stonogo 24 days ago [-]
I'd be interested to know how much of this has to do with the dilution of the meaning of 'leather' in terms of consumer goods. The market is flooded with garbage products, which are produced by slicing a thin veneer of leather and gluing it to a plastic backing, which is then sold as "bonded leather." It's gotten so bad that full-grain leather products are exceedingly rare.

Since 90% of "leather" products are such awful garbage, it's not surprising to me that consumers have abandoned the sector en masse.

xahrepap 24 days ago [-]
I had a really awesome leather belt that I got when I was 15. I stopped wearing it when I was 30 because my weight finally out outgrew the belt. Still have it. It's no worse today than it was when I got it as a teen.

I go through about a belt a year now. Because I always seem to end up with this crap you describe. Even if I try to avoid it. Guess I need to do a better job looking... Or just lose some weight so I can use that same belt for another 15years.

mensetmanusman 23 days ago [-]
I didn’t appreciate how durable leather was until four years ago when I was recommended some quality men’s dress shoes on eBay.

The shoes were $100, because they retail for $400-$500, but when I purchased them they were 10 years old and in good condition. I have since been wearing them quite regularly, and they still look as new as the day I got them.

I used to spend $100 a year on typical men’s shoes, not realizing how wasteful it all was. Leather is an amazing material when it is cared for, and it can be a very eco-friendly clothing solution to our throwaway culture of petroleum products.

I am now sold on quality leather shoes, because they are in fact cheaper and better for the environment than any petroleum shoes when properly cared for (for the simple fact that they can last 10 to 20 years).

lowdose 22 days ago [-]
Suitsupply also has a very nice shoe collection made from italian calf leather for a reasonable price.

Sneakers for $179 and dress shoes are priced at $249.

Like you said amazing quality shoes last for several years when given proper maintenance.

Business attire is also top notch from this brand competing with similar Brioni suits for a 1/3 of the price.

johntash 22 days ago [-]
What brand of shoes did you get? I don't have any good dress shoes that don't feel cheap.
mensetmanusman 22 days ago [-]
Allen Edmonds. You have to make sure to get your feet sized properly. I.e. after a not-cold day of work with a lot of standing/walking, use a Brannock device to find your #-letter combo, e.g. 10D. (This is the same advice for getting your proper ring size :))

The cork soles and the leather will slowly morph to your foot shape as you use them, so they get more comfortable as you use them. My most comfortable pair had its last manufacturing run in ~2005 (“lauderdale”).

Guest0918231 23 days ago [-]
Go to It's great for leather products. I bought lots of belts from brand names growing up, and they all quickly fell apart. Then I learned about full grain leather. I talked with a local person I found on Etsy, provided the measurements to the center hole, chose a solid stainless steel buckle from their selection, gave them the measurements for the width of the belt, and they cut one from some black, full grain, vegetable tanned leather. I've had the belt for years, wear it all the time, and it's like new, but just keeps looking better and getting softer.

Once again, go to Etsy and search for full grain leather belts. I spent about $70 on mine. This is one of the markets where you'll get a much better product working with a local craftsman than shopping with a brand name.

delfinom 23 days ago [-]
The problem with Etsy is these days it's flooded with Chinese sellers hawking the same products they would on Amazon but at a markup.
dandelany 22 days ago [-]
I hear this all the time, and I'm sure it's true in some product categories, but it has not been my experience at all, at least not lately. Go search "full grain leather belt" on Etsy, do the tiniest bit of research on the sellers on the first-page of results, and tell me I'm wrong...
anon_cow1111 23 days ago [-]
lifeProtip- Goodwill prices all belts the same in every store I've been to. They're like 1-3 dollars and there's usually a couple real leather ones on the rack. I have several just hanging around now.
cbsks 23 days ago [-]
I have a couple of leather belts (one brown and one black) that I got from

I highly recommend them. These belts will last a lifetime.

newsbinator 23 days ago [-]
The website is a study in how not to do a checkout process, even on simpler mom-n-pop WooCommerce sites.

- - - -

> TIP CUT C125

> Round

> English Point

> Taper

- - - -

> Belt length:


> 25

> 26

> 27

- - - -

It's better if you:

1. Explain which options are recommended for what kind of customer, or which options go together better in a set.

2. Don't expect checkout customers to work in your leather belt shop.

What does C125 mean? Why is it prominent in the checkout?

