odd.
Last edited by Mostrov on Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Bears Armed
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Postby Bears Armed » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:24 am

I can live with this, more-or-less, given that it isn't trying to insist that this nation now has income tax and bearing in mind that it's been a lonnng time anyhows since I RPed 100% on the basis of the official description.
A negative value for government size, such as we are said to possess pre-refactoring, is hard to visualise anyhows... but what does a size of "63" (which would be the new value) actually mean in real terms, or even in relative ones?
I will continue to RP the national government as having slightly more diverse spending (of income obtained through means other than income tax, of course) than the revised chart suggests, but then I was already RPing the nation as having less industry (and a lower economic strength, by two or three levels, for that matter) than the official stats suggested even before the increase that this re-factoring would change so I'm giving something up in exchange for that flexibility....
Last edited by Bears Armed on Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Golgothastan
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Postby Golgothastan » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:06 pm

Golgothastan is going to go from a 1% income tax to a 93% income tax. That seems - abrupt.

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[violet]
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Postby [violet] » Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:58 pm

Golgothastan wrote:Golgothastan is going to go from a 1% income tax to a 93% income tax. That seems - abrupt.

Yes, a very big change. This nation is a great example because it hits all the corner cases that we're trying to correct. Primarily, it's very pro- one area of government spending (Education) and very anti- another area (Law & Order). Currently, it's able to offset Education Spending by relentlessly opposing Law & Order, even long after you have completely eliminated all Law & Order spending. In fact, this is happening to such a degree that your nation is said to have "no government" overall, even though you should clearly have a very large Education Department.

This in turn means that your income tax rates are currently zero, when in fact they should be high enough to cover that public Education spending.

On top of that, the same thing is happening with your industries. You are very supportive of certain industries, especially Book Publishing, but currently that is being washed away by your opposition to other industries (and industry in general), to make your overall Industry size is currently negative. It should be positive, and highly specialized.

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Postby [violet] » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:11 pm

Mostrov wrote:Is it supposed to more quickly reacting? Presumably the slowness in most nations industries and governmental spending was because of it being a integer rather than percentage.

No, not faster reacting, except for some cases when a particular type of nation would abolish all public spending in a particular area, or else wipe out a particular industry, and the model wouldn't handle that very well.

Mostrov wrote:Are the government size and industry size meant to be shown?

Yep, they're not too different from numbers you can find in Analysis.

Mostrov wrote:Are negative values WAD? Out of curiosity if they are, what is that supposed to represent.

We use negative values to track the degree of opposition. For example, two nations might both have no government, but one has only just abolished the government (e.g. size 0), while the other did that a while ago and has been relentlessly opposing all forms of government ever since (e.g. size -1000).

Mostrov wrote:And is 100% taxation with minimal public industry also WAD?

I am assuming WAD means Working As Designed. Yes, most certainly, nations can have no industry at all and 100% taxation, although they probably wouldn't call it "income tax." It would be a primitive commune-like society in which everything is shared.

Mostrov wrote:Taxation is related to government size in terms of how much is raised? And that revenue is determined by the economy seemingly. Surely it should be reversed, such that you have governmental spending both determining tax rates and what would otherwise be deficit spending

Government spending does indeed determine tax rates.

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Golgothastan
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Postby Golgothastan » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:16 pm

[violet] wrote:
Golgothastan wrote:Golgothastan is going to go from a 1% income tax to a 93% income tax. That seems - abrupt.

Yes, a very big change. This nation is a great example because it hits all the corner cases that we're trying to correct. Primarily, it's very pro- one area of government spending (Education) and very anti- another area (Law & Order). Currently, it's able to offset Education Spending by relentlessly opposing Law & Order, even long after you have completely eliminated all Law & Order spending. In fact, this is happening to such a degree that your nation is said to have "no government" overall, even though you should clearly have a very large Education Department.

This in turn means that your income tax rates are currently zero, when in fact they should be high enough to cover that public Education spending.

On top of that, the same thing is happening with your industries. You are very supportive of certain industries, especially Book Publishing, but currently that is being washed away by your opposition to other industries (and industry in general), to make your overall Industry size is currently negative. It should be positive, and highly specialized.

