Monday, May 18, 2009

I'd rather burn it

I've got several comments liking that I've said "what can someone do if he has lot of money IRL? I think the answer is not wasting on vanity or giving it to the poor (I'd rather burn it)".

I've got several trolls too who said "you are the most evil thing ever, you'd rather burn your money than giving it to the poor". Of course not with such words (rather with expressions including inappropriate connection to my mother), so they were deleted.

It made me think a lot about that and found that "burning your money" is maybe the best way to do something good for the world.

You cannot eat money IRL. You cannot raid with a naked, goldcapped character. You can buy useful things for money from other people.

What is "money"? Money is an otherwise useless item, that - by common decision - is accepted by people as payment. When a farmer sells his crops (or eternal fire) to you for money (gold), he gives you something useful and he gets something useless. He still does it, because he can expect that other people will accept his money (gold) for useful items he wants.

This agreement is upheld by the government. It stops people from creating money (it's a crime to print money and it's a bannable offense to sell gold). The government also orders his employees to accept the money as payment. The NPC-s always accept your gold for repair. Because of these, and being convenient, people accept money as currency.

In some cases the system collapses (hyper-inflation), usually because the government or the state itself collapsed.

However the money is still without internal value. Work and invention has value. If you give more services to the people than you consume, you accumulate money. The same way if you farm herbs but consume nothing, you create lot of herbs for the people of your server and you do not take their services. If we ignore the gold, it's like selfless helping. You just give and never take.

Let's say you are swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck and you don't have any idea what to do with your billions. The obvious ways are:
  • Vanity. This is harmful for the world as it encourages completely useless work. If you buy a Mechano-Hog, you pay for miners to mine titanium, bust their cooldowns ... for absolutely nothing. You riding on the Hog brings the server no closer to destroy the evil Arthas. Of course it's your undoubtable right to waste your money, but it's a waste.
  • Giving it to the poor. This is the worst of all, as it rewards laziness and stupidity, harming the world. If you give it to the poor, you are doing something evil, just like if you would pay hooligans to destroy cars and such. Because of your action, more and more people will decide to abandon working and start leeching on the world.
  • Supporting great achievements like space flights, scientific research and such. In WoW, that's what I do: give my money to a top guild, supporting their progress. Lore-wise it's funding the epic battle against Arthas, practically it's supporting skillful play instead of farming.
While the third is undoubtably the best of the three, I'm unsure if it's the best of all. The problem is that you must know enough of the field to make sure that the money is spent well. If I'd be a complete noob of WoW, an M&S guild could scam me to give them 5K G/week for doing Archavon and the Plague wing every week, believing it's great. I can support my current guild because I'm skilled enough to know what's worth supporting. While I'm not good enough to be there on Yogg hard mode attempts, I can see the difference between a player who is good enough for that and an M&S. To support a space agency, you have to be a skilled space researcher yourself or you can support a big scam. The problem is not losing your money (you lose it anyway), but encouraging a useless activity (the scam). Without you the scammer would have to do something else (hopefully useful).

So if you want to do something good to the world, but not skilled enough (or not alive enough if you donate through your last will) to oversee the spending, what can you do?

You can burn it. By doing so, you remove some money from the world, increasing the value of all other money. Let's see the theoretical situation when you own half of the server's gold. While you accumulated this gold, you deflated the prices by sucking the gold out. If you'd pour the money to the market, you'd inflate the prices to their double, halving the buying power of everyone in the server. By burning this gold you save the buying power of everyone.

The best thing: by burning, you use the forces of the market to distribute your wealth. Those who had nothing (M&S) have their nothing doubled. Those who had a lot (because worked hard or were inventive), get this lot doubled.

Of course no one owns half of the money of the world. But every raider knows that 1% def can make difference in a raid. Even if you just own 0.0000001% of the money of the world, your action make difference. Burn it!

PS: if actually burning money is illegal in your country, just put it into a box and into a bank safe you rent for 99 years and throw the key away.


Important: burning real items is completely stupid as it destroys value. Never-ever do that!

PS2: if you really, really want to give something to the poor, give them clothes, medicine or food, never-ever money. If you give food, you support the food producers, as they get your money. If you give money, you support the gamblers and liquor and drug dealers of the sector.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

So you believe giving money to the poor such as most of Africa is evil?

People who choose to bankroll scientific projects are vain too , they just want people to say " oh look what a nice person they are "

Anonymous said...

You describe money for vanity as being for "absolutely nothing".Your argument rests on the fact that cooldowns should be spent on "better" items. So the titanium should be made into machines only used by universities who pursue new technologies? What if there is no such thing as better.

A mechano-hog is able to provide enjoyment, a means of transportation, etc. You throw it aside b/c it cannot defeat Arthas. Your assumption is that Arthas is the goal. What if there are no goals in life?

As for giving $ to the poor you make the argument that poor=lazy. They'll waste it gambling or on booze. Perhaps, if you donate factories which provide employment, income, and materials then the poor would become middle-class.

Aaron said...

What would a poor african do with money? A large factor in the economic situation in Africa is the lack of basic infrastructure, whether it be roads, electricity, hospitals, or a system of (relatively honest) government. Giving them paper isn't going to do anything, whereas funding a company like GE (who in turn is working to improve the situation in Africa) will do something.

Excellent post, by the way.

Anonymous said...

the reason people attacked you on this is your choice of words.. or at least after reading the entirety of your most recent post appears to be the case.

The reason I say this is the tiny PS comment you tacked on the end in which you seem to at least not frown upon HELPING poor people with food, schooling etc, but rather just frown on giving them cash.

