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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » There is so much wrong with this that I don't know where to begin (Page 1)

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Author Topic: There is so much wrong with this that I don't know where to begin
Strider
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link

Oh wait, I do...why in the world are we marketing toy ATM machines to children? This is what we want our children playing with?

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scifibum
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I dunno, I think there's at least a token effort to imbue some educational value. It seems no worse than a toy phone to me.
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Jon Boy
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"Teach your children the benefits of saving with this child-sized ATM machine."

Yeah, right. How many people actually use ATMs for making deposits rather than withdrawals?

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Dobbie
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My nephew had one of those. So what?
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Tara
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It could be worse...
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
"Teach your children the benefits of saving with this child-sized ATM machine."

Yeah, right. How many people actually use ATMs for making deposits rather than withdrawals?

Sounds like a valid educational goal then?
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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
"Teach your children the benefits of saving with this child-sized ATM machine."

Yeah, right. How many people actually use ATMs for making deposits rather than withdrawals?

I do. Since I use plastic money almost exclusively, I never withdrawl cash. And I have a special account that charges me a fee when I walk in and deal with a teller directly, so I only deposit through an ATM.

But I agree with the sentiment of what you're saying; I'm probably the odd one out here.

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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
Yeah, right. How many people actually use ATMs for making deposits rather than withdrawals?

Um...I do. Most people I know do, as a matter of fact. Not that receiving physical checks is very common nowadays. But when I get one, I use the ATM. Much less hassle than the bank itself.
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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
"Teach your children the benefits of saving with this child-sized ATM machine."

Yeah, right. How many people actually use ATMs for making deposits rather than withdrawals?

*Raises hand*

Or at least I did until the bank stopped taking deposits at the ATM that's convenient for me.

Incidentally, "ATM machine" is an example of Redundant RAS Syndrome.

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BandoCommando
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
"Teach your children the benefits of saving with this child-sized ATM machine."

Yeah, right. How many people actually use ATMs for making deposits rather than withdrawals?

*raises hand*

Actually, I use my debit card for most purchases and rarely use cash. I use cash so rarely that it's more common for me to use the ATM to deposit random checks I receive, such as from clinics I teach, reimbursements from my school, etc.

Still, I know that the existence and convenience of debit cards and ATMS probably causes me to spend far more money than I would if I had to always get cash from a teller at a bank or write out checks...

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MidnightBlue
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I see no problem with these sorts of toys. It's just like most piggy banks, but more fun to play with. If you don't save some of your money you won't have any to play with. I would also argue that learning how and when to spend money is just as important as learning to save. When I was growing up I would occasionally get money as gifts but I never had any opportunities to spend it. I learned to save my money, but not while in situations where I had any ability or temptation to spend it.
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Yozhik
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I use the ATM for deposits. The drive-up ATM, that is. It's easier than dragging the infant and the toddler into the bank and trying to get them to behave.
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Noemon
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I used to use the ATM for deposits, but it takes my bank 3-4 days longer to process them than it does if I deposit it "in person", so now I do that.
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Juxtapose
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If people used ATMs more, rather than just paying with plastic, they'd probably spend quite a bit less.
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Teshi
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Seems not significantly different morally from a toy cash machine, just seriously less exciting since you can only really play two things with it, whereas a cash machine you can play shop with it.
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The Rabbit
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I may be misunderstanding, but it looks like a high tech piggy bank to me. It counts the money you put in and the money you take out and gives you a balance. Other than the fact that its kind of pricey for a piggy bank, I'm not seeing the problem.
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Shmuel
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
"Teach your children the benefits of saving with this child-sized ATM machine."

Yeah, right. How many people actually use ATMs for making deposits rather than withdrawals?

Most people, I'd think? Well, everybody who doesn't get their paycheck directly deposited, anyway.
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James Tiberius Kirk
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quote:
I see no problem with these sorts of toys. It's just like most piggy banks, but more fun to play with. If you don't save some of your money you won't have any to play with. I would also argue that learning how and when to spend money is just as important as learning to save. When I was growing up I would occasionally get money as gifts but I never had any opportunities to spend it. I learned to save my money, but not while in situations where I had any ability or temptation to spend it.
Exactly this. I had a toy "bank" growing up -- you would put coins in, and it would automatically sort them into stacks of quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies. Then you could use it to dispense coins one by one. Taught me how to count money.

Like a piggy bank, only better.

--j_k

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Shmuel:
quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
"Teach your children the benefits of saving with this child-sized ATM machine."