That's fascinating, and makes sense. Just today I got the military spending issue, and chose to cut. Again. I've been cutting the military for almost 10 years in Golgothastan. There can't be anything left to cut.

Thanks for the response.

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[violet]
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Postby [violet] » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:17 pm

Bears Armed wrote:what does a size of "63" (which would be the new value) actually mean in real terms, or even in relative ones?

The primary thing to note is that a Government Size of 63 is a lot smaller than 5,352, which is your Industry size. Hence the 1.2% Public Sector size and the absence of income tax. That is, compared to other nations, it's very market-driven/anarchic with almost no public services.
Last edited by [violet] on Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Mostrov
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Postby Mostrov » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:41 pm

[violet] wrote:
Mostrov wrote:Are negative values WAD? Out of curiosity if they are, what is that supposed to represent.

We use negative values to track the degree of opposition. For example, two nations might both have no government, but one has only just abolished the government (e.g. size 0), while the other did that a while ago and has been relentlessly opposing all forms of government ever since (e.g. size -1000).

I mean in terms of industry, what does that mean? That really seems strange that a nation might have 'negative' agriculture.

[violet] wrote:
Mostrov wrote:And is 100% taxation with minimal public industry also WAD?

I am assuming WAD means Working As Designed. Yes, most certainly, nations can have no industry at all and 100% taxation, although they probably wouldn't call it "income tax." It would be a primitive commune-like society in which everything is shared.

Specifically I meant the situation where the majority of industry is private, how private industry would work in that environment as no-one has any money to actually do so.

[violet] wrote:
Mostrov wrote:Taxation is related to government size in terms of how much is raised? And that revenue is determined by the economy seemingly. Surely it should be reversed, such that you have governmental spending both determining tax rates and what would otherwise be deficit spending

Government spending does indeed determine tax rates.

Interesting, I've slowly been working out what level of taxation is optimal (and for what purpose). I've always wondered if there is a GDP which is modified by both economic freedoms and taxation which then calculated revenue for the government; because that dissuades too high a tax rate (of course considering that there is apparently some sort of progressive taxation possible) and not too low one.
Common sense would dictate that a government with 100% taxation would have little wealth in comparison - arguments about socialism not withstanding.

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[violet]
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Postby [violet] » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:55 pm

Mostrov wrote:I mean in terms of industry, what does that mean? That really seems strange that a nation might have 'negative' agriculture.

You're right that the actual size of the agriculture industry can't practically be less than zero, but we still use negative values to track just how opposed to an agriculture industry your nation might be. So we have an "underlying size" value, which can be negative, but should be zeroed out when calculating something to do with practical size. This is one of the things that refactoring does: fix a couple of places where negative values can leak through to places they shouldn't.

Mostrov wrote:
[violet] wrote:Yes, most certainly, nations can have no industry at all and 100% taxation, although they probably wouldn't call it "income tax." It would be a primitive commune-like society in which everything is shared.

Specifically I meant the situation where the majority of industry is private, how private industry would work in that environment as no-one has any money to actually do so.

Sorry I'm still not quite sure what you're asking here.

Mostrov wrote:Common sense would dictate that a government with 100% taxation would have little wealth in comparison - arguments about socialism not withstanding.

Well, yeah, you will get arguments about that one. NationStates is broadly intended to support competing theories of political economics, in that if you want to build a capitalist utopia, you can do that, and you will get lots of wealth and income inequality. And if you want to build a communist state, you can do that, and you will start off with lots of equality and low incomes, but you can build that up economically, too, with lots of careful market planning. We think there should always be trade-offs, so you have to choose one thing over another, but beyond that, we're not into picking a single ideological framework and forcing all nations into it.

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Klaus Devestatorie
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Postby Klaus Devestatorie » Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:02 pm

I go from 96% income tax to 0% income tax. How in the hell? That's not gonna fly. Tax rates and government policy have always been separate. I roll with it as that the government -is- a business and is very good at it- which is why it makes a 400% profit on business expenditure
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