If indeed you frown on helping anyone less fortunate then you because they are "lazy and stupid" Then I challenge you to get off your rich spoiled first world ass and go live for a year in a third world country.

There are billions of poor people that are not lazy or stupid. They are simply unlucky enough to be born into the wrong country. A poor 6 year old orphan who is starving to death and left to fend for themselves in Africa is not stupid or lazy.

Someone born in mexico, cental america, china, africa, or dozens of other places, who lives in a rural village that is actualy made of cardboard and scrap wood is not lazy or stupid. They are without opportunity, yes. They might even be ignorant as to the fact that life can be different. But that does not mean lazy and stupid.

In fact, if you travel at all and broaden your horizons you will find that most lazy and stupid people are NOT the poor people of the world but rather the rich ones that were born into a comfortable first world country.

Anonymous said...

donating factories is gevlon's point.
donating $$ is not.
Other than the "waste" part, donating pure money would interest the criminals, aggravating african's situation (and this happens, more than half of the money you donate goes in some evil's backpack)
in WOW, the "burn all the money" is still bad: yes, you increase the buying power for player-created things, but not for NPC-created things, such as repairs, flying mounts, mammoths (yes, it's useful for a raid to repair when you want. Bots need you to waste a possible 64ap/32sp slot, and when you're on cutting edge, everything counts)
For vanity items, you're not wasting your worthless gold/money, but the real and useful things used to produce it, which could probably used in some other better way.
The gold income in WOW is actually quite big, both from dropped gold and lvl80 dailies/quests, and the outcome is of the same greatness, decreasing the buying power of the AH-selling people in regards of repairs and mounts.

malkav said...

I disagree with your general endorsement of removing money from the economy (be it by burning it or putting it in a hole in the ground), and hope you can be persuaded to rethink it as well. I assume you are well aware that deflation can lead to economic harm just as easily as hyper-inflation. Or, even more generalized, any meddling with the liquidity preference/money availability equilibrium can produce harmful results.

Of course, this only applies to economic models where this equilibrium is actively preserved (e.g. by the government). In the game economy money availability is essentially infinite, meaning that burning money at best restabilizes the economy, and at worst does nothing at all.

LarĂ­sa said...

I hesitate to write a comment since I'm realy no expert in the economics of development countries and how you best should support them if you want to. I just wanted to point out that building factories necessary isn't the best way to help the third world. Sweden has a famous gigantic failure, a huge paper plant in Vietnam that was just a money sink that never got in use.

Giving away stuff can be quite devestating as well. I once visited Tanzania, where children were standing along the roads, begging for pens. Our guide said that it was a big problem for them. The intention from the tourists was good from the beginning - to give pens and not money, but the effect was that the kids didn't go to school as they should. They begged for pens instead. So we didn't give away a single pen.

What seems to be a good way to support the development in those countries is to offer micro loans. Loans that should be payed back. Especially a lot of women have managed to start small and eventually successfull enterprises thanks to those. I guess it's a more goblin way of welfare.

Armond said...

I think a big reason why people disagree with you on the "giving money to the poor is evil" part is that it assumes the basic statement of "you can make large amounts of money if you have more than bone between your ears". You've addressed this and shown why you think it's correct, but you (of course) have not convinced everyone.

Mark said...

My best guess for why people were upset about that "I'd rather burn it" line, is that people didn't take it literally like you meant it.

When I hear someone say "Give to the poor" or "Donate money to the poor," my first assumption is that they're talking about donating money to food pantries, charities, shelters, etc. I don't think "I should give some cash to the first poor family or person I come across."

And I think that something else to take into account is your general malevolent attitude towards the poor, which, frankly, puts me off your writing some. Yes, with hard work and perseverance, anyone can become wealthy and into a higher social class. But that can only happen within a perfect economic system, which doesn't actually exist on Earth. Even in a country as successful as the US, where plenty of people have come from the lowest ends of society to be titans of industry (or just successful in general), there are plenty of hardworking poor who are stuck being poor, no matter what they do, whether it's because of their lack of connections, environmental factors, familial factors, or whatever. You often seem to think that a capitalist country is a perfect, fair system, but it just isn't.

Tapir said...

Mark is right. Gevlon is well-versed on economic theory but its quite obvious that he *thinks* from a position of privilege. He bases all his conclusions about 'the poor' as he calls them on the sad delusion that as hard work always equals success, the unsuceful are always lazy and deserve to fail.
The truth is that millions of people have no chance of improving their situation simply because they have no access to education or training, no spare money to put aside and make savvy investments, and no free time to even explore those possibilities. We're talking about people who survive under wage slavery or the most basic subsistence farming in the poorest and most turbulent countries.
GG's attitude is, at best, naive. That's why his WoW economics and business posts are brilliant and fascinating while his 'philosophy and attitude' posts that purport to deal with the real world are cringingly ignorant and rather worthless

Hirvox said...

I hesitate to write a comment since I'm realy no expert in the economics of development countries and how you best should support them if you want to.
That's why many philantropists outsource the investment itself to experts. Of course, this also adds an additional layer of possible corruption if the charity does not function in a transparent manner.

I just wanted to point out that building factories necessary isn't the best way to help the third world. Sweden has a famous gigantic failure, a huge paper plant in Vietnam that was just a money sink that never got in use.
This reminds me of an episode of EconTalk which discussed funding schools in a way that integrated them to the community. People tend to be more committed when they're working to improve their own property than working for some faceless charity/corporation.

