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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…

Blueprints in the Black - Pepper spray



Man’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.
- Dan Lok, F*ck You Money

I view the upward trend of the 'Hustle' Mentality as a positive one.  People like Gary Vee inspire entrepreneurship as an alternative to being a small cog in a larger machine. Although there is an oversaturated market of charismatic Instagram influencers and other people trying to sell courses that promise monetary independence, the positives outweigh the negatives in my eyes.


The more people testing and tinkering with building their own businesses the more people will see the regulation and taxation machine for what it is; a way to keep us tied down and robbed for the benefit of elites. There is plenty of evidence to pick from as examples, but the most recent and hard-hitting, soul-crushing example was something Curtis Stone exposed in one of his vlog's called Big Trouble for Small Farmers in BC, which I highly recommend everyone (particularly Canadians!) to watch.

More and more people pick up books in the "How to become Rich" category. In general, the book-buyers are of two types: 1) People that understand that you need the principles the (best) books teach you and apply them to something that will work for your particular situation/wants/needs 2) Those that are looking for a blueprint they can copy and paste into real life and get rich quick.

The second category of people will be disappointed more often than the people in the first category. But, on average its a plus. If you are interested in hearing more about the principles and how to think like an entrepreneur, the "Entrepreneurial Agorism" episode of the Agora podcast is a must-listen, where Sal the Agorist and Per Bylund had a great talk on the topic.

But for this article, we are going to look at an example of a black market blueprint. Time to cook some chili.


Moral Weapons Manufacturing

(It is illegal to manufacture weapons without a proper license in Scandinavia. the author, the text itself or the publisher does not condone weapon manufacturing. The text here is educational, satirical and should allegedly not be viewed as an endorsement of illegal activity. )

The most thrilling aspect of entrepreneurship, to me, is the puzzle of taking a problem and trying to find a solution for it. The added challenge of finding a good solution where the solution itself being illegal at several of its steps makes it even spicier and potentially more profitable.

First, we need a problem:

There is something brewing in my home country of Sweden. Violence overall is increasing, robbery and rape statistics are particularly depressing[1]. Every third female report they feel afraid to go out alone in the evening[2]. Third in rapes/capita, worldwide[3]. Grenade attacks are a national crisis[4].

While the suits in parliament discuss things like the police budget or ask dumb questions like "is more crime happening, or is the reports increasing?" and while that is all fun and games, people still want ways to keep themselves safe - Even if they believe in political solutions to social problems or not.


As a big fan of personal protection gear (and training), my mind wandered to some form of non-lethal defensive weapon that anyone can use as a possible solution that you can turn into a product. 

There's one practical thing to consider first: Everything from pepper spray to stun guns, from nunchucks to knives are forbidden to carry and use in Sweden. There are less-than-ideal alternatives that are perfectly legal to buy and use, but the "defensive sprays" that you can buy over a counter isn't going to stop an adrenaline-pumped predator that wants to hurt you, steal from you or assault you in other ways.[5] This is to the disadvantage of the consumers, but an opening for someone that wants to slide into the personal protection business: The need is there, but the demand isn't really met.

With all this in our back pocket, we get a better view of what we can produce and we have several options. I'd pick pepper spray because I'm more familiar with those than the alternatives. Let's build a list of things we need to fulfill:

1) Our non-lethal alternative needs to be better than the competitions. As the competition plays fair and within the rules, we decide to give the consumer something more powerfull (almost-face-melting pepper spray that will keep any predators away).




2) We need to build it within the borders so neither us nor our costumers will get slapped with a weapon-import charge. If they want to risk that, they have several options already and it is hard to compete with those (wider range of competitors).

3) We need a design so the personal protection spray isn't easily identified as a defensive-weapon, we need something discreet so the costumers can hide it in plain sight. Ease of use is another practical point, everyone should be able to pick one up and defend themselves. We already have some inspiration to source ideas from, for example, the pepper spray disguised as a lipstick that is sold in the US.

4) Lastly, the product needs to be easy to dispose of whenever used and not easily linked back to the user.

Cooking and Building

The instructions for making pepper spray are pretty straightforward and we need only three components: The liquids, the container, and a spray mechanic.


Making the defensive liquid itself is pretty straightforward:

- Get ahold of some hot-as-heck peppers (more on this later), remove as much of the non-essential parts as possible and dry the juicy, ouchy parts completely in your favorite way; Oven, the sun, or food dehydrator.

- Mix the dried pepper in your food mixer, together with a spoon of ground black pepper and vinegar (or some form of rubbing alcohol). 

And you're done. I've read some recipes that call for freezing the chili beforehand and other extra steps, but this is as bare-bones as you can get away with in my hypothetical experience.  Pour the finished liquid into a container with a spray mechanic and we have an almost-finished product. (A tip: Do not use a 'misting' kind of spray mechanic, any sort of wind will change the direction of your defense-spray right into your own face! Not going to tell you how I know this, maybe I read it on the internet.)

Graphical representation of the Scoville Heat Unit.
Source: Wikipedia
 I'm not going to give you an exact recipe, because it highly depends on what kind of pepper you can get your hand on and how strong it is, which will make the proportions very different. You'll need some research (or your own R&D department) to get those exactly right.

You can't just slide over to the local supermarket and buy any kind of pepper, you need the hottest stuff you can get ahold of. The pepper enthusiasts have a scale for this called the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) which is very handy to consult when you purchase peppers. Ghost peppers, Carolina Reaper, and Habanero are some nice varieties to be on the lookout for.


There is a sea of options when it comes to containers and spray mechanics we can pick from, just using your favorite search engine will give you row after row of selections that fit the customer base you have in mind and a suitable size. If you want to get into doing a little bit of DIY or check out how to pressurize your cans on your own, This video hits two birds with one stone.

As a finishing touch to your defense weapon, I suggest some labels that you can print out and slap on your product and some snazzy design for them done by someone accepting crypto (can recommend AgoristKitty over at Twitter and DeviantArt). The alternative routes are to copy common products like spray deodorants, hair spray, super glue or whatever comes to mind and use their labels as a camouflage. I'm sure you can get bonus points if you have several templates that your customers can download from your site and print at home, freeing up some work for you. It's the IKEA of self-defense!


--- Peace and Profit ~ Alex Utopium

Tweet with me and Flote with me. If you are interested in getting exclusive essays in the counter-economic space, you can support me on Patreon and get a fresh one every other week.


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[1] Official statistics, presented in Aftonbladet (Swedish text)
[2] Official statistics, presented in Swedish News Media (Swedish text)
[3] Statistics from 2010, higher in Sweden since then. (English text)
[4] The Local (English Text)
[5] This Swedish Youtuber testing one of the popular brands is quite telling (Swedish audio)





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