I'd Like To See You Do Better
November 28, 2016 1:55 PM   Subscribe

You have just been appointed as all-commanding leader of a major country. You have control over the monetary, fiscal, and foreign policy of your country ... As all-commanding leader, you have different indicators available that show you the health of your economy. But choose wisely. There are consequences for every decision you take. The End Game?, a choose-your-own-adventure from UBS.
posted by chavenet (38 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Needs an option at the beginning: "How does economics work? Choose: 1 Austrian, 2 Marx, 3 Keynes". Then your decisions have outcomes based upon that model. Otherwise it's just UBS begging the question...
posted by alasdair at 2:00 PM on November 28, 2016 [40 favorites]


No matter what I do to deal with inequality, I manage to crash the stock market and tank the economy. I think this game is rigged.
posted by SansPoint at 2:00 PM on November 28, 2016 [15 favorites]


I crashed the bond market and then got 'Only 11% were worse for the bond market than you.'

As I suspected, everyone else is an imbecile.
posted by beerperson at 2:01 PM on November 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


Well, if the problem is polarized politics, pursuing a policy of continual playing to populism and maintaining stimuluses, while printing more and more money, leads to:

You created jobs. An economy with low unemployment is great for your approval ratings. However, if everyone is working, it is very hard for companies to hire new people, and your economy may not be well placed to adapt to changes in the global economy. 91% were worse for job creation than you.

You were a friend to the bond market, yields fell. You are able to re-finance your government spending more easily. But low bond yields make life difficult for banks, insurance companies and pension funds, and discourage savers from deposing money. 88% were worse for the bond market than you.

posted by qcubed at 2:06 PM on November 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


I kept clicking "print money" and "maintain stimulus". Everything turned out right, just like in the real world.
posted by Emma May Smith at 2:08 PM on November 28, 2016 [26 favorites]


Yeah this seems highly biased toward "print money," as the promised bubble in the stock market never seems to actually come. I wonder if there's some kind of point they're trying to make here.
posted by zachlipton at 2:22 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think the point might be "future generations will have to deal with what you've done," a comment I received a couple of times when I saved my popularity at the expense of the debt.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:27 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Needs an option at the beginning: "How does economics work? Choose: 1 Austrian, 2 Marx, 3 Keynes". Then your decisions have outcomes based upon that model. Otherwise it's just UBS begging the question...

I had a similar question. Any serious game (that is, the technical term for a game with a motive explicitly ulterior to entertainment) in this vein needs to have its reality modeled on something with political assumptions, so I'm curious what reality UBS is portraying with its decision tree.
posted by codacorolla at 2:27 PM on November 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Based on my very limited understanding of major economic schools, I'm pretty sure it's not Austrian. Whether it's more Marxist or Keynesian, I can't say.

Anyway, without further information about the underlying model, I'm going to assume this is one of those "Political Compass" things that's designed to prove that everyone secretly agrees with the author.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:43 PM on November 28, 2016


Oh, wait, it's from THAT UBS. So, in that case, I assume it's more like that cutesy tower defense game Cisco put out a while back. I.e., basically just an advertisement for UBS.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:45 PM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


MASTER BLASTER SAYS NO PANTS FRIDAY IS THE LAW
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:45 PM on November 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


I seem to crash the bond market every time. Also everything seems to add to government debt. On subsequent runs I printed more money which seems good until you get to the final analysis where it always seem to make things worse.

It definitely feels like the final exam in "False Dichotomies 201". I fucking hated that course.
posted by GuyZero at 2:47 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


So I finally gave in and printed money and pursued populism which gave me a very favourable final assessment.

