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The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

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Questers
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The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Questers » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:13 pm

THE ARGUMENT AGAINST CALCULATORS


READ THE ENTIRE POST BEFORE REPLYING


What's wrong with calculators?

NS Calculators are webpages that take your NS feed -- the information stored on your NS page, like tax and population, and format it into purportedly usable numbers. Since the dawn of time people have come on NS and said that they have a gigantic military budget because the calculator said so. They claim gigantic economies and prosperous populations because the calculator says so. I intend to prove here that the calculator has always been a nefarious influence on NS RP and that there are key flaws with using calculators in many instances. Firstly, we should look at the NS tax rate, as this is the single most important reason why calculators cannot function.

NS has, built into it, the concept of a "income 100% tax rate", hereby referred to as the the 100% ITR. Many nations have a 100% ITR and the reason for this is simple: they get NS issues which offer on the one hand, not doing anything against a problem -- it might be undereducation, bad roads, whatever -- and the other option which is doing something. NS issues however, although they may say more spending is required, rarely say more taxation will be required. Nations choose the options of "improving" something and then receive an IRT increase. At some point or another, they will have 100% IRT.

What this means is that according to the calculators, the Government collects in income tax 100% of the economy. All private wealth is redistributed. What it means in the context of "the game" though, is that you have a higher budget, and in II, especially important is the military budget, than other players. For the purpose of this calculator we will use The World Soviet Party (referred to as TWSP, although he goes by the ingame name of Osthafen) to demonstrate the problems of a 100% IRT, why it is infeasible, and why, ultimately, using it is a godmod.

http://nseconomy.thirdgeek.com/nseconom ... viet+Party

Notice that in the top right corner, there is a figure called "Consumption." This is Private Consumption. It is the amount that is consumed that is not consumed by the Government. In economics, Consumption -- i.e., Private Spending is seperated from Government Spending by being labelled C and Government Spending being labelled G. And with a 100% IRT, the Consumption rate of the economy is 0$. There is literally no private spending whatsoever. Let me get the magnitude of this across to you:

If I go to the shops to buy a packet of cigarettes, that is consumption. If I buy a book off amazon, that is consumption. If I buy a car from a dealership, that is consumption. When you, as a private citizen, buy anything, you are adding to the nominal value of national consumption, i.e. the amount of money spent by consumers every year. So we've established that in 100% IRT economies, nothing is spent by private citizens.

This means that everything is spent by the Government. G is 100% and C is 0%.

For a real life, example, in the United States, G is 36.7% and C is 63.3%.

Notice how the budget in the bottom left corner always adds up to 100. It never exceeds that amount but more importantly it's never lower than that amount (unless everything is 0 because G is 0. Even if G is 1%, the percentages of the budget still total to 100%.) So in TWSP's case, 12% of the entire spending of the economy is spent on law and order. Now, this might seem fine to many people. But let's think a little harder.

No capital spending in a 100% IRT economy

The NS Feed's Government budgets, unlike real states where G was enormously high (although never 100%), do not include spending on capital goods and consumer goods. This means that if you have a G of 100%, the Government is not spending any money on the production of capital or consumer goods. Look around you. Everything in your house is either a consumer or a capital good. Money has been spent on its production, i.e. costs of labour, raw materials, R&D, so on and so forth. Let's say you live in a country with 50% IRT. Look around you and that is what you have. Then let's say you live in a country with 100% IRT. Everything disappears.

There are no factories because nothing is spent on their production. There is no furniture, electricity, computers, books, cars. Nothing is spent on their production. In a 100% IRT they do not exist.

But! You cry. But, but, I am spending alot on social welfare!

So? You're giving people money, sure, but what can they buy? Nothing is being produced. They are totally reliant on foreign goods. But nothing is being spent on capital goods in docks, in airports, and in railways. Even if foreign goods arrive, they could not be unloaded.

But I have great hospitals!

No you don't. A hospital bed is a capital good. You aren't spending any money on producing capital goods. You have no hospital beds.

Aha! But I have commerce!

TWSP spends 1% on Commerce. Even if we were to accept that this includes capital and consumer goods, 1% is a tiny amount. Yet, it doesn't! Commerce is the sale of goods, or in this case the money received from the sale of goods. It isn't the production of goods.

Now, the argument against this is that although what I say might be true, you still have monetary values beside your percentages. You still have $ of imports and you still have $ of spending. This doesn't really matter. These are nominal values. I can print off $500 trillion Fantasty Dollars from my printer and claim I'm rich. I'm not. Money was created by humans to make barter easier. It doesn't have an intrinsic value. Unless it's backed by something, it has no intrinsic value. And you can't back your currency with something: you aren't producing any consumer or capital goods to back it with! And even if I was wrong there, all it proves is that the calculators are contradictory to realistic, real world economic theories.

