Suggestions for Democracy 3

Concagh98
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby Concagh98 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:47 pm

I think that if you get re- elected by a small margin (less than 10% possibly), it should weaken the government,by limiting the amount of political capital generated. Governments in real life with marginal majorities have been very weak.

High budget deficits and high national debt should have a negative effect on capitalists and GDP, even before a debt crisis is reached.

Inner-city riots should make you unpopular with everyone. Especially the self-employed ( small businesses suffer the worst from looting.)

Capital gains tax- a tax on profits made from when you sell something. Popular with socialists, unpopular with capitalists and wealthy very unpopular with the self employed.
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby jeffryfisher » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:20 pm

Concagh98 wrote:I think that if you get re- elected by a small margin (less than 10% possibly), it should weaken the government,by limiting the amount of political capital generated. Governments in real life with marginal majorities have been very weak.


I mentioned that somewhere before, so I concur. The converse is also true. I'd like to see an x^3 function of a number that can vary from -1 to +1 so there's a non-linear effect that's kind of level in the middle and exaggerated at the extremes.

Come to think of it, X^3 of -1 to +1 would be a nifty function for many occasions.

High budget deficits and high national debt should have a negative effect on capitalists and GDP, even before a debt crisis is reached.


High spending in general, regardless of the source of funding, represents resources being diverted from economically-driven activities to politically driven ones. Except for some specific projects (like roads), that's a negative for an economy.

However, we probably don't want to muck up our entire model with wild guesses at GDP negatives in all of our policies. Instead, what we want is something like a "resource pool" simulation near the heart of the economic model. This simulation would enforce something like "conservation of mass".

The economy (and imports) would feed the resource pool, which in turn would feed all of the activities that use economic outputs (government construction projects, consumption, capital formation and exports). Whenever a government policy increased something like consumption, then fewer resources would be available for other things (like capital formation).

Tricks in this setup would be:

A) It's about real goods and services, not money. Since fiat money can be created and destroyed, it's not always a precise measure of the goods and services being redirected.

B) Each diversion needs to be measured once and only once. In a complex model, a cluster of policies and their underlying simulations could accidentally account for resource diversion multiple times (or let something fall through the cracks). Besides being methodical himself, the game designer would need to clearly communicate the methodology if the game is to be modded successfully.

I can see this model working via the three "incomes" (low, mid and upper class). Each class would command a different fraction of economic output, and each would allocate its resources differently. Some government policies would transfer resources from one class to another, while other policies would "nudge" one or more classes to change their allocations (by affecting parameters used in their formulas).

The resulting indirect effects could be deliciously subtle, complex, and (best of all) frustratingly counter-intuitive to policy makers, especially ham-handed ones.

Capital gains tax- a tax on profits made from when you sell something. Popular with socialists, unpopular with capitalists and wealthy very unpopular with the self employed.


There was also something tried during the FDR administration that will probably never be tried again (but we could model it just to show how harmful it was). It was called the "undistributed profits tax". Any profit (already having been taxed as income) that a business failed to pay out as dividends would be taxed again. What this meant was that building a business (and creating new jobs during the depression) was effectively fined. The harm was so catastrophic and obvious that New Deal Democrats in Congress repealed it themselves (it became law by default without FDR's signature).
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby Leanest Greenest » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:37 pm

For Democracy 3, will something like the Afforable Care Act, aka Obamacare, be included in the game? I think it ought to be in the game. I'm interested in seeing what kind of effects it would have in the game let alone in real life! I live in America afterall. Lol.
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Re: Affordable Care / Affordable Policies

Postby jeffryfisher » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:44 pm

Gov't healthcare is in D2, so I'd expect it in D3. However, it may be worthwhile to also include a legislative cock-up like the ACA that imposes thousands of pages of new legal burdens without really accomplishing much. The amount of health improvement would be negligible, and the financial and hidden regulatory costs would be ruinous, but it could make certain pressure groups happy for much less political capital than needed for the unvarnished socialist healthcare system.

In fact, this gives me an idea for a whole raft of "politically expedient" programs that are cheap, pleasing to pressure groups, but so badly mangled that they don't even do what their sponsors set out to do.

To have such a class of policies, we would first need to invent a mutual exclusion concept where only one policy in within a family of policies is allowed to be in force. Enacting any policy within the family would automatically repeal any sibling currently in force.

The political capital needed to enact a policy within family would then depend on which one was currently in. In some cases, a policy would make contrary siblings more expensive. In other cases, a tepid policy would be a stepping stone to stronger siblings (making them politically more affordable).
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby Zapparulez » Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:15 pm

I'm wondering if a politically divided Congress might be considered in the future. Probably not best for D3 this late in the game, but if your party is the minority party it would be pretty hard to enact many initiatives that would normally have to be passed by Congress/Parliament.

I've already voiced my opinion in another thread regarding Private Sector relationships with government policy. A libertarian agenda should be allowed to be successful if used in moderation, much like liberal and conservative agendas can be successful if done in the same manner.

