Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is everyone a possible valued customer?

While I usually don't answer several comments as I find it pointless to argue with people with completely different point of view, I do read every comment carefully, seeking for ones that have unique ideas.

I got a comment "Can't you can make an argument that it's useful to treat EVERYONE as a potential valued customer?"

It made me think a lot. And I think answering this question is much bigger than itself. It's answering "why do socialism must fail?"

Socialists claim that the idea is still great and the most humane: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". They claim that the existing socialist states and movements are all twisted by greedy power-hungry or simply pitiful men who were unworthy to form the Utopia. With proper people, the Utopia could exists.

I never believed it could. But I never could disprove it. Many claim that the socialist Utopia is unfalsifyable as it requires the non-exisiting "soviet man" who gives according his abilities without reward for himself, and all failure can be blamed on the real people not being soviet men.

I think I can falsify the Utopia.

We already pay tax according to our abilities, without reward. Not because we are soviet men, but because otherwise we would get into jail. If you earn 2x more, you pay 2x more or even more with progressive tax. You pay this tax or you go to jail.

Granted, one can decide (and I did) to work less than he could, therefore earn less, pay less tax. This way he can optimize against his valuation of time vs money. With higher taxes this event could go rampart. However there are methods for forced labor and controlling people via Big Brother systems and the socialists never had problems using them. With the current technical equipment, the total control of the state could be achieved, therefore to comply to the Utopia enforced. North Korea does it more or less, but it does not look like a prosperous Utopia.

The problem is not with the greedy people who want more for themselves than the others. They could be forced. The problem is not with the lazy people who simply don't care. They could be forced. The problem is with the morons, whose abilities are low. They are unable to provide for the society, therefore cannot be forced.

Let's imagine the Utopia where everyone are soviet men who happily give his best to the state and it distribute the values according to needs without corruption. If X% of the population are morons, then at least X% of the GDP is wasted by giving to them. "at least" because the moron has the tendency of getting into trouble, therefore having higher needs. The fat smoking guy needs more health care than I do. Let's call the "increased needs because of dumbness" factor Y. So the productive, working guys of Utopia can only use (100-X*Y)% of the GDP they produce. On the other hand, in the goblin utopia the morons starve to death, and all GDP remains in the use of the working guys.

We need resources for existence and also to invest in the future. Of course the working people of the second system has more resources left for reinvestment, progressing their system faster.

That's why the imperfect socialist utopia (real socialist country) have much less GDP than the imperfect goblin utopia (real capitalist country). And that's why I cannot treat everyone as possible valued customer. He is simply too stupid to plan a long-term cooperation with him. I must take all his money now, because he will waste it by tomorrow one way or another. Don't leave money on the table!

When you find a wallet next to a rock, you can't split the money with the rock for a perspective of a long-term relationship. The rock cannot provide you further wallets as it is unable to produce them. It obtained its first wallet by blind luck. It's a piece of rock for God's sake!

When you encounter with a piece of rock, don't get fooled by irrelevant circumstances like this rock has two legs, arms, nose. A plastic doll in the fashion shop or an ape have all these stuff too.

You can only get a long-term relationship with intelligent creatures. And they are pretty rare nowadays, exactly because socialist thinking does not reward the often "not fun" process of "learning" that changes a piece of meat into a human being.


Unglar said...

One of your harsher commentaries I think Gevlon, an interesting point though.

Wouldn't a socialist argue that North Korea is a bad example of a forced utopia purely because those doing the forcing do not apply the rules for themselves? It's been a while since I studied communism, but I think the theory is that as soon as someone is in charge they are not soviet man you refer to and the system begins to break down.
Also, I'm not sure your goblin utopia is really capitalism, to me it seems more like the capitalist branch of anarchism. I would argue that in order to sustain a capitalist system without the revolution Marx saw there must be a "consolation prize" for those that do not own a means of production - limited socialism.
In terms of WoW, no such socialism is needed at the AH, mainly because players cannot revolt and steal your money through force of numbers and a characters actual living costs are 0 so it is possible for a social to play the game without any money at all.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, I was also thinking about N Korea. They are arguably, as a country, relatively non-smart, non-productive etc. And yet they (almost?) have the atomic bomb and, as a result, they can't be ignored.