Giving away stuff can be quite devestating as well. I once visited Tanzania, where children were standing along the roads, begging for pens. Our guide said that it was a big problem for them. The intention from the tourists was good from the beginning - to give pens and not money, but the effect was that the kids didn't go to school as they should. They begged for pens instead. So we didn't give away a single pen.
I think this was a case where the feedback loop was skewed. If you just give away pens but don't tie it to going to school (and actually learning), then you'll end up rewarding counterproductive behavior. In this case, the kids might have just sold the pens and go back to beg for more.

Daniel said...

Now - to read grevlon's post correctly replace poor with beggars. Never ever give resource to them. On the other hand investment in education and infrastructure often pays off. One of my best friends father went from upper middle class to poor because one of his children caught very nasty and rare form of cancer that required extremely expensive treatment. So he needed to sacrifice his business for the survival of his son. And is still trying to rebound since then. Will I help him if I have the spear money - with capital and connections to start his business again if I have them - hell yes.

Gevlon said...

@for all who want to help poor countries: open the low-level product (raw materials, agricultural stuff) market of your country to the third world products. The bigest trap of the third world is that they cannot export food or raws to Europe or USA because of tolls or being uncompetitive to local, donated farmers. Remove the tolls and donations and the third world will flourish.

Molinu said...

While I agree that getting Vanity items in Real Life is useless, I'm not convinced the same applies to WoW.

Ultimately, defeating Arthas is pointless. If a server fails to defeat Arthas, it's not like Blizzard will delete our characters and take the server offline as 'destroyed by the scourge'.

Ultimately, the only 'real' reason to work to defeat Arthas is to enjoy the content. It's a lot more fun to be working on Ulduar hard modes than it is to boost M&S in Naxx. Fun is the point of the game.

Some people, myself included, enjoy vanity items. We enjoy them for silly reasons, but the silliness doesn't make them any less enjoyable. They are 'fun' for us.

The miner who sells the titansteel doesn't care if it gets made into a mechano-hog or a BoE epic - he has the profit from the titansteel's sale either way.

Carra said...

*Remove the tolls and donations and the third world will flourish.*

And it will also ruin the entire European farming. The only reason our farmers haven't gone bankrupt is because of those donations. It's not a healthy system but if we don't have it, we'll end up depending 100% on foreign countries for our food. And that's not a healthy system either.

Giving food, clothes or medicine will just make them entirely dependable on the rich countries. While it won't help them create their own food, clothes or medicines.

So we should open factories, right? Well, the only reason that a company would open a factory there is because of their low wages and thus the possibility to make huge profits. Expoiting the weak.

What to do with your money to help them improve then? The only reason we can have the wealth we have is because we get it on the back of the poor. If we want to raise them to our level of wealth, we'll all have to give up a part of our wealth. Pay a bit more for our coffee for example... Paying for fair trade products (eg Max havelaar coffee) would ge a good start.

Hirvox said...

And it will also ruin the entire European farming. The only reason our farmers haven't gone bankrupt is because of those donations. It's not a healthy system but if we don't have it, we'll end up depending 100% on foreign countries for our food. And that's not a healthy system either.
You're entirely correct on that. When political connections make more of an impact on the farmer's livelihood than efficiency or quality, then the industry will stagnate. And should that political clout ever evaporate or prove to be ineffective.. it won't be pretty.

Giving food, clothes or medicine will just make them entirely dependable on the rich countries. While it won't help them create their own food, clothes or medicines.
Indeed, teaching a man to fish is generally a better idea, but nutrition and health have a tremendous impact even before an individual is old enough to learn. And diseases, especially Malaria, keep a significant portion of the otherwise able workforce bedridden or tending to the sick.

What to do with your money to help them improve then? The only reason we can have the wealth we have is because we get it on the back of the poor.
If the industry is work-intensive, yes. Fortunately, technology (the earliest example being agriculture) generally makes us more effective and thus we don't need everyone for raw resource gathering, but can spread the workforce around the supply chain.

If we want to raise them to our level of wealth, we'll all have to give up a part of our wealth. Pay a bit more for our coffee for example... Paying for fair trade products (eg Max havelaar coffee) would ge a good start.
That could work in theory.. but so does communism. Here we would also run into the problem of a skewed feedback loop. If "Evil Oppressor" brand coffee is cheaper than fair trade coffee, then anyone buying it will benefit themselves and at the same time support the corrupt system. And as long as the externalities (consequences rising from their actions that have an effect on others) are in place, this will not change. Self-interest is a very powerful motivator, and despite the flaws capitalism has, at least it tries to turn that self-interest into a productive force.

Squidge said...

Buying vanity is useless?

You're so horribly wrong here.
Those items create a demand, be it increasing the demand on something already existing (titansteel and therefor the materials that make a bar) or something completely new (no example i can think of in WoW really but think about sportscars).

Sticking to the titansteel, the items crafted from titansteel are close to useless since you can get better stuff with less effort.
My alts never had a single titansteel item and i got a DK tank and ret/holy pala.

But you really have to look at the real world to see why you're wrong.
If people only bought what they needed than things would be made of durable materials only. Gold would be something you'd only see in high end electronice products and not around your gf's neck / wrist.
You would never be able to buy a fast car since it's not needed. Cars would be made to reach speeds just above the speedlimit. (emergency vehicles not included ofc)
And even cheaper products like certain types of food would not be made.

My point is, because people are able to spend money on vanity the economy works. People want a bigger TV because it's nice to watch movies in Full HD, they want a nice car to feel comfortable in and show other ppl they can affort it etc etc.

Back to WoW, if you buy all the materials for a chopper you do contribute to the economy in a healthy way.
You create a demand for titansteel and people who can't be bothered playing the AH and just like to farm have a way of making some gold.
Even buying pets from a vendor isn't bad since it'll increase the value of gold since there's less of it now in the gameworld.