This is crap.
posted by GuyZero at 2:49 PM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


it's weird how this UBS-created game seems to view everything through the lens of exchange markets
posted by beerperson at 2:52 PM on November 28, 2016 [22 favorites]


From the oldies pile: Hidden Agenda
posted by No Robots at 3:00 PM on November 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


From the oldies pile: Hidden Agenda

oh man, I've played that! What a blast from the past.
posted by GuyZero at 3:05 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


From the oldies pile: Hidden Agenda

As someone whose family fought among LIMPIA's brave commandos against the phony "freedom" and "liberation" promised by President USERNAME, as well as nuns who supported him, I take great offense to this game's appearance in this thread
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:16 PM on November 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


I tried to tackle "Wasteful Production" which is the closest option available to actually caring about the environment. Finally got it to let me try stimulus through building infrastructure rather than printing money and it just said, well now government debt is higher and some of the projects are wasteful. Wasteful to who? Why?

Mediocre.
posted by meinvt at 3:24 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I mean, yeah, define wasteful.
Sometimes the point is for these things to be wasteful.

If you're pursuing infrastructure spending for explicitly stimulus reasons then the point may be to spread the cash around as best you can and let it soak in.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:40 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I love how when the bond market goes from 2% long term rates up to 3.3% long term rates, I'm a terrible leader who "crashed the bond market" even though I'm basically going from "lower than 95% of historical rates" to "lower than 85% of historical rates" for values of Major Country other than Japan.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:44 PM on November 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


Well considering each decision take place over a single day, it is a pretty huge swing in bond rates.
posted by GuyZero at 3:55 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Where is the "seize control of the means of production" button?
posted by 1adam12 at 3:56 PM on November 28, 2016 [21 favorites]


So I finally gave in and printed money and pursued populism which gave me a very favourable final assessment.

How nice, a game for DJT to play and win.
posted by bearwife at 4:00 PM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


From the oldies pile: Hidden Agenda

Christian Reform w/ Laranjera y de Lanza y Chimerican Paul Giamatti 4 eva
posted by Apocryphon at 4:13 PM on November 28, 2016


Needs an option at the beginning: "How does economics work? Choose: 1 Austrian, 2 Marx, 3 Keynes". Then your decisions have outcomes based upon that model. Otherwise it's just UBS begging the question...

OBVIOUSLY this is based on REAL economics, not FANTASIES.
posted by kafziel at 4:14 PM on November 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


You created jobs. An economy with low unemployment is great for your approval ratings. However, if everyone is working, it is very hard for companies to hire new people, and your economy may not be well placed to adapt to changes in the global economy. 91% were worse for job creation than you.

You were a friend to the bond market, yields fell. You are able to re-finance your government spending more easily. But low bond yields make life difficult for banks, insurance companies and pension funds, and discourage savers from deposing money. 88% were worse for the bond market than you.


The juxtaposition of "rousing economic success!" with "but you're be making it hard for the poor publicly traded companies and banks" is extra hilarious coming from UBS. Like, if you want to put out some sort of policy statement game, make sure the outcomes align with your implicit policy objectives, maybe? Or else you just look kind of foolish.
posted by Existential Dread at 4:21 PM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


91% were worse for job creation than you.
Only 12% were better for the stock market than you.


I'm having serious thoughts about running for national office as a Republican right now, brb having talk with family
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:26 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I seem to have pegged the meters in both directions.

You crashed the bond market, yields rose. This makes it more expensive you to invest , and mortgage debtors will suffer. On the other hand, it improves the outlook for pension funds and encourages saving. Only 0% were worse for the bond market than you.

You were a big spender, debt-to-GDP rose. Your budget deficit has increased, but your economy is growing. People are spending more money, which fuels inflation. But your generosity comes at a cost. Future generations will have to pay back your debt. Only 1% saw higher debt-to-GDP than you.

posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:30 PM on November 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Hot garbage.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:09 PM on November 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


I kept wanting to throw up my hands and launch an invasion of Iraq but that third way seemed to be off the table.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 6:36 PM on November 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


So I finally gave in and printed money and pursued populism which gave me a very favourable final assessment.

This is crap.


Seems accurate to me. Printing (& spending) is a way -- the only way other than confiscatory taxation (& spending) -- for high-savings / high-Gini / unbalanced economies to prevent the lower quintiles from running out of money and sliding into permanent poverty.