That's why I believe the capitalist 'utopia' is as impossible as the socialist one: M&S, while relatively less capable of productive activities, are significant in terms of how they can farm the productive and therefore can ask for a "protection" fee.

graham said...

A hardworking tailor owns and runs his own business, he works hard and is very successful for many decades. One day there is an accident and he loses the fine motor control in his hands. He cannot work as a tailor, or anything else which requires delicate use of his hands. And he's not a young man anymore, he can't really get into manual or strenuous labour. He had to spend his savings on medical bills and so does not have much of a buffer, he has to start working right away, but is unable to find anything and so relegated to begging.

I feel like it is okay to be ruthless with people who are unproductive because they are stupid or lazy because these are somehow faults which they are to be held responsible for...
but what about people who, for all intents and purposes, are the victims of "circumstances"?
We shoot race horses with broken legs, is that the attitude to take with other people too?

SCdF said...

"We already pay tax according to our abilities, without reward. Not because we are soviet men, but because otherwise we would get into jail. If you earn 2x more, you pay 2x more or even more with progressive tax. You pay this tax or you go to jail."

How much you earn says something about a number of things, not necessarily your abilities. Men get paid more than woman, on average. Certain types of people (basically people who argue for raises and constantly negotiate their sallary) get paid more. People who know people get paid more. People who play the field pay more. People who have certain types of jobs (scarcer jobs means you can afford to ask for more money, certain other jobs make more profits for your bosses and so once again can afford to have higher sallaries) get paid more. Teachers get paid a tiny sallary (in my country) and yet are charged with raising the youth of the entire nation (children spend far more time in school with teachers than they do with their parents).

"The problem is with the morons, whose abilities are low. They are unable to provide for the society, therefore cannot be forced."

I don't belive that. Assuming equal drive, culture and education I would put good money on there being more manual labour / menial jobs than people who's natural capped ability precludes them from doing anything more laudable. I don't have any stats, but then again, neither do you.

"The fat smoking guy needs more health care than I do."

Various studies[citation-needed] suggest that healthier people cost more in health care because they live longer, and the longer you live the more likely you are going to get slow, wasting diseases like cancer, heart problems etc.

As an aside, communism works, as far as I can tell, only when everyone is a willing participant, i.e. communes. It also probably doesn't scale (the more people, the harder is it to make sure people aren't exploiting the system) but I have no knowledge or stats to back that up.

Anonymous said...

'When you encounter with a piece of rock, don't get fooled by irrelevant circumstances like this rock has two legs, arms, nose. A plastic doll in the fashion shop or an ape have all these stuff too.

Best quote i've ever read in a blog.

Sven said...

The fundamental problem with communism is indeed the non-existence of "soviet man" (or, to be more precise, the non-universality of soviet man. It's the classic "well, you wouldn't want to start from here" problem.

Any proposed system of government has to have not only a final goal, but a workable means of moving towards that goal. That's where communism fails; there is no magical means of turning the existing goblins into soviet men. You can make them pretend to be community spirited, but that doesn't mean they really are.

Mao Tse Tung is perhaps the classic example. Before deciding that joing the communist party was the best route to power, he said:

"I do not think that these [commands like "do not kill, "do not steal" and "do not slander] have to do with conscience. I think they are only out of self-interest for self-preservation. All considerations must "be purely calculations for oneself and absolutely not for obeying external ethical codes, or for so-called feelings of responsibility".

(Source: Jung Chang & Jon Halliday's biography)

It's hard to imagine a better statement of the goblin way.

rapidresponceunit said...

Great post. I hate the idea of a utopia in any form. You will never hear a rich successful person say, "I wish we lived in a utopia"

Cingy said...

According to Schumpeter (in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy) capitalism will in the end fail because goblins will end up in a situation where they have to compete for resources on two sides.

