There’s a lot I don’t understand about the economy depicted in Fallout 3. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland near Washington, DC some 200 years after a nuclear war between the US and China. There’s no central government, so you have a bunch of individual settlements and scavengers who wander between them. It’s a perfect example of Adam Smith’s Invisible Mutated Hand.
Except the law of supply and demand doesn’t appear to work. I’ve accumulated tremendous amounts of junk over ten hours of play (approximately 0.001% of the game). I’ve flooded the market with scrap metal and lunchboxes and toy cars, yet the price hasn’t collapsed. At this point I should be paying people to take them off of my hands.
Worse, every vendor and shopkeeper offers me the same prices for my scavenged loot. There’s no arbitrage possible, and no recognition that some communities might find water scarce while others need food. I can only assume that the world of Fallout 3 isn’t really a libertarian’s wet dream. Either there’s a secret monopolistic group setting world prices or in reality there’s a cabal that’s organized everyone into a command economy.
Speaking of food, no one seems to be growing any. There’s never any rain, either. I assume everyone’s living off of 200-year-old boxes of irradiated Dandy Boy Apples and Salisbury Steak.
Oh, right, Obama’s State of the Union address. Most everything of interest had already been leaked, and the speech covered the expected themes: economy, energy, and bipartisanship. I wasn’t expecting his comments on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; I thought he’d all but abandoned his drive to repeal it. Other than that, though, it all comes down to follow-through. It was a fine speech delivered well, but I’m more interested in what the government does than what it says.