1.42: "Immigration Rules" Effect on Immigration Is Not Displayed

In version 1.42, the effect of the “Immigration Rules” policy on Immigration is not displayed in the graphics. It does still strongly influence immigration, this is only a graphical bug.

While I can’t be sure this is originally intended, it’s not actually bugged since immigration rules act as the second factor of immigration demand to legal/illegal immigration links. Put simply, immigration demand will be split into legal and illegal immigration in the ratio of immigration rules. So, the game engine renders immigration demand as a source of these 2 immigration simulations, not the immigration rules policy. It would be nice if there’s a nice & simple way of denoting 2nd factors in the influence webs but I can’t think of one.

Well, immigration rules don’t actually affect immigration demand, they only affect legal immigration itself. If you made a paradise and didn’t let anyone in, there would be a big demand for immigration, it just wouldn’t be satisfied. Immigration rules only affect legal immigration directly. A country with extremely high immigration rules, but no enforcement of these rules, will have the same immigration rate with or without these rules - it will simply be classified as “illegal” immigration.

Immigration Rules policy in this game does affect illegal immigration. You can think of it as ‘granting some immigrants legal ways to enter the country.’ Immigration rules just decide whether an immigrant will try legal immigration or illegal one. Legal immigrants will just enter the country while illegal ones will have to evade border control & etc.

I hit my limit of new topics for the day as a new registered forum user, so here’s something completely different:

1.42: Drone Protests Not Affected By Tear Gas, Water Cannons, Rubber Bullets

Unlike luddite riots, drone protests are not affected by these tried and true crowd control methods. This is probably an oversight.

Reserves Don’t Generate Dividends

I cannot directly inspect reserves as an independent variable - and this appears to be true of every variable in the “charts” section of the money tab, which makes it difficult to evaluate their causes and effects.

However, as far as I can tell from my income chart, I do not make any money off of interest from the investments of my reserves. This defies the common understanding of how investments and debts work on the large and small scale - in simple terms, I should be loaning these reserves out to other countries who have debt and are paying interest on it, and that should come up as a positive on my balance sheet.

No “Membership” Causes Listed For Wealthy, Middle Income, Poor

Even though certain policies clearly change how many people belong to these groups, the exact degree of these effects is not shown as a quantified influence on their membership.

  • Drone Protests & Riot Control Measures
    A very simple answer - it’s a protest instead of a riot. See its effects. It doesn’t have anything but the conservative approval penalty, while Luddite Riots, Race Riots, or Class Warfare has increased crimes as their effects.
  • Budget Reserves
    I see what you mean but it’s not that good as a game mechanic. It will over-compensate those who managed to escape their debts, making late-game even easier.
  • Income Groups Membership
    Capitalist-Socialist, Liberal-Conservative, Poor-Middle Income-Wealthy groups follow different logics compared to the others. Income groups are the most unique among them. You can check disposable income distribution at the polls screen. That distribution will determine who belongs to what income group. So there’s no quantified ‘poor membership’ simulation you can read.

Drone Protests & Riot Control Measures
The ingame description of these protests describes them as having turned violent. Since they don’t appear to affect anything but opinion, perhaps it is the description that should be revised.

At any rate - what’s the difference between a protest and a riot, in terms of how it can be handled? You can still tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullet peaceful protests, and this strongly disincentivizes them. As the drone protest mechanic stands now, there appears to be no way to end these protests other than giving into the protestor demands, even if you’re playing on full North Korea mode.

Perhaps there should be a “Public Order Policy” permanent variable (like the “abortion law” policy, which can be slid but cannot be cancelled) which changes how the police respond to protests and strikes.

Budget Reserves
I find every stage of this game very easy, on maximum difficulty. The only thing approximating a challenge is trying to get enough political capital to extend term limits during the second term, without having to provoke a transitory inflation crisis to gain transitory emergency powers.

Even that is not hugely difficult. The only real strategic question in this game is whether or not it’s better to sustain such a crisis until all your first stage policy objectives are complete, then end the crisis, pull out of debt, then apply the end stage objectives with the money gained from being debt-free, or whether it’s ultimately better to immediately take a financially balanced and politically sensitive approach.

I tried it the first way, it was very easy, I’ll try it the second way, I expect that this will require me to be a little more sensitive about implementation priority order but it should still be easy.

So, what I mean to say with all of this, is that I don’t really value this game as a “difficult” game, you simply have to learn how the system works and then it is very easy. I value this game as a realistic simulation of a complex system, and if I had to teach a high school civics class, I would just assign all my students to play the game.