If you're not meant to use your pants size, how about a sizing guide?

colmvp 23 days ago [-]
C125 refers to the belt model, Clinch 1.25

The tip cuts make sense to me. You can either go rounded, have a point, or go with a taper. The image changes based on which one you choose.

They have a sizing guide on the product page where they use your old belt as a base for measurement.

As for point number one, I feel like that's a matter of preference, specifically because fashion is subjective.

I mean, I agree with the sentiment of your comment, specifically they could definitely do more user friendly things, but I figure most of their customers are into bespoke products and are okay with doing research on their own or are informed.

newsbinator 23 days ago [-]
"Clinch 1.25" means something to the website owners and to their more dedicated customers.

I'm not that person though- I just clicked on a picture of a belt on their homepage, so "C125" is a random string to me.

Is "C125" the thing I want to order or the opposite of that thing? I forget.

I also wouldn't know they have a sizing guide on their homepage, because I'm on their checkout page already.

I know that sounds silly (and pretty much incompetent of me as a buyer), but there are a lot of eComm sites, a lot of places to buy belts, and busy lives for customers.

You either hold the customer's hand through checkout, or you bleed abandoned carts.

I found a comment online that goes:

> Tapered

> - easier grip to pull/cinch the belt

> - easier to get through the loop Rounded

> - 5" less excess going through the loop.

> - great if you are sharing belts (if the smaller person is wearing the belt in its tightest setting, they won't have the excess talked about in first bullet point)

Little notes like this would go a long way during the checkout process.

ValentineC 23 days ago [-]
The image on this page updates with the colour and tip cut as the user chooses the option:

I personally thought that the tip cut might have been more of an aesthetic preference than one of practicality.

andrewl 23 days ago [-]
I second the recommendation of A Simple Leather Belt Co. I have a brown and a black from them, and they're extremely well made. The user interface for designing your belt is also quite clear.
giardini 23 days ago [-]
Simple Leather Belts' prices are too high too!

I've been in the market for new belts for a year now, so the glut of hides is good news. Time to stock up for another century!

I've had very good full grain leather belts in the past. Now that I know the market situation I'm going to search for a big (cheap) piece of full-grain cowhide and cut my own damn belts out of it. Belts aren't hi-tech. It isn't as if we're talking about making a 5-nm chip here; more like "cow chip" tech.

I'm in Texas now so there are probably cowhides all over the local flea markets and wholesale shops.

lyjackal 23 days ago [-]
There's more that goes into production than material costs. Seems like a deal compared to crap that will fall into disrepair after a year or two
giardini 23 days ago [-]
Most anyone can make a nice good-looking belt. With the material price down to zero, now is a good time to learn:

"How to Make a $90 Belt for Only $23":

discusses where to buy leather and tools (that will last the rest of your life) and how to make the belt. Also...

"How to make a $100 belt on the cheap":

where you'll find tips on finishing the leather too.

amdanil 23 days ago [-]
Could just order some from China(1). Have to read the description carefully tho. Usually anything under 15USD not worth buying and over 30USD you're overpaying.


amiga_500 23 days ago [-]
Wearing one now. Good quality at a fair price as I haven’t had to pay western landlords and bankers via land rent.
qwsc 23 days ago [-]
On the other hand, if you're in the US, your belt's shipping from China was paid for entirely, or at least heavily subsidized, by American taxpayers.

(Not sure how this varies across other non-US western countries)

mistermann 23 days ago [-]
What about Canadians, based on our close proximity and depending on the specific logistics, might you guys be subsidising us as well?
redis_mlc 23 days ago [-]
qwsc was referring to the almost-free international postal rates for parcels that China received from USPS when it was a struggling exporter decades ago.

As in, lower than domestic parcel rates inside the USA, typically in the range of $1 - $2.

I believe Trump mentioned considering re-negotiating that deal recently, which nobody has objected to.

jjeaff 22 days ago [-]
It's not a subsidy specific to China. It's an international agreement to charge certain international rates for postage. It applies only to packages under a certain size and weight.