Great game...been playing it all morning. :D
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby cliffski » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:10 am

Some great ideas here. I love the idea of political capital being lower if you scrape through an election, although from a game design POV this can get tricky because it makes the game spin into a self-reinforcing virtuous or destructive spiral (you are doing bad...so it gets harder). I can see how it is very realistic though, and you can always steer things back to a stronger majority next time by a few compromises :D
I also like the idea for a capital gains tax.
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby jeffryfisher » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:21 pm

What about the possibility that you can lose an election, watch the game run itself (into the ground) under AI control for a term, and then maybe "get back in" in a subsequent election?

I'm thinking that in a no-win scenario, you could make some tough decisions, get kicked out because things are awful no matter what, and then the AI can't do any better, so you get a second chance (after a few policies have been ruined of course). From a dev standpoint, you'd need to create some decision-making algorithms to "play" the game. However, the same algorithms could also become some kind of "adviser" available to (or butting in on) players when we are in office.
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby cliffski » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:10 pm

I've blogged a bit about the capital gains tax policy here:
http://positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/2013/0 ... gains-tax/
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby jeffryfisher » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:06 pm

Capital gains are a special class of income, so your first decision needs to be how the CG tax policy meshes with general income tax policy.

In the US, CG was taxed as ordinary income until a separate CG tax policy treated CG differently. Since the new policy taxed CG at a lower rate than the ordinary income, the CG tax policy was actually pro-capitalist. See the programming problems?

So, you need to figure out how the income tax policy (revenue and popularity) depend on CG policy and vice versa. The income tax will raise less revenue if CG is cut out of its income calculation. The CG tax can be pro or anti capitalist (and +/- capital-driven GDP) depending on whether its tax rate is higher or lower than the income tax policy. The popularity of each needs to be sorted so that their interaction is accounted for but not counted twice. Also, your formulas will need to work for each even when the other is not in force (i.e. one's rate is effectively zero, so does a zero actually appear for it, and can the other's formulas handle it?)

Take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning afternoon.
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby cliffski » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:39 pm

I think the simplest and easiest way is to treat capital gains and income taxes as entirely separate entities. So income tax is purely being levied on salary income, and CGT is being levied on everything else, so property price accumulation, stock market gains, and share dividends. That's my plan, because it enables me to model the different impacts of them in a fairly clear way.
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political capital cost could be dynamic

Postby Dandelion » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:02 am

To make it more realistic I'd like to see the political capital cost of policies being dynamic - they could be dependent on who the major voter group in society is.

Examples:
- When there are lots of patriots, it could be "cheaper" in terms of political cost to introduce national service / compulsory military service.
- When there are lots of religious voters, it could be "cheaper" to raise creationism / lower stem cell research (-and the other way round when there are lots of free-thinking "liberals")
- When there are lots of capitalist (or self-employed?), it could be "cheaper" to lower corporate tax or cancel it.
- When there are lots of poor, it could be "cheaper" to lower sales tax, introduce public housing etc.
- When there are lots of environmentalist voters, environmentalist policies could be "cheaper".
- When there are lots of motorists, it could be "cheaper" to build more roads (- in terms of political capital - as in all examples).

I admit I don't know how it affects balancing, or if it is possible to find opposing pairs for everything. In the political capital cost for every policy as is in D2 there are already some assumptions baked in: that it is always easier to introduce subsidies, than to cancel them. I wondered how you balanced political capital cost in D2... - often it's high for things that cost/save a lot of money, and sometimes it's high for things that are highly emotional (handgun laws, religious issues) - where I wonder if the "return" I'm getting is worth it... (- is the voter turnout of affected voters higher with more (political) costly policies?) - I mean: did you try to balance returns on political cost, or where you trying to imply, that some political battles are not worth fighting them? (Because they are "too costly")? - I guess you wanted to make a realistic, fun game, and not make politics with it on the meta level ;-)

P.S.: as someone already proposed, Dilemmas could also lower the cost for policies: after a school shooting you could lower the cost for stricter handgun laws etc.

P.P.S.: While I admit that in reality there could be rich people in favour of higher taxes on the rich, or poor people that don't care about politics at all (low voter turn out), I have to say that economic models usually use the "homo oeconomicus" where each individual is supposed to be absolutely rational and egoistic maxing his/her own benefit.


Edit: If you don't want to make political capital cost dynamic from a game mechanics point of view (tied to voters majorities), you could at least make them different for different "countries"... - e.g. changing hand-gun-laws in the US surely is costly - here in Germany it wouldn't be much of an issue (- but you would probably face harsh resistance / need lots of political capital if you wanted to introduce a speed limit on the autobahn... - which would hardly be a an issue in most other countries...).
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Re: political capital cost could be dynamic

Postby jeffryfisher » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:04 pm

Dandelion wrote:To make it more realistic I'd like to see the political capital cost of policies being dynamic - they could be dependent on who the major voter group in society is.

Examples:
- When there are lots of patriots, it could be "cheaper" in terms of political cost to introduce national service / compulsory military service...


