For Economy v3: Trade Value as Currency

MadCow94

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Since it keeps coming up that we need another overhaul to get rid of the pops-on-tiles system that we (still) have even though we totally got rid of it, I'm going to assume for this post that at some point we will get Economy 3: the Revenge on the Pops.

When that happens, it has always bothered me that "energy" was the currency, especially with so many ways to create energy. Instead, might I humbly suggest TRADE VALUE as the next currency?

Even gestalts mentally account for the "value" of the goods they produce. If not, they would not have an internal market since there would be no concept of trade.

So, trade becomes a storable resource, energy becomes just-another-resource that can float in value, and trade value can be thought of as an abstract of _literally everything_. Two thousand bottles of sweet Caladan wine equals one pound of Arrakis' spice, both of which are hidden behind the generic trade value. It also allows commercial empires to more clearly separate what they do from what a physics-and-generator empire is doing.
 
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MatthewP

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Why trade value? Why not just have money?

edit: maybe it would be better to say, it seems like if you have a “trade value” resource that works as a medium of exchange in markets, it is money. Why not call it money?
 

MadCow94

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Why trade value? Why not just have money?

edit: maybe it would be better to say, it seems like if you have a “trade value” resource that works as a medium of exchange in markets, it is money. Why not call it money?
Because for many empires (like gestalts), it wouldn't BE money. It would be the gestalt valuation of goods requiring transfer to other areas of the economy.

Because it also explains how a market operates between 12 empires, none of whom use the same currency or value the same things, can abstractly trade. It's not "really" money. It could easily be Ming Dynasty Replica Vases or Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters via the megabarrel. It's abstract instead of saying, "we beam them 10.21 gigawatts of energy"
 

methegrate

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Agreed. I like the idea of energy as what you use to pay upkeep and trade as what you use to buy things on the market.

I think it would also let you do more interesting things with trade. You could have more potential for a space Taiwan/Singapore/Venice, since you could create more ways to generate trade without necessarily producing it as a job. You could have your sprawling space USSR that has plenty of workers producing the raw power necessary to fuel battleships and space stations, but which is fairly poor relative to the rest of the galaxy. And you could have your small "island" nations that couldn't possibly support a major fleet, but which can produce enormous amounts of wealth to buy and sell what they need on the market.

Plus, I'd be on board for making energy less universally useful. Since it's so easy to produce so much energy, it helps make every other resource in the game worthless. I produce thousands of spare energy, which I use to buy thousands of everything else. If all I could do with that excess energy was pay upkeep costs, while the market had a bottleneck through trade, that might help balance the economy a little better.
 
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MadCow94

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Remember, with the Galactic Community we have an agenda item to CREATE a galactic currency, so we know that abstractly the game already knows that the economy is a barter-economy until that point, otherwise if energy was the "standard" currency there would be no need to create a standard currency.
 

MatthewP

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Because for many empires (like gestalts), it wouldn't BE money. It would be the gestalt valuation of goods requiring transfer to other areas of the economy.

Because it also explains how a market operates between 12 empires, none of whom use the same currency or value the same things, can abstractly trade. It's not "really" money. It could easily be Ming Dynasty Replica Vases or Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters via the megabarrel. It's abstract instead of saying, "we beam them 10.21 gigawatts of energy"
In real life though, we have hundreds of different currencies and nations still don’t buy things with vases. Why would future space aliens go back to a barter system? Money is super convenient for paying for things. If there are multiple currencies they would be exchanged for each other just as they are IRL.

I guess it doesn’t matter too much though. If the medium of exchange resource is called trade value it will still work the same I’d assume. And it is an interesting idea to make it it’s own resource, not one of the ones that’s used directly.
 
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MadCow94

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In real life though, we have hundreds of different currencies and nations still don’t buy things with vases.
But we actually do. Goods are sold on the various exchanges (oil, pork, grains) using the (current) globally/galactic standard currency, the US dollar. In some European markets this has been supplanted by the Euro, but usually everything is pegged to the US dollar.

