So I was messing around on twitter and came across a game called Republic of You. It’s one of these silly pixel art games, apparently put out by the EU and I think Oxford Family. You basically get to make your own nation, pick how that nation is run, and it tells you if your Nation is Good or Bad.
I got this:
Yes, I used the alias Mars, and I did name it Rome. Probably could have done Svartwulf and Helheim, but hey, it was a one off and I didn’t feel like giving these people too much info. Still, as you can see, it says I’m an iron fisted dictator with an equality score of 31%.
But I figured I would rebut some of this because the game was seriously ham-fisted in how it decided things would go. And it would work very well for showing how world-building can work (and what happens when you don’t put enough thought into it).
So first off I did set a minimum wage. While I do have some issues with minimum wages and how they work…they’re a fairly easy thing to set up and it does stave off some negative effects. Of course, it does hinder capitalism in the sense that people cannot offer bellow the minimum wage to do the same work (which could be handy. If you have one guy who insists on $15 dollars an hour and another guy who offered to do it for $10 because it gets him into the workforce and thus able to move upwards, such a tactic can be very useful to the worker). But this is a simple game so I figured out of the limited options it was giving me…I’d just do this one.
Not that it stopped people from whining about how unequal I was.
So yeah, no free healthcare for my citizens. Everyone likes to act like free healthcare is the “Thing Yo,” but here’s the truth. It’s not free. Nothing is free. If you’re not paying for it, someone else is. In the case of most “Free Healthcare” systems everyone is still paying for it, but instead of paying via medical bills for services rendered, you’re paying them in taxes for everyone else. Being dirt poor myself, yeah, medical expenses suck.
However, part of the reason medicine is so expensive these days is because of technological advances and medical insurance. In the case of the latter, subsidizing people’s ability to pay for things means that those being paid can charge more for their services. And they will. You can track it in history, but medicine used to be fairly affordable for most things you needed. Doctors were paid with eggs, milk, bread, and in the tens of dollars. Then medical insurance shows up and boom, prices rise.
There’s also the technological aspect of it. A friend of mine has diabetes, for which he must take insulin. This costs several hundred dollars. Hardly fair he has to pay so much just to live. On the other hand, that insulin is artificially created. Which means you need industrial sized laboratories and the STEM trained people needed to run those laboratories. Given that such college educations can run into the 6-8 year range, and the machines for growing, producing, separating, processing, storing, and shipping said insulin alone can cost billions of dollars to develop, build, maintain, and improve….it is amazing the stuff doesn’t cost more. And that’s how most medical stuff goes. The machines are expensive to create (you have to get the base materials and pay the workers who excavate them, you have to design them and pay the inventors, you have to machine them and pay the machines, you have to transport them and pay the transporters, and then you have to train people to use the machines and people to repair the machines, all of which adds up to a lot of money, not counting in the power needed to run the machines and all the people involved in that process).
So which then is truly more equal and fair? That a man pays for services rendered to him, or that others be made to pay for the sake of another person? Now, in my ideal nation we would have charities people could donate to which would then help people by either giving them back a some portion (maybe all of it, depending on need) of the medical bills they paid. Generosity is a virtue of Rome…but generosity is what is given…not what is taken by force.
Yeah, the game tried to claim that by allowing people to earn as much as they could, you were making a bad choice. It even gave me a bid red X when I selected the option to let CEOs earn what they can/will even if I was still taxing their benefits (It is the duty of citizens to pay taxes unto the state, so long as those taxes are not over cruel). Frankly, I am one of those “flat tax” people that things everyone should pay the same Percentage of their income in taxes, regardless of how much they make. Frankly, I like 9% because 9 is a sacred number in Heathenism. It’s also 1% less than what YHVH asks in his bible, so I figure I’m already being nicer to my Pagan peoples. 🙂
As you can see in the white bit, the game says that the Wealthy already live above the comfort level needed and that their extra money should be redistributed back to the poor. Presumably via the state. Here’s my thing though, if a man has earned this by his labor, and by convincing people his labor is worth this amount, who am I as king, or even God, to gainsay what he and others have agreed to? Is not their oath sacred? Should I punish a man for doing the best he can on this world? That hardly seems just. And if I am to take more of his wealth (percentage wise) than I do anyone else…how am I then being “Equal” to my citizens? If I take from one man 9%, but I take from another 18% percent, than I am treating one citizen better than I am another, regardless of the reason. That, then, is Inequality.