On the supply side they compete for resources (e.g. people grinding herbs). On the demand side they compete with each other driving prices down. Only by achieving monopoly or fixing prices will they be able to have a more or less stable market. I think this is a good description of what Gevlon does.

At the same time, this dual competition will redistribute capital to the working class much more efficient than a soviet bureaucracy will ever do, because of cheap mass production, low prices of products, and rising cost of labor (grinding).

Socialism will fail because the market and value are not stable over time. What is considered equal according to their needs today, is unequal tomorrow. Taking the health care example, if we find a new revolutionairy treatment against cancer or aids tomorrow, a lot of M&S will need it, and will demand more gold from Goblins.

Schumpeter argues that socialism will work, once technological development has stopped, and wealth has been distributed enough to get a stable situation. His point though is, to not expect it to work any time soon (i.e. never).

@SCdF The problem with higher health care for people living longer is not with their health. It is with the way insurance systems are build up in most Western coutries. In most cases people pay for their insurrance until a certain age (e.g. 65) and then get (most) care for free afterward. Each additional year after this age is a big extra expense compare to the expected number of free years. See for instance

The arbitrary age of 65 can be traced back until German policies set by Bismarck in 1889, and later copied by the USA and other countries. Back then it was the age at which people were expected to die.

As many people have realised this age limit (and retirement age in general) has to be changed soon as people are now living much longer.

The real problem is with democracy, as the people directly impacted are the large baby boom generation who have a large weight in elections, hence no politician will dare to bring the issue up. This also links nicely to the last point of schumpeter, that the idea of governing a country by the wants of the voter (i.e. direct elections) is a very bad idea.

Sven said...

"last point of schumpeter, that the idea of governing a country by the wants of the voter (i.e. direct elections) is a very bad idea."

By "very bad", does he mean "not agreeing with me"?

Criven said...

No Sven, it's the "bread and circuses" problem.

As a whole, when the outcome of a vote will affect you personally, you will tend to vote to protect your own interest.

Add to this, that the majority of people with a vote haven't researched the matter they're voting on and don't really understand it, and you have a major issue.

I'm happy for anyone to disagree with me, as long as they have some thought and research to back it up. Churchill put it best when he said:

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter"

On the other hand, it's still the best system we have...unfortunately.

*vlad* said...

You can call North Korea socialist, but it is anything but that.
I'm sure the majority of North Koreans would be more interested in raising their standard of living than producing nuclear weapons.

Cingy said...


Schumpeter argues that democracy and capitalism both have the same ideological roots (i.e. the philosophies of enlightenment) and that they will both create the circumstances for there own downfall by bringing power to the people. As rational thinking does not eliminate primitive tendencies (viz. gevlon's ape subroutines) these will eventually use the system to revolt.

Schumpeters argument is for representative elections and against direct ones. He is against people being able to directly vote for whatever they want, or whatever the politicians promiss.

In his view direct elections lead to short terminism with those elected, and opens the door for policies that sound nice, but are harmfull to society. This was written in the 1940, so think about Fascists and Communists. Given the fact that almost every European country now has a big populist party, I think this is valid now too.

Representative election is, where a parliament or regional representation is chosen, and this parliament assigns who gets to rule.

Critics of Schumpeter have argued that he in fact never gave up his attachment to monarchy, and is indirectly arguing for that.

My personal opinion is, that I tend to agree with Schumpeter that (direct) democracy has some serious problems going along with it. I think there is a need for a next evolution in political thinking, to find a system that overcomes these problems. For now Democracy is the best we have.

Barrista said...

Well, this seemed to morph into a discussion on sociology when it started as why you should treat a customer nicely. I will stay on topic.

I think many of you need to remember that Gev is european. In the U.S., shop workers view everyone as a potential customer in hopes of making a sale and making money. Not tomorrow, not a week from then, but at that very moment (as you claim to wish for Gev). This is NOT socialism. This is capitalism at its finest. So to me, your elaborate argument is really reaching.

