/tinfoil hat on
Imagine you are the King’s Advisor.
You have always been the King’s Advisor, for the past four thousand years. Whoever was in power, whoever was king, or emperor, or khan, or president, you have always been standing there, in the background.
You, and those like you, have been known by many names. The King’s Advisors, the fat cats, the movers and shakers. No one can really prove it, but everyone knows that it’s always been you wielding true power.
How do you do it?
There is but one thing that allows you to hold your position: the peasants.
Peasants are all too eager to sacrifice themselves on the altar of work. They start at a young age, clocking hundreds of hours working for those with a station higher than their own. They work for themselves, for their family, for their wants and needs. They work their entire lives, growing fruit for their lords, then they keel over and die, to be replaced by their children.
You’ve learned something, as time goes by. The peasants, you see, can become angry. They can become upset, and they can and will kill your kind.
So you’ve learned to keep them happy. Happy, content, but still locked into serfdom.
Keep the peasants happy, keep the peasants producing. You get to stay in charge,you get all the stuff you need, and the peasants continue to work for you generation after generation with few, if any, complaints.
The French Revolution changed many, many things in your world. The peasants were unhappy. They were not content in serfdom, they rose up, took arms, drew blood.
Many people died, many ideals changed, politics shifted, the world was born anew in the fires of enlightenment and war.
Then the peasants went back to work as if nothing happened, and you rejoiced at all the new tools the educated peasants had given you to rule them.
Several centuries ago, a peasant’s life was simple.
A peasant is given a piece of land. They can do whatever they want with this land, it is theirs to work. Build a house, raise chickens, get married, have kids, whatever they wished. You may have a priest on hand to help them in times of sickness, and you’ll make sure their kids are taken care of, that they’ll inherit your land.
On one condition, of course. You, the lord of the land, gets a percentage of whatever the peasant produces.
Raise pigs? You want one every six months.
Chickens? A dozen fresh eggs a week.
Cows? Fresh milk daily.
You grant the peasants land, a place to live, a place to work. In exchange, you get a small percentage of whatever it is that they produce.
Thus you, being in charge, need to strike a careful balance. You want the peasants to keep producing for you as long as possible, while guaranteeing they don’t run you through with a pitchfork.
Nowadays, a peasant’s life is still rather simple.
You grant the peasant land. They are free to do with it whatever they wish. They can build a house, if there isn’t already one there. They could have a pet cat, raise kids. You offer them health care for times of sickness, and life insurance so their kids get taken care of if they die.
On one condition, of course. You get a percentage of whatever they produce in exchange for allowing them to live there.
The only difference is that the peasants of today all produce the same good: money.
And when you collect your money, you call it property tax. If they don’t pay, they get kicked off the land, even jailed.
The peasants are free to work wherever they wish, live wherever they wish. They can trade houses whenever they wish, you don’t particularly care, so long as somebody keeps giving you a portion of whatever they produce.
But now you have so many tools with which to keep your peasants enslaved to you. Mortgages, credit cards, student loans, insurance in all of it’s forms, recessions. The so-called “free market” has made it easier than ever to keep the peasants in line.
Even better, the peasants will often demand changes that only serve to entrench themselves even deeper into serfdom.
The gap between the rich peasants and the poor peasants is too great! The numerous poorer peasants complain. So you introduce progressive tax, taking greater and greater quantities as a peasant produces more. This endears the poorer peasants to your side, while all this really does is keep all of the peasants on an even plane, keeping them all poor, while you only get richer.
Peasants die in car accidents, fix this! The numerous peasants complain. So you force car companies to introduce numerous, and extremely expensive, new safety features to their vehicles. Naturally, the car companies don’t pay for any of this. the peasants do.
The peasants thank you for looking out for them, for keeping them safe, all the while shelling out thousands of dollars per car so their face will land in a comfy cushion.
But this… this is the key. You are looking out for the peasants. You want them to live happily, you want them to live long, healthy lives.
Happy peasants don’t turn on their masters.
Healthy peasants work hard, sick ones don’t.
The longer you can keep a given peasant working, the more they produce.
Your goal is not to opress the peasants, to squash them like insects. You want them alive, happy, and working to produce for you as long as possible.
Consider the baby boomers. An entire generation of people who’re currently on the verge of retirement. These are people who have been working for decades, working to support themselves, their families, and socking away as much as possible for retirement.
Things like Freedom-55, the whole idea of the 401k, these are things the peasants slave away for.
So what do you do, facing the potential disaster of millions of these baby boomers leaving the work force all at once into retirement? What do you do with the car mechanic who has nearly a million dollars socked away for retirement?
The peasant is about to sit down in the field and stop producing.
Well… he doesn’t actually have a million dollars, does he? He has a million dollars in stocks, in loans, in RRSPs. He has a million potential dollars, not a million actual dollars.
So what happens if the economy crashes? What happens if the stocks crash?
Well, that mechanic doesn’t have a million dollars anymore, does he? He has half that, maybe less. He can’t retire on that, so he keeps working.
The peasant keeps producing.
Boubouille posted an AH guide on his immensely popular site, MMO Champion. Most of you have probably already read this post, maybe started putting some of it into practice.
Have a look at the comments.
Goddamn it Bou.. Really no reason for you to go and tell the whole world!
thnx for crushing the wow economy
Ruining the market, the servers will now drop in prices, Economys ruined… thanks -_-
I always like your information Boubouille, but please don’t post AH information like this so publicly. If everyone was doing these things there wouldn’t be much of a market for those who play the AH.
Nooo the secrets are out! AH will be messed up for a few months now with people that jump on band wagons.
Don’t share amazing SECRETS with every noob out there. Peons have to keep grinding mats for us-smart-players so we can make tons of gold (in few days) while they die mining, herbing, killing stuff and questing. Please let smart-clever players be the rich ones, while noobs-newcomers just farm mats endlessly and put them on AH for insanely wrong prices.
Please keep in mind that sharing SUPER TOP SECRET tricks to make TONS OF REAL VIRTUAL MONEY can offend and disappoint someone. Clever-players deserve to make money without sharing any super TOP SECRET way to use the auction house. Peons have to keep grinding completely unaware of how much fun can be playing on AH.
The last comment was made sarcastically (I think), but the point still stands.
/tinfoil hat off