The only bad thing you can do is just give it away but even that is only bad for the player you're giving it to and not for the economy because he will spend it in the AH.

I think the number 1 thing harming the economy at the moment at the moment are the dailies and the amount of money you get from killing world mobs.
Cause that's basicly the government printing extra momey and therefor devaluating the currency.

Just my 2 cents :)
Keep up the good blog.

- Squidge

*vlad* said...

The poor are starving.

"Let them eat cake".

Don't know the quote? Look up the French Revolution.

Categorising all poor people as M&S really is an extreme view.
A lot of people in the 3rd world work tremendously hard to feed themselves and their families, and yet they will never be rich.
Just surviving is enough.

The inequalities of the have and have-nots have never been more apparent.

I know your posts are not to be taken too seriously, but they sometimes border on the psychopathic.

Joe Nothin' said...

know this is only tenuasly connected to the post, but i'd be happy if this wouldn't be deleted:

There is something we, all the people who wnat to make this world a better place, should do: donate to greenpeace.
Each country that has a greenpeace branch needs supporters. Those supporters are people who donate a small amount of thier money or time, therby showing that they care enough about the enviroment and giving alot of polotical power the the greenpeace lobby. This allowes pressur on the governmants and the changing of laws, such as hardening regulations on what's allowed to be spilled into the ocean and creating contracts for renewable energy based power plants. It's also the only budget greenpeace has, and it allows for its oporation.

I know we goblins have an aversion to the word "donate", but this isn't giving money to the poor. This is funding proffesionals that fight for our air, our seas, our lands. We should all pitch in, and just like you said, gavlon, every little bit counts, especially because greenpeace gains more from the fact someone is a supporter then they do from the dontaion itself.

Go to greenpeace.org, read up, and be a part us something good.

Thanks for the shamless ad, gavlon, and i hope you wont delete this [Reading you, i'm pretty sure you are already a supporter].

Barrista said...

I think there is a difference between "helping poor people" as most think of it and as gev, myself, and many others think of it.

Helping can be done in MANY ways and throwing money (and only money) at a problem does nothing unless the person knows how to use the money correctly. So you will say, "But the person was laid off and that is why he is homeless". While this may be ligitimate for people who are in lower paying jobs, middle income people should have been saving all along and not buying the biggest TV, SUV etc. For these people, if you give them money, they will find a way to waste it.

I have a friend who carries sandwiches in a plastic bag when he drives downtown. If a homeless person asks for money, he gives them food instead.

@Anonymous:
There are billions of poor people that are not lazy or stupid. They are simply unlucky enough to be born into the wrong country. This is true, but just giving them money still doesn't help. They will stay in the same country and that country will take any help you send them for their leaders. Oddly enough, you are in front of your computer typing this and not in Africa. You are doing the very thing you are chastising Gev for... not helping. You comment doesn't help these poor african nations in any way.

Barrista said...

P.S. For all you who think that that Gevlon is writing from privledge, not necessarily. Maybe it's the opposite. You'll find most people who have poor backgrounds (myself included) have little pity for the poor. We decided to pull ourselves out and not screw ourselves up with drugs/alcohol/excessive material possessions. We decided to let nothing get in our way of not getting ourselves into the same situation our parents were in.

Steven said...

There's a novel by Spider Robinson (Callahan's Legacy iirc) the Buck Rogers character has inherited around a million dollars and cannot think of anything better to do than burn it as well. :) You're not alone Greedy goblin.

Tapir said...

P.S. For all you who think that that Gevlon is writing from privledge, not necessarily. Maybe it's the opposite. You'll find most people who have poor backgrounds (myself included) have little pity for the poor. We decided to pull ourselves out and not screw ourselves up with drugs/alcohol/excessive material possessions. We decided to let nothing get in our way of not getting ourselves into the same situation our parents were in.Still thinking from the position of privilege, like GG. Privilege is not being born into wealth and opportunity. It's being born in a country where if you work hard and avoid pitfalls (like drugs, crime, blah blah) you can improve your situation. GG (and you, I guess) suffers from the delusion that this is possible in all nations, which is clearly false. Even if all 'The Poor' [the worthless, lazy failures according to GG] in wealthy nations could improve their lot via manifest destiny, the American capitalist dream (and no, they couldn't all do it even if they were potential Bransons/Rockefellers/Fords) that doesn't mean that 'The Poor' in poorer countries could.

csdx said...

Actually it's quite easy to prove that we're all privledged here in one statement: We all are posting here.
This likely means we have some sort of regular internet access, and the net savvy to navigate to this blog. Furthermore, we also likely are tossing money at Blizzard for our own vanity (WoW).

Anyways, I agree with the earlier mentioned idea of mico-loans to help people start businesses in other countries. This both helps the people (since it's not just a handout) and can help the community as well.

Also there's really no reason to try to take money out of circulation. Firstly, it's ineffective, the government will just print more to cover your amount, and when you spend yours, just take it back. Second, it's stupid from a greedy perspective, if I hide all my money, then everyone else's is worth more, so I just helped everyone who's not me including all the M&S and whoever.

Shawn said...

Gevlon,

I'm curious where you live because your posts continue to show how ignorant you are.

I don't mean that as an insult, just simply a statement of fact on how much knowledge you do not have about poverty and people in poverty around the world.

"Giving it[money] to the poor. This is the worst of all, as it rewards laziness and stupidity, harming the world."

