Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Production Figures

I'm setting up to create another video on Friday, describing my mock-up of Pon, the region within Minaria, as promised in my last video.  I should have a map for Pon that I can post sometime soon. For the present, I've added a couple of pages to my wiki giving the number of total references in my world broken down by product and most common, as well as numbers I use for total production, which should be viewed as separate from references.

I think I'm a bit short on text for both those pages.  If someone wants to make a point about something that should be expanded upon, for the sake of information, give me a poke and I'll update.

The smart reader will note that there are hundreds of things notably missing from the production list that are certainly on the references list.  For example, I have 45 references for armor and 48 references for weapons, but no numbers whatsoever for how much of either are actually produced. That is because all figures I could find for manufactured products were unreliable in terms of the Renaissance period (or the medieval before), meaning that I had to build a completely different methodology for working out the cost of manufactured products.  This did not, unfortunately, work out the total amount produced of manufactured products, but then that was never my intention.  I wanted prices, not amounts, and as it happened I did not need to produce the latter in order to produce the former.  This is a subject I will go into more deeply at a later time.

I am sorry for where the amounts for produced goods are listed in ounces rather than pounds or tons. I know this makes it difficult to assess how much is produced at a glance.  The numbers work for the system, however, as I am more concerned about the price of things in terms of copper pieces per ounce than per larger amount.  By breaking things down to their smallest numbers, it is easier to multiply against a given product's total weight.  It just is.

Why ounces and not metric totals?  Why do I insist on handling 16 ounces to the pound or 8 pottles to the gallon?  Flavour.  The metric system was not invented until the 18th century and my world takes place in the 17th.  Thinking in terms of the old Imperial system actually helps me understand why certain objects were fashioned to be a certain size.  I feel it is worth the mathematical hassle.

As the link says, I post the production numbers strictly as a guideline.  I truly am sorry about not being able to reproduce my source material - much of it came from library reference basements or shelves that in fact don't exist any more.  My local university library, for example, has eliminated much of its original reference material for the sake of the internet, or modified those original papers so that they're now found in other forms.  To reproduce my data I would have to go back to scratch - and since my data is fine for me, I don't feel that's necessary.  The reader is more than welcome to produce whatever data the reader is prepared for, if the reader feels evidence is necessary.  I suggest beginning with expansion of industrial power in Western Europe post 1750.  You'll find it hard to find any data on industrial expansion in the rest of the world, even America, prior to 1800.  In all truth, America's industrial power in 1750 was virtually nil, so it doesn't give much value as far as working out a ratio against the total production of things in the present day.  Insufferably, no one felt it was important to keep reliable statistics for how much metal or cereals or even sugar was produced worldwide in 1650.  What the hell were those people thinking?

Thus, any numbers you produce for your system will be - unfortunately - in part dragged out of your ass.  There just aren't any numbers.  You'll find a number for something made somewhere (Toulon produced some nice numbers in the 17th century), but that won't help if your world's culture is that of Asia, Africa or even western Russia.  You'll just have to face it - making up a production number is the best you'll be able to do.

I would argue strongly that you trust my numbers, at least in terms of their comparative ratio.  I've been doing this a long time, I positively HATE making up things and I've worked hard to get good comparisons that work well for the world.  If your world is more medieval or ancient than renaissance, I would recommend going through and reducing a lot of the numbers based upon what technological innovations your world will precede.  For example, you had better cut your grain production considerably if your world does not include the horse collar.  You might want to toss certain staple crops altogether, if you want an ancient Rome feel, as there shouldn't be any potatoes, chocolate, tobacco and so on.  On the whole, for pure fantasy's sake, there are a number of things you might want to pump upwards, such as turtles for turtle soup, while ridding yourself of products just to make things 'weird.'  Remember that any changes you make to the production will have potentially drastic effects upon the price of things if you don't consider references as well.  There's no point in increasing the number of turtles in the world if you don't also increase the number of people who think eating them is important.

That should give you food for thought for a day or two.  There will be more.


Mujadaddy said...

Probably just clerical obfuscation, but you have REFERENCES for Cereals as well as Wheat, Rice, Barley, Millet, etc., but you only have PRODUCTION for Cereals. Care to shed some light on the behind-the-scenes differences for calculations?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Not a clerical error at all.

At many points in my research I found a listing for 'cereals' but no specific variety, whereas in other cases I did get specific references for wheat, barley, oats and so on.

I couldn't ad hoc decide which variety 'cereals' meant, whereas at the same time I wanted detail whenever I could get it. Ultimately, I built the system to accept both designations.

I'll be covering it later, but the total influx of various defined cereals determines the distribution of undefined cereals - which is then used to pump up the TOTAL references for the defined cereals.

Let's say that the imports for a market equal 5 cereals, 4 wheat, 3 oats, 1 barley, 1 maize and 1 rice. The numbers are never round like that, but let's just say.

The total cereals are then folded into the other references, so we get 6 wheat, 4.5 oats and 1.5 of barley, maize and rice.

I do similar things to this with regards to fruits, vegetables, treenuts, clothing and many other things.

It really does work.

Alexis Smolensk said...

With regards to ONE production value, my reasoning was thus.

People do not 'choose' which sort of staple they want to eat. It isn't like the 17th century people of Norway would pay five or six times as much for wheat as they would for oats - fact is, you eat the staple that is most commonly found where you are. If there is another staple, fine, but on the whole the price won't differ that much because people simply wouldn't pay extra (not in those times).

Take fruit, for instance. You eat the fruit that's in season, for as long as it's in season, and then you eat some other kind of fruit. Whereas my world doesn't incorporate seasons yet, on the whole people eat whatever fruit is most common; if they pay for another fruit, at most it would be only slightly higher in cost. That's my reasoning anyway.

So I have a different evaluation for the cost of one cereal versus another, based upon the total number of references for all cereals (designated or not) divided by the total tonnage of all cereals per reference.

I did try it the other way; I tried sorting out an individual total tonnage for each different kind of cereal, fruit, etcetera. Worked like shit. Too often, prices wound up being ridiculously high. Why would a grocer sell rice at 20 times the price of wheat?

So I smoothed out the system differently.

Mujadaddy said...

Ah, I didn't say 'error', but 'obfuscation', which is laid bare with the explanation:

"I have a different evaluation for the cost of one cereal versus another"

One would have to. In practice, though, how does the proportion of undefined cereals affect the rest? I see from the References sheet that the number of generic-cereals-refs is roughly the same as wheat-refs. Is this proportion being significant just an artifact, or a correction?

Mujadaddy said...

Why would a grocer sell rice at 20 times the price of wheat?

It's rare. I think the question instead is, "Who wouldn't adjust their diet away from the expensive staple?"

Alexis Smolensk said...

Neither. The number of references was generated by the 1952 encyclopedia. I had no influence on it.

Alexis Smolensk said...

And why did you feel the need to quibble? See this post.