But it probably should go away. It creates this weird imbalance where shipping things from China to the US can be cheaper than shipping something to your next door neighbor.

NPR's planet money had an informative and fun episode on the topic.

throw7 23 days ago [-]
Yes. I have a leather belt from highschool (buckle is stamped spain, have no idea how i got it and my parents can't remember)... it has a weathered look to it, but is perfectly fine (i use it today still).

After getting fed up of of cloth like deteriorating "leather" belts, recently i looked closely and ended up with a timberland (stamped india) "genuine leather" (means not leather again) belt. In comparison, the timberland used stitching to attach the buckle while my old spanish belt used two hefty rivets to attach the buckle.

I think we do still make things excellently... it's just for the 1% (maybe when i was young in the u.s. i was the 1% in the world at the time).

Zhenya 23 days ago [-]
As you sorted, geniune leather is one of the lowest rung of material that is legally able to be called leather.

Here is a quick overview of leather grades:

jbboehr 23 days ago [-]
It's funny, I have a similar story: my mother bought me a leather belt as a child around 1995. It finally bit the dust a few years ago. I bought a belt from the same company (Land's End) and it barely lasted a year. Then my aunt got me one from Duluth Trading Company for Christmas. That was about two years ago and it's shown no signs of stopping yet.
ghaff 23 days ago [-]
Lands End used to be pretty much a go to for me. After all the Sears and private equity stuff that went on I became increasingly disillusioned with their quality. I still get clothing from them now and then but quality generally has gone downhill.
NeedMoreTea 23 days ago [-]
Try searching leather goods on Amazon or Ebay. 95% of the results aren't - they're leathercloth, fake leather, bonded leather, PVC, but use "leather" as a headline keyword anyway. Amazon don't care despite it being borderline fraudulent.

Then you see a quality brand you remember from 40 years ago who once sold proper thick hide belts. Comes for a similar premium price that has you thinking it's the real thing still. You can have something that looks the same - for a couple of years. Except it's bonded leather, with a cheaply plated buckle, made in China or Vietnam.

The leather goods shop, that sold only pukka items, in town is long gone. As is the shopkeeper who could advise which leather would suit your need best, and order in special niche items. There might be a real maker somewhere online, selling at artisan (ie absurd) prices. You may never know it as everyone else is trying to imply their crap is that too.

DoctorOetker 23 days ago [-]
So how do we solve this problem of uninformed decision (even when the customer tries his best to make an informed choice around choosing actual leather)?

Something like a site with "leather teardowns" on products?

Alternatively, what would be a good non-invasive non-destructive method to detect its actual leathernness? Something like Atomic Dielectric Resonance scanning? It may sound absurd to construct an ADR scanner to buy a leather item on a sporadic basis, but the device could be rented (for a miniscule price, with a deposit in escrow to ensure return) say at a bio-shop... Or somehow build it into a phone, using its radio spectrum?

ghaff 24 days ago [-]
The last time I got a couple of new belts it was from a little craft-type belt place in one of the London markets. They're great.

You might also have luck checking out cobblers. Some of them make belts and other leather goods on the side.

Fezzik 23 days ago [-]
I’m in the same boat - I have a Nautica belt that I bought in 8th grade (37 now) that I still wear daily, though it is getting tighter it works like new. The buckle holes are not even noticeably stretched.

As a tangent, Vivobarefoot is a shoe company that makes very high quality leather shoes. I bought a pair of their brown low-tops and have worn them everyday for work for 4(+) years. Other than looking slightly worn they function as new. No affiliation, just impressed with the craftsmanship.

Good leather is good.

ValentineC 23 days ago [-]
> As a tangent, Vivobarefoot is a shoe company that makes very high quality leather shoes. I bought a pair of their brown low-tops and have worn them everyday for work for 4(+) years. Other than looking slightly worn they function as new. No affiliation, just impressed with the craftsmanship.

I've bought Vivobarefoot (mostly when they're on sale) for over 7 years now, and the build quality of their shoes are really hit-or-miss — while the leather doesn't wear, some of their soles tend to puncture or flake within months.

The pair I'm currently wearing daily, their Soul of Africa Gobi, has been going strong for over a year now.

