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[DRAFT] Everyone Loves Shipping

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Candlewhisper Archive
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[DRAFT] Everyone Loves Shipping

Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Wed May 12, 2021 12:42 pm

TITLE:
Everyone Loves Shipping

VALIDITY:
negative trade balance (maybe sizeable retail industry relative to low manufacturing, high average incomes, stuff like that), not an autarky, strong economy,

DESCRIPTION:
For over half a century standardised 40-foot intermodal containers have been critical to facilitating global trade, allowing for the easy transfer of goods between different modes of transport. However, for some time @@NAME@@ has had a strongly negative trade balance: that is, it imports far more than it exports. This has led to a domestic surplus of intermodal containers, with literally millions of the steel boxes accumulating in our nation.

OPTION 1
"Sending containers out empty is unsustainable, so we need to fill them, and filling them means fixing that trade deficit," suggests economist Brett Onwards, who has spent all morning trying to sell homemade cookies to your staff. "We need to re-gear our economy towards manufacturing and export production. That means using subsidies to push these industries up, funded with tariffs on imported goods. As the trade balance corrects, our metal mountain will move offshore."
OUTCOME:
pop stars who make it big overseas are hailed as economic heroes

OPTION 2 -- CAPITALISM
"It is unnecessary to lay extraordinary restraints to correct a supposedly disadvantageous balance of trade," exhorts Eileen Rightwards, trading a copy of The Wealth of Nations for several boxes of cookies. "If we have an excess of metal boxes, then they could easily be upcycled into housing units, or granary silos, or avant-garde corporate art. This need not cost the government a single @@CURRENCY@@ -- simply be open-minded to entrepreneurs, and get rid of the bureaucracy of permits, safety rules and building codes that are in the way of capitalist creativity."
OUTCOME:
poor folk live in "the stacks"

OPTION 2 -- NO CAPITALISM
"Its not strictly necessary for imports and exports to balance in a properly planned economy," observes Fred Rickangles, communist economist. "Nor is perfect efficiency, so long as needs are met. Look on it this way: sending empty containers out may not generate profit, but it generates work, which generates worth. Surplus labour has surplus value."
OUTCOME:
the nation's planned economy makes a whole lot of nothing

OPTION 3 - CAPITALISM
"You can't rely on the invisible hand to wipe its own bottom when its made a mess," laughs Alexander Vannumbolt, green economist, rejecting the cookies because of their unethically sourced palm oil. "The state needs to purchase these containers, then directly recycle them, reclaiming the steel for reuse. Then, to stop any more accumulation, just stop importing, and stop exporting. You heard me -- produce domestically to use domestically. Autarky is much more eco-friendly, anyway."
OUTCOME:
in @@NAME@@ they don't call a Whopper a Royale with Cheese -- they don't call it anything

OPTION 3 - NO CAPITALISM
"You can't rely on our noble economic planners to wipe their own bottoms when they've made a mess," laughs Alexander Vannumbolt, green economist, rejecting the cookies because of their unethically sourced palm oil. "The state needs to seize these containers, and recycle them, reclaiming the steel for reuse. Then, to stop any more accumulation, just stop importing, and stop exporting. You heard me -- produce domestically to use domestically. Autarky is much more eco-friendly, anyway."
OUTCOME:
in @@NAME@@ they don't call a Whopper a Royale with Cheese -- they don't call it anything
Last edited by Candlewhisper Archive on Wed May 12, 2021 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
editors like linguistic ambiguity more than most people

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Minskiev
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Postby Minskiev » Wed May 12, 2021 12:55 pm

I like it. I only have very minor edits.

Option 3b I get that it wants to keep that "powerful economic force" feel with 'noble economic planners', however it feels strange to call them noble then make fun of them. It works for 3a because they're not exactly pro or anti-invisible hand, but in 3b they seem to be pro-noble economic planners. I've dragged on a bit. I'd just remove noble so that it flows better.

A few missing apostrophes in a lot of the its. I trust you know how they work. It is = it's, the x of it = its, yeah.
Last edited by Minskiev on Wed May 12, 2021 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Wed May 12, 2021 1:55 pm

Minskiev wrote:Option 3b I get that it wants to keep that "powerful economic force" feel with 'noble economic planners', however it feels strange to call them noble then make fun of them.
It sounds like calling them "noble" was meant as sarcasm, though that seems at odds with then immediately suggesting a solution that involves state-run economic planning.

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Baggieland
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Postby Baggieland » Wed May 12, 2021 11:46 pm

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:that is, it imports far more than it exports. This has led to a domestic surplus of intermodal containers, with literally millions of the steel boxes accumulating in our nation.


If NAME is importing most of its goods, wouldn't all those containers be needed to transport the goods from the docks to around the country?

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Candlewhisper Archive
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Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Thu May 13, 2021 12:38 am

Trotterdam wrote:
Minskiev wrote:Option 3b I get that it wants to keep that "powerful economic force" feel with 'noble economic planners', however it feels strange to call them noble then make fun of them.
It sounds like calling them "noble" was meant as sarcasm, though that seems at odds with then immediately suggesting a solution that involves state-run economic planning.


It was sarcastic, but I see your point. Will tweak that for next draft.
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Candlewhisper Archive
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Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Thu May 13, 2021 12:46 am

Baggieland wrote:
Candlewhisper Archive wrote:that is, it imports far more than it exports. This has led to a domestic surplus of intermodal containers, with literally millions of the steel boxes accumulating in our nation.


If NAME is importing most of its goods, wouldn't all those containers be needed to transport the goods from the docks to around the country?


Indeed, that's the whole point of the containers -- you can move them from boat to train to truck with no unpacking, which massively increased efficiency of logistics when they were first invented, and incidentally caused major labour disputes globally as dockworkers and packers became unemployed en masse.

However, if you're not exporting, you still end up with a container surplus in the country (like the US has), and likewise if you're importing less you end up with a container deficit (like China has). In the US this has been partially mitigated by a strong secondary market in used containers, but there's still a significant excess.

Of course, IRL, most nations noting these piles of shipping containers are less concerned with the actual piles of containers or need for more containers (both of which tend to be the problem of corporations to deal with) but rather with what it tells you about a nations trade deficit/surplus, and whether than indicates a healthy economy or not. I've hinted at that here, but I think there's a danger of going TOO deep into governmentthink in an issue, and that the game remains more accessible if we include considerations of the physical objects, rather than just the monetary concepts.
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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Thu May 13, 2021 5:11 am

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:Of course, IRL, most nations noting these piles of shipping containers are less concerned with the actual piles of containers or need for more containers (both of which tend to be the problem of corporations to deal with) but rather with what it tells you about a nations trade deficit/surplus, and whether than indicates a healthy economy or not.
Well, yeah. It does seem like the containers should almost always be worth considerably less than the goods they were being used to transport, making them just not that big a deal in the large scheme of things. Unless you have a planned economy, the shipping companies that imported those containers should probably be able to figure out what to do with them by themselves.

I can also imagine how to redesign containers so that shipping empty containers back out empty is more viable, but of course that wouldn't help you with the surplus cotainers you already have. Though the fact that the major exporting countries haven't already done this suggests that they're not too concerned with the value of the lost containers that aren't being returned to them.

But telling people "this isn't a government issue" gets so boring after a while :(

About the actual narrative, I observe that the capitalist version has cookies being mentioned in all three options, while the communist version doesn't mention them at all in the middle option.


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