Income Groups Membership

Yes, I see that now. In that case, I wish “Disposable Income” was searchable in the search menu. I also wish that the list of happiness and membership effects for groups displayed new, unimplemented policies which could increase their happiness or membership, and their maximum potential effect.

As it stands now, when I find myself asking “What new policies can I introduce to make (demographic) larger and happier (or smaller)?” I find myself inspecting each individual potential policy, in order - and this inspection only shows an upwards-pointing or downwards-pointing error, not the range of potential magnitude.

The length of my learning curve for this game (20-30 hours?) would have been extremely reduced, if both the demographic happiness/membership display showed potential effects as well as actual effects, and if new policies showed the range of magnitude for the variable they would affect, and not simply an arrow.

Water Desalination

Speaking of arrows, this policy, which I have never tried, the “Water Desalination” policy lists no effects other than a reduction in energy efficiency, and presumably reduces “Water Crisis” if such a thing exists.

It seems that this policy should, at least, either reduce unemployment directly if we are to assume that these are public desalination plants, or increase either the Water Industry, or the costs and unemployment reduction magnitude of the State Water Company. Like starting a “climate change adaption fund”, this should at least keep people busy.

Drone Protest
To be fair, I would too employ some riot control measures if dispersing Environmental Protests with these were possible. But I assume this game is not really invested in simulating less democratic countries. While it does have some very heavy-handed policies, you can’t really subvert the whole structure such as abolishing elections or assuming direct control over ministries without any interference from ministers. So I wouldn’t find it weird if the game renders violent measures on protests unavailable or ineffective. However, it could be nice if there’s a policy such as Freedom of Demonstration so that protests can be suppressed the same way Labour Law can suppress labor strikes.

Budget Reserve
I see what you mean but that doesn’t mean it is okay to make the game even easier. It is still a game, and even if it were just a simulation instead of being a videogame, making way too easy would be misleading. Also, there will be a handful of ways to rationalize this decision such as “governments can’t take high risk so they have no choice but to go with very low-yield investments” or “even the governments aren’t guaranteed of profits above inflation rates” kind of excuses.

Policy Effects
It is safe to assume that these info are hidden on purpose. You can refer to this post for dev answers: Cannot Abort/Revert Policy Implementation

Water Desalination
Yeah it’s bit empty. Might need more such as unemployment drop.

Drone Protest

This game is absolutely invested in simulating the possibility of less democratic countries. It certainly starts you out in countries with relatively realistic modeling of their current state of democracy, but it allows you to, for example, severely curtail press freedom, institute press and internet censorship, extend terms, extend term limits indefinitely, and install indefinite detention without trial, secret courts, torture use by security services, mandatory microchipping of citizens, and similar policies.

So, while it doesn’t allow you to dispense outright with the concept of elections and the core administrative design of the state, it absolutely gives you the option to curtail civil liberties. Curtailing the right to protest would be much more civilly liberal than some of the other options that are available.

In fairness, violent attempts to suppress protests could, themselves, become ineffective if there were a high rate of poverty, dissatisfaction with government, and access to legal or illegal firearms. Poor international relations could also exacerbate these. For example, the severity of the Hong Kong protests was gravely exacerbated by their poor international relations with the United States, which lead to the decision of the US State Department to provide riot gear to those protestors. This made the tear gas, rubber bullet and water cannon options much less effective.

In simple mechanical terms of this game: police suppression of protests, whether “peaceful” environmental / drone protests or luddite “riots”, should solve that problem, displease liberals and the groups supporting the protests, and reduce membership in the protest-supporting groups, particularly for peaceful protests, as peaceful protests tend to drastically raise awareness of and sympathy for, hence membership, in the group being represented by the protest.

However, protest/riot suppression should severely increase the growth of violent extremist groups, as the pressure towards these groups is increased by blocking other outlets for the expression of discontent.

The effect of protests on sympathy (membership) for the protesting group should be modulated by press freedom, media censorship and internet censorship. There are modern examples of protest movements that receive relative media blackouts and universally negative coverage, hence relative public unawareness and lack of sympathy, and there are examples of protest movements that receive disproportionate media coverage and sympathy, hence relative public awareness and sympathy.

Violent Extremism and Poverty

In the real world, but not in the game, poverty appears to be a much stronger influence on violent extremism than ideological political discontent.