To sum up, with a 100% IRT the calculators report that you have 0% consumption. This means no capital goods or consumer goods. It means you are living in the dark ages. Your people must personally labour to create things. You do not have a modern economy. Even East Germany, according to this source, had private consumption.

Now, this doesn't mean calculators are useless if you have a realistic tax rate. You should look though, at Government spending and Private spending %s in real life countries to see how realistic a calculator is. 30% IRT? Go ahead and use a calculator, by all means. 90% IRT? Don't even bother...

Thus ends my argument against calculators.

What's the alternative?

Of course, I'm not saying that TWSP should RP his people living in the dark ages! Quite the opposite! What he should do is look at a real life country and look at their Gross Domestic Product Per Capita. Here is not the place for me to argue my political beliefs and say what level of GDP/PC nations should and shouldn't have. But the way to find your realistic Gross Domestic Product is as follows:

- Find a realistic Gross Domestic Product Per Capita.
- Multiply by your population.

Then to find out how much your Government is spending, take a % of the end result, which is your GDP. Then simply take % out of that for Military, Education, etc. Anyone with a basic education in Mathematics ought to do this. I learnt in the British education system how to do multiplication and percentages before I was 12, prolly even earlier, can't remember that far back tbh.

Questions:

Can't I just say the Government takes 100% and gives some back at the end?
Sorry, no, because Consumption is still $ and Capital/Consumer spending, and therefore production is still $.

Can't I just say that production is factored into Military, Social Welfare, etc etc
Yeah, sure, you can purposefully misread "Social Welfare" to mean "Building coal mines" if I can purposefully misread my population to be 400 billion...

What do you think?

Are all calculators bad?
If you have to use one, use Sunset's.

Why should I trust you?
Well, unless you can logically refute what I'm saying... doesn't matter if you can trust me or not. If the most dishonest person says to me "1+1 is 2" or "America has a border with Canada" it doesn't matter how trustworthy they are, their statements are still correct.

But aren't calculators required otherwise you're godmodding?
No sticky or RP authority has ever said that.

But I'm a Socialist and I say...
This isn't an economics argument against Socialism. You would know that if you actually read my post. This is a logical argument. When you have a 100% IRT, the calculator calculates 0% private consumption. The only money being spent is being spent by the Government. Then we look at the Government categories and see that actually nothing is spent on production.
Last edited by Questers on Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:46 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Amazonian Beasts » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:17 pm

The truth. Good stuff Q.
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby The Macabees » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:20 pm

You could say that the government has a 100% income tax rate, but then gives it back to you. :p The government just wants to break a Guinness World Record.

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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Brogavia » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:21 pm

Amazonian Beasts wrote:The truth. Good stuff Q.


this
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Questers
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Questers » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:23 pm

The Macabees wrote:You could say that the government has a 100% income tax rate, but then gives it back to you. :p The government just wants to break a Guinness World Record.
No you can't, because private consumption is still 0$ :P
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby The PeoplesFreedom » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:23 pm

I reject this. This is liberal capitalist propaganda that undermines the idea of equality and the proletariat!
If you have any questions please let me know. I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby The Macabees » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:23 pm

Questers wrote: No you can't, because private consumption is still 0$ :P


You missed the joke. The government takes it from you to say it taxes you 100%, but then gives you back your money. There would be 0% tax rate, really.

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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby ViZion » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:26 pm

Props Questers!
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Greater Americania » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:27 pm

The Macabees wrote:You could say that the government has a 100% income tax rate, but then gives it back to you. :p The government just wants to break a Guinness World Record.


First off, this belongs in gameplay not II. Second, off Macabees has a point. If you have a 100% tax rate you're bound to have wealth redistribution programs via your social welfare.
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby The PeoplesFreedom » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:28 pm

Greater Americania wrote:
The Macabees wrote:You could say that the government has a 100% income tax rate, but then gives it back to you. :p The government just wants to break a Guinness World Record.


First off, this belongs in gameplay not II. Second, off Macabees has a point. If you have a 100% tax rate you're bound to have wealth redistribution programs via your social welfare.


Since II'ers often use calculators it could be on either forum.
If you have any questions please let me know. I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby The Macabees » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:28 pm

[2017 edit: no longer reflects what I think]
Last edited by The Macabees on Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Greater Americania » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:28 pm

Also, this strikes me as more of an argument against the NS issue system rather than an argument against Calculators who use the NS feed which relies on the NS issue system.
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Member of the Santiago Anti-Communist Treaty Organization

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Economic Left/Right: 2.0, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 6.21
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Secretary of State: Jason Lee
Secretary of Defense: Shane Tomlinson
Secretary of Federal Security: Ross Ferrell
-Chief of Interior Security Forces: General James Calley
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-Governor of Tlozuk: Jarod Harris
-Governor of Comaack: John Fargo
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Brogavia » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:29 pm

Greater Americania wrote:
The Macabees wrote:You could say that the government has a 100% income tax rate, but then gives it back to you. :p The government just wants to break a Guinness World Record.


