Anyone ever try a pure free-market capitalist game for fun?


Usually I tend to adopt “welfare capitalist” policies with lots of government interference in my games however this time I wanted to do something different. I decided to try to play a game with the United States using an unadultered free-market capitalist economics policy and I just totally bombed. :laughing: Everything was spiraling out of control. Debt was a problem, pollution, hospital shortages, homelessness, lots of riots, widespread of disease, etc. Wow. The GDP was suffering too because of Cheap Imports (placing tariffs would be a restriction on the free market so I can’t do that right?) and Grid Lock (placing tax on petroleum and cars is against the free-market).

I tried giving tax shelters, investing in technology and such but the country pretty much just collapsed without government interference in the market. :laughing:

Did anyone else try to play the free-market approach? I think it’s impossible to do well in this game by doing so but I am curious to know if anyone had better luck than myself. lol. I think its realistic and supposed to happen like this though. The government I think plays a very important role in a government’s economy. Laissez-faire economics doesn’t work. If the United States, one of the most free-market nations in the first-world decided to cut taxes significantly, cut welfare, cut pensions, cut healthcare, etc. and devote most of their budget to military there would be chaos. The whole country would be like New Orleans.


You are probably right, although I would say that this is also because of the fact that the game itself has much too few policies to work with, I’d love to see some original policies be made to enable a more creative approach to solving political issues. Don’t take this as a criticism for the game, I think it’s great, but I only meant that the community should at the least give ideas for all sorts of new policies which the enthusiasts should then mod into the game [myself included here].

Also note that I am a big supporter of the free market and am thoroughly annoyed if this isn’t possible even in simulation, that is why I would like changes in the game.


The game hopefully should allow this, but I suspect its a matter of making slow and steady progress. paying down the debt is a major concern for the US, but as long as you do that it should be ok. The US has high military spend, and that needs to come from taxes. cutting the military will upset patriots, but a few flag waving initiatives on immigration and flag burning etc should help alleviate this.
Each country has very different base starting parameters, you may have more luck with a different country. It may also be that relaxed gun laws in the US, combined with some unemployment and poverty could be causing problems. New orleans wouldnt be so bad without ready access to guns (I’m assuming, but thats a UK-biased viewpoint which I know many americans would disagree with).


Cutting military spending wouldn’t seem anti-free market so thats a good suggestion. Would increasing border security to stamp out illegal immigration be seen as anti-free market though? Pure free-market capitalists love employing illegal immigrants because of the cheap wages. Then theres the cheap imports… a free-market economy would be against tariffs so that is also a problem. Then gridlock is a problem also because of there being no petrol or car tax. Then again if we really wanted to be picky there would be no income tax either which is insane because they are needed for road-building and such. This is why I think laissez-faire doesn’t work, the government needs to intervene to some degree. This is probably why I spired down to huge debt and so many problems in the game. :smiley: As much as free-market capitalists complain about taxes and regulations (I’ve seen some claim that people shouldn’t pay taxes at all), they have to know that these things are necessary for a capitalist society to function.


I suppose the defensibility of border controls would depend on one’s policies regarding legal immigration (which might be worth modding, come to think of it (if not an actual policy, one could create a very topical US-specific dilemma)).

As for the others, I’m thinking it would improve matters some to create bus lanes and kill the sales tax. And though they don’t like it as much as toll roads, capitalists should still be okay with satellite road pricing as a way of reducing congestion; at the very least, they’d find it preferable to using (oh noes!) taxes to pay for road building


I’ve tried a purely libertarian approach, it’s always when I do worst!


Ok I recently tried playing as Canada on the EASIEST Difficulty with a Libertarian approach and I got slightly less than 20% of the popular vote. Yikes. I didn’t kill the country YET (since i was voted out) but I PISSED OFF a lot of people. I tried taking things slower than before but I failed (just not as miserably as before). Let’s recap on what I had in the last round

Income: $4.54B/turn
Expenditure: $4.3B/turn
Reserves: $2.92B (I took a lets cut gov’t spending first, cut taxes later strategy and I sorta ended up with big reserve)


