Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2020

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…

Book Review | As We Go Marching: A Biting Indictment to the Coming of Domestic Fascism in America – John Flynn

In modern America, the terms "fascism" and "fascist" has come to take on a vague meaning to describe anyone whom one considers abhorrent or disagreeable, and any technical understanding of the terms appears now to almost exclusively be held by scholars in the fields of history, political philosophy, and economics. Not only has these terms long lost their meaning among the public, but given the frequent comparisons with Hitler directed against politicians or other figures, it appears that the memory of the horrors of Fascism in the 20th century has been numbed down so much that it to many merely amounts to the minimum surface-level of Fascism = Bad.

To be fair, there wasn't a widespread understanding of the term in Allied nations even during WWII. In 1944, John Flynn published the book "As We Go Marching", in which he noted that even at that time there was a very limited understanding of what Fascism actually means, and ventured to clarify the history…

Book Review | Capitalism in America: An Economic History of the United States - Alan Greenspan & Adrian Wooldridge

Given Alan Greenspan's notorious reputation among libertarians as a Randian free-marketeer who became corrupted during his time in the Federal Reserve and ended up being largely responsible for the easy money policy that contributed to the Great Recession, I was curious to how he would characterize particular events in the economic history of the United States, especially the financial crises. I'll first present some praise and scrutiny to the discussions on the Great Depression and Great Recession, respectively, and then briefly summarize my thoughts on the other aspects of the book.

The Great Depression I was positively surprised of how he and his co-author addressed the roots of the Great Depression, citing the trade barriers caused by Hoover signing the Smoot-Hawley tariff and retaliatory tariffs consequently being levied by other powers; admitting that malfeasance by the Fed was a relevant factor; and explained that Hoover's and Roosevelt's interventions in the m…

How the Market Incentivizes Us To Be Better People

Many people might be familiar with Milton Friedman's argument on the market's ability to help marginalized people. A quick rephrasing of it follows as such, a grocery store owner might discriminate against hiring a black person in a neighborhood of racist, but who can know the race of the man who grows the wheat for the bread on the shelves? Essentially, he argues that even in a racist society, oppressed people will have incomes through specialization and integration.

But does the market do more to help oppressed peoples? Can it change a racist society into a less racist one? I will argue that the market incentivizes us to be less xenophobic, less sexist, less transphobic, among many other things.

First, and most obvious, racism will affect firms. If a firm refuses business to a particular group, they will almost immediately lose the money of the individuals in this group. This can be a motivator to be more inclusive but will have a relatively small effect since oppressed …

Incognito Mail Deliveries - Still a Dream

The digital age has brought dissidents closer and the exchange of ideas goes much faster when you can do it with fingers dancing over a keyboard or speak into a microphone, hit send and spread the ideas far and wide. We can build online libraries and give everyone that wishes a library card to get hold of more text, sound or video they could ever hope of consuming. But what about goods and services in the real world? Are we close in matching that feel and abundance of the digital space?

Painting within the State Controlled Border Lines
“The United States Post Office and the United States Postal Service have both failed to commemorate Lysander Spooner, the first man in American history to do something about high postal rates and win.” - Sherman Lee Pompey, ‘Father of the 3-cent Stamp’ (Free PDF)

The internal mail delivery system is far more easy to keep private and anonymous, in most cases, compared to its crossing-borders cousin. There is too much traffic, too many distribution chain…