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RandomGuy

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  1. Yeah there's no scientific basis for this claim at all. The stat is misleading because it only counts forests, not industrial timber plantations. If you count them then the Earth actually has significantly more trees than it did a few decades ago, and is continuing to increase. Which isn't hard to do, since trees are a renewable resource and extraordinarily easy to produce. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/nasa-says-earth-is-greener-than-ever-thanks-to-china-and-india/ https://e360.yale.edu/features/conflicting-data-how-fast-is-the-worlds-losing-its-forests You're losing biodiversity. Not much else. Also, the article you're citing specifically says that most tree loss is happening in central and western Africa, which... isn't really capitalist. Places like North America and Europe have actually increased their forest coverage independent of their industrial timber since twenty years ago: Even the losses in Africa can be rather casually taken care of by more tree planting as is happening in the USA and China, through both public and private initiatives. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/04/planting-billions-trees-best-tackle-climate-crisis-scientists-canopy-emissions Incorrect. Capitalism doesn't have a purpose because it's not an ideology, it's a tool to distribute scarce resources. You're confusing it with socialism, which is both an economic and a POLITICAL system. You can have intentionally low-growth capitalism, it just likely won't manifest for the same reason that intentionally low-growth socialism won't (people like to have more stuff). Ask any economist to justify capitalism, and the word "growth" probably won't even be part of his spiel. You won't even find that in Econ 101. In Econ 101, capitalism works because people gain from trade, not because they have more and more to trade over time. Efficiency, not growth, is the point. In fact, some of the earliest challenges to the free-market orthodoxy came from adding growth to the models. Back in the 1950s, Paul Samuelson showed that growth provides a rationale for Social Security. Later, "endogenous growth" theories called for a government role in supporting research and development. Incorrect, at that point it means you simply have a dependable but extremely low-return firm, which totally exist in the current economy and are relied on for being safe (e.g. railroad and utilities companies). Actual socialist approach: the central planning committee decides that they'll harvest exactly 10,000 tons of fish this year and exactly 20,000 tons the next year, despite demand being less than 5,000 tons of fish, and orders the island's population to make it happen. Various officials do so and fudge their numbers on top of it. Steve tries to set up a sustainable fishing farm but is shot for attempting to construct private industry. When only 5,000 of the 30,000 tons are actually consumed, the other 25,000 are thrown in the nearby ocean along with other waste products, causing widespread pollution. Actual capitalist approach: Steve, Jim and Charles fish as much as possible in the short term, making about equal profits. Charles wants a leg-up on Steve and Jim, so instead of fishing, he sets up a sustainable fish farming operation using investment from the local coconut tree farmer, Larry. Charles and Larry can now out-produce Steve and Jim allowing them to sell their good at a lower price; Steve and Jim subsequently have to find a way to compete with Charles and Larry. Steve and Jim make a partnership and agree to invest in research conducted by the school led by the local professor, Alex, in the hopes of long-term return. Alex eventually figures out how to farm more fish in a smaller area for a lower cost than Charles and Larry, which benefits Steve and Jim as they set up their own opposing operations. The price of fish is now even lower than before, but the cost of producing fish is infinitesimal, so Steve and Jim still make bank. Your whole worldview makes three major mistakes: 1. Assuming resources are finite: just about everything that humanity uses is renewable, conceivably renewal, or so plentiful that it may as well be infinite on our human time scales. 2. Assuming market economies offer no incentives to save: it's the exact opposite. In a market economy, as a good becomes rare, its price will increase. This allows the economy to slowly wean itself off of it and producers to find alternatives to stay in business (why do you think electric vehicles, GMOs, solar power, etc. were developed in capitalist countries? By contrast what important advances have socialist countries made in the area of sustainability?). And guess what? That's exactly what's happening, it's what happens every day: people cutting down consumption of certain goods in response to increased prices. This can't happen in a non-market system. 3. Assuming growth can only come from more resources: the main one. As I noted, we're actually using LESS resources for the value we produce, and this has been the case for decades now. It continues to fall. The vast majority of 'growth' in postmodern economies is driven by more efficient use and allocation of existing resources, not extraction. Nearly all American growth, for example, comes in the sectors of finance, information, professional/technical services, or health services/sciences. The information economy ensures that an obscene amount of value can be produced for almost no resources (e.g. dozens of people have made billion-dollar companies in their basements with single computers). In fact, some economic growth inherently uses LESS resources, like improving energy efficiency. Point three is particularly odd since you simultaneously subscribe to the theories that robots will make humans obsolete in most jobs (despite 80% of jobs being service-based) due to being so extremely cheap and efficient, AND that we can only have economic growth with more resources. These two ideas are mutually contradictory.