I have read that European shop workers are different in that they treat customers as a necessary evil (as Gev seems to) and as if they are the ones doing the customer a favor. Personally, I think of the relationship between the seller/customer as having to be more symbiotic. If the seller is nice, they will likely sell more items. If the customer is nice, the seller may sell them the item which is unopened/newer/better. It may also be that I don't see the point in being rude just to be rude.

I would think the ideas of Gev would be more socialist or communistic. In these states, making a sell is much less important because the government will save your business. With state provided health care, a business can close and your family is still protected. In the U.S., your health and life may depend on you being a good sales person.

Sven said...


I think another Churchill quote is in order now:

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

The point being that it's very easy to say "Oh, those pesky voters... they aren't supporting my plan! It can't be that it was a dumb idea, so democracy itself is at fault". That's where communism, fascism and all other "we, the elite, know best" systems fail. Those who claim to know best really don't, so they have to force people to comply and it all slides into dictatorship.

Gevlon said...

@Sven, Cingy: your debate about democracy is too cultured to be deleted, but still offtopic. The socialism/capitalism has nothing to do with democracy or not.

@Barrista: if the American shopkeeper is so nice to everyone, why was it necessary to make laws against "no blacks, jews and dogs" signs? The point of the post was that certain people (the M&S) are neither good customers, nor productive citizens. You can't build any long term relationship with them. (The mentioned signs were there because the racist people believe that all members of the other races are M&S what is nonsense)

Firespirit said...


I have another take on this.

Let's stick with your M&S premise that they are a rock, and are essentially an un-intelligent people.

I would argue that these are the people that you would want to form a relationship with.

Simply put, an M&S wants to get what they want/need as quickly and with as little work as possible. If you happen to be the goblin supplying that item/service you are in luck. Money is most often the quickest way.

An intelligent person would try to minimize the profit to you at every chance. Renegotiating the contract, etc... End result is over the long term relationship that there would be dwindling profits, and eventually loss of the customer.

The M&S is mostly not interested in this. If your product is not a luxury, high priced item (such as a golden phone, for example), the M&S would come back to you for the same product (if it is one thing that I have learned, its M&S are creatures of habit).

The intelligent man would be looking for an escape hatch every waking moment. The minute he got another supplier for your product at even a fraction of a bit cheaper, the goblin looses out.

I am reminded of an old addage - "do you want 1 person working for you giving 100%, or 100 people giving 1%?" I am for the latter. If you loose 1 or 2 M&S clients, you still have 98% of your clientele.

On the flip side, its not easy, or cheap, to attract intelligent buyers (or retain them). If you loose one or two of those, you probably would be filing for bankruptcy.

Roy said...

If a tailor has truly been working for decades, he has learned a valuable skill. He can earn his money through teaching the skill to others. He doesn't have to use his own hands - can be someone else's hands.

The point is that if you gain valuable knowledge/experience - you can profit just on passing this experience to others. Hell, isn't that how Kungen makes a living? He raids and gets experience, makes money off of advertisers who want to show ads to those who read about the kills/firsts.

Capitalism relies on the concept that you get what you work for. You may be digging ditches right now... but in 5 years, you will be the one laying the pipe in the ditch - and 5 years after that you will be the foreman (boss man). How did this happen? Experience. In digging the ditches for the pipe workers, you watched and learned - you networked with the pipe workers, etc.

TL;DR: unless you have no skills and no desire to learn any skills - you can do very well despite shortcomings or pitfalls.

Cainam said...

You make an interesting point, but it seems to me like you are trying to judge the value of socialism based on the values of capitalism.

Suppose we have three men. One makes 60k, one 30k and one 10k. Lets say that we could form them into a socialist society where each of them got 30k. Now under a cpitalist way of thinking, this is bad, you've lost 10K. But lets say that someone needs 25k to survive comfortably. If so then the socialist would say that the second system is better, because no one is below a certain level.

The goal of the goblin, is to get the most out of the system. To eek out every bit of production and profit, while the goal of the socialist system is to keep everyone above a certain level.

So the question becomes which is more important to you. Is it possible for a capitalist system to keep folks above a certain level or for a socialist system to make the most efficent use of resources...'s "possible" but that's not the goal of the system.