Their Stealth and Evo series of running shoes (not leather) are rubbish. My Evo died after 131 km/81 miles of running — normal running shoes should last at least 2-3 times of that.

I wonder if the country of production plays a part in build quality.

Marsymars 23 days ago [-]
My guess has been that their small scale makes designing for long-term durability challenging.

My Evo also got trashed pretty quickly, but I had a pair of Neo that lasted around seven years before I finally wore through the sole. Have a couple from their Primus line for the past year or so that seem to be holding up well so far.

war1025 23 days ago [-]
You could always just buy a belt blank [1] and a buckle. Not a terrible lot to a belt.


deelowe 23 days ago [-]
Check out Tanner goods. Definitely buy it for life belts, wallets, etc.
Izkata 23 days ago [-]
Just FYI, if you do mean what the sibling replies say, a "life belt" is a flotation device in the shape of a belt. Refers to a "life jacket".
deelowe 23 days ago [-]
"buy it for life", belt. Not buy it for, "life belt."
Izkata 22 days ago [-]
The list makes it really hard to read that way with parens. It parses like this to me:

  Definitely buy it for (life belts, wallets, etc).
deelowe 22 days ago [-]
Hah! That never occurred to me until you pointed it out.
benj111 23 days ago [-]
seltzered_ 23 days ago [-]
The person's referring to the general term "buy it for life" - products that last a lifetime or longer. (
xeromal 23 days ago [-]
If you happen to live in SoCal, Wil Leather of Abbot Kenny is legit leather. They're expensive, but I have a few of their things and I love them dearly.
jhawk28 23 days ago [-]
I get American made leather belts from here: costs about $30-35. They last forever.
robohoe 23 days ago [-]
I recommend Hank’s Belts online. I bought two. First one with a blemish (that I can’t find) for half price and a regular one for full price. Both have lasted me 3+ years now.
giardini 23 days ago [-]
$60 is a stiff price for a belt when the value of leather is apparently $0. Hank's Belts hasn't heard the news yet, I suppose.
robotresearcher 23 days ago [-]
When the price of materials is low enough, like leather, you are paying for the decisions the creator made, use of their time, tools and facilities, and distribution convenience.

As an extreme example, a napkin sketch by Picasso is not valued relative to napkins.

If the creator makes a belt just the way I want it, that’s worth a couple hours pay to me.

jjeaff 22 days ago [-]
That's why charging for software is crazy. Electrons are free, you can get them literally anywhere.
AcerbicZero 23 days ago [-]
I had a similar experience although the cheap cast zinc on the buckle finally failed. The leather is still in pretty decent shape, despite ~15 years of abuse.
eloff 24 days ago [-]
I bought a pricey belt from Kenneth Kole made of this crap without knowing better. It was garbage within months. I learned my lesson and bought a proper leather belt from who knows what brand from Amazon for a fraction of the price, it's doing great years later. My parents had a horrible experience with made in china "leather" chairs. They had to reupholster them within months. You have to be very careful buying leather now and do hours of product/brand research to ensure you're not getting a lemon. At my hourly rate, that costs me way more than the product itself for anything less than large furniture items. I'm a lot less likely to buy leather goods as a result.
cnst 23 days ago [-]
The brand names are the worst in this regard. I think pretty much any Kenneth Kole leather item I have ever seen in the last 10 years has been fake leather; definitely do stay away from those.
Clubber 24 days ago [-]
There is a grading system for leather. "Genuine" leather is a deceptive marketing term designed to sell shit leather as quality.

pvarangot 23 days ago [-]
That doesn't work, I'm not sure it ever did. Yeah if something says full grain then it's full grain, but if you want corrected grain calf no grading system can help you. Corrected grain calf is what most people wanting a leather jacket that doesn't look like a biker or a statement piece will be thinking about.
cnst 23 days ago [-]

Thanks for this; I had no idea that Genuine Leather wasn't a good thing, but I did have my suspicions as so many products seem to use the designation where the quality doesn't seem to be there.

Will be making sure to look for full-grain leather from now on (ironically, I thought that "Genuine" designation was better).

ValentineC 23 days ago [-]
Adding on: I've been looking for wallet suggestions on Reddit, and chanced upon North Star Leather's posts on how "Grades of Leather" was made up for marketing purposes [1][2].