I’ve seen this suggested with respect to recent events:

but, I have also read other suggestions about recent events, and have very low confidence in the modeling accuracy of media reports.

However, this does seem like a historically accurate assertion, considering for example the success of the Communist Revolutionary Model, violent extremism par excellence, in Tsarist Russia and in China, which were both suffering from extreme poverty, and its relative failure in Germany and in England, its original targets, which were not suffering from such extreme poverty. There are probably many other historical examples to confirm the “Poverty” and “Violent Political Extremism” link, and the natural intuition that violence is an act of desperation, and that material conditions create desperation much more effectively than ideological discontents.

State Broadcaster

Speaking of media, the “State Broadcaster” option does not have its own effect on the “Everyone” opinion, in the same way that reducing press freedom does. It also does not have an effect on the “Trustworthiness, Strong Leader, Compassion” perception variables, in the same way that “Media Censorship” does.

If we are to assume that State media will reliably provide a more positive depiction of the State than free media, in an environment with both free and State media, then “State Broadcaster” should have similar, but weaker effects on positive public opinion to those effects generated through lowered “Press Freedom” and “Media Censorship”, with the advantage of being a liberal and inoffensive method of promoting these perceptions, as an alternative to curtailed press freedom and censorship.

If we are to assume that State media, in an environment with press freedom and no censorship, will be as critical of the State as private media (I do not think that there is evidence for this assumption in the real world systems this game models), then at least the presence of State Media should amplify the opinion advantage generated by lowered “Press Freedom” and “Media Censorship”.

Finally, the “Internet Censorship” option does not have either the “Everyone” opinion effect of lowering “Press Freedom”, or the perceptions bonuses of “Media Censorship”.

The way it works in the real world, is that even if the State has effective control over what is normally thought of as “Media” in the sense of “Press Freedom”, “Media Censorship” and “State Broadcaster”, the effectiveness of this control is severely reduced in internet-using populations, which are “Youth”, “Middle Income”, “Wealthy” (In theory. In practice, “Wealthy” tend to not be “Youth”), and educated.

This is the variable which most effectively explains the emergence of “Liberal” or “Pro-Democracy” protests in Belarus and Russia, which have effective control of legacy media, but which do not practice effective “Internet Censorship”, and which have a significant demographic of young, middle income, educated-leaning population, which made up most of those protests. This also effectively explains the lack of protests in mainland China, which also has a significant young, educated middle class, but which practices “Internet Censorship.”

Internet Censorship

The way that this policy works now, in the game, does not really accurately model how it works.

If you do what China does, which would be “ISP blacklists”, you significantly influence public opinion. This does not, however, significantly reduce internet crime, as “Internet Censorship” does in the game. To reduce internet crime, you have to block the darkweb (Tor), which means you have to block VPNs, because otherwise you can just route from a VPN to Tor, which is what I do in my country of residence, which blocks Tor (ineffectively) but not VPNs.

But, as the Chinese have learned, you cannot just block VPNs, because corporations need VPNs as a standard security practice. So, as it works now, there is really no country in the world where you cannot jump on the darkweb and commit all the internet crime you want, except possibly North Korea. Even the North Koreans cannot stop other people from jumping on the darkweb and trying to commit all the internet crime they want against North Korea, so their only solution to this is to completely isolate themselves from the international internet, which is an economic disaster. The only real way to prevent internet crime is to fortify its targets - you cannot currently prevent the attacks.

The degree of restrictions that would be necessary to prevent these attacks are so economically extreme, that they are not seriously considered or attempted by any State in the world, except for North Korea. It is not even clear to me that the North Korean policies are effective to this end, as data from North Korea is extremely scant, and I strongly suspect that even they are vulnerable to the extent that they do not fortify targets.

So, what you would actually want for internet crime, would be a “Cyber Security” policy, which is not related to “Internet Censorship” in the way it is normally discussed. For an example of this policy, backbone services of the American and Western European internet are privatized to extremely irresponsible, unregulated corporations, which are extremely vulnerable and which have repeatedly caused transitory internet outages, with enormous externalized costs, due to both extremely low-effort “lone wolf” cyberattacks and simple incompetence in managing their own systems. This is, in turn, caused by a lack of financial and regulatory incentives towards the security and redundancy of these backbone services, which is in turn caused by a general geriatric failure of public policymakers to understand the Internet, which is as old as the Internet itself. Good foreign relations and the credible threat of retaliation are the only reason that these systems are not obliterated by foreign actors.