So yeah, I don’t think there was a right answer to this question. I answered it the Roman way though. Corporations should pay the taxes of the nation they’re doing business in. Yet somehow, despite the fact I was going to work with other nations, the Game claims I was going to lose anyways because those Corporations would get out of paying the taxes. So I make them pay the taxes but they won’t pay the taxes? Someone clearly either has an agenda, or can’t program a multiple choice game right.
Anyways, real world application…I would just ban those companies who refused to pay the taxes from my nation. Look, you’re not going to pay the lawful amount, and you’re going to use trickery to do it, you clearly are not an honorable corporation and your dishonorable actions shall unleash a pollution upon the spirit of my nation. My people will be better served by those who are lawful and respect my Government and it’s People than they will by deceivers and thieves, regardless of how pretty their wares.
- I had already set a minimum wage up.
- It claimed that because I wouldn’t level cap what management people could earn that I was putting people into poverty
- My options for this question were a) unions or b)police.
And since I will not allow anyone to hold a gun to my head, I put guns to theirs. Because this is Rome, motherfuckers.
Yeah, somehow (and this came up at several points) by allowing people to earn as much as they liked and by not taxing them for it…I was creating homelessness and poverty. Why? How? Game didn’t say. Except, Marxism, I guess. Because I wouldn’t tax someone more for “Reasons” that meant that somehow..I was taking wealth away from other people. Despite the fact that everyone under my system was paying the same tax rate. Yeah, someone earning more means you’re obviously earning less.
Which, frankly, is stupid. What my neighbor earns in no way affects how much I earn, except in how much my neighbor has to spend. If my neighbor has more money to spend, then I have the option of making more money by providing my neighbor with something he wants to buy. But in no way to does saying my neighbor should not make more than X times more than I do in anyway affect how much I will be paid. Except, perhaps, in that my neighbor will then not have as much money to spend on my wares.
As for Unions…I hate unions. They served there purpose, and I have no objections at all to workers coming together to demand better conditions. But Unions quickly stopped being about actually helping workers and more about helping themselves. Dues paid, political power gained, etc, etc, etc. America used to be the primary car manufacture in the world, but the Unions got so much power, and demanded so much in exchange for their labor, that they drove the actual manufacturing to Asia, where labor is much cheaper. In the end, what was meant to help the worker, destroyed the worker’s industry. Workers coming together is good, but unions focus on political power, political agendas, and lining their own pockets. Not something I would have in my theoretical nation. Let workers come together, negotiate for what they can, and then return to their lives without some uber-network forming for it’s own gain, often at the expense of the worker in the end.
Yeah, okay…I’m sure I’ve ragged on the education system and how useless it is, how politicized it is, etc. But truth is…a state funded education system has it’s uses. An educated population is one that can make both informed choices, and can produce more money for it’s economy. Now, I personally would scrap a lot our present education system has.
- Standardized tests. These things are bullshit on so many levels. Instead, I would have practical application tests for each subject. This would teach the kids that a) this skill is in fact useful in the real world and b) give us an idea of how well the kid is grasping the material.
- Standard Grades. Some people are more talented at somethings than others. We have this idea that if a person fails say math, they should be held back a grade. No. Each subject will have a grade, and each person shall pass through each of these grades individually. Say we have a child, Billy. He can’t for the life of him get past Grade 3 Maths (but that’s okay, he has the basic math skills to balance his checkbook) but he passes Grade 12 English, and at worst averages Grades 7-8 in his other subjects. He clearly has the knowledge to function in society and as we see his talent, may in fact be able to move into a profession focusing on what he is good at, knowing he is good at that without feeling overwhelmed by the things he is “Bad At.”
- Seriously overhaul the subjects. Bring back Band, bring back Art, certainly bring back Home Ed. Overhaul the Social Sciences so they actually teach how the government works, why taxes exist the way they do, what they should be for, etc. Actually teach kids how trades work, how businesses are run, and make sure these things as a nation run as simply as they possibly can, so that anyone can do what they’re good at and know how to function in society properly. Unlike how we do today. If a kid knew how to run his own business just by completing five random subjects to an 8th grade level…then society will flourish.