Yeah, right. How many people actually use ATMs for making deposits rather than withdrawals?

Most people, I'd think? Well, everybody who doesn't get their paycheck directly deposited, anyway.
Well, or you live in a country where personal and corporate checks don't exist. In Europe (especially CR) it's mostly either cash or direct deposit, nothing else.
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malanthrop
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I'm considering buying the burka Barbie for my daughter. If only they'd come out with toy food stamp cards, I'd be happy.

I give my kids an allowance. After a while they realized that buying crap that broke wasn't worth it. Now they save their money for something better. Money is not evil, it is a symbol of your hard work. The ATM is a place you can cash out your sweat equity. If economics was taught on the level of social studies, conservatives would forever be the majority.

Virtually 100% of the stimulus money went to government organizations. Can anyone tell me what the government stimulates in terms of GDP? Last time I checked, the govt is a non-profit organization funded by the evil profit making private sector.

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Lyrhawn
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Huh? The government spends trillions of dollars a year. They don't just pass it around to each other, it buys stuff. That stuff stimulates the economy. Michigan got a nice chunk of stimulus money, and it went to road construction, which created jobs, which paid people, who bought stuff. Lather, rinse, repeat: Stimulus.
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malanthrop
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Yes, the govt buys stuff but it does not contribute to GDP. Gross Domestic PRODUCT. What happens a few months later when the road construction project is complete? The government is a consumer, not a producer. The stimulus jobs are short term. They are counting a govt contract to install windows in a school as a job "created"....that "job" took a week to do. Now what??? Is that one week really a job saved and/or created? Maybe it delayed the window worker's bankruptcy by a week or so. Short term, short sighted and small minded. You want to create jobs, cut taxes on the evil rich. Instead of building a road, they'll build a factory.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:

Virtually 100% of the stimulus money went to government organizations. Can anyone tell me what the government stimulates in terms of GDP? Last time I checked, the govt is a non-profit organization funded by the evil profit making private sector.

Are you serious? I mean, you're saying that studying economics would make everybody a conservative, but I assume you don't mean a member of the GOP, because as far as I know government spending has increased under GOP leadership just as fast as under Democratic leadership!

On a related note, if you're serious about your challenge "can anyone tell me what the government stimulates in terms of GDP," there is a simple answer and a rather complicated answer.

The simple answer is that every dollar the government spends is accounted for in GDP. You have to know what GDP actually is. It's an estimate of all money spent in the US for everything, in any given year. So, for instance, the OJ Simpson trial "contributed" $40 million to the GDP. Not money well spent, but still it added to GDP. So, in fact, runaway government spending *increases* GDP, but we shouldn't see that as an automatic positive- GDP is just a rough idea of national revenues, not actual wealth, purchasing power parity, or the health of the economy.

The complicated answer is that government spending contributes to healthy economic growth in a variety of complex ways. A fairly clear cut example would be NASA. The classic axiom about NASA is that every dollar invested in aeronautics and space research and development yielded an economic benefit orders of magnitude larger than the investment. Some people place that number in the tens of thousands, even conservatively the economic benefit of NASA research worldwide has been a thousand fold of the original investments. If you consider the speed of development of personal computing and information technology following the space race, and the vast increases in work productivity in virtually every sector of the economy as a result of the speed of technological development in that period, we're talking about an economic benefit that is virtually incalculable, it is so large. Now, private business had a lot to do with that. But what I want to make clear in my point here is that the money NASA spent, and the consequent added value to the American economy was something that could *only* have come from a government program, if only because the government (as an extension of the population's will) was literally the only party interested in space exploration in the 1960s, because there was no economic upside to it that could be monetized by any one company. The project was too massive, too long term, and too risky for any private enterprise to undertake, or for the private sector to even have a chance of duplicating or outdoing.

The government is good at spending money, not at making money. But the government also spends money on things that private business initially has little interest in. There was no one in 1960 in private business with any prospects for developing space flight or undertaking lunar exploration. The reason is obvious: there is no money in it for a business. But, the jobs created by the space race and the jobs and technologies that were spawned by heavy government investment in space exploration had a profound effect on the American and the world economy- one that we are still experiencing today. I would caution strongly against minimizing that effect. I don't think the trend we're seeing now, with private investment in space exploration and space travel, would have happened as quickly, or possibly at all, without the American government first investing so much of its resources in developing our first space vehicles and all the ancillary infrastructure. Today, corporations launch satellites into space, and information is beamed all over the world. But the initial cost of developing satellite technology was *massive*. No private entity in the world had any way to develop the technology to launch satellites, to develop uses for them, to maintain them, in short, to do anything with them at all. The investment was too big and too long term for any business model to handle, and besides, we didn't even know what was possible when we started doing it. The government is good at that kind of thing, and while waste is inherent in that system, the benefits are clear. You can have a tidy government with no waste and no creativity, or you can have a messy government with lots of waste, and lots of opportunities for growth. You can't really have both.

