How to satisfy your POPs' needs

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Many players are mystified as to how they may go about satisfying their POPs' needs. Unsatisifed POPs can lead to greater militancy and eventually revolts, so it is generally desirable to make some effort to satisfy them. This guide will attempt to give some tips on how best to accomplish this. While in-depth knowledge of POP Spending Habits is not needed to utilize the strategies given below, reviewing the article will provide some insight into their bases. To quickly summarize its contents:

POPs will buy Life goods, then Everyday goods, then Luxury goods, and finally bonds, in that order. Goods within each need category are bought from left to right as they appear onscreen. Luxury goods and bonds won't be bought unless a POP has money in the bank. Goods that can't be bought due to insufficient WM stockpiles are skipped.

I've read the explanation of POP Spending Habits, and it's really complicated. Can't you just boil it down into a few palatable rules of thumb?

Yes. Behold The Three Commandments of POP Need Satisfaction:

  1. Thou shalt endeavor to satisfy domestic POP needs with domestically produced goods; Thou shalt not rely upon foreign goods to satisfy Thy POPs' needs.
  2. Thou shalt maximize Thy POPs' income by increasing export income, lowering taxes, and ridding Thy nation of corruption.
  3. Thou shalt maximize Thy Prestige.

(note that the Third Commandment can be safely ignored if one follows the First Commandment)

Why can't my POPs satisfy their needs?

The most common cause is insufficient income. There are several remedies:

  1. Raise export income. POP income is derived from export income (see POP Income Formulae for details), so raising export income will put more money in your POPs' pockets.
  2. Lower taxes. The less you take, the more they keep.
  3. Produce more of the goods they can't afford. This will lower the market price and make those goods more affordable.
  4. Get rid of corruption. Trusts significantly lower the income of poor POPs, wreaking havoc on their budgets.

Another cause of unsatisfied POPs is insufficient WM stockpiles. There are two remedies:

  1. Raise your Prestige. POPs in high-Prestige nations get first crack at buying foreign goods from the WM.
  2. Produce more of the good(s) your POPs can't buy.

Of the two, the second one is more desirable, because your POPs will always get first crack at goods produced in your country. This is where the Domestic column on ledger page 12 becomes invaluable. If you divide that number by ten, you will end up with the exact amount of any given good you need to sell to the WM in order to satisfy the needs of all your POPs for that good. So, if the Domestic figure for liquor reads 35, you would need to produce 3.5 units of liquor each day in order to ensure that your POPs could satisfy their thirst for liquor. Of course, this will not guarantee that your POPs will be able to afford liquor, but it will guarantee that once they can afford to buy liquor, there's nothing to stop them from doing so.

OK, so how do I know whether my POPs simply can't afford goods or can't buy them due to availability?

There are ways to deduce this.

Open up the detail screen for a POP and note which goods they are buying. Pay particular attention to the last good they buy, keeping in mind that they will buy goods from left to right, top to bottom. If the POP seems to "skip over" a good, it means that good is not available on the WM (i.e., there are insufficient stockpiles). If the POP buys goods in order and simply can't fulfill the need for the last good on the list of goods they've bought, it means they have insufficient income.

As an example, it is quite common early in the game to see poor POPs buying all their life goods except for liquor, of which they only buy a portion of their total need. They will not buy any everyday or luxury goods. This is because at the start of the game, every AI nation sells off its stockpile of liquor to the WM, and this is turn is bought up by the world's poor POPs. Of course, liquor is expensive stuff, because global production can't possibly satisfy global demand in 1836. As a result, the POPs only buy a portion of their needs; they can't afford the rest.

Eventually, that stockpile of liquor gets depleted, and all of a sudden all those poor POPs who were drinking away their paychecks can't buy liquor anymore. At this point, you will start seeing lots of poor POPs buying all their life goods except for liquor, while buying their cheap everyday goods (coffee, fruit, tobacco, etc.). This is because all the money they were spending on liquor is now being spent on everyday goods.

Of course, you can eliminate all this deduction and guesswork by producing all the goods your POPs require domestically. They will always have access to domestic goods sold to the WM, so income will thus be the only barrier to POP need satisfaction. Just keep in mind that all the values in the Domestic column on ledger page 12 are ten times what the actual values are.

Why is there no demand for airplanes, automobiles, etc.?

Certain goods (airplanes in particular) are exclusively POP Luxury needs. POP Luxury needs don't influence the WM until the POPs are in a position to buy them. This means that there will be zero demand for exclusively Luxury goods until the appropriate POPs satisfy their Life and Everyday needs and have £100 in the bank.

Just the other day, I saw a capitalist POP that was not buying clothing and furniture, which are Life goods, but was buying opium and precious metal, which are Luxury goods. How do you explain THAT?

Clearly, there are insufficient WM stockpiles of clothing and furniture. This causes the POP to skip these goods in favor of first buying Everyday goods, then saving its money, and finally buying Luxuries. This phenomenon is quite common. As usual, it can be remedied by producing sufficient amounts of POP needs goods domestically.

If I have POPs that are buying all their needs and are still saving money, isn't that excess money just going to waste?

Not all of it goes to waste, as a portion of it is used to buy state bonds. Still, a taxation strategy that is centered around giving your POPs just enough money to satisfy their needs is probably optimal. If you notice that all your rich POPs are developing huge bankrolls, it's probably time to raise their taxes.

How high do I need to push my export income to give my POPs enough income to buy all their Life and Everyday needs?

This is a crucial question, since enabling the POPs to buy all their Life and Everyday needs will activate their Luxury needs, adding more Demand for those goods and thus enhancing their profitability. The short answer is: very high indeed.

The exact amount can vary widely during the game. It is dependent upon WM prices, your tax rates, and the size of your population. Fortunately, as long as you have equal taxation for all three POP classes, there is a fairly straightforward way to estimate how high your export income must be to enable your POPs' luxury demand.

  1. Go to ledger page 12, and sort the goods in descending order by the Domestic column. (So that the goods with the largest Domestic value will appear at the top.)
  2. For each good, multiply the value in the Domestic column by the WM price, and write down the result. Skip over the luxury-only goods, like precious metals, telephones, fuel, automobiles, and airplanes.
  3. Total up all the values calculated in step 2.
  4. Divide the result in step 3 by (1.00 - tax_rate), where tax_rate is your tax rate (again, equal for all classes) expressed as a floating-point number between 0.0 (0%) and 1.00 (100%).

The result is the estimated total export income you need to put enough money in your POPs' pockets to enable their luxury demands. It is only an estimate, and is in practice higher than the actual export income you need. This is because it neglects the POPs' base income. Also, it does not take into consideration the fact that some goods that are luxuries for poor POPs are everyday goods for rich POPs. And it's awfully time-consuming to total up the value of all those goods.

Fortunately, there is a shortcut that will give us a nice, simple way to approximate the necessary export income. Again, it assumes that you have a single tax rate for all classes of POPs. It is based on the fact that most POPs can usually afford cheap goods like grain, fish, cattle, tea, etc. with their base income. The major roadblock goods tend to be liquor, regular clothing and furniture for poor and middle POPs. Rich POPs have the same roadblocks, plus luxury clothing and luxury furniture. So, we can easily get a pretty good estimate for how much export income we need by totalling up the values of the Domestic demand for liquor, regular clothing, furniture, luxury clothing, and luxury furniture, and dividing the result by 1.00 minus the tax rate.

Don't be discouraged if the number seems impossibly high. In the early game, it will be a very distant goal indeed, but as the world industrializes, the prices of the "roadblock goods" will fall, making them more affordable.