In many ways, simulationist micronational economics is much like simulationist micronationalist political systems. They tend towards a standard model (developed Western nation), but across the sector there is a great variety and diversity. They often start based on an idealised version and over time they are pragmatically adjusted to better suit micronational realities (particularly when the leaders realise their micronation will never have the 20+ citizens needed to make the idealised model work). Moreover, micronations which are innovative in one area are often innovative in the other. This paper sets out to chart some of the diversity of economic systems and thought over the last decade and a half of the Micras sector, and draw out the underlying principles. Limitations of length and experience prevent covering the full gamut of micronations and economies, but it is hoped the underlying principles will be applicable even to micronations and systems not considered here.
Styles of Micro-Economies
To begin, let us first consider some of the different styles of micronational economies. It should be stressed that these styles are not mutually exclusive. While some clearly would not work together, many can and have been combined in various permutations.
A micronational economy can be made up of companies which exist primarily or entirely in-simulation/in-character. In this respect, the economy becomes another area of cultural development – just like explaining social customs or history. Businesses are developed, can be effected by in-sim policy, and can even undergo quite elaborate projects. They can also then be referred to within stories, recwars and other literature developed within a nation, all without any currency changing hands between any actual micronationalists. A good example of such an economy was the nation of Ashkenatza.
A related concept attempts to directly simulate an in-sim economy. These can range from proposing a government budget each month detailing government spending in different areas, through to complex formulas (which may take into account global events, government policy settings and other factors). Simulated economies tend to place a high value on being ‘realistic’ and often base their numbers off macronational countries such as the US or the UK. Where the simulation is handled through complex formulas, it tends to be reliant on a single individual to maintain, collapsing when that individual loses interest or leaves the hobby for a time. Again, these elements are done without any currency changing hands between any actual micronationalists or micronational governments, even though discussion may happen as if they are, causing a point of confusion for outsiders. For example, a government agreeing to allocate 20 billion to buy new tanks to an in-sim arms manufacturing company – though this is agreed, and the company may deliver a ‘product’ (normally a picture and write-up on the tanks), the 20 billion is entirely in simulation and has no real affect on anything. The Empire of the Alexandrians is an example of a nation who proposed government budgets etc. A non-economic analogue of this is the FMF, which simulates football (soccer) matches using FIFA simulators.