I think those articles, and his Reddit comments [3], are worth a read to get an insight into how leather workers see this.




imgabe 23 days ago [-]
Yeah, there are still plenty of quality leather products out there, you just have to look for "full grain leather".
mifreewil 23 days ago [-]
This is a great point. I'd be interested in seeing some data where words/definitions/"generic trademarks" are better protected. For example, I remember reading something within the last few years about the FDA considering cracking down on companies using "milk" in non-dairy products like almond milk, soy milk, etc.

It's almost a tragedy of the commons where there is a generic trademark that isn't protected, or maybe in the opposite case where everyone colludes to dilute the generic trademark to increase profit margins. Like using "blueberries" that aren't real blueberries but just made up of sugar and some artificial ingredients.

ngold 23 days ago [-]
When I sold furniture 15 years ago, one of the selling lines was buying leather now is a great investment since the meat industry puts so much leather on the market it was super cheap. Not sure if it's still true or if it ever was.
rexgallorum2 23 days ago [-]
A few years ago, I bought a hand made leather wallet from a leatherworker in Germany. It has a beautiful patina now and is in perfect shape. Quality matters.
developer2 22 days ago [-]
Wallets are a very good example of an industry overrun with inferior "leather-based" products. "Genuine Leather" may as well be the brand name of the shittiest fake leather sold on Earth, because I'd bet that a majority (>50%) of "Genuine Leather" products on the market are complete bullshit.

The cost and brand name of a product mean nothing. You can buy a $10,000+ "Genuine Leather" wallet, claimed to be "handmade" by a top-5 wallet manufacturer brand name... and chances are it's all lies. They sell too many wallets for them to be handmade, so the fact is they use sewing machines with the cheapest labour they can get away with. The company is physically incapable of tracing the chain of custody of their leather; they'll tell you to your face it's "genuine" (bonus words for "locally sourced/farmed"), but that's a game of Operator/Telephone 10 players deep to the point where nobody remembers the truth.

tldr; Most leather, including "genuine leather", is anything but. That includes the largest brand names; in fact even more so, because the demand for their products is too high to secure any kind of guarantee of quality regarding sourced materials. How many large-scale manufacturers of leather products are willing to legally sign on the dotted line that they can prove which cow and farm any given wallet came from? Exactly, and that's 21st century capitalism at its core.

namibj 23 days ago [-]
I unfortunately prefer the economics of a self-strenghtening friction "buckle" on my belt. Until recently I used a simple fabric belt which had thicker (2mm) warp on the edges than in the middle. The yarn was about half the diameter I'd guess compared to typical backpack straps, but cotton or something less rough than what these typical straps are made of. It was about 2 inch wide. The "buckle" was just a pair of 3mm non-stainless steel wire formed into rectangles (2inch by 1.2 inch), which the belt was pulled through and about an inch of overlapping belt was sewn together almost aggressively. Usage was "wrap around hip", "pull free end from the back through both rectangles", "split the rectangles a bit from each other", "loop the free end around the outer rectangle, and thread it back between the incoming strap and the other rectangle", "hold buckle-side end of belt with one hand to the side (still contacting your body), while pulling the free end the other direction (tangentially to your skin at the point the 'buckle' touches)". This results in the looped-around rectangle being pulled against the other one, which squishes the belt between them _and_ creates a slight bump the incoming belt is going around before the rectangle side it wraps tightly. If the belt isn't too smooth, this is self-locking while under force (your body is elastic), and to unlock, you just twist the rectangles around your the long axis of your spine to decrease the bump from the looped-back part of the belt. You can do that by bracing the hand with the outside of the intermediate phalanges of middle and ring fingee, while reaching with thumb and index finger to pull the steel rectangle's corners with a slight pinching force (that is just trying to shorten the larger dimension of the rectangle). This means that loosening to drop pants that drop to the knees if the belt is gone is a 3 μstep action done blind with one hand (touch belt/buckle with supporting phalanges, pinch corners, twist and pull away from your body to create some slack. This takes half a second.