Petrol Tax $2.83B (I was going to cut this soon but then I got voted out)
Car Tax $664.23M (Didn’t get to cutting this yet too)
Income Tax $457.95M (I slashed this significantly as you can see :smiley:)
Tabacco Tax $363.06M (Didn’t get to cutting this yet too)
Sales Tax $114.49M (I slashed this significantly as well :smiley:)
Corporation Tax $114.49M (ditto)


Military Spending $1.93B (I cut this to the lowest bar)
Road Building $806.81M (A libertarian society still needs roads)
Police Force $423.24M (gotta have police)
Prisons $330.66M (gotta have prisons)
Intelligence Services $238.07 (I put this nominally b/c libertarians are against spy networks and such right?)
Armed Police $198.40M (I’m not sure if Libertarians would be for this though, I used them because Class Warfare and Inner City Riots was getting out of control)
Tax Shelters $132.26M (Taxcuts to the rich… of course)
Community Policing $66.13M (Libertarians would favour this I suppose)
Faith School Subsidaries $47.61M (I kept this at the lowest rating and was about to eliminate it completely)
OTHER About $130M


If you remove restrictions on government actions and do the opposite (that is, raise all the taxes, pile on welfare and socialist policies) you’ll crash and burn too.

I’ve noticed something quite major with the game though. Remove corporation tax altogether, and within a couple of months the GDP will go into the green, and nearly fill up. You can then reintroduce it (with a much higher income from it) without the GDP falling.


Wasn’t the United States a Libertarian country at one point? The founding fathers were classic liberals weren’t they? I wonder why its been working out for them in real life and not me in this game. lol.


corp tax may have a delayed effect, but reintroducing it should start to hurt GDP in the long term.


(please excuse my english)

I think (and I’m not a capitalist!) some policies/situations in the game don’t simulate some aspects of real economic situations…

I’m wondering about “import tarrifs” and “cheap imports” for instance.

Cheap imports are a good way for citizen with few money to live better: of course the local job economy is low, but the products are low priced. Limiting imports means inflation, letting them “go out of control” could give better “life conditions” for poor/middle income citizen.
The whole “cheap imports” situation is described in this way: imported products are so much cheaper that citizen choose to use them rather than local products. In this point of view, import tarrifs could rise poverty and affect badly the poor voters…
In reality, it also may have a detrimental effect on economy: retaliation measures, for instance. Delocalization of businesses using great amounts of imported products, profit loss for those selling them to the public, etc. In other words, situations like cheap imports could have positive AND negative effects on different aspects of the state, economy and population… and some of theses effects are “unpredictable” (or rather, chaotics)

Economy and politics are a very complex thing to simulate… some effects are paradoxical, or difficult to see, or far fetched…

The easiest governement I founded was an anti liberal, religiously fanatical, farmer based near dictature with a policeman at each street corner and nearly no freedom… 30 terms and still strong…


Everything has a positive and a negative. Yes Import Tariffs would jack up prices but outsourcing jobs to China so that everything bought here is made in China means that people wouldn’t have jobs to actually buy all that cheap stuff. Heres some food for thought: Canada’s minimum wage in 1976 was equivalent to what $8.93/hr would be now and their unemployment rate was about the same then. The minimum wage now is $7.75/hr. That’s a drop of 13% in REAL terms (taking into account inflation). So are the people better off with a more unrestricted freemarket economy? National Debt was also much lower then than it is now. Just because the GDP per capita is now like $40k in the US doesn’t mean that our spending power is as large as ever. Inflation plays a big role. Apparently Americans have less spending power now than they did in the 1970s (just before the US started outsourcing their jobs to Mexico and elsewhere en masse).

The switch to Friedman economics from Keynesian economics did not revert back to the standard of living that we had before stagflation hit. The cost of living is much higher now in real terms. Stagflation happened due to a sharp increase in the price of oil (and who knows, itll probably happen again soon since oil is going up) and wasn’t due to the extra government intervention in the economy at the time. The big problem is that we have to find a way to make alternative energy work and try to save gas in the short-term (ie. buying regular-sized fuel efficient cars rather than SUVs… which are way too popular in the North American suburbs where they are not needed)


First up, when you say minimum wage do you mean the statutory minimum wage or some kind of average wage? Because if it’s just the minimum wage it’s a bit meaningless without the context of the change between 1976 and today of a) proportion of population on the min. wage b) average weekly household expenditure in 1976 C$?

