Why do almost all trade routes end up giving me no or negative actual income, despite the game reporting them as productive? I’m guessing there’s other statistics that are more important for me to look at?
All Trade Routes will RAISE or LOWER the cost of a good, that is the base thing they do. If you’re importing, it lowers it. If you’re exporting it raises the cost of the good. There is a lot of interconnectivity here and some things that you don’t see precisely.
Let me give you an example with Coal – A resource everyone needs and uses.
If you produce say 1000 coal and the price is currently 100 (Obscenely high for any resource) what all is that being used for:
- Citizens are buying coal for heat (For all the menus we have, we don’t have one showing what our citizens consume and I really wish we did!)
- You are using coal for industries (steel in particular)
- Coal is being used to fuel naval ships until you get oil based ones and upgrade to them.
- Coal is also consumed by any steam engines being used for production or productivity
- You also put a tax on coal to reduce consume consumption and make you money
Now, you choose to IMPORT 1000 more coal, reducing the current price to 50%. By the surface this should cause you to loose money because you placed a tax on coal and coal’s price should go down in this case by doubling the amount you should reduce the price to 50.
But it doesn’t.
Why doesn’t it? Because before you had a shortage for all the things that used it and now they are still buying and using ALL the coal in your nation. So the price only drops to 88. Why?
Because there is more available and when the price was that high you had shortages but now it is available to MORE people and more citizens are using it for heat because it’s more efficient and your factories can get more of it so they are producing more goods and by effect them producing more goods means more money and more money means they hire more employees if they can.
Your navy is now able to do it’s job better because coal is cheaper and even gets more experience and trains faster because resources are available.
Goes back and forth it’s give and take.
Also if you have tariffs, you make money off those tariffs.
Citizens having more money means MORE TAXES more TAXES also increases your income and therefore, importing was good for your economy despite it NOT making money from tariffs and having to pay for good you are importing, the interlinking effects upon your economy suddenly makes you a drastic amount more money.
What does it mean by productivity when it comes to import? Surely the buying price should be what’s important here? How do I earn money from buying goods? (even though it’s mostly the case mentioned above, rather than the game’s calculated productivity)
Looks above, that is what it means by Productivity. Basically what it comes down to is how much more money per employee in all your industries this will make and that creates the number you see for increases to your profits. Note that this productivity number is assuming prices don’t change, they will change and it’s up to you to decide if that change is going to be too much to make more money or if it will intact, make you make less money. A trade route becomes UNPRODUCTIVE, when all of it’s benefits are outweighed by it’s cost. Then again you may wanna keep that route open despite that.
I have been importing steel from Prussia to drive up the price in Prussia and make Prussia not attractive to other countries to import steel from and instead keep my price and import tariffs lower than Prussia’s. Why? Because that one massive import route is causing 11 other countries to demand my steel for export and if I stop that import route, suddenly I only have 2 countries maintaining their export routes from me. Note they are also doing the export on their own and I don’t have to. Which is saving me a lot of bureaucracy points and convoys too.
Sometimes the game reports both the original and substitute production method as being more profitable than the other, is this a bug? E.G I see changing to ox plows giving me a income boost, so I do it. As soon as it is applies, it says using hand tools are more beneficial.
The game is reporting all the costs at current prices. We as players know however, those prices aren’t going to be stable as soon as we switch. Look at the resources the new production method uses and get MORE of those resources to keep the cost the same or lower. Further upgrading changes the employees needed and labor costs change, the upgrade assumes those labor costs remain stable but that isn’t the case because if you suddenly need more capitalists or more laborers, their wages go up. Lastly, newer methods require literacy in all cases, the more literate your population the faster the upgrade will take place and the better those who are working will use it while reducing the mortality rate (another way to reduce that is hospitals and another is worker rights).