coercion vs inefficiency

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2015

However, what we really should have considered is that it’s not that people hate taxes per se, they had COERCION.  They don’t like their government controlling their activity.  If my taxes are 50%, for instance, that means 50% of the time I’m working FOR the government.


I'll preface this by saying that I haven't played GC3 since its first release so I have no opinion on the mechanics other than to say that Stardock has done a fine job and I trust that if major changes happen, it's because they need to happen in order for the game to meet my expectations.


One thing I will mention though, is that I really dislike the phraseology above.  The idea of coercion is very culturally specific, and when we're talking about non-human races this term just seems way too anthropocentric.  For example, are ants, or a bee hive coercive?  Sure you can make the justification that they are, but ants and bees aren't people and are unlikely to even consider the notion - for ants and bees the conception of coercion falls apart, just like our human conception of love, greed or lust probably do (I can't speak for bees or ants, but I'm assuming that this is more or less the case).

I would really prefer that instead of COERCION we re-brand it INEFFICIENCY instead.

At its heart, I think it alludes to the laws of thermodynamics which should (theoretically) be universally applicable across the universe at least for endeavors dictated by classical physics and the standard model which you could make the base assumption are the sciences underpinning the industry/research in GC3 (jury's out on higher level sciences that have yet to be discovered as things could get funky pretty quickly).  And at face value is more descriptive as to what's going on.  For example if I redeploy a whole bunch of research scientists to work in the mines they might feel coerced into working a shit job, sure.  However, if I redeploy a bunch of miners into research labs they might not feel coerced at all - they might actually be quite pleased with their clean and comfortable new jobs.  However, in either case it's fairly easy to imagine that a whole lot less useful work would be getting completed at the end of the day (in the mines or the labs).  What is happening is that the productive economy is realizing an inefficiency as a result of misallocation ("misallocation" would also be a fine term to use, but might be too bookish for GC3).  The economy is not being penalized for coercion per se., it is operating below its potential because it is operating inefficiently - this inefficiency may be the result of variables such as coercion, unhappiness, malinvestment, etc., etc., but when you - the galactic emperor jar jar sith - orders everyone to suddenly drop what they're doing and instead manufacture Ford Pintos, you are also choosing to waste productive assets that are much better suited to other endeavors; you know this, but are willing to eat the cost because having more Ford Pintos produced is just that important.  This is inefficiency, but not necessarily coercion.  The neoliberal economic arguments Brad outlined above to justify it notwithstanding...