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Old 09-27-2018, 11:05 AM   #11
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Not really, as you could not have maintained a Status 0 lifestyle on $600 a month in the 2000s in the USA. Right now, my fiance and I spend $3600 a month on a Status 0 lifestyle, living in a small apartment in a small city ($1200 a month on rents and utilities, $1200 a month on food, insurance, cell phones, and transportation, and $1200 a month on taxes and miscellaneous expenses),
The first thing to bear in mind is that taxes are not part of your Status lifestyle. The penalty for not paying your taxes is not a -1 reaction from the people you meet. Taxes are treated as an invisible deduction from your effective income not as part of your status cost of living.

The second thing is that cost of living isn't the typical amount that a person spends on things. It's the rock bottom minimum before people start looking at you and saying things like "Are you homeless?". The cost of living is substantially less than what most people at a given status spend.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
If we want GURPS to reflect real world experiences, we have to adjust the prices to reflect the real world. In the USA in 2018, $600 a month is Status -2 for the majority of the population, as that is the barest level of subsistence for the majority of the population. That represents the type of living on minimum wage might be able to sustain (no car, sharing an apartment with four people, and eating beans and rice for most meals). My fiance and I barely qualify for Status 0, we live in a small apartment in a small Northern city and have two used cars, but we spend more money than most on higher quality food, so $3600 a month works for the two of us. In NYC or San Francisco, $3600 per month for one person would be Status-1.
Living in San Francisco, at least if you actually have an address and a job, almost certainly qualifies you for +1 to Status right there, and possibly +2. San Francisco isn't an average American city, let alone an average American community.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:19 AM   #13
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Default Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post

If we want GURPS to reflect real world experiences, we have to adjust the prices to reflect the real world.
The issue is that GURPS is a generic game. Setting aside that it must cover historical and futuristic games, fantasy worlds, and campaigns set in completely different universes, and looking only at the real world of 2018:

Status and Wealth are meant to be global indices. Average wealth is the average of everybody worldwide, and the other levels are multipliers applied to that. Status 0 rates the average lifestyle enjoyed worldwide, and the other levels are adjustments up and down from that.

This is why, for instance, Transhuman Space: Fifth Wave, p. 61, labels the average North American as being Comfortable to Wealthy. This means someone there is able to support Status 0 without trying, and Status 1-2 easily enough if that's a priority. That book also typifies Status 1 as "ordinary citizen" in several places.

I suspect we're already in that situation today, and that a modern U.S. citizen – placed on the global scale – is Comfortable to Wealthy, supporting at least a Status 1 lifestyle with a $1,200 monthly cost of living. There aren't enough people in all the U.S. to skew the global averages, which are weighted heavily toward China and India . . . or enough people in any big U.S. city to tip the balance away from Beijing, Guangzhou, Istanbul, Karachi, Lagos, Moscow, Mumbai, São Paulo, Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc. I'm pretty sure $600/month would be more than enough to live a fairly free, non-street-person existence in the majority of those cities.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:39 AM   #14
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Default Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars

Gallup (https://news.gallup.com/poll/166211/...ncome-000.aspx) claims that the world household income averages just about $10,000, which is about $800 a month. That's just a shade up from Status 0 in GURPS terms.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars

Put another way:

I live alone in an apartment with a large entry hall, a living room, an office, a dining room, a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, three closets big enough to lie down in, and front and back balconies.

I enjoy running water and working sewers, road and sidewalk upkeep, street cleaning and snow removal, three waste collection services (separate trash, recycling, and compost), daily postal delivery, electricity, fiber-optic Internet, and LTE+ cellular service.

The neighborhood isn't upscale in the traditional sense (rich-and-powerful neighbors living in mini-mansions with huge yards and multiple cars), but it's populated by the kinds of young people who are gainfully employed and spending lots of money on their lifestyle. Thus, it attracts the businesses that serve such people: artisanal bakeries, arty theatres, clothing designers, ethnic specialty shops, fitness centers, organic grocery stores, yoga studios, etc.

There are lots of trees and parks.

And it's all walkable and cyclable. People don't have cars by choice, not out of poverty.

There's crime, sure, but the police arrive in seconds because it's the kind of area lots of taxes and municipal votes come from.