First off, this belongs in gameplay not II. Second, off Macabees has a point. If you have a 100% tax rate you're bound to have wealth redistribution programs via your social welfare.


No, it belongs where people who RP can see it.
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Greater Americania » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:29 pm

The PeoplesFreedom wrote:Since II'ers often use calculators it could be on either forum.


Yes, but II is a roleplay forum. Gameplay is the appropriate forum when discussing faults of the system.
Federal Republic of Greater Americania: “Liberty, Soveriegnty, Freedom!”
Original Founder of the Nationalist Union
Member of the Santiago Anti-Communist Treaty Organization

Nationalist Republic, governed by the National Republican Party
Economic Left/Right: 2.0, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 6.21
President: Austin Farley
Vice President: John Raimark
Secretary of State: Jason Lee
Secretary of Defense: Shane Tomlinson
Secretary of Federal Security: Ross Ferrell
-Chief of Interior Security Forces: General James Calley
Secretary of Territorial Administration: Brandon Terry
-Governor of Tlozuk: Jarod Harris
-Governor of Comaack: John Fargo
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Questers » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:30 pm

Greater Americania wrote:
The Macabees wrote:You could say that the government has a 100% income tax rate, but then gives it back to you. :p The government just wants to break a Guinness World Record.


First off, this belongs in gameplay not II. Second, off Macabees has a point. If you have a 100% tax rate you're bound to have wealth redistribution programs via your social welfare.
Did you read what I posted?

It doesn't matter because according to the calculator consumption is still 0$ and the Government budget's still don't detail production.

I also commented on Social Welfare spending in my post. Read it before posting, please.

Secondly, Mac was joking, not being serious (he even said that.)
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby The Macabees » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:30 pm

Greater Americania wrote:Also, this strikes me as more of an argument against the NS issue system rather than an argument against Calculators who use the NS feed which relies on the NS issue system.


Ultimately, it's an argument against the use of these game statistics as an accurate depiction of a national economy. Really, it's an argument against the idea that a player has to use the numbers given by the calculator/game. It's entirely RP related. It's not an argument against the mechanics of the game.

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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Questers » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:31 pm

Greater Americania wrote:
The PeoplesFreedom wrote:Since II'ers often use calculators it could be on either forum.


Yes, but II is a roleplay forum. Gameplay is the appropriate forum when discussing faults of the system.
No, this isn't discussing the faults of the system. This is discussing the faults of applying the system to roleplay. Therefore it belongs in II.

Greater Americania has a 100% IRT. Coincidence...?
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Amazonian Beasts » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:32 pm

Greater Americania wrote:
The Macabees wrote:You could say that the government has a 100% income tax rate, but then gives it back to you. :p The government just wants to break a Guinness World Record.


First off, this belongs in gameplay not II. Second, off Macabees has a point. If you have a 100% tax rate you're bound to have wealth redistribution programs via your social welfare.


...that's not at all Mac's point. He's joking. He's saying that the government literally returns your money in what amounts to 0% taxes.

If you have a 100% tax rate, you're bound to have people who aren't happy that they get little choice on how to use their money in their own lives. Amongst other problems.
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby L3 Communications » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:33 pm

I've lived so long in the dark ages of the calculator. D: Thanks Questers, I've seen the light.

This needs a sticky, pronto.
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby The Macabees » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:36 pm

From Henry Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson:

There is a still further factor which makes it improbable that the wealth created by government spending will fully compensate for the wealth destroyed by the taxes imposed to pay for that spending. It is not a simple question, as so often supposed, of taking something out of the nation’s right-hand pocket to put into its left-hand pocket. The government spenders tell us, for example, that if the national income is $1,500 billion then federal taxes of $360 billion a year would mean that only 24 percent of the national income is being transferred from private purposes to public purposes.[1] This is to talk as if the country were the same sort of unit of pooled resources as a huge corporation, and as if all that were involved were a mere bookkeeping transaction. The government spenders forget that they are taking the money from A in order to pay it to B. Or rather, they know this very well but while they dilate upon all the benefits of the process to B, and all the wonderful things he will have which he would not have had if the money had not been transferred to him, they forget the effects of the transaction on A. B is seen; A is forgotten.