However, internet censorship in China is extremely effective at modifying public opinion, because the overwhelming majority of internet users are extremely complacent, and will not go to the trouble of VPN tunneling out of the Chinese Internet just to read dissident propaganda. Most internet propaganda consumption occurs over social media, and social media restrictions are extremely easy to implement, since social media companies are natural monopolies.

Considering this - should there be an “Internet Adaption” variable, influenced by education, technology, internet speed and time?

Pornography Restrictions

This is a thing which you can do, which constitutes a specific range of ISP blacklisting. Some countries do this. Almost all of them block child pornography in theory, though in practice, they do not really have to do this, because these sites are already blocked on the DNS level. However, all countries deny domain registry to these sites. General pornography restrictions fall outside of both “public opinion” and “internet crime” internet restrictions, and should be should be considered as a separate policy. Thinking about this, I would say that a new “Social Media Censorship” policy should exist, to handle the “public opinion” effects of internet use, and the existing “Internet Censorship” policy should be possibly re-named or re-described to relate specifically to the sort of cyber crime that targets capital.

So, just to recap, a more accurate model would involve:

  • “Cyber Security Policy”
  • “Pornography Restrictions”
  • “Internet Media Censorship”

Internet media censorship could, in theory, be re-named “Social Media Censorship”, since almost all, but not all media consumption in the English internet is social. Social media censorship would be the first stage of internet media censorship, and would probably have degrees of it, but the maximum stage of censorship would expand to cover non-social media, such as the American government’s simmering discontent with RT, or the converse simmering discontent with Voice of America. So, after social media censorship, the next stage would be “Block Foreign Dissent”, and the final stage would be “Block All Dissent”. Dissent would still get through on the darkweb, but almost no one would be reading it.

Budget Reserve

Well, I see what you mean here. In that case, I would say that the effects of inflation could be better modeled in other ways. It currently reduces the “Debt Crisis” emergency, but it does not seem to actually reduce debt itself. Inflation (and “Currency Strength”, though I don’t really understand what that is supposed to mean other than just “not inflation”) should actually reduce debt, and reduce surplus.

However, I do not see this as significantly changing the difficulty of the game. If you have made it through enough re-elections with austere fiscal policy, to the point that you have significant enough reserves that the theoretical low returns on them would comprise any significant portion of your total income, you have already won the game and it is at zero difficulty. As a “high school civics education game”, which is the most valuable trademark of this game, it would serve that function better if it modeled “What happens when you have a surplus?” more clearly than just “absolutely nothing.” Fiscal policy is, admittedly, a weaker point of my understanding than practical policy, so I will leave that as an open question. The game should strive to answer that question, for the education of the players.

Deflationary Crisis, Domestic Investment

There is no mechanic I know of to cause a deflationary crisis, though the game descriptions allude to such a thing in certain places as something which can paralyze the economy. Even a complete cancelling of “Quantitative Easing” and “Helicopter Money” does not provoke such a crisis. If there were to be such a crisis, it would be because there was a “Domestic Investment” variable, similar to the “Foreign Investment” variable, which would be crashed by deflation.

Climate Change Adaption Fund, Cyclones, Heat Waves, Tsunamis

The “Climate Change Adaption Fund” is currently a completely useless make-work policy, and it does not even seem to mitigate the effects of “Average Temperature” events which become inevitable in the late game due to global CO2 emissions.

I have extremely reserved confidence about the ability of this game, or systems models in general, to model the future. We have much more data on the present than on the future, and so the present is relatively very easy to model accurately. However, the introduction of cyclones, hurricanes and heat waves is, itself, future-modeling with all of the modeling-accuracy problems that come with that package.

Since the game is already engaged in future-modeling in that respect, and in this way subjects itself to the possibility that it grossly underestimates or overestimates the severity/growth of these future problems, it should probably make it so that the “Climate Adaption Fund” policy actually adapts to the climate, in the sense that it prevents the incidence or severity of these “Global Temperature”-related events. It does not seem to do so, though I may be wrong about that.

Water Desalination, Rain Water Capture And Storage

Rain water capture and storage occurs to me as another potential “water” policy.

Civil engineering is among the many things which are not my strong suit, and so I do not really know how many people either of these policies would employ, or how effective they would be.

I have never had a water crisis in this game, and since we are discussing future modeling, perhaps “Water supply” should be a variable which can decline over time - though one would think that increasing temperature over time would increase water supply by speeding up the water cycle, geophysics is also a relative weak area of mine compared to practical policy, so I really don’t know. However, inefficient “Water Use” can certainly deplete local water supply over time, effectively increasing “Water Cost”.