Big call. I would say the botching of the fight against inflation by central banks had more to do the the 70’s global recession than the oil shocks, which merely provoked it.


Statutory minimum wage. I don’t know about the proportion or the weekly household expenditure. However a working single mother of one back in 1976 had to work a lot less than now to make the poverty line. The poverty rate in Canada is also at about 15-16% now. I also believe that in Australia you used to have one of the best minimum wages in the world and the country had full employment.

Not to mention that back in the 50s it was common to have one parent working full-time to support a family (I’m not saying that women should stay home but I’m making a cost of living comparison) whereas now you have lots of families with two parents working full-time and still having trouble making ends meet.

Yes that was the devastating effect of it. The high oil prices mixed with the recession caused a lot of problems where you had a situation with both recession and high inflation.

Here’s an interesting article that sort of talks about what I mean when I say that our purchasing power is diminishing. … /part2.htm

"It appears that the U.S. Dollar has lost 95% of its purchasing power since 1913, the same year the Fed took control of the monetary system. Imagine if it was out of control. Now you know why college tuition is so high. Now you know why the price of a house is so ridiculously high. Now you know why two parents have to work to provide what one parent used to be able to produce. Now you know.

It’s called inflation, the debasement of the currency. Loss of purchasing power, which makes it necessary to acquire more units (quantity) of the money to make up for the loss of the purchasing power (quality) of the money. Hence, stuff costs more.

It’s not so much that prices go up, which many perceive as price inflation – it’s that the value or purchasing power of your money is going down, therefore you need more of it (quantity of money) to purchase the same amount of goods. This entails comparing the supply of money and credit versus the demand for it.

This is the beast known as inflation, aka, debasement of the currency, aka loss of wealth. Inflation is a stealth tax, a silent but deadly scourge, an abomination. The creature that roams the face of the earth, in search of prey.

Perhaps the reason for the “special-issue securities†for the social security trust fund is an attempt to escape from the clutches of the creature lurking about in search of a meal – from the clutches of inflation. Or there may be other reasons as well. The discussion of which will come in short order."

Maybe we just have to start backing our money with real resources? Gold is impratical these days for obvious reasons but I suppose we could look to other resources.


oops, rearrange my sentence! I meant: “the 70’s global recession had more to do with the botching of the fight against inflation by central banks than the oil shocks, which merely provoked it.”

subtle but changes my meaning completely!!


Hello, I was playing the demo, and I was running a cut all the main taxes (didn’t get to petrol, car, etc. which would have led to me getting assassinated by greens anyway) as well as up all the spending government. With minimum income, sales, and corporate tax and maxed out military spending, I was running huge debt. I think it got to like 75 billion pounds deficit per turn. The thing is that it doesn’t seem like the debt crisis gets any worse with more and more debt. Obviously the graphic doesn’t. I suppose the meter for “everyone” gets lower the more debt you add on, but it seems easy to counter out the loss of gdp and productivity with rural development and technological grants and such. Even with that huge deficit I had my theoretical voter turnout in the low 40s. That isn’t good enough to get elected, but I think I could have gotten it up higher if I had the rest of my turn to play out, in which I could’ve added more spending programs (the demo ended). I might add that I’ve done worse with other government types. I’m just saying it doesn’t seem like the game punishes the debt that much.


dug, heres a recent article I found regarding real wages in Canada. A lot of people erroneously believe the hype that larger than ever GDPs means that the average citizen is better off more than ever. Inflation is one hell of a monster.

" 50% of Canadian workers have gone nowhere for 25 years

‘The past twenty-five years saw remarkably little progress for most Canadian workers.’

Ottawa (21 May 2006) - Prosperity is an illusion for vast numbers of Canadian workers who have seen their real wages and earning power flat-line or fall over the past quarter century.

That’s the conclusion of a report called A Tale of Two Economies by Andrew Jackson, national director of social and economic policy for the three-million-member Canadian Labour Congress.

Beneath the official unemployment rate, which remains relatively low, and rosy media reports which focus on so-called broadly-based prosperity, the reality is far different for huge numbers of workers, the report says.

“The past twenty-five years saw remarkably little progress for most Canadian workers. While real (inflation-adjusted) GDP per person has risen by about 50% since the early 1980s, driven mainly by increased productivity, workers’ hourly wages have been remarkably stagnant,” Jackson reports.