If you believe laziness and stupidity are what causes people to be poor, than it makes me wonder how much contact you have with those in poverty. As a minister, I've been working with people in poverty for years, here in the U.S. and in other countries.

Yes, some poor people are lazy and stupid, but some rich people are lazy and stupid. Laziness and stupidity knows no economic boundaries. The majority of people I have worked with are in poverty because of factors beyond their control. And many of them work harder in poverty than most people I know (myself included) who have full-time jobs.

"if you really, really want to give something to the poor, give them clothes, medicine or food, never-ever money. If you give food, you support the food producers, as they get your money. If you give money, you support the gamblers and liquor and drug dealers of the sector."

As a minister, I also come into contact with people who have problems with gambling, drugs and alcohol. These problems cut across all financial realms. It's just more publicly in sight in poorer neighborhoods. If you buy products from corporations I guarantee you that a good portion of that money fuels the gambling, drug and alcohol problems that middle-class and upper-class employees have.

You may know a lot about the World of Warcraft. But you continue to show how little you know about the real world.

Ben said...

I think the fault in your logic is that you view all of the poor as (M&S). However, any system needs these people to do the mandatory low reward jobs. The system could always be better if the bottom 5% were purged. History shows that someone is required to do the "undesirable" jobs. If you do not feed the poor, they revolt and the system colapses. So even the (M&S) need some level of contribution. If they did not they would not be M&S, but you need them.

Yaggle said...

If you give money to poor people, and they spend it on gambling, the casino businesses make profits, which they partly distribute to casino workers, such as blackjack dealers where the poor person loses their money, and cocktail waitresses which bring drinks to the poor person. The casino businessmen will spend on improving the casino, maybe adding floorspace for newer better slot machines, adding a restraunt, or hiring people to renovate the casino. You may encourage the poor people to continue to be lazy or make poor choices by giving them money, but you will also be creating work for others, depending on how the poor person wastes that money.

Karl said...

The problem here is that everyone is making connections to the truly poor of the world, and comparing them to the poor M&S of WoW. Unlike the poor of the world, the M&S are born "equal" and can easily fund their adventures if they choose to. Even if you're an idiot, you can still farm and do dailies.

The poor of the world, on the other hand, will always be with us. Most are poor because they are born into it, and few get the chances to improve, and fewer still make good use of those chances.

The biggest challenge in changing the world of the poor is to break the cycle of evil governments that take advantage of their people. Ironically, it was the capitalist west that installed many of those governments, ever since the west went exploring.

thoumyvision said...

In fact, if you travel at all and broaden your horizons you will find that most lazy and stupid people are NOT the poor people of the world but rather the rich ones that were born into a comfortable first world country. If I'm reading into some of Gevlon's previous posts properly I would guess he is Hungarian (he mentioned in his post asking for a guild that he would want a guild to speak either Hungarian or English). This means that, unless he is younger than 20, he was born in communist Hungary. I would then assume that he has seen firsthand what a system which takes money from the productive and gives it to the M&S can do to a country over a 42 year period. Voluntarily giving your money to those who will not work is no better than having it taken from you by force. The assumption that rich people are lazy is false, The percentage of lazy rich people is much smaller than that of poor one's, the only way lazy people get rich is to inherit it, i.e. Paris Hilton. Eventually the idle rich will fritter away their wealth, distributing it through their own stupidity. It might happen over a few generations, but the dynasties who stay rich are the ones who keep their strong work ethic from generation to generation. They may appear to be lazy, but that is because the work they do is behind closed doors, all the media focuses on is their leisure activities, which are often extravagant (because they can afford it)

Anonymous said...

I am rather curious as how you would categorize individuals with serious mental or physical health problems and how they fit into your reality.

Barrista said...

@Tapir:
We can only truly compare apples to apples. I'm sure even in the poorest countries there are those who are "well off" and make half of what I do. It's all relative and that's the standpoint I spoke of.

That being said, there is a great chance that those who are "well off" in these countries have absolutely no pity on their poor brethren. Why? Because they likely feel that if they did it, then anyone can. That was my point! If these "well off" and "rich" people from those poorer countries did not have this attitude as well, then you'd have people who were a lot better off as a whole.

We tend to ascribe the poor and downtrodden as having better morals where money and caregiving are concerned than do those who are more fortunate and that is merely a romantic notion.

In any case, I agree with Shawn. He made a good point for NOT being charitable whether he realized it or not. United Way and all these charitable organizations help themselves with your money far more than you may realize.

And for those of you who are complaining about not giving to the poor across the globe? Quit shopping at Wal-mart/Target/K-mart. The items you buy there come from sweat shops and keep these people destitute. If not, you have no right to criticize as you have helped these people into the position they are now. Same with your electronics whose customer service is handled in India. They have it there because it's cheap. But once again, your possessions win out. So you have no right to lecture anyone on not knowing anything about the world or being selfish jerks. Pointing out someone elses flaws doesn't erase your own.

Daniel A. said...

burning your RL $ has very little effect (& i'd wager almost none) on the value of RL $ as long as the Fed and the banksters keep the fractional reserve lending scam rolling.

any value added by $'s increased scarcity (a result of the burning) will be swallowed up by massive daily increases in the gross volume fiat currency.

and btw, the primary buyers/consumers of gambling / booze / drugs aint the poor.

recently discovered your blog and i'm enjoying it. many thanks. (btw - you should have a podcast. consider it.)

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of confusion in various posts about the cause of falling prices.

Gold only enters the server gold supply (total gold on all accounts):
1. Gold dropped from Mobs
2. Gold given by NPC vendors for items
3. Gold from quest rewards
4. Server transfers (if you consider the gold supply of all servers, this is negated).

