Hypercorps, are they just "evil"?

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Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
How is the New Economy worse?

I feel that we're starting to go in circles and straying from "Are hypercorps evil", so this will be my last post on the subject in this thread. I welcome someone to start--or a mod to split off--a new "Rep economies suck" thread though.

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
I pointed out that the only functional difference between rep and money is that everyone has a rep printing press. You pointed out how terribly that could go wrong, then ask how such a situation can possibly be worse than everyone *not* having a rep printing press.

Well, that's exactly how. Rep can easily become worthless when anyone can print it.

So, in the absolute worst case, everyone has to settle for living their lives and eating enough to survive. How does that stack up to the absolute worst case in an Old Economy again?

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
It is important to strip away the glamorous sci-fi sales pitch

It's a sci-fi game; there has to be some allowance for world-building. That being said, I've yet to be shown that the 'sales pitch', cursory as it is in a book filled with other information, is unreasonable from even a futurology perspective, let alone a sci-fi one.

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
that rep economies have, look at them with a critical eye to see what really sets them apart from a market system, and ask if those changes are likely to bring any tangible benefit in practice.

I would submit that both Old and New economies merit a critical eye, but alright.

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
It turns out that they change very little

What are you going on about then?

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
much of what they do change has been tried before

...we've had nanofabbers and functional immortality before?

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
and of those the track record has generally been negative.

For example?

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
The New Economy(tm) is a ramshackle pile of handwavium that only works because the game's script says it does.

So..... it's science fiction?

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
Of course, that's not to say that my characters are above blatantly exploiting its plot-powered presence in-game. The only things keeping a determined player from breaking the game over their knee with that fountain of infinite stuff are GM fiat and session time limits.

I'm glad you're still able to enjoy the game.

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
As to that article: the reason that article isn't eliminating my point about the persistence of scarcity the way you think it should, is because it concedes the persistence of scarcity. You have conceded the persistence of scarcity as well of course, but simultaneously continue to argue about it because it seems you don't like the conclusion that I draw from that situation: that by necessity the so-called "post scarcity" economy must, in fact, still be structured around scarcity.

Scarcities, not scarcity. There may not be a lot of ytterbium to go around, but everyone is practically guaranteed food and water and a place to lay their head. I've yet to be shown that this is a bad thing.

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
Because even in the most highly automated economy, nothing can really be free. Those machines still need to allocate a finite supply of resources efficiently in order to maximize value for people. They're dealing with scarcity.

The point is that the scarcities they're dealing with are either trivial or luxury.

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
A lot of things might be bundled together in creative ways, being rich might be the new normal, but so long as there is something somewhere that somebody wants and does not have, the essential function that money serves isn't going to go away.

What prevents "rep" from fulfilling this role? I stand by my earlier statement that those who want "stuff" can either find it in simulspace or work for it the almost-old-fashioned way.

R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
And no, greed is not "virtually guaranteed to be sated at someone else's expense" in a market system. Do you know how the vast majority of people sate their greed? They work a steady job and collect a paycheck every month (or every two weeks, depending on where they work).

If they're not leeching off others, it's not greed; it's ambition.

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Well that last bit there is

Well that last bit there is some defination fencing.

MagisterCrow MagisterCrow's picture
It's true in a purely

It's true in a purely philosophical sense, yes, but I think it bears mentioning that hypercorps aren't like their modern counterparts in a couple important ways.

First is that corporations today are not governments. They influence governments, certainly, and I would argue have undue amounts, but in AF 10, hypercorps are government, and governments have to keep some stability. Yes, they'll hack one another to pieces to get a profit, but they are also in a bit of a bind in terms of how aggressive they can be. Overexpansion will also lead to death, most likely by those other crabs sensing weakness.

But yes, they will hack each other apart, but that's where a kind of Cold War mentality seeps in: most of the hypercorps act on self-interest, and if one was to be overly aggressive, the others will likely work together to eliminate it, in self-preservation if nothing else.

Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Making the kids behave

MagisterCrow wrote:
It's true in a purely philosophical sense, yes, but I think it bears mentioning that hypercorps aren't like their modern counterparts in a couple important ways.

First is that corporations today are not governments. They influence governments, certainly, and I would argue have undue amounts, but in AF 10, hypercorps are government, and governments have to keep some stability.

The Hypercorp Council, perhaps, not the hypercorps themselves. But yes, the result would still be hypercorps behaving to some degree or another due to an overarching instinct for long-term survival. I don't know if that would be enough to make them behave outright "well" though: corps do pretty horrible things when they think they can evade the government, let alone when they are the government.

MagisterCrow wrote:
Yes, they'll hack one another to pieces to get a profit, but they are also in a bit of a bind in terms of how aggressive they can be. Overexpansion will also lead to death, most likely by those other crabs sensing weakness.

But yes, they will hack each other apart, but that's where a kind of Cold War mentality seeps in: most of the hypercorps act on self-interest, and if one was to be overly aggressive, the others will likely work together to eliminate it, in self-preservation if nothing else.

Yes, the Cold War seems like a good parallel: it's in everyone's interest not to blow up the planet(s), but they'll push as hard as they can up to that point. A lot of that can vary per a given GM's headcanon, of course.

Haroudo Xavier Haroudo Xavier's picture
Kssian wrote:It seems to me

Kssian wrote:
It seems to me they are represented as evil esclavist organizations. I would like to know if there are good things about them.

Thanks in advance!

No. They only act for profit - the "benefits" are only as what they produce allow it to be, since a product exists to supply a demand (sometimes, created by the corp, and why not? They are evil! :) ). If the TITANs would appear to make a deal to enslave all humanity except for them, they would accept that without blinking an eye. Corporations would do that, HYPER corporations would do that in spades.

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