To paraphrase the movie Network, When you take a dollar OUT of the paycheck economy, you must put it back.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 6:48 PM on November 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Exchange rates are the thing to keep an eye on in macro.

When I first saw this yuan chart the past three decades became a lot clearer. For a laugh/cry, many moons ago Trump pointed at that run-up at the end as evidence that the Chinese are manipulating the yuan against us . . . wtf was 1994 (!)

I suspect that some day in my lifetime the USD will be at parity with the yuan. China might peak at 1.5B people closer to 2050, while we'll be pushing 400M then. Seems like they'll want to buy a lot more of our food production, and if they have a stronger yuan they'll get more for their dollar, leaving less for us.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 6:55 PM on November 28, 2016


This is fantastic. Well, fantastic in the way that I plan on using this game as an example of how important it is to focus on who creates the content, how it promotes their worldview, and how they stand to gain from promoting their idea of what a successful outcome is.

Seriously, though? A game from UBS on how to run an economy properly? What's next, letting the NRA promote gun use in schools? Allowing General Mills to tell us that Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs are an essential part of a balanced brea...

Oh. Damn.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:09 PM on November 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


You crashed the bond market, yields rose. This makes it more expensive you to invest, and mortgage debtors will suffer. On the other hand, it improves the outlook for pension funds and encourages saving. Only 14% were worse for the bond market than you.

You created jobs. An economy with low unemployment is great for your approval ratings. However, if everyone is working, it is very hard for companies to hire new people, and your economy may not be well placed to adapt to changes in the global economy. 32% were worse for job creation than you.


Uh, wait a second... I'm pretty sure that crashing the bond market means (to UBS) that I've lost the game, but pension funds are good, and I've encouraged saving. I've created jobs, and I've got low unemployment, but that's bad. Interesting way of looking at the world. I always thought that scarcity drives value. If workers are scarce, wouldn't that raise demand? If demand goes up, doesn't that basically mean salaries and/or benefits would have to increase (if companies are really intent on hiring workers)? According to the game, I've pretty clearly lost. On the other hand, pensions are secure, personal saving is up, and wages and benefits are more than likely to go up. I don't feel like I lost.

UBS, I think you're tipping your hand a bit here.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:17 PM on November 28, 2016 [9 favorites]


So, if you look at my comment history from 2012 you'll see a lot of comments from me about how I don't fit in where I work, I'm the only Democrat in the place, I have nothing in common with anyone, etc....

This is where I was working. I was a secretary for a couple of high poobahs - most of them nice dudes, but one or two...well, they weren't like obvious JERKS, but something just seemed...there was some kind of "rich dudebro" vibe. One was the guy who explained the conept of synthetic equity to me, which at the time I privately thought was the stupidest concept I'd ever heard. Once when I was booking business travel for him and presented him with a choice of three hotels, he thought for a couple seconds and then said "oh, I don't know, which do YOU think is better?" I told him, "....Sir, when I travel, my budget usually only allows me to afford youth hostels." He spent the next eight months teasing me by calling me "Hippie". Oh, and I processed the expense reports for a lot of business dinners with this guy.

I am so happy to not be working here any more.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:51 PM on November 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


So UBS made a cruddy browser version of Democracy 3?

If ya'll liked this, you should purchase this game. I bought it through Steam a year or so ago and spent a lovely couple days yelling at idiot voters and shuffling through Ministers faster than Trump through Advisors =P

Fun times!
posted by sharp pointy objects at 5:43 AM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


So did anybody get the option to raise taxes or reallocate spending to different areas? Cause I know there are more ways to get money in government kitties other than printing money and raising stimulus.
posted by teleri025 at 9:55 AM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


When I first saw this yuan chart the past three decades became a lot clearer. For a laugh/cry, many moons ago Trump pointed at that run-up at the end as evidence that the Chinese are manipulating the yuan against us . . . wtf was 1994 (!)

I heard the yuan was pegged, but I don't see how it's my business what two consenting currencies do in the privacy of their own home.
posted by atoxyl at 7:21 PM on November 29, 2016


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