Do you realize, for instance, that the technology for modern modems and digital photography was created rather specifically for use in solar exploration craft in the 70's and through the 80's and 90's? Nasa had to develop, mostly from scratch, ways of transmitting digital photographs across the narrow band radio connections with explorers like the Viking, Galileo, and Voyager. The bands were far too small for live pictures, so they had to let the craft take photos, and send them in pieces across the narrow band to NASA's computers. Before that, there had never been a use of such technology, and so nothing like it had ever been developed or used. It was only after the fact that this technology entered the private sector and was developed for business and commercial consumption- but there would not have been a reason to develop it from scratch if NASA had not needed it first. And the needed it for something that wasn't intended to make them money- it just happened to make the American economy A LOT of money later on. A LOT of money.

If you would beg to differ, please explain to me why you think private business would *ever* have spent so much money on aeronautics, and thus come across so many technological advancements as bi-products of those investments. I just don't think corporations or even individuals are that far-sighted, and I *know* that in 1960, there was no corporation or person with enough money to do what the US government did, even if that person or corporation had a good reason to do it, which they didn't.

I think you are wanting to look at the kind of government spending that doesn't really add much of value to the economy. The thing is, though, that while there is plenty of government spending that might be more effectively spent in business, there remains a whole lot that the government does, that nobody else would be doing, but that has a hugely positive effect on the economy, and consequently on our lives. You're a fan of defense, right? Well the government is the only entity that can afford to fund and run national defense programs- and those programs can and do add value to the economy by increasing (hopefully, though not always in reality) national security, world stability, relations with other countries, and access to foreign natural resources.

You really like to bash government spending, but I think we have to really step back and look at the issue very broadly. It would be foolish, I think, to assume that any spending done by the government could or should be done by private business instead.

[ December 05, 2009, 05:56 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
Yes, the govt buys stuff but it does not contribute to GDP. Gross Domestic PRODUCT.

Whoa there, Lyr is right. There are different ways of measuring GDP, the most common of which is not what you might think, adding up the value of finished products (even though even that would be positively effected by government products). The most common way, in my understanding, is this:

GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports)

Here government spending is an element of GDP, and it is calculated in this way, the "expenditure method," specifically so that we can account for the kinds of products that are created, but that have no direct market value, such as transportation, defense, schools, education, communication, etc. If you just look at GDP as a function of the market value of all finished products, you end up with results that don't tell you that much about the health of an economy. After all, you could have the poorest economy in the world and still be selling trillions of dollars worth of oil every year. What if one single person was taking all that profit and investing it in foreign markets? You'd have a really high GDP, and you could still have a crap economy. We see effects like that all over the world- in China, Saudi Arabia, Africa, Mexico- there is a lot of money in these places that never contributes to the local economies.

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Tatiana
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When my niece was little, I once told her we couldn't go to the toy store today because I was out of money. She was like "There's the ATM. Just stop and get more!" [Smile]
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AvidReader
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
"Teach your children the benefits of saving with this child-sized ATM machine."

Yeah, right. How many people actually use ATMs for making deposits rather than withdrawals?

We have 7 machines that take deposits from our own members and members of affiliated credit unions. Light days I balance about a dozen deposits. Heavy days, maybe a hundred. I'd guess I average 175 a week, 700 a month.

It's nothing compared to the funds that go out, but we do some decent volume of deposits. And I did double that when we owned the ATM at the shared service center. (A co-op owned site that did transactions for every credit union on our network. The disputes and corrections got to be quite costly, so we were happy to get bought out by the CU that went bank.)

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Orincoro
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And you slapped her across the face and cried: "fresh!"

You're horrible. [Wink]

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fugu13
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quote:
If you just look at GDP as a function of the market value of all finished products, you end up with results that don't tell you that much about the health of an economy.
This isn't true. All methods of calculating GDP would, if accurately compiled, give the same result. The reason we calculate GDP this way is because it is easier to get the numbers than other ways.

