Not entirely sure why this was locked, with no warning, and with a “The purpose of the EVE Online forums is to provide a platform for exchange of ideas, and a venue for the discussion of EVE Online.” explanation provided, but okay.
Since I’ve renounced the evil-doing ways of my past, I’ve been doing some thinking. And as I popped another oxy pill to deal with the discomfort that caused, I realized that we, in large part, are able to function as a society by virtue of the various safety nets that it provides, such as social security, the health care that paid for my delicious strawberry-flavored opioid, et cetera.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some socialist manifesto (that will come later). Nor is this a feature proposal. This is really just a “what if” thought exercise, in which I’m considering the concept of universal income, and what kind of effects it could have on EVE.
It’s no secret that EVE has its own version of the 1% (or maybe even more like .01%) problem. That could possibly be the topic of another discussion. The point here isn’t to consider what to do with the privileged, but to explore methods of giving a fair chance to all of the humble players on the lower rungs of EVE’s economic ladder.
See, the thing about the rich is that not only are they able to buy lots of/expensive stuff, but they’re able to replace it easily as well. A rich player can fill a freighter with assets, lose that freighter, and while they’ll feel terrible, they can turn to the stockpiles in their wallets and hangars, and continue playing. Someone poor, like a high-sec miner plinking away at Veldspar, or a Caldari loyalist running level 3 missions in a Drake, might not be able to recover from a sociopath-induced loss, or at the very least, they might not be able to recover with a reasonable amount of effort. Yes, it’s possible to start from scratch in a rookie ship and work your way up again, but that’s not a practical solution for a video game that’s supposed to be entertaining even when you’re not necessarily “winning” in it.
So what would happen if we gave everyone, say, 10 million ISK per day? For the sake of this exercise, let’s limit this remittance to Omega accounts only (I’m not ignorant, and understand that if free accounts were afforded this privilege, we’d see massive farms set up to take advantage of it).
One immediate effect that comes mind is that it would lead to increased currency inflation. But would that be significant enough to have a tangible negative impact? If EVE has about 100,000 paying accounts at any given time (just an assumption, feel free to correct it if you have more concrete info), then the daily handout will amount to one trillion ISK, or roughly what is generated per day from PvE in the Delve region. This means that the remittance would amount to just a tiny fraction of daily generated ISK in the entire EVE universe. However, if inflation is still a concern, one possible way of dealing with it would be to fund the universal income from an automatic, universal tax on all PvE income, which might amount to a rate of 1-2%, meaning that anyone making less than 500 million to 1 billion ISK per day would still benefit from the universal income.
And yet, for a poor player, 10 million is not an insignificant amount. A player who just lost their barge to some drooling reprobate’s Catalyst would be able to combine it with the insurance payout for an immediate replacement. The honorable Caldari loyalist who bravely opened fire on the salvage thief in his Angel Extravaganza mission site, and was destroyed when the thief came back in a Proteus, would be able to instantly ship down to a Caracal and continue playing.
And isn’t that the whole point? To keep players invested in the game? History has shown that when players take losses they can’t recover from, they stop playing. We have multiple threads on the front page of GD where players quit for that very reason. So wouldn’t providing a safety net help mitigate this issue?
A universal income would also help bridge the gap between the mega-wealthy and the poor. The paltry amount of ten million ISK would do absolutely nothing for those already earning hundreds of millions or billions every day, even on a collective level. But those making up the majority of the income curve would benefit considerably, either by virtue of having a baseline safety net, or by being able to save up funds in order to break into the lower end of EVE’s “luxury” market segment (e.g. navy/T2 ships).
That’s about it, for now. Feel free to comment. I hope that we can have a nice, troll-free discussion about the theoretical effects a universal income would have on the EVE universe. Remember, this is not a proposal; I’m not for or against this (yet), but merely wondering if EVE would change for better or for worse.
Be sure to join me next time for a discussion on creating safe spaces in sovereign 0.0 to give oppressed majorities a chance at experiencing null-sec content!