Friday, November 17, 2017

The Size of Antwerp's Economy

This post may disagree or discount previous posts written about game infrastructure.  Where disagreement occurs, this post (the latest in my thinking and therefore design on the subject) is right and former content is wrong.

A few weeks ago, Ian Pinder asked me a question about the meaning of "market" as a reference, and how more market references would affect the trade system.  This was a fair question that I mostly ignored, because I did not have a good answer.  To some degree, a larger market provides a more direct route to far flung trade cities, and more market references increases the total number of references in a region, but aside from that, not much effect.


I can answer the question now because of a connection relating the trade system to the infrastructure system. Before I can get into that, however, a bit of a primer on how the infrastructure system helped describe the world.  You might, for instance, remember me posting maps similar to this:

Basically, looking something like a Civ IV map.  Stavanger is a type-1 hex, Randeberg is in a type-4 hex, as is Hole.  The two hexes south of Stavanger are type-7 (the Lake Camp hex) and type-5 (call it the "SE hex").  These five hexes will serve to make a point, then we can move on.

I wanted to emphasize that each individual hex is interpreted as a stand-alone economy (food, hammers/labor and coins/wealth).  The system I've adopted does NOT use the Civilization strategy where one town counts the surrounding squares or hexes).  For calculation purposes, Stavanger only counts what's in the hex that contains Stavanger: 7 food (loaf and two slices), 5 hammers and 6 coins.  Randeberg is therefore 4 food, 2 hammers and 2 coins.  The Lake Camp hex is 1 food and 2 hammers.  It would be an error, then, to lump these together and say that Stavanger included all these food, hammer and coin references.  I just want to make that clear.

Some readers might also remember that while one food symbol in a hex indicates 1 food, while two food symbols in a hex equals 3 food and not two.  To translate the symbols to numbers, consider the symbols to indicate the exponent in the following formula:

2f -1

Three food symbols would equal 7 food, four symbols 15 food and so on.  Stavanger's food supply, therefore, would be 127 food.  Likewise, it's labor supply as shown above is 31 labor and its wealth is 63.

In the new system I'm building now, Stavanger would be a "guild" town (type-1 settlement hex, different from a type-1 rural hex, which has no indicated town in it).  As a guild town, it gathers local goods for transshipment (+1 wealth symbol), it mills local resources into higher-scale products (fish into dried fish, milk into cheese, cattle into leather) (+1 wealth symbol) and the economy is run by guilds who produce high end materials (+2 wealth).  Stavanger also gets +1 wealth symbol from being on the sea.  That's five total, or 31 wealth as I've described.

Stavanger also has 1 market reference in the trade system: so in this new system, that market reference adds another +1 wealth symbol.  This makes it the same as the map above, though as it happens for a different reason.  In any case, this gives us 63 wealth for Stavanger as before.

But what does that mean?  Well ...

If we add up the total number of references (markets and otherwise) in the world (as mapped so far), we get 25,624.  Each of those references is worth as much as 1 reference of gold, on average about 3,894 oz. of gold, or 33,937 g.p.  That's a total of 869,606,567 ... or, divided into a population of 245,385,032, a total of 3.54 g.p. per person.

A "food" represents the amount of food necessary to feed 100 persons.  "Labor" equals the amount of work 100 persons can do.  And "wealth" is based on the per capita income of 100 people, or 354 g.p.  63 wealth, then, is an economy of 22,326 g.p.  Not counting churn, that being money that passes through the hands of many people on a regular basis, enabling one coin to have the purchasing power of multiple coins, depending on the churn.  But let's not worry about that and concentrate on hard numbers.

Individually, Stavanger is one hex in a region of 14 producing hexes called Rogaland, which then counts as a larger economy. Rogaland is part of Denmark, which is obviously a much larger economy, within all of Europe.

Using the system described, if Stavanger had two market references, it's economy would double.  If it had three market references, it's economy would quadruple.  Four and five market references makes for a BIG economy.

The largest market cities I've included in my design so far, based on references, include Constantinople (9), Lubeck (11), London (12), Bremen (14), Hamburg (15) and Antwerp (18).  Some cities, like Paris, haven't many market references, but have many other productions that will help boost the economy, but we'll keep with just market references, because that's easy to calculate without having to actually map out the area.

Consider Antwerp.  It, too, is a guild town, so we give it 4 wealth symbols.  It then is on a river, so that's another symbol.  Then we add 18 more for market references, for a total of 23.  That's a wealth of 8,388,607.  Multiply this by 354 and the total is ... 2,972,775,783.

Yep.  The trade in Antwerp alone is worth more than three times all the wealth produced by all goods in all the world.  And that sounds crazy impossible ... except, I will remind the reader again of the churn, which is the only possible explanation for Antwerp's economy.  The money changes hands so fast there than it creates a 3 billion gold coin economy in a 17th century world.  And that is not out of proportion.  There was a reason that Spain did not want to let the Southern Netherlands go.

Hamburg isn't nearly as big: only a billion.  Bremen is half a billion, London is 125 million and Lubeck is 70 million.  But it is as I said: there are other things that will affect economy other than market references. Remember the rule from Civ IV that banks increase the economy by 50%?

So far, we're just playing with the simplest of numbers in a system I haven't designed fully.  There's a long way to go.


Maxwell Joslyn said...

Whoa! It'd be cool to figure out how taxation interacts with these calculations!

Imagine the total reduction in the size of the economy as calculated here.

Suppose 1 gp was added as tax per 100 lbs of iron ore sold in some region. Suppose a reference to iron ore is 1 ton, and this region has 5 references. Then 1 * 5 * 20 100-lb units per ton = 100 gp of taxes across all the iron ore here.

On the one hand that means 100 gp for the rulers coffers, to be spent on things like salaries, infrastructure, war, etc. On the other hand the economy is now 100 GP poorer - - more if there's churn higher than 1.0 here!
And having a high economy is doubtless beneficial to the realm's ruler as well: less chance of revolt (small or large), better dealings with trade partners, more cultural influence?? Who knows.

Anyway you see the tradeoff there! Sic on those PCs of yours who have a domain on transylvania, the choice of taxing this that and the other thing (perhaps to keep it small, they can only tax that which is produced locally. For the games sake.)

Have you any thoughts this direction?

Alexis Smolensk said...

To some degree, the trade system handles some of the costs: how much to suit up an army, for instance, or feed people. As I am moving forward, unbelievably slowly, maintenance is definitely something I have a heading for - to keep the roads in service, for instance. Add to that the notion that labor is in limited quality (still working out those details), so that even if you want to buy an army, you need people to put into the suits you can purchase. And so on.

Yeah, lots of fun. This is going to be a great tool when it is made. You will very much like it.