In essence, our world has - in Stellaris terms - accepted Galactic Standard Currency as a resolution. But ask the Soviet Union, who bought Pepsi with a fleet of ships (thus, briefly, making Pepsi the 6th largest naval power on the Earth) if that was the case for all of human history.

And yes, that is a true story and you should Google it.
 
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theBigTurnip385

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Stellaris already has a currency its called energy credits.

Once you harness the ability to store energy it becomes a very good universal medium of exchange which is why its used across the galaxy.

A fiat currency which you seem to be alluding to is the exact opposite of that and its value exists as faith and nothing more.
 
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MatthewP

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But we actually do. Goods are sold on the various exchanges (oil, pork, grains) using the (current) globally/galactic standard currency, the US dollar. In some European markets this has been supplanted by the Euro, but usually everything is pegged to the US dollar.

In essence, our world has - in Stellaris terms - accepted Galactic Standard Currency as a resolution. But ask the Soviet Union, who bought Pepsi with a fleet of ships (thus, briefly, making Pepsi the 6th largest naval power on the Earth) if that was the case for all of human history.

And yes, that is a true story and you should Google it.
That’s a great story, thanks. But it seems like the exception rather than the rule, no? The ruble was basically worthless in the rest of the world and the soviets explicitly wanted a self-contained economy. Even then, they did a lot of exchanges using actual currency. Generally they would sell stuff to get other countries’ money then use it to make purchases since no one wanted rubles.

Again, I guess it can be called anything. But it seems confusing since there’s already a thing called trade value which is not a resource and represents and does different things. For example, I assume the new resource could not be transformed into unity at 1:2 rate with a certain trade policy. But the Trade value we have now can, because it doesn’t represent a currency but rather “commercial activity.”
 
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MadCow94

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Again, I guess it can be called anything. But it seems confusing since there’s already a thing called trade value which is not a resource and represents and does different things. For example, I assume the new resource could not be transformed into unity at 1:2 rate with a certain trade policy. But the Trade value we have now can, because it doesn’t represent a currency but rather “commercial activity.”
Correct. Current trade value would become the currency. One of the decisions you'd be making while running your empire is, "Do I sacrifice some of my ability to buy from the market by directly investing this into consumer consumption or use to build unity in my empire?"

Almost like... the trade value has trade offs.

<CSI Miami glasses>
 
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MatthewP

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Correct. Current trade value would become the currency. One of the decisions you'd be making while running your empire is, "Do I sacrifice some of my ability to buy from the market by directly investing this into consumer consumption or use to build unity in my empire?"

Almost like... the trade value has trade offs.

<CSI Miami glasses>
If you don’t like money, how about “Currency.” I guess I’m seeing the issue you raise, that energy works like currency when that’s sort of weird. But treating commercial activity like currency doesn’t seem better. I guess one reason we’re disagreeing is that I think trade value means commercial activity and you think it means consumer goods and possibly also money. I guess I should stop hijacking your thread and just say agree to disagree :)
 

MadCow94

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If you don’t like money, how about “Currency.” I guess I’m seeing the issue you raise, that energy works like currency when that’s sort of weird. But treating commercial activity like currency doesn’t seem better. I guess one reason we’re disagreeing is that I think trade value means commercial activity and you think it means consumer goods and possibly also money. I guess I should stop hijacking your thread and just say agree to disagree :)
No, you're adding a good counter-viewpoint. For example, right now "energy" should really be called "money", because it is used to pay for upkeep and trade. However, it is ALSO used as ACTUAL "energy" investment, for example powering a space station. If you think it through, you are pumping your mining stations full of energy in the form of cash in the form of energy. The dual-purpose of energy makes it border on nonsensical. Having an abstract "currency" (in this case, the already existing trade value) means we don't have to learn a new "system" and we can have energy used as energy and trade using trade value.
 

exi123

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Isnt the naming "energy credits"?

But i agree, operating on the market for all kind of stuff should have a mechanic around trade value. I cant find a good head canon for trade value generating energy which can fire districts and space ships, this always feels a bit odd.

I have no real clue how this can or should work, but i would like to see a mechanic different from the other, storeable resources. Like spending trade value reduces the output of it on planets and gets restored over time. This would also solve the massive spendings in the early game, trade value is capped at my production level, and i can only extract from the market in the beginning before the galactic market for example.