The reason government expenditures are included in GDP in that method of calculating is because when they make expenditures, they are buying things. That is, every cent the government spends is a cent of good or service produced by somebody, somewhere, that isn't covered by the other numbers (in this particular calculation).

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Orincoro
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Yes, I know. My point was that Mal was operating under the misconception that GDP = products (ie: televisions and cars).
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fugu13
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He was half right; he only missed services. GDP is the total value of all final goods and services produced in the country (in a given year). Intermediate goods don't count, and nothing else counts.

However, due to the fact that for every purchase of a final good or service there is one person doing the purchasing and one person being purchased from, there are a number of different ways to count that value. One way involves mostly making totals of amount of money spent (rather than trying to calculate the value of the each good), because each dollar spent (in certain contexts) is spent on purchasing a good or service. That is what is going on here. Government expenditure is nothing but a proxy for a collection of goods and services produced, but not counted by the other parts of the particular equation.

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dkw
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Strider, can you say a little more about what you find disturbing abou this? Kids like to play versions of the things they see adults do -- child size kitchens, gas pumps, shopping carts, tool kits, "doctor" sets. What bothers you about kids playing ATM?
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Fyfe
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Aw, a little ATM! The child inside of me is so jealous of this. I don't think it's disturbing - I'd have loved playing with this when I was small.
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Leonide
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These ATMs have been around for awhile. I remember wanting one as a kid. It's just like a mini bank. I don't know what's "so wrong" about it.
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Strider
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dkw, I've never really used an ATM for deposit purposes, and I don't really know any people that do. So from my perspective the whole line about using it as a device to teach kids about saving money rang really false. And it seemed all it was doing was getting kids comfortable withdrawing money from ATM machines.

I realize there are other toys that teach kids about using adult necessities, ATMs just seem a bit over the top to me.

I stand corrected now that i realize so many people use it regularly for deposits. But I still don't like it! [Smile]

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I may be misunderstanding, but it looks like a high tech piggy bank to me. It counts the money you put in and the money you take out and gives you a balance. Other than the fact that its kind of pricey for a piggy bank, I'm not seeing the problem.

I agree entirely. It's just a fancy piggy bank.

It's even on sale! [Wink]

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PSI Teleport
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I think the only truly disturbing toy ATM is the one that comes with Mall Madness, the game.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Yes, the govt buys stuff but it does not contribute to GDP.
Mal, where did you learn your economics? This is just flat out incorrect. As others have noted, every dollar spent by the government adds one dollar to the GDP, just like every dollar you spend and every dollar your church spends.

You are holding yourself up as an example of how proper understanding of economics would make people conservative, and yet you don't seem to understand the simplest thing about basic economic indicators.

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King of Men
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I think mal's point is that, in the counterfactual world where the government bought nothing, the people who in our world were taxed to pay for whatever it bought would have bought something else instead; thus GDP would have been even higher, since there'd be no deadweight losses. Of course, you would then be stuck with no army and no roads or other services, but there you go. Perhaps "doesn't add anything to the economy" would have been a better way to put it.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Yes, the govt buys stuff but it does not contribute to GDP.
Mal, where did you learn your economics?
Whoa there The Rabbit. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here! You're assuming Malanthrop "learned" economics. Obvious, Malanthrop "feels" economics. Do you feel economics? No? Then clearly, you madam, are out of touch.
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rivka
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Now, if you want to get annoyed about a game that's meant to indoctrinate kids into a credit card culture, try this one! I discovered this existed when my daughter came home from a friend's house talking about having played it. Not only am I quite unthrilled about my 10-year-old learning to use credit cards, it misses the whole counting-your-money, using-arithmetic, and other parts of the game that were actually educational. [Razz]

(Technically they are debit, not credit, cards. My daughter didn't seem to really get the distinction.)

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malanthrop
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I really don't see it any different than a modern form of a piggy bank. I doubt it spits out more money than you put in or extends credit via counterfeit money. True, the acquisition of money seems to be demonized as of late.
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Darth_Mauve
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I was at a Hallmark store one time and noted the "Newest Holiday Tradition--Star Trek Ship Ornaments" And it was showing that true meaning of Christmas could be epitomized by a Klingon Bird of Prey. War, hey, what is it good for? Christmas!

That is sarcasm folks.

Everyone knows the true meaning of Christmas is best defined by a Ferengi merchant ship.

