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Minecraft Economics: How the Nether Update uses the Subjective Theory of Value

What is an emerald worth in Minecraft?

An emerald is the currency used in the popular game Minecraft for trading with NPCs called villagers and wandering traders. Emerald ore is an extremely rare resource in the sandbox world, yet every employed villager has quite a few to trade with the player. However, players have wondered how the emerald compares with real world currency. One YouTube Video by GameTheory tried to find this answer. First, they tried to convert it by comparing the USD cost of bread with the cost of bread in the game, but found that conversion does not translate to other goods. Next they used the labor theory of value to try to determine the USD to emerald conversion, but again came up with a nonsensical conversion. Finally, they tried to assume emeralds have an inherent value in real life and work backwards to determine the in-game USD cost. After using all of these methods, they come to the accurate conclusion that it's not really possible to convert emeralds i…

Global Warming & Economics

Libertarians who deny the existence of global warming run the risk of making us all look like a bunch of illiterate fools.

Much like economics, being ignorant of planetology or climate science isn't a crime, but having a "loud and vociferous" opinion on the subject while remaining in a state of ignorance can be a dangerous thing. And frankly, the science behind climate change is elementary.

Sunlight enters our atmosphere and warms our planet. Earth then gives off that heat in the form of infrared radiation (this is the same principle behind those cool goggles our collapsitarian friends have). However, and this is a crucial point - the CO₂ molecules in our atmosphere do not allow IR to easily escape back into space. This is known as the greenhouse effect. As the temperature of the planet increases, polar ice caps melt and eventually surface water will begin to evaporate. Since H₂0 also prevents IR from escaping our atmosphere, the additional water vapor only compounds the problem. This is known as the runaway greenhouse effect.

This is what happened to Venus and it’s why the temperature of that planet is 864° F. 

Luckily for us, the greenhouse effect on earth is much weaker than that of Venus. Still, the burning of fossil fuels adds CO₂ to the atmosphere which strengthens the effect, and since population growth is exponential, so too is our consumption of fossil fuels. This is not good a situation.

Property at low elevations are most immediately threatened. Most of Bangledesh is near sea level. So too are many of the multi-million dollar beach resorts lining Florida’s Atlantic coast. The former case is particularly ominous as it may strain what is already an unstable relationship. Current muslim migration from Dhaka into eastern India has already touched off nationalist hindu sentiments and global warming will only increase the flood of refugees.

Climate change is also effecting global commerce. Sea lanes normally blocked by ice are opening up in the Arctic Ocean. This is rearranging global shipping routes and making the extraction of previously unavailable fossil fuels a real possibility. Although this can be a blessing for the consumer in terms of lower prices, it also means more competition among states who now claim territory in the Arctic like bloods and cryps claim territory in LA. Nor will the use of additional fossil fuels help resolve global warming.

So what’s the fix? Surely a problem of this magnitude requires the coordination of billions of individuals, and that sort of structuring can only come from governments, no?

The answer is simple really. Property rights.

If the Bangledeshi farmer and the Ft. Lauderdale real estate developer who suffer property losses due to rising sea levels were to sue major polluters for damages, the offending parties would be incentivized to behave in a more responsible fashion. Moreover, as the severity of the problem increases so too does the demand for a solution. This in turn drives up the cost associated with providing relief and it’s in this way that the market naturally directs resources to address the problem. And for the record, who are these parties who are ruining our planet?

China recently surpassed the US to become the world's largest emitter of CO₂ emissions among states. But the US military remains the largest polluter within states. MOAB bombs aren’t exactly eco-friendly. No surprise to find China & the US military - two socialist organizations best known for murdering children (see China’s one child-policy and Obama’s destruction of charity hospitals) - behind yet another travesty.

In fact, historically speaking, the largest polluters have all been the largest governments. The Soviet Union, for example, created 150% more pollution than the United States did per unit of GNP. The Mesopotamian marshes, one of humanity’s greatest treasures, were infamously dried up by Saddam Hussein in order to drive out the Marsh Arabs. China’s ruling communist party had to institute an Air Quality Index (AQI) to warn their subjects about excessive pollution. The full list of ways governments destroy our planet (and beyond) is too extensive to fully enumerate but the logic is plain as day.

Aristotle was the first to identify the notion that property held in common deteriorates since it lacks a clear caretaker. Much later, the British economist William Lloyd Forster would coin the term tragedy of the commons, to describe the deleterious effects of common grazing rights in 19th Century England. It’s the same reason public roads are riddled with potholes, Cuba’s buildings are in shambles, and it even accounts for the decreasing number of Rhinos in Africa.

What’s most striking to me though, is the thought that someone like Aristotle, who lived more than two millennia ago, could be more intelligent than the modern leftist. Don’t be a science denier. Whether it’s climate science or economic science, humans were endowed with rational faculties and we should use them.


  1. 90 percent of Bangladesh is thirty-three feet above sea level. Of course, this doesn't mean rising sea levels aren't a serious threat, but your contention that most of the country sits below sea level isn't correct.

  2. Here's the link I omitted:

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