  2. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.USE.COMM.GD.PP.KD https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.GROW?locations=XD-1W https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PP.GD https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-18/the-world-will-get-half-its-power-from-wind-and-solar-by-2050 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projections_of_population_growth#Growth_regions https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2096511718300069 https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-worlds-resources-arent-running-out-1398469459 ~Energy usage per dollar of value produced is going down, i.e. wealth can increase without further use of resources. ~World population growth is going down, and is currently nearly static in high and middle income countries (it would actually be negative without immigration, looking at birth rates; nearly the entire first and second world are below replacement fertility rates). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependencies_by_total_fertility_rate#Country_ranking_by_Intergovernmental_organizations ~CO2 emissions per dollar of value produced is going down. ~Going by current market trends and how increasingly cheap and economical alternative energy sources are becoming thanks to private and public research and investment, renewable energy is projected to make up 71% of world electricity generation capacity by 2050. The difference will mostly be solar and wind eating into coal's share, as the latter will soon no longer be competitive in the market. -Going by current demographic projections, world population will peak in 2100 and then decline. -In the past few years, renewable energy has actually become cheaper per unit energy than oil, and it's only getting cheaper. Also, Ross, if someone tells you that socialism can save the environment, immediately ignore everything they say from then on. Socialist regimes are far, far more wasteful than equivalently rich capitalist regimes, objectively and statistically, and no useful green technology has ever been developed in them due to lack of incentives. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_issues_in_Russia The destruction of the Aral Sea, the rapid deforestation (RUSSIA is running low on trees to this day), the extinction of whales, the rampant pollution, Chernobyl, etc. were hallmarks of Soviet environmental policy. Furthermore, here is energy use per dollar of value produced in 1990-1991, the twilight of the USSR: Pollution per dollar of value produced at the same time: The World Bank data for 1992 (just a year after the dissolution of the USSR, therefore the ex-USSR's economies shouldn't be totally unrecognizable yet) has Russia/Ukraine/Belarus/Kazakhstan at ~x2.5 the U.S.'s emissions per dollar and nearly x4 the EU's or Japan's. Check any other ex-socialist country at the earliest point data is available (usually 1992, just a year or two after socialism fell) and you can see how awful they all were. It wasn't just the socialists in eastern Europe and central Asia, nor was it limited to the 20th century. Cuba, probably the last socialist nation remaining (besides North Korea, which doesn't have a lot of data available, and Venezuela, which is a petrostate), emits nearly three times as much CO2 per dollar of GDP as comparably poor Latin American countries like Guatemala and El Salvador. It even emits more than vastly wealthier nations like the Dominican Republic. This is actually due to the exact opposite reasoning of what you said in your "island" scenario; rather than everyone deciding production via market signals, as happens in a market economy, production is decided at the top by central planning, resulting in quotas that have to be met even if the products are literally thrown into the trash (as happened with the USSR's eradication of whales). If some bureaucrat says that they need to produce X cars or harvest Y whales, it happens, regardless of whether that's actually going to be benefit anyone, much less be sustainable. There is also no real mechanism for scarcity to be effectively and subtly communicated in a socialist economy (as opposed to a capitalist one, where the prices will progressively go up, thus encouraging slow easing on consumption or developing substitutes) because prices are totally arbitrary due to being subject to government change at a whim.
  3. Ross, I know you usually like to play games blind, but I highly, HIGHLY recommend having some sort of guide with Dark Souls 1. It can get infuriatingly cryptic and lead to wasted time and sections being even more unfairly difficult than they were supposed to be. At the very least, definitely look up how to find Havel's Ring and the Ring of Favor and Protection, and slap them on immediately (and then never take them off, because the latter disappears if you do and the game never tells you this). The game can border on unplayable without them.
  4. The protagonists in Star Trek were always huge pricks. The Prime Directive seemed to be completely arbitrary and defied at will, yet when it came time to save a civilization from extinction with literally just a press of a button or a single sentence, suddenly the Prime Directive was well-defined and important again.