Gold leaves the supply from:
1. Items bought from NPC vendors
2. Repairs
3. AH fees
4. Training
5. If someone quits the game and never comes back, his gold is effectively removed.

If you earn money from the AH, yes your gold increases, but the total server gold supply slightly decreases from the AH fee. If everyone tried to make $ from professions (crafting, farming ore/herbs, etc) and none did dailies / farmed mobs (gold and vendor trash), ah prices would eventually drop to the point people would just vendor items rather than list them.

The deflation noted is basically the monkey sinks outweighing the money sources.

One theory is the money sinks are a bit too effective. (vanity mounts, flying mount training).

Another way to look at it though is that in a perfectly working market, the gold per hour you can earn from any activity will eventually collapse to be at or below the amount you can earn from dailies. Granted, this ignores utility and difficulty. If glyphing and farming were both 100 gold/hour, most would farm deeming glyphing too much of a pita. If someone hates dailies, but likes looking for nodes, they may be fine with 80 gold / hour instead of 100 from dailes.

IMO, the higher prices early in WoTLK can be attributed to the fact you end up with around 4k in gold just from leveling from 70-80 assuming you bought mininmal things. When people feel they have alot, the spend easier, not realizing the stuff they bought from the AH is supporting someone herb/mining for 1500 gold/hour. Or making glyphs for whatever it is Gevlon makes.

-Aanar

Ontherocks said...

It is very telling that Gevlon rarely ever addresses a comment made by someone that challenges his assertion that the poor are M&S. This view indicates someone very young and full of all the knowledge a book can give him, yet utterly and completely ignorant in how the world actually works. In other words, Gevlon lacks perspective and worse lacks the interest to get it because of the amount of book knowledge he has.

This blog is fascinating in the same way that I stare at a car wreck as I go by. It's a glimpse into one person's macabre view of the world. It's sad, and I can't help but pity him. (Yes, another worthless ape-subroutine, in Gevlon's vernacular)

Anonymous said...

PS2: if you really, really want to give something to the poor, give them clothes, medicine or food, never-ever money. If you give food, you support the food producers, as they get your money. If you give money, you support the gamblers and liquor and drug dealers of the sector.A lot of posts have been made contrasting the M&S in wow and the poor in Africa. With respect to the latter, your advice above is wrong. We should be sending money and not food. The money however should to go African farmers to provide food for their own local countries.

This is what a number of aid organizations are advocating as the only way to solve the long term problem of poverty there.

Poor conditions make farming difficult, but nothing insurmountable. But there is no point so long as subsidized grain from well meaning western countries undercuts them.

Anonymous said...

The assumption that rich people are lazy is false, The percentage of lazy rich people is much smaller than that of poor one's, the only way lazy people get rich is to inherit it, i.e. Paris Hilton. Eventually the idle rich will fritter away their wealth, distributing it through their own stupidity. It might happen over a few generations, but the dynasties who stay rich are the ones who keep their strong work ethic from generation to generation.Your naivety is shining brightly. And you are only considering the first world wealthy as rich and the first world "poor" as poor. And your view might hold true in this sense. But in reality even people on welfare or minimum wage in a first world country are extremely rich when viewed and compared on a world stage.

What I meant in the post that you quoted, is that the worlds poor, the people in third world countries that are barely scraping by DO work much harder then the vast majority of people in a first world country. I've met people that get up and WALK 10 miles to work in the morning and then work all day at back breaking labour and then walk 10 miles back home to their mud and cardboard hut, and they do this for 1-2 dollars a day. Then they have to clean and cook for their family. THAT IS HARD WORK. Or people in africa that have to carry water on their heads all day long just so their family can have enough to stay alive. THAT IS HARD WORK. We rich people in the developed world don't have to work that hard. We are the lucky. We have leisure time. We have expendable cash. Even the poorest of us in first world countries do.

You say the only rich who don't work hard are those who inherit like Paris Hilton. But in the grand scheme of things you ARE one of the paris hiltons of the world.

Anonymous said...

Barrista said

This is true, but just giving them money still doesn't help. They will stay in the same country and that country will take any help you send them for their leaders. Oddly enough, you are in front of your computer typing this and not in Africa. You are doing the very thing you are chastising Gev for... not helping. You comment doesn't help these poor african nations in any way.A) reading comprehension is important. Learn to read the entire post and take it in context.

In post are are quoting I stated that people were possibly misunderstanding Gevlon's stance that all forms of help = giving money = bad. And that while just giving cash rarely has any help that actual helpful things are not bad. So in that we are in agreement.

As for the rest of your comment....

B) nice straw man argument. 1... how do you know my computer is not in africa? lol. and 2.. when did I say me being on my computer was helping the poor? Of course reading this blog isn't.... but that doesn't mean I don't do other things that DO help.

Molinu said...

@ Damn Near Everyone:

Get a GRIP people. The sheer amount of bile I'm seeing here is absolutely amazing. I wish I had time to make a rebuttal for every logical fallacy, but I honestly don't have an entire week to spare.

It doesn't matter what 'position' Gevlon is writing from. He has backed his arguments up with sound fact and tested economic theory. I disagree with him on minor points (the economic impact of vanity items), but not on the major ones.

In particular, a LOT of you are ignoring Gev's previous posts on the subject. This is far from the first time Gev has discussed how to improve the condition of the poor, and a lot of you are bringing up arguments he's already made a rebuttal against. If you're not willing to take the time to do a bit of digging before launching into a tirade, don't be surprised if Gev doesn't bother taking the time to reply to you.