In our modern world there is never the same percentage of income tax levied on everybody. The great burden of income taxes is imposed on a minor percentage of the nation’s income; and these income taxes have to be supplemented by taxes of other kinds. These taxes inevitably affect the actions and incentives of those from whom they are taken. When a corporation loses a hundred cents of every dollar it loses, and is permitted to keep only fifty-two cents of every dollar it gains, and when it cannot adequately offset its years of losses against its years of gains, its policies are affected. It does not expand its operations, or it expands only those attended with a minimum of risk. People who recognize this situation are deterred from starting new enterprises. Thus old employers do not give more employment, or not as much more as they might have; and others decide not to become employers at all. Improved machinery and better-equipped factories come into existence much more slowly than they otherwise would. The result in the long run is that consumers are prevented from getting better and cheaper products to the extent that they otherwise would, and that real wages are held down, compared with what they might have been.

There is a similar effect when personal incomes are taxed 50, 60 or 70 percent. People begin to ask themselves why they should work six, eight or nine months of the entire year for the government, and only six, four or three months for themselves and their families. If they lose the whole dollar when they lose, but can keep only a fraction of it when they win, they decide that it is foolish to take risks with their capital. In addition, the capital available for risk-taking itself shrinks enormously. It is being taxed away before it can be accumulated. In brief, capital to provide new private jobs is first prevented from coming into existence, and the part that does come into existence is then discouraged from starting new enterprises. The government spenders create the very problem of unemployment that they profess to solve.

A certain amount of taxes is of course indispensable to carry on essential government functions. Reasonable taxes for this purpose need not hurt production much. The kind of government services then supplied in return, which among other things safeguard production itself, more than compensate for this. But the larger the percentage of the national income taken by taxes the greater the deterrent to private production and employment. When the total tax burden grows beyond a bearable size, the problem of devising taxes that will not discourage and disrupt production becomes insoluble.

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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby ViZion » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:36 pm

Linked in NST... +1 on sticky, could be useful.
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Greater Americania » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:38 pm

Alright. This isn't an argument against calculators, it's an argument against the NS system being constructed to inevitably raise the tax rate. And I absolutely agree. You're making valid points. My 100% tax rate has always bothered me. The only reason I have it is because back when a had a few hundred million for my population I kept repetitively getting issues relating to welfare. The issue was always the same and I always put the same answer which drove up my tax rate. The maximum limit allowed for a tax rate should be 70% rather than 100% and issues complaining about the lack of welfare shouldn't repetitively pop up in the issue boxes of welfare states.
Federal Republic of Greater Americania: “Liberty, Soveriegnty, Freedom!”
Original Founder of the Nationalist Union
Member of the Santiago Anti-Communist Treaty Organization

Nationalist Republic, governed by the National Republican Party
Economic Left/Right: 2.0, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 6.21
President: Austin Farley
Vice President: John Raimark
Secretary of State: Jason Lee
Secretary of Defense: Shane Tomlinson
Secretary of Federal Security: Ross Ferrell
-Chief of Interior Security Forces: General James Calley
Secretary of Territorial Administration: Brandon Terry
-Governor of Tlozuk: Jarod Harris
-Governor of Comaack: John Fargo
*Territories are foreign nations which have been annexed by the Federal Republic

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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Questers » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:39 pm

Amazonian Beasts wrote:
Greater Americania wrote:
The Macabees wrote:You could say that the government has a 100% income tax rate, but then gives it back to you. :p The government just wants to break a Guinness World Record.


First off, this belongs in gameplay not II. Second, off Macabees has a point. If you have a 100% tax rate you're bound to have wealth redistribution programs via your social welfare.


...that's not at all Mac's point. He's joking. He's saying that the government literally returns your money in what amounts to 0% taxes.

If you have a 100% tax rate, you're bound to have people who aren't happy that they get little choice on how to use their money in their own lives. Amongst other problems.
Yeah, but irregardless of whether your Government does this or not, if you live by the calculators the calculators still display $0 of consumption, which was one of the most important points :P
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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby The Macabees » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:40 pm

It's not an argument against the formula used in the game, as much as it's an argument against the use of calculators and in-game statistics to give an accurate assessment of your country's economy.

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Re: The Argument Against Calculators -- A Guide, Of Sorts

Postby Questers » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:40 pm

Greater Americania wrote:Alright. This isn't an argument against calculators, it's an argument against the NS system being constructed to inevitably raise the tax rate. And I absolutely agree. You're making valid points. My 100% tax rate has always bothered me. The only reason I have it is because back when a had a few hundred million for my population I kept repetitively getting issues relating to welfare. The issue was always the same and I always put the same answer which drove up my tax rate. The maximum limit allowed for a tax rate should be 70% rather than 100% and issues complaining about the lack of welfare shouldn't repetitively pop up in the issue boxes of welfare states.
No, it isn't an argument against the NS system, for the millionth time. It's an argument against people using that system in roleplay. I don't mind or care how calculators or NS do it, what bothers me is how people use it in their RPs.
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