Friday, August 23, 2013

Paper expenses, and RPGs with Trade

TL:DR What's this relation in Gaming, particularly Trade Games like Traveller or any Game where there is trade and negotiations value is pretty arbitrary with bench marks made by the business overhead. 

I was talking to a a very successful accountant friend who is also a gamer about trade based games.
We talked about cheesy min max combos in Real-World accounting, and there was the funny trick with paper expenses.
Basically if you pay in commodities, goods and services, what ever value you assign is almost arbitrary. It exploits several cognitive biases and the abstract nature of value. 

I can sell you a technical service , example: like internet access in exchange for cash or a trade of services. You can sell me another similar good like connectivity to X network or security services. In our books we will write down how much I sell my "technical service" in exchange for your "technical service" and we give each other receipts and pay taxes according to how much that is... the questions is how much does such a service cost us. Its called a paper expense for a couple of reasons, the one' i'm familiar with is that it is an expense provable by only documentation. 

Services and various Technology is hard to measure in costs, because Infrastructure is a complicated beast to measure. I can probably go OCD (if I could) and measure my usage of a car in both GasWt./distance it  transports, Maintenance vs the payments I'm making every month, and compare it to my Cost of Living and Wages to see if I've maximized it or I've hit diminishing returns (that would be a great gadget to make and probably already exists). Already just as simple as a car is complicated to measure... what more an Office and office furnture - it they look like crap you fail to create confidence in your patrons, if you pay too much for luxuries thats more expenses than you had (examples of lines you won't know till you cross them). 

Now the ethics come in as What you charge affects both your patrons, your competition, and complimentary or dependent commodities and the market. There is a cognitive bias in dealing with people in degrees of separation (faceless groups, even if you give them a face). There are so many factors in this circumstance: Competition (Prisoners Dilemma) and Value Perception (Placebo Affect of Expensive Goods). And of course the "Taboo" of Economic Ideology... UGGG... good thing most adventurers are Selfish *****. 

In the two Traveller Games I'm playing I play a "cut digit" accountant 

  and an Honest Merchant suit of a Cowboy (Inspired by Brisco Country Jr). So I get to ponder trade in games and their relationship to my business experience. 

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