A Modest Proposal
Neopia is a place of many problems.
Mind you, I'm not complaining. Well, I am complaining, but I understand that no person, place or thing can be completely perfect, with the possible exception of yours truly. However, this article will not delve into all of Neopia's troubles, but instead will focus on one-- that of inflation.
Consider, if you will, a dinner table. You, I, and several hundred of your closest Neofriends are all seated around this table. (It is a very large table.) On this table are a great many boxes of pizza, of all shapes, sizes, and flavors.
Let's say that I have a hankering for a slice of Asparagus and Yoghurt Pizza. However, I am shocked and appalled to discover that all the slices have already been claimed. I do wish you had some less greedy friends.
Now, I really, really want a slice. So great is my desire for the heavenly blend of vegetable and dairy product on my pizza, I offer to buy it off of someone. Because there are so few slices to be had, the seller really has me over a barrel, and can charge a great deal for his slice. However, there's only so much I'm willing to pay. After a bit of haggling, we settle upon a deal-- his slice of pizza for my Neohome, the entire contents of my Safety Deposit Box, and all the Neopoints I have in the bank. We are both satisfied, although I might be less so once the realization hits that I have nowhere to sleep for the night. But I digress.
Now, let us consider the possibility that every single box of pizza contains a large Asparagus and Yoghurt Pizza. Everyone at the table is able to take a slice, although some of your ungrateful friends mutter that they'll never allow me to order the pizzas again. Some people simply don't know how to enjoy the finer things in life. Now, if someone were to propose that they hand over their slice for even half of the things I was so willing to trade in the former example, I would laugh them off.
The pizza in both examples is not at all different in type. One slice of Asparagus and Yoghurt Pizza is no more tasty than the next. Why, then, was I willing to give so much in the first example, but so little in the second?
The answer is that, in the first example, there was very little of the commodity I so desired. In addition, said commodity was so precious, all but one of the people at the table refused to sell theirs (and who can blame them?) It was rare, and it was desirable, and therefore that slice of pizza was worth a great deal.
However, in the second example, not only do I already have a piece, the pizza is available in such abundance that even were some ingrate to steal away my piece when I wasn't looking, I still would likely be able to find another piece for a reasonably low price. Although the pizza is still unquestionably desirable, it is not at all rare, and I would probably be able to find many people willing to trade their piece away.
Although this analogy is imperfect (as Neopoints cannot be eaten, unless you are a Skeith or Grarrl, and even then they are not at all tasty), the value of Neopoints is in a similar situation.
There are a great deal of Neopoints, all flowing into the economy at a staggering rate and not flowing out of the economy anywhere near as quickly. And the more Neopoints there are to be had, the less any given Neopoint is worth.
So, what is there to be done?
Two ways of decreasing the amount of Neopoints in circulation come to mind. They are:
1. Decrease the amount of Neopoints which enter Neopia
2. Increase the amount of Neopoints which leave Neopia
Obvious, you say? Well, you are completely correct. Still, there must be a specific method for getting the job done if inflation is to be decreased.
Do I have any ideas? So glad you asked...
1. Get rid of all the Games, or at least change them so they don't earn NP
This would certainly get the job done. Suddenly, almost no Neopoints would find their way into Neopia, but Neopoints continue to trickle out through the site shops. However, this is probably a very bad idea for several reasons. First of all, it would greatly upset many Neopians-- for many, the games are their main source of income-- and secondly... if Neopoints leave the economy faster than they enter, soon there will be none left. No one will be able to feed their Neopets. Everyone will be forced to go to the Soup Kitchen, and the lines there are already bad enough. The poor Soup Faerie is overworked as it is! So that idea is out.
2. Get rid of all methods of user-to-user selling
Think about it. If I have an item, and you buy an item, both item and Neopoints are still around; they've just changed places.
Now, if you were to eliminate any method of user-to-user selling, such as user shops, auctions, or the Trading Post, then nobody would have any choice but to buy their items from the site shops. And as has been established before, Neopoints spent in site shops disappear completely from the site.
Now, this is also a terrible idea. Not only would it irritate those who make their primary income by restocking and/or reselling, it would make it much, much more difficult for Neopians to obtain certain items (such as items which rarely restock, and non-Hidden Tower paint brushes).
3. Have the Bank Skeith develop an appetite for Neopoints
Self explanatory. Also a poor idea. It's really not fair to suddenly steal away everyone's hard-earned Neopoints, even if that would help with inflation.
Wait a minute, you might be asking. If I myself admit that all of these are bad ideas, then what is to be done?
Hold your Gallions, there-- I have another idea, which is quite a bit better if I do say so myself...
4. Institute a new, Hidden Tower-like shop... but with one vital feature...
Ah, the Hidden Tower, full of so many beautifully expensive items. With one purchase, millions of Neopoints can be sent out to disappear in the electronic void. Furthermore, there is some incentive to buy from the Tower itself, rather from another user, and that incentive is the nifty avatar you get.
Of course, that incentive only works the first time. After that, it is often better to buy from other users. Hidden Tower items can often be had for slightly cheaper when they are bought in auctions or on the Trading Post.
Still, the Hidden Tower seems to have an endless stock, and that feature is the main reason to model this new proposed shop after it.
I suggest that a second tower be created... let's call it the Cooky Tower.
What do you mean, I'm full of myself? If you were as wonderful as I am, you'd be full of yourself too!
Okay, fine. Let's call it the Secret Tower, or ST for short. Now, like the Hidden Tower, the Secret Tower is full of highly desirable items. Perhaps some nice Battledome equipment, a few cute new Petpets, some wearable items, and maybe even a paint brush or two.
How is this different from the Hidden Tower, you might ask?
Well, all the items in the ST will be no trade items, like some of the items in Newbie Packs and certain plot prizes.
How does this help?
Think about it. There will be a large amount of highly-desirable items in the ST that are only available through buying directly from the ST, thus eliminating a good chunk of NP from the economy with every purchase.
So, there you have it: my modest proposal.
Author's Note: In case it wasn't clear, any rampant egotism displayed on my part is for the purpose of humor. I'm seriously not that big-headed in real life. Honest.