Greedy Goblin

Friday, August 17, 2012

The great shitworm scam

In the late 1980-es Argotechnological scientists found that a certain type of earthworm is very effective in processing manure and other agricultural byproducts into fertile soil. This time in Hungary the communist regime was collapsing and the people looked at starting business as a way to reach the western wealth in months.

In their foolish hope to get rich by tending shit-eating worms, they started buying such worms and use them in their garden. No, not to process their non-existing manure as it was suggested by the scientists, but to produce more worms for sale. The price was pretty high due to the insane demand created by the swarming fools. As the worms doubled their numbers in 3 months, the business had the prospective of doubling capital in 3 months.

Unfortunately the utility value of the worms was pretty low. I mean they decomposed manure into soil. Soil is used in agriculture and agriculture isn't the field where prices are skyrocketing. You can get a decent income for your time, sure. There is a reason why "farming" is the word used to slowly but surely generating income by work. No wonder that after every available fool were pulled in and no more newcomers were buying worms, the huge shitworm-Ponzi-scheme collapsed and the worm-owners had to face the fact that their capital was lost as their worms worth about zero.

So we have a hilarious "scam of the century": about 1% of the whole Hungarian population was scammed, the total loss was in GDP% magnitude, tens of thousands of families lost their home they mortgaged to get worms and dozens who lost everything committed IRL ragequit. You know what's missing? The scammers.

It seems that in the great shitworm scam no one got rich. Sure, those who jumped in early made some cash, but the total profit of the "scam" was nothing compared to the total loss. The money wasn't taken, it was wasted, mostly on time spent tending worms instead of working and on buying shit. Literally. I mean the frenzied fools were paying money to buy manure despite the intended purpose of the process was to get money from the manure-owners for handling their bio-hazardous waste.

At this point we reached the central reason why people can be scammed. Not because they "trust the wrong guy". There was no "wrong guy" in the great shitworm scam. They lost their money because they believed in a stupid plan. "Trusting a guy" means "I believe he is not lying". You can trust most people. However them lying or not is nearly irrelevant. Just because they honestly believe that shit and worms will make you rich, it won't be true.

Let's get back to the worst scammer of EVE. After he made my third highest visitor count after undergeared and another scammer he wrote: "I was in a rush IRL, so I kind of hit the bullet points and didn't stop to actually convince him that I was trustworty". Let's imagine an alternative reality where he is not a total failure and actually convinced me that he is trustworthy. Would he have my money? No, after some more hours of chatting I'd close the discussion with "I'm sorry but your plan won't work" and would believe that he is just another honest moron.

Forums and blogs are full of "do this FTW", "this is fail", "I agree with X", "u haz no experience shut up" (if experience would help getting an argument, they'd already have it and could share it) and other commenters who clearly have no argument or point, just spread whatever nonsense happen to be on their mind. Do you think they are all scammers?

The world is full of honest morons, intelligent scammers are actually a delight among them. When someone says "do X, trust me it'll work", you shall refuse not because he is maybe a scammer (he is mostly not), but because the plan will most probably fail spectacularly due to his incompetence. You must be aware of every detail of the plan and understand it well. If you misunderstood the plan, you aren't scammed, but dumb. People are trying to misguide you into stupid plans every day. One being liar instead of honestly stupid is an irrelevant detail.

There are situations when the other guy says "I won't/can't tell you the plan. You must trust me". The perfect example is the FC at a Titan bridge telling the fleet members to jump in. He doesn't tell you where you are jumping, it can be a purposeful trap or simply a dumb battle plan that is just as smart as "let's warp to the undock of K-6K16".

Now what? He won't share you the plan. You can choose to trust him or just quit his fleet. What shall you do? Here comes what I wrote about "nullsec-altruism". By giving up control over the asset, you lose it, by definition. You can hope that he will give it back to you, but you can never trust in that. So you must ask yourself do I want to gift the asset to him? If you want to give a gift to him or the group he represents, sure, do it. If you don't, don't.

PS: As I read about the -A- supercarrier massacre, I was thinking about an idea how could a supercapital pilot save much value of his tackled super. As far as I know, ships can be refitted during combat if there is a friendly carrier around. So if the supers are beyond help, their 10-20B fitting could be removed, jetcanned, picked up by a nearby T3 fitted with interdiction nullifier and warped to safety. Could it work?

Friday morning report: 143.8B I made some modifications on my item list, liquidated some items, hence the drop. (3.5 spent on main accounts, 2.4 spent on Logi/Carrier, 2.2 on Ragnarok, 1.6 on Rorqual, 1.4 on Nyx, 1.8 on Avatar, 2.6 received as gift)


Anonymous said...

@ your p.s.

no not really, the system was in TIDI so anything fast and nimble enough to scoop the loot would still be there for way to long without the support it needs to survive (or the tank for that matter)

FC's would have surely primaried it

not to mention the need to actually have an interdiction nullified T# nearby

bit of a captain hindsight thought, cute but unfeasable

and fitting is usually worth around 5-10 bil, not 10-20

Anonymous said...

jetcanning would be stupid but the fittings could be moved to the supercapital's corp hangar from where a corpmate with the appropriate permissions could in theory take and evacuate them.

In practice your nullified t3 would die as there is just too much light tackle on the field.

Sega said...

"Sure, those who jumped in early made some cash, but the total profit of the "scam" was nothing compared to the total loss."
The money part of this story is a zero-sum game. Since no money was destroyed, every single florint was still accounted for. The time spent, however, was lost but that has no effect on GDP.

Gevlon said...

@Sega: it had as people spent their time on a useless activity instead of doing productive work. Also, by losing their money they no longer were buyers of the market. The effect was the same as 1% of the population would simply turn into an alcoholist bum overnight.

Sugar Kyle said...

The capital level mods are also to large for a normal cargo hold.

Anonymous said...

@Sega : money can be destroyed and created. It's something fairly commun. Value can be created and destroyed.

You can see it here :

Another exemple is the crisis in the USA : value has been destroyed, nobody has made profit out of it, however value had been created before the crash.

Anonymous said...

had never heard about this worm farming business before, so I did a little research:

article on the Hungarian scheme:

2003 - similar scheme in the US:

2010 - same thing in Malaysia:

some ideas just transcend borders & times :D