As it is, water supply, water use, and water cost are not modeled in the game, in a similar fashion to petrol. Since all of this would be future-modeling, I discourage the notion that this should be a focus of game development, compared to present-modeling. If none of these are considered, though, then it is not clear what the “Water Desalination” policy is really doing on this list. This policy mostly exists in the real world as a potential solution to problems which have not yet emerged in most of the world.

At this point I would note that it’s an absolutely abhorrent state of the world that the question of “Where can we find good present systems models for political systems?” is best answered by a small game development studio, when it seems like that is an important enough question that it should be taken up more seriously by a much more capital-intensive operation.

But, that’s just the way it is.

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Compulsory Language Lessons is Duplicated

There are two policies on foreign language education, one called “Compulsory Language Lessons” and another called “Compulsory Foreign Language Classes”. The description, and effects, are similar.

You should be able to spot the difference. Classes are for school kids while lessons are for the grown-up job seekers.

I thought that that might be the idea.

In this case, the description of “Compulsory Language Lessons” should be modified to reflect the fact that this is for adults.

Where are these compulsory adult language lessons taking place, then? I don’t imagine that the State is rounding people up and sending them off to practice their Mandarin calligraphy, so I suppose that these must be occurring in higher education facilities? In that case - why are they compulsory? If they’re compulsory for adults, one must assume that this compulsory in the context of higher education and adult education subsidies. In this case, these would be “Adult Language Lessons.”

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Rare Earth Mining doesn’t reduce unemployment.

How am I supposed to promenade around fly-over country in blue jeans and a denim jacket, talking about how much I love my (rare earth mineral) miners, and then promptly forget about the slow death of their industry until next election?

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Good observation, although, the question now is whether that mining is taking miners from other industries or creating new ones?

No, it’s absolutely creating a new industry. The alternative to rare earth extraction is rare earth importation, which is zero-labor and only costs money. Other extraction is going to go on to the extent that it is subsidized or profitable. New extraction means growing the supply of miners, hence adding labor.

In other news,

International Trade and Unemployment

the unemployment mitigation from trade tariffs should be mitigated by the volume of international trade, or something like that. The same employment generated from import tariffs would be generated by crashing international trade in other ways, in the sense of increasing domestic goods production instead of relying on foreign imports for goods. However, continuing international trade during a tariffs regime should mean net exports, which should mean additional reduced unemployment due to the production of net export goods.

China does this - they limit imports, while having high international trade, which results in net export of material goods, which results in a domestic production surplus, and hence reduced unemployment.

Nuclear Fission and Unemployment

Nuclear Fission also doesn’t reduce Unemployment. What about Homer Simpson? You’re taking his job!

Drug Enforcement Agency and Unemployment

Again, there is no effect here. The DEA isn’t going to shoot your dog for free, you know. They have to pay a guy, to come to your house and shoot your dog. That guy is employed. He is a professional dog-shooter.

Carbon Capture and Storage and Unemployment

Again, this is a new industry, which would require labor, and displaces no existing industries as, without this policy, no one would be engaged in this activity, and with this policy, someone would be engaged in it, at government expense. So, it should reduce unemployment.

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Health, Obesity, Drug Policy and Violent Extremism

Speaking of violent extremism, and political riots:

The health of the population, though taken for granted in historical models of extreme political violence in which new health problems were not significantly present, is a significant modulating factor upon violent extremism, and to a lesser extent, upon riots.

The effect of this is less than the effect of simple economic desperation, but it is possibly greater than the effect of the ideological discontents that are stated, by violent extremists and rioters, as the cause of their political actions.

Simply put, you are less likely to get a violent revolution from the underclass, if they are all stoned out to cloud nine. Ideally, they should all be addicted to heroin. It also helps if they’re morbidly obese, but this has less of a targeted impact on the suppression of anti-government extremism, since obesity is only slightly distributed towards the underclass, whereas drug addiction is strongly distributed towards them.

As long as the proletariat are all in a terrible state of personal health, they are not going to be forming anti-government militias any time soon. Their mental health is the real target here, so addicting them to drugs is much more effective than making them obese - though being obese also makes them more compliant and less revolutionary, this is much less of an effect than showering them with pleasurable drugs. If you aren’t going to put antidepressants in the water supply, you should at least consider handing out free crack pipes.