BigDaddy said...

Interesting that my comment was deleted although it complied with the "commenting rules".

Constructive criticism is designed to be just that... constructive. Censoring it just validates the original intention of the deleted post in the first place.

Gevlon said...

@BigDaddy: your comment was not about the post, but demanding different kind of post. This is offtopic.

Gibbiex said...

Gev is off-base. First that quote is from Marx, and is one of the tenants of marxism, which lead to communism. We all known communism does not really work in large countries (interestingly all my native chinese friends swear that China is no longer communist, the govt does not interfere with their lives very much at all). Socialism is different, in that it accepts capitalism as a necessary evil (somewhat) but there is a large safety net, ie for that tailor who lost everything). Socialism and capitalism, to me, are just a spectrum. The U.S. is going increasingly socialist with this administration (and this is not a political rant, but a fact, as the govt gets larger and larger and spends more and more). To me, capitalism works because everyone has an enlightened self-interest; they think only or mostly of themselves and their dependants. Communism fails for exactly that reason; why would you toil at your stupid job to give production to people who you never know and you get nothing out of it?

What would be interesting as an experiment is a socialist game. It would probably collapse quickly since people would not want to prop up other players; you can see it in WoW alot as raiders who don't like to 'carry bads', its the same arguement that Gev and others have made repeatedly.

My thinking on the new crafting stuff is that Ti will surge to insane levels which will not be profitable. I would personally sell stacks of ore from now for a few weeks until we know what the drop rates are for the epic gems. People almost always over-value such things (look at the inscription books).

Gibbiex said...

Maybe this is off-topic, but what is interesting to me is see the exploitation of democracry. Democracy only works when the population is not by and large M&S. Yet often in the developing world, 'mass uprisings' often give rise to dictators. For example it's well known in Venezuala that Hugo Chavez took power via a mostly democratic vote, then proceeded to make himself dictator, all with the backing of the populance.

Democracy worked really well at the time of the American revolution when the only people who could vote were the most influentual of the society. Well, it worked well for them, I mean. For slaves, not so much. Main point is that democracy is not some sort of cure-all as Churchill has noted.

However, one could argue that capitalism due to its fast evolutionary processes is perhaps the best economic system.

Carl Lewis said...

I completely agree with your post, it is well reasoned. Adding to your analysis, Socialism requires that you maintain the equity of one citizens value with another and divide GDP among the citizens which would ideally would be comprised of the equal effort of all citizens. along with the problems of equal production, making everyone produce the same amount of value, and the methods one must use to ensure that value.
You also have to control the Denotations of Value itself. Which is impossible. From the start, there is a problem, because the government would have to set the value, which means the government is the only customer, which means that, and change in the workers perception of value will destroy the system. Once someone weighs more than his comrade, one someone, has different habits than his comrade, once someone sleeps longer or shorter than his comrade the system must Correct that behavior. Socialism isn't an economic system it's a Behavioral Control system. Production is only obtained through the efforts and behavior (consuming and producing), of the populace.

Captialism in its purest form, Encourages disparity, and recognizes the different value one places on the same thing. The difference in value actually produces more value because it requires the difference in value to be attributed to something other than the function of the product. For example, Gatorade and PowerAde are essentially the same thing, but one is popular that the other. if you asked someone why the preferred Gatorade over PowerAde they would most likely say Taste.the difference in the Tastes of person A and Person B have created value. Both sports drinks quench thirst and replenish electrolytes, therefore in a socialist system there would be only a need for one thirst quencher, and if you didn't like it tough.

However becasue of this disparity, in capitalism there will inevitably be individuals who amass wealth and value and use it to disproportionately influence or burden, his fellow citizen and ignore the value his fellow citizen places on products because the product can be made scarce and therefore it's price controlled by an individual. an example of this would be Diamonds, which aren't rare at all but merely controlled by the de Beers cartel.

That is why you need a government made up of the populace that constantly changes to impose Rules so that some equity is maintained, The key though is that this government must Constantly change. If the government doesn't constantly change it begins to burden the Market precisely because of the disparity of the perception of value between the people running the Government and the people governed.