So that might not be Status 1 or 2 as described on p. B266, but it certainly isn't Status -1. I'd argue it isn't even Status 0. It's more like Status 1 with the "comfortable house and a nice new car" traded off for things people who live here find more interesting, notably a comfortable neighborhood and no need for a car. I think that the more socialist you get, the more you have to make such tradeoffs; p. B266 represents a relatively low-CR society that puts an emphasis on individual capital, but that isn't the only valid picture.

I'd peg my cost of living at between 1,650 and 1,850 USD, so I'm most likely paying out for a "Status 1.2-1.3" lifestyle.

The kicker is that while I'm not a starving artist, I'm in the writing business. Not just that, but I'm in the very niche games business, which is hardly a way to get rich. I'm perforce not well off . . . that comes with the territory. It's true that I'm not saving much – my choice, my mistake to make. But at the end of the day, a very "average" job here in well-off North America supports more than what GURPS would call Status 0, and that lifestyle costs proportionally more.

My friends who are professionals and much better off than me are paying twice or more what I am: 3,330 to 3,700 USD, often more. They are supporting "Status 2-2.1" most likely. They're actually closer to the average for where I live, but they're way above the global average. That means they're Wealthy or better with Status 2+, and can't be used to rate that global average.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:53 AM   #16
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Default Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post

Gallup (https://news.gallup.com/poll/166211/...ncome-000.aspx) claims that the world household income averages just about $10,000, which is about $800 a month. That's just a shade up from Status 0 in GURPS terms.
And I'd argue that in a multiple-income, no-children situation, the per-capita figures might be more relevant: $243 a month. This argues for Struggling/Status -1.
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Old 09-27-2018, 12:04 PM   #17
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Default Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars

Which is fine, but GURPS uses the USA as the baseline because it is produced by a US company. Therefore, the baseline should reflect the reality of life in the USA, with everything measured relative to that baseline. For example, the average person in the world is Poor relative to the average person in the USA but, since they live in a Poor society, they have Status 0 relative to their neighbors.
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Old 09-27-2018, 12:27 PM   #18
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Default Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars

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GURPS uses the USA as the baseline
What does that mean? Aside from using a unit called $ that is kinda-sorta similar to US dollars if you only look at it out of the corner of your eye, the GURPS $ has pretty much nothing to do with US dollars. The GURPS system of prices, costs of living, and income is pretty much self-contained. If the authors had originally called the units "credits" and made them five times larger than they are, no one would be claiming that it was based on US economics.

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Old 09-27-2018, 12:40 PM   #19
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Default Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars

The price of gear in GURPS is in the right ballpark from my POV, allowing for exchange rates, if I just assume they're USD prices today.

However, the cost of living comes out all wrong if you assume that being poor in New Zealand is Status-1, and the Jobseeker's Benefit pays ~NZD220/week plus rent subsidy, say ~NZD300/week, and that is just enough to not starve pay rent and maybe run a cheap car or pay for some smokes (not both realistically). That's about USD800-850/month, and if we assume that it's buying Status-0 by world standards it's not far wrong. It's only if we assume that being poor in a first world country makes you Status-1 or Status-2 that things go weird. If being poor but housed is Status-0 overall, and being homeless but not completely broke and in a first world country is Status-1 (you're still better off than being homeless and dirt poor in the rest of the world, after all), not Status-2, it mostly works.

Of course things break down when players see that they need only pay $600/month for Status-0, and their TL8 character earns $2600/month.
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Old 09-27-2018, 12:43 PM   #20
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Default Re: Conversation Rate of G$ To Real World Dollars

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Which is fine, but GURPS uses the USA as the baseline because it is produced by a US company. Therefore, the baseline should reflect the reality of life in the USA, with everything measured relative to that baseline. For example, the average person in the world is Poor relative to the average person in the USA but, since they live in a Poor society, they have Status 0 relative to their neighbors.

This would be true if the game was primarily played at TL8 or TL7. But its meant to cover a variety of genres, and to be flexible enough to handle anything. The default could also be argued to be medieval Europe.



Its not an ideal situation, I agree, but boosting first world high wealth isn't terribly complex.
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