“Psychiatric Drug Regulation” should be considered as a separate policy, since a significant percentage of total mind-altering drug use has been legalized under that banner, and has similar effects on political discontent.

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On Unemployment and International Trade
The international trade simulation in this game is a rather vague notion of ‘trade volume’ which does not imply exact amount of import/export or net export. So I’d expect more detailed depiction of trade simulations instead of making crude changes.

On other unemployment matters

  • I don’t think more nuclear fission will create employment since the country isn’t like consuming more electricity. I even think it is possible for nuclear plants to have negative impacts on employment since they are going to be more efficient compared to traditional ones.
  • Sadly, the DEA in D4 doesn’t have that much budget. It’s less than 10% of the maximum police budget & less than 20% of maxed out armed police. Judging by budget size, Drug Enforcement isn’t likely to generate more than 1%p worth of jobs.
  • In this time, CCS does consume far more budget but I’d still find it weird if they generate considerable amount of jobs. It’s rather technology & energy intensive compared to others. I wouldn’t really expect this to employ more than fully staffed police force just because this has twice the budget.

Nuclear Fission and Unemployment (EDITED)

In that case, shouldn’t Nuclear Fission increase Energy Efficiency, and shouldn’t Energy Efficiency decrease the Energy Industry?

I have already cancelled micro-generation policies, smart meters and eco-home regulations, specifically to increase the energy industry, and hence reduce unemployment. In the cases of these policies, their effects on both “Energy Efficiency” and “Energy Industry” are direct, but it seems that the effects of smart meters and eco-home regulations should be second-hand, decreasing the energy efficiency by reducing unmodeled “Energy Demand”, but not improving modeled “Energy Efficiency” at all, since the efficiency of energy generation is the same.

Technical Colleges and Unemployment

At my current state of the game, fully funded “University Grants”, at a cost of 26 billion, renders a significant -18% unemployment. However, fully funded “Technology Colleges” and “Adult Education Subsidies”, at 13 and 5 billion, have no effect on unemployment.

It would seem that technology colleges should have some effect on unemployment, even though they are less employment-efficient than University Grants, since more material is needed to teach technology.

With respect to the Adult Education Subsidies, if these do not reduce unemployment directly, they should seem to increase “Private Schools” and reduce unemployment it as a second-hand effect. However, “Private Schools” are completely eliminated by fully-funded “Public Schools”, and would likely remain completely eliminated even if “Adult Education Subsidies” were maintained. So, it seems that the expected employment benefit of “Adult Education Subsidies” should be realized in the same way that it is realized for “University Grants”, which is to reduce it directly, assuming that teachers are employed, and possibly considering students themselves as employed.

Intelligence Services and Unemployment

Intelligence Services also do not reduce Unemployment.

It is somewhat difficult to estimate the number of persons employed by intelligence services, but it is estimated, here, that the US intelligence services employ 144,000 people.

These services may be considered “Fully Funded” in America, whose percentage spending of the total global expense on intelligence services is disproportional in a way that is similar to their military spending, existing in a category of its own.

It is not even clear to me if this study attempted to estimate NSA spending, or was only considering CIA. The Guardian, here, estimates that it employs around 100,000 people, without citing a clear source.

It’s not clear to me if that would fall under the “Wire Tapping” and “Internet Censorship” policy in the game.

I find it extremely difficult to quickly acquire accurate data on the employment of this industry, since these numbers are classified. However, the industry, including those indirectly employed by it (I have seen unreliable claims that most of its employees are indirect) appears to be a non-trivial employer compared to the 10,000 people at the DEA, and the 35,000 people employed by the FBI, which also fall under the “Intelligence Services” umbrella to the extent that the game does not yet draw a distinction between domestic and foreign intelligence.

It should, perhaps, draw such a distinction, as domestic intelligence has many quantifiable effects on other domestic conditions, whereas foreign intelligence, like military spending and nuclear weapons spending, does not have direct effects on other domestic variables outside of spending and employment, and seems to exist simply to prevent the potential emergence of such effects.

State Industry Eliminates Private Industry

State Energy, Telecoms, Water and Rail all reduce their respective private industry to zero.

In the cases of Energy and Water, this is to be expected, since the mediums of transmission of energy and water are not easily duplicated.

However, for rail, it should be possible for both the State and private rail industry to operate. A small, minimally funded State rail might only be operating in certain areas, or it might operate trains on rail lines on which the private rail industry also runs trains.

