Friday, February 28, 2014

Letting a hobby become greed.

So Mt. Gox evolved (devolved?) from a Magic the Gathering tradesite?

First of all, this kind of thing is almost a sure indicator of a bubble.  I don't know anything about bitcoins, just saying.

See, I still have nightmares of my sports card days -- it showed me how fast people can veer into questionable territory.  So I just opted out of MTG trading and such.  I sell them, buy them wholesale, sell them retail: that's it.  All on the up and up.  I refuse to do collector pricing on most anything.

But once you go into that "trading" thing, the "collecting" thing, it turns into speculation, and the seamy and the dishonest prey on the naive and the weak.  Yuck.

Such is life, you might say, but that doesn't mean I can't try my best to avoid these traps as much as possible.

It usually comes down to short term greed.  People will throw away their ethics over small advantages.  I've had people lie to me to save fifty cents.  Like that's all their reputation is worth.

When the money really starts to flow, then all sense of proportion is lost.  And the dishonest drag you down, because you're in their game, even if you are playing the game differently.

You have to forgo short term profits sometimes, you have to remember that whatever you gain at this moment could all be lost in the future, and even if it isn't, you acted badly.

I tried to maneuver my way through the ethical minefields of collecting during bubbles, but no matter how honest and forthright I tried to be, I still got smeared by the slimy behavior of the psycho's.

In the end, the only thing you can do -- if you want to keep your self-respect -- is to opt out, no matter how much money you might miss.


Leitmotiv said...

Yeah a lot of the Magic players don't think it's a bubble. But the sale of product for Magic has been up every single year. You can't keep going in the direction without a slowing, halting, or reversal in action. And once it does, anything can happen.

Duncan McGeary said...

You're right. Not a bubble.

I'm not sure about the prices of older cards, though.

Duncan McGeary said...

Or, to phrase it more exactly, the prices versus the actual sales. (Prices can stay high while sales become stagnant.)

But as I say, I'm not involved in the sales of old cards, so can't be sure.

Leitmotiv said...

Because Wizards has a policy to never reprint the oldest cards, particularly those with very high prices, they should remain very high. Even if somehow the game imploded, there would be enough of a core group that would keep playing it that would make these cards prices stay high, even if it was just for collectibility purposes.

Duncan McGeary said...

You're probably right.

I'll still make the general statement that speculation almost always ends badly for most people, though.