Skip to main content

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…

Growing with or without Permission



Growing like space isn’t an Issue

"Smoking is the leading cause of statistics" - Fletcher Knebel

Norway has the highest tax on tobacco products in Europe and a pack of cigarettes costs around $15 if you buy it over the counter. As you can imagine, as a side effect of this there is a high amount of smuggled cigarettes flowing into the country - Who could resist the deal of making double, sometimes triple, your money back on your investment, by crossing borders with some smokes?

In an official estimate, about 20% of all cigarettes sold in Norway circumvent the state taxation in some way.[1] 


When you think about the price of a pack of cigarettes, the cost of growing it and the hours you put into farming it, it is probably one of the most profitable crops you can grow legally here in Norway. If you want to sell it to others though you go from a gray area straight to the black market in the eyes of the state if you try to avoid "Smoking Kills" labels on your design and go through untaxed channels for sale.

I and two work buddies spent the last summer testing this idea in practice by growing tobacco-plants on our balconies, splitting the workload of curing, shredding and rolling the lovely things into cigarettes. We ended up with a product worth about $1,000 per balcony (if we take store sale prices, so about 60 packs each) and it was a nice confidence booster.

We weren’t quite as productive as one of my idols: Audrey Silk, a tobacco-activist, both political and practical, from New York[2] with a whole apartment full of tobacco plants in the process of growing or leaves hanging around getting cured. It was still encouraging to see our yield and all the potential for small space gardening if you use the space properly.


One of my balcony-friends even decided to break out on her own next year and do her own thing, designing her own packaging and presentation. If given the opportunity to balcony-grow more Nicotiana Rustica, I’ll definitely do it if someone wants to surrender parts of their living space for some crops[3]. I have something else in mind though: Cigars! I posted the question on Twitter here, please feel free to answer in the comment section here if you’d be interested in a product like that!

Sharing Space is Caring Space

"Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them" - A.A Milne

But, as fun and exciting gardening with permission are to experience, read about or watch - It is the one without it that is more interesting. Both where you grow things and what you grow.

In the department of hitting two birds with stone in regards to the where and what: Someone had planted thousands of Cannabis plants on Rupert Murdoch's estate, a story so damaging to his brand that he has made serious effort to scrub any mentioning on it off the internet. Luckily, someone took a snapshot of the original Fox-story and stored it on the Internet Wayback Machine. It's going to be there for as long as their servers are up. 


If you try and Google the story, you will only find obscure forum-posts talking about the incident, so the internet cleanup crew Mr. Murdoch has on his payroll is pretty good. Dangerously good.

Open Source, Hidden Garden - On the topic
of how to hide your plants from others
This unknown hero had tented on the estate to keep a close eye on the crop. Very dedicated to his craft, indeed. Bonus points for getting away too! Shame the plants got destroyed. (or did they?) But, there is always another garden to grow.

The new trend in Swedish mainstream media is to try and figure out how to stop different gangs, mafias and independent thugs to run the drug trade and fill their pockets, terrorize locals and being unpleasant. Most of the analysis made about the structure of what is going on is fairly surface deep and comes from a place of guessing, rather than knowing. Some politicians have started promoting decriminalization and some promote a monopoly solution. Sweden is one of the few countries in the west that still has a monopoly of takeaway alcohol, all purchases have to go through the state-run stores, Systembolaget, so why not try that with recreational drugs too?

Swedes sure love their monopolies.



While that is going on in the background, the outdoors-loving cannabis growing Swedish community, tight nit and semi-anonymously (posting on sites like Flashback and Telegram), share seeds and tricks of the trade and engage in discussions on everything a prospect would like.

Some of the herb-growing practitioners use their own space to get the precious plants out of the ground, but many use public land or property someone else owns, yet never use. Of course, every one of them has one thing in common, they have to hide it from everyone: Potential snitches, police officers, other smokers and so on. But the growers that use someone else space run a much lower risk to get caught themselves, outsourcing most of the risk to someone else.

The community is happily documenting away, taking pictures of their green 'babies' and even with non-optimal growing conditions plants could yield a good 150-200g each. The price for that amount on the Oslo streets? $2,500. Per plant. Blows me and my friend's little tobacco project out of the water.

- Alex Utopium

If you are interested in more on this subject, I just released another Patreon-supporters only article called “Open Source, Hidden Garden” that goes a bit deeper in on the subject of hiding your crops from preying eyes and how the Open source-mentality of the gardening community is such a blessing that we need to cultivate.



---------------------------
[2] One of my favorite pieces interviewing her and covering some of her homegrown tobacco-growing: “Homegrown Tobacco: Local, Rebellious and Tax free”. New York Times. (English Text).
[3] A great book on the topic of growing tobacco that I’m sure will interest everyone that are fans of odd and curious books: “Survival Gardens Guide to Growing Tobacco for Smoking, Barter, Medicine and $$$” - two best bucks I’ve spent on kindle in a while!



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Economics of BTC Maximalism

BTC maximalism is a flawed doctrine, fallacious in numerous respects. 

First, if you'd prefer to hear these arguments in audio, check out this recent episode of ABNP, where @mrpseu & I discused these same topics. 

Also, a qualifier: I'm not capable of making, defending or refuting technical arguments. I'll leave that aspect of the debate to others. My concerns with BTC maximalism are entirely economic and can be divided into four areas. 


Based on the criteria for saleability as laid out by the austrian school, BTC is not the most marketable digital commodity.A lack of portability relative to other cryptocurrencies implies BTC isn't as sound of a commodity. Value storage is a secondary function of money and cannot satisfy the use-value requirement of regression theorem. BTC maximalism lays waste to the Hayekian notion of competition as a discovery procedure. This final point was addressed in detail on episode 50 of The Agora, Crypto-Economics and thus, isn't elabor…

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 th…

Don't Vote for Alex

It is 2019 and in Norway, that means county and city-election year. You can vote for me, but this article is all about why you really shouldn't. [1] There are several ways to say 'No'. This is a story about the time I said 'Yes', what I will stay positive to and what I will be negative toward. 

"But it is immoral to support politicians to oppress us because they might relieve us one oppression" - Samuel Edward Konkin III


First of all, there is some explaining to do: In my last article on the New Libertarian I argued that party politics is a waste of time and that you could use that time more productive so this entire piece seems like its contradicting that one. It might, that is up to you to judge for yourself (and if you want a chat I'm very approachable on Twitter), but in my defense, I will highlight two things:

One: I'm not against solution-finding, culture-building or exchange of ideas. I can give no brighter example of this happening than the…