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Changing Great Depression

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Rhye's and Fall of Civilization' started by kravixon, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. kravixon

    kravixon Warlord

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    I'm in the beginning of my third year studying economics at my university, and the Great Depression mechanics really annoy me to no end, especially since Free Market is such a useful civic otherwise. What annoys me is not the fact that they happen and affect my stability, but the simple fact that the Great Depression was not caused by excess production in any way, shape, or form.
    I'm aware that it would be a lot of work to change how the in-game Great Depression works, but I have a few changes that should be possible to implement. All of the other ways that it functions can even remain unchanged.

    1) Changing the name from Great Depression to something else, maybe even "Recession"
    2) Reducing the severity of the recession but increasing the likelihood of it showing up

    Recessions occur for a number of reasons, and there's still debate over what those reasons are. The Great Depression, on the other hand, was caused by a host of poor decisions by policy makers. Would such a change be possible for me or a mod-mod to accomplish? It's not a big deal, just something that annoys me now that I'm studying economics.
     
  2. KMRblue1027

    KMRblue1027 The Crown!

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    I would love to see the Great Depression mechanics changed. I've been forced to avoid free market because Germany has way too much production and is predetermined to be killed by great depressions. I wonder if we could make it an event that has a very low chance of happening and will slowly increase it's likeliness over time. Or it could have a chance of happening when your GNP is growing rapidly because of investors bring prices up through speculation.
     
  3. Jarlaxe Baenre

    Jarlaxe Baenre Emperor

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    I also avoid free market. It's a good civic if you aren't at war with all of your neighbours, and I also favour production over commerce.

    Perhaps 'Recessions' could be caused by a large GPT loss but more commerce than gold gained and lost.

    So perhaps you gain 6 gold and lose 30/turn.

    Your commerce total is 200.

    You suffer a recession.

    Maybe its effects could be a slight increase in research costs, production costs, and increased inflation.
     
  4. Baldyr

    Baldyr "Hit It"

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    You can totally edit this yourself. What you need is to locate the code and to be able to read it and understand what exactly you need to edit. But someone would be able to help you out with it so you don't have to learn Python just for that. :p

    But if you do learn Python you could remodel the whole thing from scratch. :king:
     
  5. G-Max

    G-Max Deity

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    Baldyr can always be counted on to pimp for Python...
     
  6. tsoky

    tsoky Chieftain

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    I'd say that it should be vice versa, excessive commerce with low production causes economic crises, not the way it is in RFC now.
     
  7. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    I'm not all that educated on economics, but I'd say both. The Great Depression of 1929 definitely had its reasons in overproduction, while, say, the current financial crisis was more caused by an overblown commercial sector to my understanding.

    The problem with all that is, Civ doesn't use a very realistic economic model, so any unrealism in the rendering of economic crisises only follows from this.

    Could you or somebody else who's familiar with that topic give a basic outline for causes of international economic crisises and how to best translate that into game terms?
     
  8. kravixon

    kravixon Warlord

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    Well, one thing that you need to know in advance is that when a country's supply of money changes it affects the economy. In the long run, more money means more inflation, and less money means deflation. In the short run, however, an increase in the money supply will improve the economy, since people have more money and it takes a while for the inflation to kick in. Likewise, the economy will suffer short term if the money supply shrinks, and it will lead to falling prices in the long run.

    There are three main schools of thought concerning recessions. Chicago school economists think that recessions are mainly caused by the supply of money changing, which affects the economy in the short run. Austrian school economists think that economic booms cause recessions once the growth slows down. Keynesian economists think that failing businesses create a domino affect which causes recessions, since unemployed people have less money to spend at other businesses, which in turn hurts that business since they have fewer costumers, etc. The only way that this is represented in RFC is by the strange way that it gathers your economy score. If your commerce decreases for a number of turns, your score goes down. If you grow really fast for some time and then slow down, your score goes down. The Depression mechanic models none of this.