Anonymous said...


A republic has been the most successful form of government that has been tried in human history. A democracy did not work during the American Revolution b/c it was not democracy, it was a republic. This is the reason the United States has been able to amass more wealth than much older countries. Over time the republic morphed into "democracy" and is now heading towards facism as anyone can see with all the corruption in all facets of the U.S. economy and govt.

Anonymous said...

To quote Barnum, "A fool and his money are soon parted." There are a number of businesses (Investment Banking in Eve?) that exist with the sole purpose of fleecing their customers. The people depositing money with Madoff or Sanford were "valued" customers. While your post covers the problem of "Long term value customers", customers can have a high value in the near term. M&S are the optimal customers for a High Price, Low Quality business model where repeat customers are impossible/undesirable.

Sven said...


Apologies if my previous posts were straying off your intended topic.

Back to your original point about relationships. It's perfectly possible to have a long term "relationship" with non-intelligent beings: it's the difference between being a farmer and a hunter-gatherer. You get a whole bunch more product out of tending to your "M&S" plants than you do by just eating them and moving on.

Despite the other use of the word farming in MMOs, there's still money to be made from the more conventional kind.

Barrista said...

Gev, you really need to stick to the present if you want to discuss this. Bringing up the U.S.'s racist past and signs that were removed some 40 years ago would be like me using Hitler, Stalin or Napoleon as an example of your current beliefs and culture. You are digging very deep and it makes me wonder if that Goblin is just a persona for a very needy individual.

In any case, what makes you think we create a long term relationship with our sales people? Someone asked why you couldn't be nice. They didn't ask you to marry them or become their best friend. They asked why you couldn't be polite and that is all.

MyName said...

Gevlon's point is an interesting one, but is completely undermined by the example of the world's largest retailer: WalMart.

Their business is built around "M&S" customers. They offer their products at the lowest price they can and they treat everyone there as a valued customer. The reason is because if someone gets ticked off at the company and never comes back, that's $100K in lifetime sales that's walked out the door to one of their competitors.

If everything in real life was sold in an AH type format, then you could probably treat people however you wanted as long as you offered the best price. But this isn't the case in real life as people have this funny habit of believing that their money is more valuable than someone else's, even if that other person is smarter or easier to sell to.

That's why you treat everyone was a valued customer if you want to become the biggest retailer in real life.

All that being said, I still hate Walmart ;-)

Bristal said...

Gevlon, you made my week by writing a post based on my reply. However, I have a hard time equating communism/socialism with a simple "golden rule" post. Treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. It might cost you a small sum of money in the short run, but likely make your life more meaningful in long run.

You tend to characterize actions as types. A moronic/slacking act does not define a person as M&S. By screwing over every person around you who messes up, you would be left with few customers in the long run. And justifying treating people poorly because "it's business" or that you made a buck, is really sad.

In WoW it's easy to be an invisible businessman (as the following post to my comment so blithely stated), in RL that tends to be regulated against (business licenses are designed to help identify business owners), and a business owner is entitled to ask for identification from a buyer.

I wouldn't buy a TV from a scruffy guy at an outdoor market because I expect service in case I have problems with the purchase. WoW's AH is nothing like a real marketplace. Even Craig's list or E-bay have functions to rate or report a poor business transaction.

I disagree, however with the Walmart analogy. Service is NOT Walmart's business plan. It's low prices, period. If another huge conglomerate came along which was cheaper but smelled like sewage and the help were all swamp monsters, people would flock there.

The point of my post was not to suggest that being generous or "nice" to people would make you more money (or that it was a good basis for a government). It was that striving to treat people (even in business) as you would want to be treated yourself would likely improve your quality of life.

Graylo said...

The concept of a valued customer in WoW is laughable by its very nature. There are only two ways someone can be a valued customer:

1. They are Stupid which results in a transaction with them being more profitable then your average transaction. For example, back in the early days of TBC a Mage friend of mine saw request in general chat for Mage water. Apparently the guy was about to run Kara and the raid didn't have a mage so they need water. My firend made then 12 stacks of water and was paid 25g for it. They could have bought permanent water at an in for 8g. This is a valued customer, and the mage tracked him on is friends list and made a couple more transactions with him.