My new buckle is a case the loose end is threaded through, which has guide slots in the sides facing your nose and toes (respectively) for a pin that is self-locking by pinching the belt between it and the inside of the side of the case facing away from you. This requires two hands to reduce load on the buckle, followed by pinching the pin where it pokes it's rounded ends through the slots to pull it out of the self-locking end of the slot.

I preferred the old one, but how to find a good belt like that? Also, it tends to look tattered/unprofessional with the friction-damaged fabric belt and the non-shiny (not obviously rusty) steel wire rectangles.

If anyone knows a source for such at sane pricing, I'd appreciate sharing of knowledge.

ficklepickle 23 days ago [-]
The article claims natural tanning methods result in an inferior product. I believe this to be false. The reason nasty chemicals are used is because it is cheaper, especially if the toxic waste can just be dumped in the environment.

If they are "looking" for a natural method, look no further than Chouara tannery in Fez, Morocco. It's an open air tannery that has operated continuously since the 11th century, with the techniques handed down through the generations.

They use cow urine, pigeon feces, quicklime, salt and water in the tanning process. It smells about as bad as you would imagine. They give visitors a sprig of mint to hold in front of your nose. It helps, a little bit.

The end result is gorgeous leather that stands up very well. I have a pouf that is dyed with saffron, it is still soft a decade later. If you get a chance to buy some of this leather, I would highly recommend it. I'm sure it is available online, too.

matheweis 24 days ago [-]
“According to Hidenet, a leather markets research firm, a hide from a branded cow went for as little as $4 the week of July 15, down from as much as $81 just five years ago.”

Wait, what? Consumer trends have shifted so radically in 5 years that even with a white hot economy leather prices have dropped by 20x?

brandmeyer 24 days ago [-]
Beef and hide are coupled goods. One cow produces about X kg of beef and Y m^2 of hide. If demand for beef is extra high, then it will depress the price of hide because the ratio in supply is roughly fixed between them.

There are other examples in modern society. Chlorine and caustic soda are produced in strictly fixed ratios from NaCl salt and electricity. Extra demand for one will depress the price of the other. The effect is quite sharp in this example, since both products are expensive to store.

Similarly, the hydraulic fracking industry has somewhat depressed the market price of natural gas in the US. The miners are really hunting for high-value liquid hydrocarbons. The gaseous hydrocarbons are quite low-margin by comparison, but come along for the ride in the shale being exploited right now. The effect is more modest in this example since new home construction, new electricity production, and industrial process heat can all be biased towards natural gas. But its still there.

If electric and other high-efficiency propulsion technologies takes off enough to impact gasoline consumption, then a side effect in the US will be an increase in natural gas prices. The source of the increase is twofold: Decreased production of liquid hydrocarbons will decrease supply of gaseous hydrocarbons, and increased demand for electricity will raise demand for gaseous hydrocarbons.

drcode 23 days ago [-]
Why don't they just breed cows that are more spherical, to maximize the volume-to-surface-area ratio?
dsr_ 23 days ago [-]
They're in the middle of that process.

"The amount of beef produced per cow has seen an 18% improvement over the past 20 years. The average cow size across all breeds is 1,390 lbs., with less than 100 lbs. separating the heaviest and lightest breeds."

rs23296008n1 23 days ago [-]
Or more wrinkly. Increased surface area compared to a sphere. It works on brain surface area.

There's probably a tradeoff in the quality of the hide as a result of this however.

taejo 23 days ago [-]
The goal is to get more beef and less leather.
rags2riches 23 days ago [-]
I imagine most uses call for flat leather rather than curved.
mcv 22 days ago [-]
So you want to breed cube-shaped cows?
rags2riches 22 days ago [-]
If the sphere-cow is big enough, the surface will be practically flat...
Scoundreller 23 days ago [-]
> Similarly, the hydraulic fracking industry has somewhat depressed the market price of natural gas in the US. The miners are really hunting for high-value liquid hydrocarbons.

And so they have been fracking more liquidy "wetter" natural gas where possible, depressing prices for ethane, butane and propane (but which are still more profitable than methane, BTU for BTU).

Cheaper ethane = cheaper plastics as we turn on more and more polyethylene plants (easier to store/ship).