- No more insistence on College Education being the desired goal. If we actually taught people how to function in society with the “lower grades” like we used to, college wouldn’t be something everyone has to do. Instead, college could return to what it was meant to be, a repository of higher knowledge and sciences, rather than a glorified highschool that puts you into debt for the next 20 years of your life with no job prospects because the market is flooded with your specialized knowledge.
But that’s another post to explain fully.
Discrimination is discrimination. Taxing one person more than the other, regardless of the reason, is an act of discrimination. Yet some how my society is less “equal” for the fact I am treating everyone equally. Sure, there’s going to be income inequality, but that’s going to happen anyways and me punishing people with the power of the State simply because they happen to meet some criteria is bullshit. The State has a duty to treat all its Citizens equally before the Law….but it is not the duty of the state to make sure all the citizens have an equal amount of everything. Each person must see to his needs and wants the best he can, any state that arbitrarily or forcefully creates any changes to this is an unjust state, for it is failing to treat is citizens equally.
If the game wasn’t a bust before this, the fact that it did not allow Rome to Conquer proves this game was bullshit! XD
Here’s the thing, a State/Nation is a collection of people coming together to build something. Like a company, really. So, this “developing” nation is having troubles. All nations have troubles, but there’s generally a reason behind it. America has a debt problem, the reason for this is largely do to borrowing so much money to pay for social programs in itself and abroad (along with being the military power of the entire world without compensation). Now, regardless of how you view these actions, they are reasons for a massive debt. And, as there is no sign of the USA changing either of these behaviors, there is no sign of that debt fading away.
So then, I look at this developing nation and see it is having trouble. Now, the game didn’t tell me why it needed financial aid, but the most logical reasons was too many expenses, not enough funds. So clearly, budgeting is a problem for this nation (I would run a nation with as much movement towards a surplus as I can, so that my nation can weather bad times on it’s savings rather than depending on the kindness of strangers or raising taxes).
This points us to a interesting thing though. Many people like to talk about overpopulation now that the world is hitting 7 billion + people. Thing is though, in Europe, North America, and even in the Middle East and South America, population levels are fairly stable (Europe and the Northern Americas are actually dropping last I checked). The primary growth, however, seems to be in Africa, namely those areas that receive a lot of foreign aid. A while back I read about several famine stricken areas in Africa that have had their famines for decades. Initially, the weather turned, there was famine, and people starved. Generous souls sent massive amounts of food year after year to combat the starvation. The weather turned back to normal, but due to the artificially sustaining, the population had in fact grown so that now agriculture levels which had comfortably sustained the local populations were….now still at famine levels of subsistence. So more aid was sent, growing the population, etc.
Tl:dr Human kindness worked against the natural order, and has grossly impacted and increased human suffering.
So, the humane choice for my state is to see to its own people, and allow this other nation to see to itself. It will struggle, it might even fail, but it might just grow to be sustainable by itself. Which is the best thing a nation and its people can have.
Even though I declared that men and women shall be paid the same wage for the same labor….women are going to not be paid the same.
I’m starting to question how much power my Roman Empire has in this game. I swear it’s rigged. This might be why I became an iron fisted dictator. It’s not obeying me willingly. I am going to have to have it crucified as a traitor to the state.
Okay, I’m not going to get into this one as much because I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about it before. But tl:dr version is this. The game should have said “earned” rather than “paid.”
Why? because it’s looking at the aggregate numbers of both genders divided by all members. Say a man and woman who work the same job for the same hours would earn the same pay. All is good. But let’s say that at this same job there are 20 women and 20 men, and the average woman works 35 hours (by choice) and the average man works 40 hours (again, by choice) then there is going to be a discrepancy of pay earned via those 5 hours, then taking the whole total amount of both groups, and dividing it. Suddenly, every woman has earned less than every man…on average. Add to it the fact that most of these “pay gap” studies count every single type of job in that study, So part time day care workers are lumped in with CEOs as part of the “labor force” and yeah. You’ll have this kind of discrepancy even with everyone in each of those jobs being paid roughly the same amount, for the same job.
So there you have it, a little side job for the Shaman King bit. Welcome to my Dictatorship of Inequality. Hope you enjoyed the tour, there may even be further ones. Leave your thoughts below and as always.