There's potential here, but one must avoid accounting the same force twice. Cliff must decide what plays into political cost versus what plays into political strength. While some of your examples may well lower resistance to some changes, others might be better modeled as increasing strength (or offering cabinet members who bring strength to those who favor their policies).

In the political capital cost for every policy... there are already some assumptions baked in: that it is always easier to introduce subsidies than to cancel them.


Indeed, targeted handouts always build specific constituencies who become better organized than the broad base of those who must pay. This creates a political bias that is one of the weaknesses of most or all democratic forms of government. If the game creates a worthwhile model, then the only way to swim upstream will be to discover where there are indirect benefits (such as economic gains) that can outweigh the political hazard of goring political sacred cows.

What I discovered in D2 is that length of term of office is critical. Short terms motivate short-sightedness, while long (5-year) terms open a secret door to success using wiser long-term policies. To succeed in a 4-year term requires a high degree of good luck with timing the economic cycle.

P.S.: as someone already proposed, Dilemmas could also lower the cost for policies: after a school shooting you could lower the cost for stricter handgun laws etc.


What would be ironic is if the dilemma not only lowered the cost of a policy, but if the policy then increased the chance for the same crisis to repeat. The school shooting is a prime example: Each school shooting motivates politicians to further disarm people in and around schools, guaranteeing that the next suicidal maniac knows exactly where to find loads of victims and no opposition.

P.P.S.: While I admit that in reality there could be rich people in favour of higher taxes on the rich, or poor people that don't care about politics at all (low voter turn out), I have to say that economic models usually use the "homo oeconomicus" where each individual is supposed to be absolutely rational and egoistic maxing his/her own benefit.


Each "individual" in the game is actually a group average where outliers are masked. Also, each "individual" belongs to multiple groups (as well as the whole), so the reactions based on one set of priorities are added to the reactions from some others, sometimes creating infrequent ironies like you describe.

Edit: If you don't want to make political capital cost dynamic from a game mechanics point of view (tied to voters majorities), you could at least make them different for different "countries"... - e.g. changing hand-gun-laws in the US surely is costly - here in Germany it wouldn't be much of an issue (- but you would probably face harsh resistance / need lots of political capital if you wanted to introduce a speed limit on the autobahn... - which would hardly be a an issue in most other countries...).


Agreed. Countries' differences in game demographics (distributions among interest groups) don't (yet) translate into realistically different costs for related policies. It might seem simpler to just give each country its own set of policy costs, but then one gets a headache realizing that country data knows nothing about policies added in mods. Hmmm... what to do?

Another thing about countries: Is it possible that each country might have an idiosyncratic pressure group or two? How about lacking a common group or two?
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby cliffski » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:15 am

One of my plans regarding D3 is to allow subfolders for countries with over-ruling policies, so for example if there was a folder for Germany, I could add a new IncomeTax policy in that folder, and when playing as Germany, it would take over from the default. I think that is essential to getting a decent variety between different real-world countries.
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby Tek0516 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:01 am

I don't know whther this has been mentioned, but what about the scaling political capital costs based on the amount you change the policy by. Raising a tax by 1% is much easier than trying to raise it by 10%. A policy could be slowly increased over time, though still costing the same in the long run. There could also just be a base cost, representing the capital required just to enact changes, which is then added to a scaled amount.
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Re: Suggestions for Democracy 3

Postby jeffryfisher » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:10 pm

Tek0516 wrote:I don't know whther this has been mentioned, but what about the scaling political capital costs based on the amount you change the policy by. Raising a tax by 1% is much easier than trying to raise it by 10%. A policy could be slowly increased over time, though still costing the same in the long run. There could also just be a base cost, representing the capital required just to enact changes, which is then added to a scaled amount.


Oooh, incrementalism! I like it! If you can't get the policy you want, then at least get the camel's nose in the tent. A similar tactic could be implemented for first enacting a policy: It could have a starting price to be enacted at a default setting, and then the price would increase for moving the slider in either direction.

On the other hand, there are limits to such proportionalism. Certain political groups become fully activated at a rather low level of provocation (which may be any initial enactment), so making a big change is often not much more expensive than making a modest one. Along those lines, if a group is "all-in" opposing one measure, then maybe it should have no more energy to oppose other measures. I wonder if it could be possible to "saturate" the opposition and get two or more related policies for the price of only the most expensive one.

Each group could have its own small pool of political capital, so it could be mostly depleted on the turn after losing a big fight, partially depleted on the turn after that, and fully recovered on the third turn (if it hasn't fought more). Consequently, by pushing a hot-button policy through on one turn, a player could also buy some temporary discounts on related policies due to opposition fatigue.

Assuming that the government's capital recovery rate is several times that of any single pressure group, I can then envision a divide and conquer legislative strategy: If you want an expansive policy (i.e. opposed by multiple groups), then on one turn, choose some other policy that isolates one strong opponent. Push a change that deliberately goads that opponent into flushing its pool. On the next turn, with one of your opponents depleted, ram through the truly controversial policy that you couldn't afford otherwise.

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