    As for the Great Depression, the US has had several stock market crashes that were worse and didn't have another depression. It has been standard macroeconomic thought that the GD was caused by bad fiscal and monetary decisions by the government. After the recession started, the Federal Reserve reduced the supply of money by 1/3 (they didn't know any better at the time). This greatly increased the severity of the depression at first as noted above, and then caused deflation. Next, congress wanted to "help American jobs" by creating massive import tariffs on foreign goods. This made other countries raise tariffs on American goods in turn, which was just as bad for American businesses. To top it off, congress created the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which raised the price of food well above what it should have been. This way to help farmers make money, but it made it hard for people with no jobs and deflated currency to buy any kind of food. 6 million pigs, for instance, were slaughtered to increase the price of pork at a time when Americans were starving and could barely afford bread and beans. Modern academics actually believe that the Great Depression was made 7 years longer than it should have been if the government had done absolutely nothing.

    TL/DR? The Depression was a recession that was made stupidly worse by bad decisions. Civ4 has no good way to model recessions besides your economic score, which kind of makes sense if you don't think about it too hard.
     
  9. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    Okay, while I wouldn't have been able to put it as eloquently as you did, it at least matches my current understanding of that topic.

    What I've gathered from Rhye's comments in the game code, it seems that the depression mechanic mostly describes an overproduction bubble, with commerce being a stand-in for wages (which based on the distribution of wealth in your civ, might or might not be a good indicator). I think it's a rather good approximation given what the game mechanics allow, although it doesn't do the whole spectrum of economical crisises justice.

    Personally I'm more confused by the effect other economic civics have on depressions. It's not that widely known, but State Property protects you from being "infested" with a foreign depression, while Mercantilism roughly halves its stability penalties.
    Again, the Civ civics are only rough approximations, but shouldn't Mercantilism offer complete immunity against foreign depressions, while State Property should soften its effects? What happened 1929? Did the Soviet Union get hit by the depression as well?
     
  10. Baldyr

    Baldyr "Hit It"

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    I looked it up and what you need to edit is lines #797-849 in the Stability.py file. I'm not saying that its an easy read or anything, but still its all there if you wanna mess around with the code.
     
  11. LuKo

    LuKo The Royal Guard

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    Few things:
    -I prefer Austrian point of view (despite I know nearly nothing since I'm in the beginning of my second year studying economics at my university :) ) and I think that depression should be free market only;
    -Civics should be reworked. FM should give bigger bonus to counterbalance depressions (I did it once, even have the files at PC, but never tested it and I have no idea if files for old RFCC would be compatible with new RFCM :) ).
    -As far as I remember depression mechanics is wrong even in it's wrong form XD Somewhere in the code there is missing "0" so it's actually ratio 10xhammers:commerce or something. But Rhye has decided that frequency of depression is good so...
    -I agree with kravixon and his 2 main points in the first post. Second point should be achieved by multiplying reasons for economic crisis, like:
    *too high hammers:commerce ratio (old one)
    *too low hammers:commerce ratio :)
    *too fast growth of hammers or commerce
    *loosing cities
    *fall of trade income
    *loosing strategical resource (coal, oil)
    It would be great if different reasons would create different output of recession. What depression causes now, beside stability hit?
     
  12. kravixon

    kravixon Warlord

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    No, actually. The worldwide depression had little to no affect on Soviet Russia; communists used to use it as a selling point. Mercantilism was all about exporting things to make money, and if other countries are in a recession then they can't buy as much of your stuff and you make less money.

    Baldyr; I'll take a look at it, thanks. It's probably beyond me but I might be able to get something out of it with time.
     
  13. Baldyr

    Baldyr "Hit It"

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    I will be able to help you out once you know exactly what you wanna do. Some of the math/logic might however be obvious to you just by looking at the code. Some of it of course would not be - its pretty hairy as I said before... :p
     
  14. Rhye

    Rhye 's and Fall creator

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    yes, nice ideas. A possible expansion of the current implementation is a financial bubble-triggered GD, in addition to the 29 one. If we were in 2007 I'd do that immediately!
     
  15. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    If I were in 2007 and knew about financial bubbles what I know today, I would be doing many things :p
     
  16. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    And I wish I invested $100,000 in Apple in December 1997
     

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