  5. Ross, you really need to stop taking all your economics info from non-economists.
  6. Once again, France makes a terrible regulatory decision. They seem to have a talent for it. Big publishers will be hurt but overall fine, since the used game scene is alive and well on console, they'll deal with it the same way they deal with GameStop. Meanwhile, assuming a PC resale market actually picks up steam (pun intended), mid-sized and indie developers are done-for unless they switch to only online multiplayer games. There is a reason there is literally no independent small publishers ala Stardock Paradox etc for consoles. Switching to multiplayer is very difficult as well since smaller games have less players and generally don't sell well due to their inability to attain a critical mass of players. Basically, if this actually turns out to work and spreads, it will be the death of the modern indie PC scene. Big publishers can still use an advertising blitz to frontload sales (e.g. Call of Duty: WWII grossing over $1 billion in five weeks) but indie games that relied on word of mouth and a constant stream of sales over a few years will see revenue completely dry up after the first year due to resale. This is exactly what happens with console games, and it's why nearly every game that relies primarily on console sales makes the bulk of its revenue in the first few months. Any single player games that are made are likely to be console focused in the future like Skyrim, GTA, etc.
  7. Horrible work conditions are not "standard" on the level CDPR has them; they'd literally be illegal in the first world. And they can't make their games without those conditions; consider that, even with these bottom of the barrel labor costs, Witcher 3 still costed nearly $90 million to make. Thus, it is not a remotely sustainable model and doesn't solve the underlying issue of single-player games dying. You're just blatantly lying at this point. CDPR would have absolutely no one working for them if they were based in any developed country, and Poland is rapidly approaching that level. EA, the devil of the industry, pays its developers $90-100k on average with great benefits. And the vast majority of them are either total crap or never get made. They're no replacement for dedicated studios with hundreds of millions in resources. And it looks like crap. I don't want games to be either online-only MMOs or perpetually locked in the level of the 90s (even though I still play games from that time). The vast majority of people disagree with you about what constitutes a "good game." One of them is me. Thus, why I consider this an issue, and you may not. Which is fine for, you I guess, but other people actually like modern AAA single player games. It's not just graphics and voice acting, though both of those are a big issue (particularly the latter). It's also just presentation/polish in general as well as depth of mechanics. When all of this is considered I don't see how an indie dev could ever make something like, say, Fallout New Vegas. I don't consider any of the above scams. You get what you pay for and there's tons of information available on what you're buying. Crowd funding, on the other hand, is a complete crapshoot. They can take your money, give you nothing in return, and there's nothing you can do about it. Additionally, there's no real oversight and no real incentive for them to do what they say. Even actually good indie games like Minecraft fell into this trap (prior to becoming, well, not indie, thanks to Microsoft). That game was alpha funded; this is better than crowdfunding because you actually have to show the customer something first, then they pay you, and you promise to give them more later. But when the developer got his millions he stopped bothering to develop the game, there is a chart someone compiled that showed he spent over 50% of 2011 on vacation. The final product was also nothing like what was promised, showing how easy it is to scam people with such a funding scheme in even the most high-profile scenario. "Hobbyists" will not crank out games to the same extent that full studios will: these are, after all, thousands of man hours worth of work, even if the tools themselves advance to the point where they cost nothing. A consistent stream of good games, even indie ones, are only viable if the devs can do it full time and are compensated for their work. The problem with that? Well, there are two. One, indie developers are in the same boat as AAA developers: if they're not making a multiplayer game riddled with microtransactions (cf. Star Citizen), then they're effectively losing money when opportunity cost is considered. Two, the elephant in the room, digital piracy. Entire companies have folded because of it. While the exact figure varies, PC indie games without significant DRM tend to have around a 90% piracy rate. World of Goo had that. Some games, such as Heavy Hogur, can get a 98% piracy rate. http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2008/11/acrying-shame-world-of-goo-piracy-rate-near-90/ http://m.slashdot.org/story/139522 http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JakubKasztalski/20171027/308436/So_5245_of_People_Playing_my_Indie_Game_Have_Pirated_it.php http://forums.indiegamer.com/threads/confirmed-98-piracy-ratio.23669/ https://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/03/22/indie-developer-sells-300000-copies-game-finds-1-million-pirated-copies/ Even 'casual' games get 92%+ rates: https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/108301/Casual_Games_and_Piracy_The_Truth.php ...and games that cost literally 1 cent to purchase get 25% rates. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/100576-Who-Would-Pirate-the-One-Cent-Humble-Indie-Bundle This means only the most insanely successful games can survive in spite of said piracy, essentially off of donations. How do you get around piracy (beyond actually enforcing penalties on everyone which no one is going to bother to do)? Make the game always-online. This has consistently been found to be the absolute best way of proofing it. Online games like League of Legends and World of Warcraft are a far larger percentage of the gaming market these days than ever before, and there is no significant piracy of MMOs and similar games because the server data is kept secret. You literally have to physically steal the hard drive from a company server and even then your pirate server is going to be out of date and really crappy. A good example of this trend in action is China. People in China are primarily PC gamers, and play all types of games. In fact, China is the biggest gaming market in the entire world, having surpassed the U.S. two years ago. But the only games that Chinese studios make are multiplayer always-online ones (F2P FPSes, MMOs, freemium mobile games, etc.). I'm serious, check; it's every single one. Why? Because it's essentially impossible for any other types of games to make money. There is no mass output of single player passion projects in China, even though Chinese gamers DO like to play single player games (we know, because Western and Japanese games are pirated or bootlegged en masse on there), and even though China itself is the world's largest producer of programmers (and second largest producer of software developers). Instead, the whole sub-market is just dead. This shift is happening right now, and it worries me. We can't close this box. In 20 years, single player AAA games may very well be extinct, and single player game output in general declined significantly outside of mods for decades-old games and engines. I don't see any way to reverse this.