Poor people are M&S. It is NOT necessarily their fault - they might be stuck with little or no education, or in an economy that's collapsed and has no productive work available. It still doesn't change the fact that simply giving them a wad of cash isn't going to do a damn thing to improve their long-term situation. Without an education to guide them or a productive economy to inject money into, the money you sent might as well be toilet paper.

What Gev is suggesting is that we take a long-term view. Rather than just give to the needy, why not take a look at *why* they are in need and donate to projects that will address those long-term needs? People need steady jobs and an education more than they need handouts.

thoumyvision said...

What I meant in the post that you quoted, is that the worlds poor, the people in third world countries that are barely scraping by DO work much harder then the vast majority of people in a first world country. I've met people that get up and WALK 10 miles to work in the morning and then work all day at back breaking labour and then walk 10 miles back home to their mud and cardboard hut, and they do this for 1-2 dollars a day. Then they have to clean and cook for their family. THAT IS HARD WORK. Or people in africa that have to carry water on their heads all day long just so their family can have enough to stay alive. THAT IS HARD WORK. We rich people in the developed world don't have to work that hard. We are the lucky. We have leisure time. We have expendable cash. Even the poorest of us in first world countries do. It gets me pretty aggravated when people make the assumption that mindless physical labor is somehow more noble and "hard" than the work of the mind, and that those of us who can work without sweat are somehow "lucky".

We are not lucky, luck has nothing to do with it. I am from the US, and as such I am reaping the rewards of the hard work and determination of a people who came to an untamed land, made it their own and in less than 150 years turned it into one of the most prosperous and influential nations in history. They weren't lucky, they were incredibly hard working individuals, but they were also smart (i.e. not morons). Working hard has little value if you do not also work smart. This is why an airline pilot who is required by regulations to fly no more than 15 hours a week is paid 1000% more than a janitor working overtime every week just to make ends meet.

Many of us in developed countries have inherited the work ethic, but obviously those people in 3rd world countries who are walking 10 miles every day to work all day have inherited a strong work ethic too. What they have not inherited is the attitude that it is possible to improve one's lot through hard work and determination. This lack is what makes them morons, or ignorant if you like. The worst thing we can do is to give money to these people, therefor reinforcing the cultural attitude that they are lesser people in need of monetary assistance. It may be cliched by now, but the truism of teaching a man to fish still stands.

Travis said...

Its been a long time since I've read it, but I think you'd really like "The Gospel of Wealth" by Carnegie.

Also for people complaining that we should be helping out people in 3rd world areas, check out kiva.org - its a program to _lend_ them money with a plan to pay it back.

brad said...

@thoumyvision

What they have not inherited is the attitude that it is possible to improve one's lot through hard work and determination. This lack is what makes them morons, or ignorant if you like.Wow.

Just...wow.

Suppose you're born in a remote village 25 miles from the nearest school, electricity, or running water. Your entire family and your friends all have to go to work in the fields from childhood in order to grow the food you need to survive. Over your life, you have optimized the yield of your plot of land enough so that your family isn't literally starving like some people you know in the next village. You have diversified into having some livestock as well as crops. Yet you do not have the luxury of having gone to school and have no access to books. There is literally no way you could have gotten a formal education in this setting, and some moron from half-way around the world calling themselves "thoumyvision" is claiming that you are poor because you don't think it's possible to improve your lot through hard work and determination.

Toad said...

Going back to the initial reason for Gevlon's "burn it" post: I think that giving money to a topguild to join them as an economist who raids at his pleasure (instead of at the guild schedule) is a great idea because it's something different and fun. It adds flavor to the game. It's original. It adds depth to the guild and to Gevlon's history as a player. It's a conversation piece. Everyone involved seems to be having fun with it. Situations like this that help all players involved get some more enjoyment out of a game they've been playing for a long time are known as win-win.

Originality and flavor are key elements to keeping people interested and having fun. Doing something new that puts a different spin on the game for yourself and other players, and that everyone enjoys, is always a good thing, even if it doesn't quite work out. And this seems to have worked out which is the icing on the cake.

Anonymous said...

We are not lucky, luck has nothing to do with it. I am from the US, and as such I am reaping the rewards of the hard work and determination of a people who came to an untamed land, made it their own and in less than 150 years turned it into one of the most prosperous and influential nations in history. They weren't lucky, they were incredibly hard working individuals, but they were also smart (i.e. not morons). Working hard has little value if you do not also work smart. This is why an airline pilot who is required by regulations to fly no more than 15 hours a week is paid 1000% more than a janitor working overtime every week just to make ends meet..

You are lucky. By your own admission you were born in the US and are reaping the rewards of people that came before you.

YOU did not build the US. YOU did not create the life you were born into. So yes.. your situation has everything to do with the place you were born and not how hard you yourself have worked.

Your self delusions and self importance are laughable.... entertaining but laughable.

Rubymelon said...

What do you think about the category of people who have disabilities or illnesses outside of their control (ex. cancer). There are many cases where their families work so hard, and do their best to support their ill/disabled family member but struggle with medical prices, equipment ect. I personally think it would not be a waste of money to support this category. Perhaps directly giving money is not the best way, but supporting medical fees/medicine.

As for the poor, I think there are different categories of people for that. There are people who are lazy and don't do anything and are poor as a result of that. But there are also people who are poor who try to support their family, and work hard but can't support the bills or what not. So I think along the lines of your PS2, supporting them with clothing and what not, and maybe setting up a place for them where they can have an opportunity to learn how to support themselves would be a good idea.

Chris said...

"YOU did not build the US. YOU did not create the life you were born into. So yes.. your situation has everything to do with the place you were born and not how hard you yourself have worked."