For Telecoms, it also seems possible for a minimally-funded State Telecoms Industry to only be operating in certain areas, possibly in rural areas where it is not cost-effective for private industry to provide modern telecommunications speeds for everyone, and to leave space for the private industry to operate in other areas, or by running redundant lines.

Internet Speed

There is currently no way to maximize Internet Speed, which I know of. State Telecoms increases it only modestly, when fully funded.

It seems like everyone has fiber optic these days, but I do remember a point in time in which internet speeds in South Korea were the envy of the Western world, due to State investment in that infrastructure on their part, at a time when the Westerners were waiting for private industry to catch up. They still, apparently, lead the world in that respect, exceeding every other comparably-sized economy by a factor of two.

It is not clear to me what is going on there on a technical level, but these seems to be case in point proof that internet connection speeds can be drastically multiplied by either a State Telecom Industry, or by investment in or subsidy of telecommunications infrastructure to be operated by private industry.

Import Tariffs and the “Undermined” Event

Even with full import tariffs, the “Undermined” event, in which one of my commodity prices is crashed by a foreign competitor subsidizing their industry, still occurs. If this happens because my exports are being undermined, I sort of understand, but it seems like this should not happen to my domestic commodities if they are already protected from foreign competitor subsidies by tariffs. So, the tariffs policy should prevent this event from happening, or if it is considered to be an event potentially affecting an export market, it should be less frequent.

Plastic Bag Ban Irreversible?

I am currently unable to generate tax revenues from a Plastic Bags Tax - I believe this is because I banned plastic bags in a decision. It would be nice for this decision to be shown on the display as a policy, so that I can flip-flop back on it when I decide that, actually, I like money. Every other ban on a taxable anything appears to be reversible, with this as the sole exception.

Gambling, Prostitution Taxes and Employment Effects

Speaking of taxing things instead of banning them, I am unable to tax either prostitution or gambling, if they are legalized. This results in their raising GDP, but not in raising specific sources of taxable revenue, in a manner similar to taxes on alcohol, tobacco, or anything else which may be permitted by considered undesirable.

Furthermore, it may be noted that legalized gambling reduces unemployment, and logically so, as this creates a new industry. Legalized prostitution does not, however, reduce unemployment, which is illogical as this also generates a new industry in environments where law enforcement and social conditions are sufficient to shrink the size of the prostitution industry in comparison to the size it would occupy if it were legal. So, legalized prostitution should decrease unemployment in a way which scales with crime, such that in high crime environments this policy simply legalizes an existing industry, whereas in low crime environments, it creates a new industry, and thus employment.

Legalized prostitution does increase self-employment, but this is not necessarily logical, as legalized prostitution in some environments maintain restrictions that prostitution must occur under the auspices of State-licensed pimps, nominally so that they can be easily subjected to health regulations, and practically to prevent private prostitution from undercutting the price of unionized prostitutes.

Semi-finally, the prostitution policy does not need to be called “Legalize Sex Work” any more than “Military Spending” needs to be called “Defense Spending”. The point of these euphemisms is to confuse the public as to what exactly we are talking about when we use words - this game is from the perspective of the government, not the public, so call a spade a spade. It is “Legalize Prostitution.”

Finally, “Ban Homosexuality” should mitigate the effects of “Legalize Prostitution”. At its minimal effect, “Ban Promotion”, this would mean depriving the prostitution industry of the right to advertise some of its services. At the full effect of “Punishable With Jail”, this would mean depriving the prostitution industry of a potentially significant, or in some places majority source of its revenue.

Other Bannable But Non-Taxable Industries

As it stands now, “Ban Private Education” and “Ban Private Healthcare” can be applied with no real economic effects in environments where the public offering for these services has already eliminated them from the market. Not only should it not be the case that public education and healthcare completely eliminate the private industry, but additionally, the option to tax but not ban these industries should be available, to be logically employed as an additional punitive wealth tax in environments where only the wealthy will consume from these industries, or to be illogically employed in other environments in which the player is consciously or unconsciously looking to cause chaos and destruction.

"Government Debt" Penalty to Stability, During Reserves and Surplus

This is not particularly important as “Stability” is easily maximized despite this penalty - however, I observe that, while I have no debt, currency reserves, and a budget surplus increasing these reserves, there is still a -1.92% penalty to my “Stability” shown as being caused by “Government Debt”. I am not sure if this is a graphical error, an overflow for the calculation of negative debt, or what. But, clearly, this does not make sense and is not intended. There is no displayed “inertia” for this effect display, and it does not appear to move at all after passing five additional turns with reserves and surplus.