  8. People will still make mods for 20-year old games or flash games, but no one is going to hire hundreds of people (from programmers to to managers to artists to voice actors to writers) and spend tens of millions of dollars and 2-4 years making an actual high-quality modern game (or anything close to one) "just because." I have no confidence whatsoever in crowdfunded games, at least not without severe reform in that area to bring it in line with 'regular' businesses. It's way too easy to scam people. Good for you, but I'm not, and neither are the vast majority of people who play video games. I'll also reiterate that soon enough there won't even be much room for these smaller developers.
  9. It really hasn't. Making a game still takes enormous amounts of resources that are becoming increasingly harder to justify with piracy increasing, real game prices DECREASING, and online microtransaction-ridden MP games becoming increasingly popular. These are both absolutely terrible examples of whatever point you're trying to make. Witcher is viable because costs in Poland are very low and CDPR treats its workers like absolute dog shit. Star Citizen is viable because it scammed hundreds of millions in crowdfunding money for promises they'd never deliver on and is, you know, a multiplayer game loaded to the brim with microtransactions. The exact kind of game I am talking about. Neither model is remotely sustainable, in fact had a big game corp done the same things as these companies in the USA they'd probably have gotten sued by the federal government.
  10. I'm not really interested in this whole ongoing discussion because I fundamentally don't think that online-only games dying is the biggest problem facing gaming today (and of course, in the context of society as a whole, it's so minuscule as to not even be worth thinking about). I'd say the biggest issue facing gaming today is actually that online-only games are increasingly becoming the only way to make big games profitable in the first place. This seems to be because of absurdly high PED (games today cost about half as much to buy as games 25 years ago accounting for inflation, yet cost far more to make, and consumers have gotten used to it), rampant piracy ("indie games will save us when AAA can't" is a common refrain yet they can reach literally 98% piracy rates), and overall just how absurdly profitable microtransactions are compared to literally everything else (Clash of Clans, a crappy primitive freemium phone game, made more money than most of the actual biggest game franchises: $6 billion). It's gotten to the point that when opportunity cost is considered, publishers are effectively losing money by making single player games at all. I don't want every game to become CS:GO or LoL.
  11. I do kind of want to see what Ross makes of the Tropico series.
  12. My favorite moment in season 2 so far is probably just Freeman casually referring to the Metrocops as "these Charles Bronson motherfuckers."
  13. According to his donations record page, Ross got $35,545 in donations last year. Assuming a CPM of $2 (Youtube gets 50%), which seems average from everything I've read, his YouTube revenues should have come out to ~$16,000 in the same year per Social Blade. Meaning his income in 2018 was around $51,000 before taxes. By the standards of the area he lives in that should be solidly upper middle class. Assuming his wife brings in no income, he's making slightly over the median full time gross salary of the U.S., 30% more than the average full time gross salary of France (median should be lower), and over three times the average full-time gross salary of Poland (median should be lower). Though, I'm not sure what the taxes and transfers would be like for a non-citizen, self-employed immigrant in Poland, especially one who earns all of his income via either donations from around the world or commission from an American company. I do know that, after taking into account costs of living, subtracting taxes and, adding transfers (goods and services provided by the government such as health care, education and housing, received either free of charge or at reduced prices), median household income in Poland, France, and the U.S. is at $18,906, $31,137, and $44,049 respectively. Interestingly, Ross's donations have only grown over the years. Wasn't expecting that. 2018: $35,544.14 2017: $29,598.33 2016: $26,060.62 2015: $24,105.81
  14. Always love when a multi-hour chat gets cranked out. Gives me something to listen to while driving or exercising.
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