2. The second way for someone to be a valued customer is for them to a loyal customer in a highly competetive market. In WoW there is virtually no customer Loyality due to the way the economy is centered around the AH. No one is going to say this Glyph is cheaper, but I usually buy from Gevlon. If your buying a glyph of the AH you buy the cheapest one.

The only possible exception for this is crafting tips. However, I bet customer loyalty in this situation has more to do with them not wanting to find someone else to do the job.

Brian said...

One point of Gevlon's argument that doesn't really make sense to me is progressive taxation encouraging balancing time vs income. It's certainly true that if you make 2x more money, you'll pay more than 2x as much in taxes. But rarely will you have to work 2x as hard or 2x as long to MAKE that income.

This isn't an argument for socialism, but it IS an argument for progressive taxation (which I suppose is limited socialism). Intentionally limiting your income to avoid taxation is not a very Goblinish decision, and not a valid argument against progressive taxation. For those with the ability and opportunity to do so, taking steps to raise their income will almost always result in their overall earnings per hour going up. Because for those people, increasing their income is about finding a better paying job, NOT working more at their existing one.

Since this is a WoW blog, let's use a WoW example. For people with little business sense and little ability/desire to learn how the AH works, daily quests are their primary source of income. Their income is directly correlated to their efforts, the more time they spend on questing, the more income they have. In the anti-progressive taxation argument, that's the model for the generic "worker". The person who makes more money obviously worked much longer to make it, so you shouldn't punish their extra effort. The person who spent 10 hours a week on daily quests DESERVES to make twice as much money as the person who spent 5 hours per week.

Except in the real world, the rich people in WoW (or real life) aren't generally the people who slog away at their jobs for longer than their peers...they're people like Gevlon. Through some combination of opportunity, luck and of course skill, Gevlon makes FAR more in WoW per hour for his efforts than someone mindlessly doing daily quests does. Pretty much every entry in his blog is about how easy he finds making this money. It's hard to argue that in this situation, income is derived directly from effort...and that taxing the extra income at a higher rate is somehow disrespectful to the amount of effort the person put in.

Socialism remains a dumb idea, however, because it's places NO limits on "need". Eventually a slightly progressive tax turns into taking ALL the money from the rich to provide for the needs of an increasingly gigantic government. But no matter how limited government is in size, SOMEONE still has to pay for it. And it makes more sense for that to be the people who can more easily afford to do so.

Sid said...

Hey Gevlon. I have a (not so) different question: Why must socialdemocracy fail?

By socialdemocracy I refer to benefactor states that take action to give oportunities to those who have less, for example with public (and free) health systems. Most of these states' governments define themselves as socialist, though the term is wrongly used as they are not replacing the capitalist market system, just reforming it. (Of course I'm not refering to Cuba or North Korea).

I understand your goblin capitalist utopia, but I only thing it can only have place on a virtual world like WoW, because, as you said, "In WoW everybody starts on an even field, the actions of your parents don't define your destiny, you don't start Exalted with the Kirin Tor just because your mom and dad were mages"

Regretably in real life this is not true. So I think this is when the state has actually something to do: to make an even field for people to start from: Public (and free) Hospitals, Elementary and High school, College (yep, in my country public college is free xD) and a retirement system.

Those are the bases of an even field imo, if you use them to your benefit and get a good job, or start your own business, then you're gonna success. If you're a moron/slacker, then you're gonna be poor, and it's gonna be your fault and only yours. BUT your children won't necesarily be poor, because they'll start with the same oportunities that everybody else has (thanks to the public and free education, health, etc). And if their take advantage of those oportunities, they won't share their father's destiny, instead they will success (proving Gevlon's point that everybody is responsible of it's own destiny).

As an old proverb says: "If he's hungry, don't give him fish, teach him how to fish"

The key is: An even playfield (something the real world doesn't always have).