“Remarkably, between 1981 and 2004, the real median hourly wage - half of all workers earn more, and half earn less - barely budged. This means that the bottom half of all workers experienced stagnant or declining hourly wages.”

The young, immigrants, and men are falling behind

The report says median wages have fallen most among younger workers, immigrants and men, and have risen a bit among women and older workers.

“Erosion of real wages for the bottom half of the work force has been accompanied by a sharp decline in the security of employment. Especially among young workers, women and immigrant workers of colour, there has been a marked increase in temporary employment and usually very low-paid ‘solo’ self-employment. Many lower-wage workers experience significant periods of unemployment or under-employment over a year, and have been virtually excluded from unemployment benefits under new, more restrictive rules.”

So who are the politicians and the media talking about when they fill Canadian newspapers and web sites with all their talk of of prosperity?

“The fruits of recent economic growth have gone overwhelmingly to the more affluent,” Jackson concludes.

“It is well-known that income inequality has increased, but less well-known that this has been driven most by the rising share of the very highest income groups.”

“Over the course of the 1990s, the share of all taxable wage and salary income going to the top 1% - roughly those making more than $150,000 per year - jumped from 9% to 14% of the total, and the share of the top 1/10th of 1% rose even more sharply. Even the proverbial middle-class of reasonably secure, salaried workers have shared remarkably little in Canada’s increased prosperity, increasing their real incomes mainly by working longer hours, as individuals and as families.”

The Canadian Labour Congress is Canada’s largest central labour body with a national membership of more than three million members. The 340,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is the second-largest union within the CLC. NUPGE"


In a libertarian / classical liberal society there would be no state-owned roads, and thus the tax could be lowered a lot. This game is not suitable for testing free market. Actually i believe that the real results of a classical liberal society in our time would be great economy for most people, less equality (kind of obvious), more poverty, maybe crime (the sentences are higher, but weapons and narcotics are legalized and there is poverty) and great pollution (if no-one in the government reads the property right very innovatively). It is difficult to make this system in Democracy.


Well in real-life Hong Kong is the closest thing to classical liberal in terms of economics. I have a friend who has worked in HK for awhile and he is in the highest tax break, made hundreds of thousands annually but had less than 23% of his paycheque deducted. It’s almost like a tax haven there. Socially, I don’t think there is one country that comes close to classic liberalism. Don’t even mention Netherlands because they have politically correct restrictions on freedom of speech compared to the United States. In Hong Kong the market has become very successful in terms of the average GDP but there is a great deal of income inequality. Poverty is a problem there too but a good portion of those who earn low wages in HK are foreign migrant workers (ie. Filipinos) who work as maids, cleaners and that sort of thing. They also get free room and board. They tend send the money back to their home country where it is worth good money.

However some of the native HKers face a great deal of poverty (though the situation is better than the States because they aren’t truly laissez-faire… they give wealthfare to the rich) with some of them having very small living space and being susceptible to sanitation problems. Unemployment in the country is also not as good as it should be for a classic liberal govt at 5.8% but 5.8% is a hell of a lot better than most first-world democracies. Classic Liberal economics therefore does have the poverty problems that modern liberals complain about with laissez-faire. At least its better than the United States though and it’s not as bad as modern liberals make it out to be. I’ll give them that.


I think the main reason of the fact that libertarianism cannot be modeled in this game is the uniqueness of most libertarian ideas - they emphasize bottom-up social processes and initiatives as a basis of decentralised society. Libertarianism isn`t simply about eliminating all taxes and government policies - libertarians usually have ideas how current institutions could be replaced by the market and voluntary cooperation. For example,you can eliminate state schools in the game ,but what homeschooling and homeschooling promotion? Many psychologists argue that it can be a viable alternative to conventional education,but in the game it seems only that without state school there is no education whatsover. What about charity? In a society supporting libertarian ideas(and i suppose they are if they chose a libertarian government in the starting election) people should be more open to both charity,voluntaryism and many half-commercial social help programs. i created a mod ,Jitney Transit, to represent some of private transportation ideas in the game,but many things cannot be properly represented - they are social movements and citizen mentality changes,not government policies.