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scifibum
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They should make a game where your success depends on your ability to secure credit. And you can falsify applications, try to get co-signers, etc. Sure, you MIGHT end up in jail, or with a judgment against you that garnishes your wages forever. Depends on the roll of the dice.
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Orincoro
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Well, I think we should create a board game where all the neighborhood kids contribute their piggy banks, and one kid rolls them up into Huffy and Schwinn securities. He could purchase low-grade imitation bicycles while all the kids pay him out of their piggy banks, so that he can go to the candy store and buy fruit roll-ups.
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King of Men
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Hmm. There might actually be a bit of money in a card game based on this sort of humour. The idea would be to build combinations of leverages to score the maximum profits, while avoiding getting stuck with the "base of pyramid defaults" card. Or something.
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Darth_Mauve
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This sounds like Dabo, as played in Quark's bar on DS9--the Ferengi's favorite game of investment and SEC investigations.
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Orincoro
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That game wasn't Dabo though, it was Tongo. I think Dabo was more luck based, and Tongo involved more strategy.
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Magson
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quote:
Incidentally, "ATM machine" is an example of pleonasm
FIFY [Wink]
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King of Men
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Ok, so here's my design. The game has the following pieces: A deck of mortgage and stock cards; a scoreboard which tracks the stock price of the players' corporations and the accumulated bonuses they've been paid; and some dice.

The players take the roles of managers in their respective firms, which are referred to by colour, as in Blue Inc, Red Ltd, and so on. Their aim is to maximise the value of their bonuses and stock options by increasing the stock price of their corporations and cashing out at the right moment.

Each turn, each player draws a card; he may then play a card (but doesn't have to); he then rolls the dice, resolves any resulting collapses, and may then (if he wishes) score a bonus.

Cards may be laid down either alone, separate from other cards (this is referred to as a base card); or else using another card as collateral. Each card can serve as collateral for two others, and players can thus build inverted pyramids of investments. Mortgage cards may always be played in this way; stock cards, however, may only be played if the corresponding corporation's stock price is at least equal to the number on the card. For example, a stock card for Red Ltd marked '10' may only be played if the Red corporation's stock price is at least $10.

The stock price of each player's corporation depends on the height of his pyramids. (Note that each player can have an unlimited number of pyramids; each time he plays a card as a base, a new pyramid is made.) Stock prices are the sum of the number of cards a player has laid down, weighted by the number of layers of collateral beneath the card; plus the number of stock cards in the player's colour which have been played (by anyone). A base card is thus worth one dollar; a card whose collateral is base is worth two dollars, a card with two layers of collateral is worth three, and so on.

The stock-price scoreboard tracks two numbers for each corporation: The current price, and the price when the player last claimed a bonus. When a player takes a bonus, his score is increased by the square of the difference between the two numbers. Note that no bonus may be claimed if the stock price has fallen below what it was the last time a bonus was taken. Further, if it falls to less than half of what it was when the last bonus was claimed, then the firm requests a government bailout and the player is fired; he takes no further turns, but retires to a Caribbean island with his current score. (In this case his corporation's stock price will not move from its current level.) Note that he can still win the game, if nobody else gains a higher score before the game ends.

Now, collapses. As noted, each turn, each player rolls dice to determine whether a mortgage card defaults. Mortgage cards are coloured and numbered; thus the player may find that, eg, Mortgage Blue 3 has defaulted. If that card has yet to be played, nothing happens. If it has been played, however, it must be moved to the discard pile along with all the cards it was supporting as collateral. This will cause the player's stock price to decrease, since his cards are being removed from the game. Further, if there were any stock cards for other corporations in the pyramid, then their stock prices may decline too. Now, if any corporation's stock price decreases so much that a played stock card is illegal - eg, the Red Ltd (10) stock card has been played, and Red stock price just fell to $9 - then those cards must also be removed from the game, along with the pyramids they supported, thus triggering further price declines, which may trigger still others. Only when this process is complete may the player claim a bonus, if possible.

The game ends either when all players have been fired, or when a player tries to draw a card but is unable to do so; the player with the highest accumulated bonus then wins the game.

What do you think?

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King of Men
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Hmm... Possible refinements:

- Stock cards' contribution to stock prices should be weighted by their position in pyramids.
- Make the collapse roll rarer, perhaps once every time all the players have taken a turn.
- Make stock cards playable at all times, but must be removed if the corresponding price drops below what it was when the card was played. (Requires extra recording, though.)

Oh, and I didn't make this clear: There are three colours of mortgage card, say white-grey-black, and they are not equally likely to default. On a six-sided die, there is one White face, two Grey, and three Black. This is intended to correspond to tranches of mortgage bonds.

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