This could also open space for more interesting plays around trade(value) imo. Megacorps could have a lower output on all resources but generate extra trade value for example to emulate an empire which hasd the flexibility to trade stuff instead of producing it. Gestalts could trade for tradevalue but cant produce it themselfs, but they also dont have to care for consumer goods...

Just some ideas.
 
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theBigTurnip385

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No, you're adding a good counter-viewpoint. For example, right now "energy" should really be called "money", because it is used to pay for upkeep and trade. However, it is ALSO used as ACTUAL "energy" investment, for example powering a space station. If you think it through, you are pumping your mining stations full of energy in the form of cash in the form of energy. The dual-purpose of energy makes it border on nonsensical. Having an abstract "currency" (in this case, the already existing trade value) means we don't have to learn a new "system" and we can have energy used as energy and trade using trade value.

Energy acting as a form of currency doesn't make sense only in the fact that its not portable or durable.

If you solved those two problems it would actually be the best form of money that has ever existed.

Obviously those two problems have been solved in the stellaris universe which is why its being used as money.

What doesn't make sense is Trade as its not really defined.
 
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Quinzal

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When the Galactic Market is created, we should all default to using the currency of the Market Leader.

Yes, even if it's the Lokken Mechanists using robot torsos as fiat.
 
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Incompetent

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"Trade value" is a pretty weird resource; it's not really clear what goods it is supposed to represent or who you are trading with, but then in the end it just turns into other resources through "trade policy". It would make a lot more sense if Merchants and the like were directly responsible for producing a medium of exchange, and your "trade network" (i.e. the thing you need to protect from pirates) was actually related to buying and selling things on the "market". As far as non-Gestalts are concerned, I like this idea (although for the sake of balance, you might need to nerf Merchants a bit, as producing market currency is extremely powerful). We could then rename the resource "credits" or whatever, while energy credits become just "energy", a basic resource like food and minerals.

For Gestalts, it's a bit awkward, but then the internal market for them is also hard to justify: who are they trading with internally? I don't think a Gestalt left to its own devices would come up with the concept of currency, since there is no private wealth and everything is produced and consumed according to its utility in achieving the central plan. I'd rather they didn't use the internal market mechanism and had some alternative form of economic flexibility, e.g. you can make recycling drones, who produce a pool of "salvage" that can be converted into various resources (overall less efficiently than drones dedicated to producing a regular resource, but it's a flexible pool to cover temporary shortfalls). Galactic market trade and bilateral trade with other empires should be possible, and for this purpose they should be able to store "credits" from selling stuff, which can then be used to buy other stuff, but I don't think it would be a resource that their drones produce directly.
 

TrotBot

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Since it keeps coming up that we need another overhaul to get rid of the pops-on-tiles system that we (still) have even though we totally got rid of it, I'm going to assume for this post that at some point we will get Economy 3: the Revenge on the Pops.

When that happens, it has always bothered me that "energy" was the currency, especially with so many ways to create energy. Instead, might I humbly suggest TRADE VALUE as the next currency?

Even gestalts mentally account for the "value" of the goods they produce. If not, they would not have an internal market since there would be no concept of trade.

So, trade becomes a storable resource, energy becomes just-another-resource that can float in value, and trade value can be thought of as an abstract of _literally everything_. Two thousand bottles of sweet Caladan wine equals one pound of Arrakis' spice, both of which are hidden behind the generic trade value. It also allows commercial empires to more clearly separate what they do from what a physics-and-generator empire is doing.
i prefer energy because even a society that abolishes currency still has energy as a resource to track
 

Aepdneds

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Why would future space aliens go back to a barter system? Money is super convenient for paying for things.
Because a currency does need trust, it does work for nations on earth because we trust each other enough to "know" that we will still get stuff for a $€¥£ in a years time, but this trust was earned over centuries. How should an alien civilization know that we would still honor the value of the number we gave them for their goods in ten years time? So it does make sense that it does start with a barter economics and is evolving into a currency economics at a later stage.
 
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