I think the fundamental difference between you and this poster is the view on offspring responsibility. He views the hard/smart working individual's lineage as ownership of that person, and you see life individually, that there is no way an individual should be negatively effected by his forefathers.

I'm not sure where I stand on this, nor do I even know if this is the case. Does anyone happen to know of any further reading on a topic such as this?

baltanok said...

Would deleting money really change the prices of items? I would think that the $ supply that matters is the amount that is moving through the economy, not the amount sitting in a bank.

I suppose that if you continue earning $ & throwing it into the great forge in IF, that would improve peoples buying power.

also, what would the equivalent of micro-loans be in WoW? Handing out linen bags to starting characters? Possibly offering to buy gathered mats for a percentage of the market value?

(I know that I'd be happy to sell ore to a goblin at 90% of whatever they can get for it. he gets profit for standing around the AH, I get an AH expert to sell my stuff for me)

Stropp said...

An individual deleting or burning physical money by themselves would have no real effect on a first world economy like the US. Aside from the fact that it is illegal to do so, (try burning a note or two on the steps of a police station) paper money is simply a means of exchange which is controlled by the government.

If Bill Gates and Warren Buffet got together and burned their collective fortunes, the US Treasury would simply reprint it the next day. There would be absolutely no effect on prices.

Nor would secretly burying it have much effect on prices either. Wether it's kept in a bank account or withdrawn and buried for a hundred years, it is still in circulation and the government takes this into account. They'll also print new money according to demand from the banks, not necessarily by how much is on the street.

When it finally gets dug up and used it may cause a fluctuation due to more money being on the market, but the government will fix that by either printing less for a while, or by taking it off the street through normal banking processes and destroying it themselves.

In a lot of ways the same thing applies to WoW. A player deleting all their gold, however they do it, won't have much of an effect. WoW has the opposite problem (of inflation) most of the time as gold is too easy to get and there are no real controls on limitation of cash coming into the economy. Think of what would happen to the US if the treasury just ran the presses hot. Hint - Check out Zimbabwe's recent fiscal history.

Russell said...

Gevlon,

Others have covered the obvious economic hazard of burning your money (deflationary trap, anyone?) but I would like to cover a different area.

This post might some up what I find so puzzling about you. You usually claim to act in an almost robotic how-do-I-get-my-percentage sort of way in your daily life. You say vanity items are useless and anyone who buys them is wasting their money.

Yet you can't resist explicit moralizing when anything involving the poor comes up. Giving money to the poor is "...the worst of all, as it rewards laziness and stupidity, harming the world. If you give it to the poor, you are doing something evil, just like if you would pay hooligans to destroy cars and such. Because of your action, more and more people will decide to abandon working and start leeching on the world." Giving money to the poor is the very same thing as putting the boot in at the next West Ham match. You say, much like American politicians, that we must have food stamps and not cash because it's wrong to spend taxpayer money on drugs. I'll just pass over the bald assertion that literally every single poor person is a drug fiend.

I don't support food stamps, and instead support just cash payments for simple, goblinish reasons. Everyone has SOME cash, even if it's from turning in cans at the supermarket, so the drug users just spend their cash on drugs and use the food stamps for food. Therefore, food stamps or other forms of material support make absolutely no difference in terms of total drugs consumed, and require a massive federal bureaucracy that consumes $7 for every $1 paid out.

Wiggin said...

Hey Gevlon, if you haven't already, take some time to read Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers: The Story of Success."

It might give you some new insights into your own, as well as others' perspectives on economics, hard work, and opportunity.

Here is a brief amazon blip:

"Malcolm Gladwell poses a more provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky."

Anyways, always enjoy your entries, whether I curse at my screen, smile inside, or clap in agreement :)

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this makes a lot of sense. Seeing as how you support giving to causes that work for the improvement of mankind's potential as a whole, and dislike giving to individuals who don't earn it in any way, how do you feel about supporting people who, through no fault of their own, become unable to support themselves? For instance, a person gets, lets say inoperable, incurable cancer, and doesn't have the money, insurance, or other resources to pay for treatment. Is it better to give them money, and comfort them in their dying days? or give it to a research institute working on an as-yet far off treatment for the disease, in order to help future sufferers of the disease, at the cost of the people suffering in the present?
If I come off as a troll, it's not by intention- I'm honestly curious as to which outcome you would prefer.

Felix said...

Look you damn trolls don't piss off the goblin or he's gonna go Galt on us.

sal said...

its a common misconception of the spoilt western world that hard work is always gonna be valued and paid for appropriately and therefore everyone has a chance to improve his social or economic status. this is not the case at all, 'hard work' is not a set figure but relative throughout the globe. in many countries you can work your ass off and still stay poor, you cannot chose what system you are born in. calling these people lazy is the epitome of western ignorance. one example is south africa where we ruin the inland markets with our superfluous cheap export wares with which prices no local farmer could ever compete. their corrupt govs do not regulate it via tax or restrictions and do not protect their own people. after all cheap is good right, greed for the win goblins?

we are not the makers of our own luck people, you might like to see yourself like that but most of you (me included) with enough time on your hands to frequent internet blogs and spend time posting their oh-so educated opinions about this and that are nothing but lucky and do not really know what hard work means. one tip: it's not working 30-40hours in some office and a coffee machine. and i'm sure you do work for your money and you think you earned it too but in fact you are lucky to live somewhere where there is such work available and where it gets paid the way it is.
luck - nothing but luck. so what i miss here most of all is a little bit of modesty and thankfulness for the gifts you were given by sheer luck, not your own effort at all.

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