Good question. I think that the market system in the current Olympia
is boring, generally unprofitable and static. Right now, being a
merchant in Olympia means exploring around until you find a trade
route with a reasonable payoff and then setting up a noble at each end
of the trade route and shuttling goods back and forth for a steady
profit. To me that's pretty uninteresting.
It would be much more interesting to me if markets evolved. That's
all we are talking about here, really. I'd like to see the
unfulfilled demand for linen in Newleaf drive the price upwards, until
it does become profitable to move linen from Aethelarn to Newleaf.
Conversely, I don't see why moving tea 2 provinces from Silver City to
Redwine should make a constant 132 gold profit.
There is room for some competition in the current market system, since
cities will preferentially buy cheaper goods. So if I could manage to
buy tea in Silver City, I could take it to Redwine and sell it
cheaper, undercutting the profit of another player. But since Silver
City will continue to produce the same amount of tea at the same
price, the competition is limited. And that doesn't address the
problem of unprofitable trade routes.
>* If you think mercantilism is too profitable, then your model will cut
> profit margins for the "boring" merchant by some amount, at the risk
> of opening up a hole for speculators to exploit.
Quite the contrary. I think that where there is a demand for a good,
a profitable trade route should arise, where "profitable" is defined
by the market forces, not arbitrarily.
>* If you wish to encourage continuing trade, this is probably done better
> by manipulating the supply & demand, rather than the price.
Manipulating the supply & demand is the same thing, actually. But you
might want to try modifying my program to have the supply and demand
fluctuate as well; I put the hooks in for that.
It would be interesting, I think, if the Olympia markets sold some of
their goods at lower prices, some at somewhat higher prices, etc. So
Silver City might sell 10 tea at 43, another 10 at 45, and 20 at 50.
Or whatever. But that kind of a model is much harder to get "right"
than a simpler model.
-- Scott T.