Trade Council Doesn’t Affect Foreign Investment

The Trade Council affects foreign trade and foreign relations, but not investment. It seems that it would more directly affect investment than foreign relations. As it stands, there is no “diplomatic” way to increase foreign investment directly, as there is for foreign trade.

Direct Feedback Loops

I don’t know if your code would explode with direct feedback loops, but should there be any? For example, Foreign Relations increase Foreign Trade and Investment, but would not Foreign Trade and Investment also increase Foreign Relations, by increasing the economic incentive of trading and investment partners to maintain good relations?

“Money Diplomacy” is a real thing, and this, in fact, how China conducts most of its diplomacy, which is remarkably successful for them considering their relative lack of commitment to diplomatic efforts that are not executed through the medium of money.

As with my earlier reflection on “Poverty and Political Extremism”, there is some evidence that money is, in fact, the primary influence upon international relations, and all other effects are secondary. At the very least, the entire international relations theory of the post-war world is predicated principally on mutual economic dependencies.

To refer back to the earlier question of “What happens when you have a surplus?”, it occurs to me that the answer to this is that you loan it out to other countries, either directly or in the form of acquiring their bonds and currency, such that it improves “International Relations” with them, to the extent that you are essentially holding the strength of their currency hostage by threatening to dump it at your slightest displeasure. This is another aspect of Chinese “Money Diplomacy”, which seems to have a positive effect on their international relations.

I would almost like to see a variable, called “Money Diplomacy”, which increases parallel to Surplus, and improves foreign relations - but, like I said, I am not entirely clear on how a surplus is to be managed, as no significant economy other than China comes to mind which maintains a surplus to my knowledge.

A Table of Unemployment Policy Cost-Efficiencies

My quest for maximum employment, maximum GDP (during most global economy periods), maximum health and education, zero poverty, zero crime, maximum human development (wages), maximum popularity, zero debt and zero deficit has been almost completely realized. Unemployment, however, appears to be stuck around 2%, and I cannot find a way to further depress it without having an average deficit in relation to the global economic cycle, and I cannot find anything more to tax without ultimately depressing GDP, and hence economic cycle-averaged income, in excess of the crude income that such a tax would generate.

So, I have almost completely “won” this game.

Some eggs were broken in the making of this omelette, but at least there is now an omelette.

I strongly suspect that, once the unemployment effects for “Adult Education”, “Technology Colleges”, “Legalized Prostitution” (in a low-crime environment with overfunded police) and possibly “Intelligence services” are fixed, I could get this to zero with what is in the possible budget.

For the making of this omelette, the cost-effectiveness ratios of different employment policies were tabulated, in terms of billions of dollars necessary to reduce unemployment by 1%. This tabulation is provided for your reference.

Where a potential employment policy would eliminate a private industry which would have otherwise contributed to reducing unemployment, these effects are factored in to the final ratio. For these, it is considered that the displaced private industry is operating at or near its maximum potential which can be achieved in the game.

Where such a policy generates more unemployment through the elimination of a private industry than it generates directly, it is not listed. Decimal rounding may be arbitrary. Policies are listed from the highest to lowest ratio, so policies at the top of the list are the least cost-efficient in reducing unemployment, and policies at the bottom are the most cost-efficient.

Policy Ratio (billions spent per 1% unemployment reduction)

State Rail 23

Military 20

Speed Rail 18

Climate Adapation Fund 16

Science Funding 14

State Health Service 12.8

Tech Grants 11

Road Construction 10

Public Schools 8

Childcare 8

Police 6

Mars Program 5

Space Program 5

Fusion Project 4.7

Agricultural Subsidy 3

Vertical Farming 2

Rural Development .6

Private Prisons .6

Armed Police .5

Gambling 0

Tariffs Negative Ratio

A few things pop out to me from this data, notoriously that technology-intensive investments such as Space, Mars and Fusion are extremely cost-efficient at generating employment, compared to other investments which spend more on payroll and less on material goods, and so are, or should be, more cost-efficient.

It also seems odd that armed police should be more cost-efficient than regular police, as they perform the same job with more training and equipment.

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State Airlines don’t impact the private airline industry. For some reason. This could be reflected in others. It should probably be a gradual curve than a cliff, as it is with state schools, state healthcare and state housing.

If coal is banned, would rare earth mining create new jobs (hence reducing unemployment), or just lead to those old workers coming to this new job?