In the winter, we can froth up gasoline with butane, which is largely why winter gas is cheaper.

squirrelicus 24 days ago [-]
I can't help but get the sense that your economic materials analysis is based on a video game crafting economy. If the profitability of leather is low enough, then people will trash the raw hide but butcher and sell the beef. There's a lot of labor and logistics and materials that goes into producing the beef you cook or leather goods you buy beyond (cow) -> (meat,leather) -> (food,clothes). Remember, nobody knows how to make a pencil.
praptak 23 days ago [-]
How does this contradict the point that GP made? GP did not imply that you get a free piece of leather with each cow slaughtered, just a hide.

Btw, even game economy models this part - in Dwarf Fortress a slaughtered animal produces skin, which will decompose if not tanned or converted to parchment.

refurb 23 days ago [-]
They’ll trash the hides when the profitability of them reaches zero.

That still leaves a ton of room to over supply and depress prices.

thaeli 23 days ago [-]
Disposal costs money, too, so the "trash point" is actually at a somewhat _negative_ profitability.
tomrod 24 days ago [-]
A couple of points to keep in mind:

- After processing, leather doesn't rot. Thus it is a durable good, and stockpiles can build up

- Texas and other parts of the nation had massive droughts a few years back. This resulted in herd culling, which could have increased the supply of available hides at the time.

acdha 24 days ago [-]
The economy is hardly white-hot, especially for people below the top decile or so – the median American worker made 5% LESS in 2018 than in 1979 ( – so I’d be surprised if this wasn’t basic economics: for a long time, leather was a premium good and cost more, so companies focused on using less of it and the large fraction of consumers who favor low prices rewarded them for it. It’s easy to hit a threshold where cutting the remaining usage entirely is a good marketing move since it removes a type of material from your system and attracts buyers who avoid animal products.

Prices may be low but they’d have to stay lower than the equivalent synthetics for a long time to get manufacturers to invest in redesigning and changing their supply chains.

sokoloff 24 days ago [-]
It appears to me that the report you cite says that the overall median real wage rose by 6.1% over that time period. (Table 1, page 4, first row; related text on page 5).

What figure in the report are you using to determine a 5% decrease over that time period?

acdha 23 days ago [-]
My mistake: that’s the figure for men overall, which is balanced in the general statistic by the huge gains for women. I should have checked more carefully but was on a phone.

The main point I was going at is that most of us here have a really skewed view of the general economy after a couple decades of good times for tech workers which haven’t been generally true of the overall job market, especially when you factor in benefits and job security. This is similar for stock market gains when so many Americans have no or only a token stake invested.

jdsully 23 days ago [-]
It almost certainly comes from this paragraph:

> In 1979, wages at the 10th percentile ranged from $10.03 for black and Hispanic women to $14.42 for white men, whereas in 2018 wages in the 10th percentile ranged from $9.72 for Hispanic women to $13.70 for white men.

This adds up to -4.99% for white men in the 10th percentile. Above the 10th percentile everyone has done better.

DuskStar 23 days ago [-]
So the GGP mistook 'bottom decile' as 'top decile', then?
23 days ago [-]
mikeash 24 days ago [-]
I assume cows are mostly raised and slaughtered for their meat, with leather as just a sort of bonus. That would mean that the supply is extremely inelastic: farmers won’t raise and slaughter noticeably fewer cows just because leather prices drop a lot, or more cows just because they jump a lot. That would imply that a small swing in demand could result in large changes in price.
luxuryballs 24 days ago [-]
I wonder how much of this is because of the increase in cheaper faux leather, maybe even also combined with inflation, you may be paying the same numerical amount for poly leather as you did for genuine leather 20 years ago.

Also I guess if a company can cut costs by using the improved poly leather and the consumer doesn’t notice or care then that’s the move.

kevin_thibedeau 24 days ago [-]
More like cheap Chinese bonded leather which permeates most sub-$100 leather goods.

I make a pass on buying most leather products because it's so hard to find decent quality without an overinflated price. I don't even dare buying it online unless its a niche where substandard materials are unlikely.

mrnobody_67 22 days ago [-]
Feels like the leather industry needs to launch an education campaign to distinguish the real thing from the cheap China knock offs... big marketing/branding opportunity for the sector. Most consumers, myself included, have no clue about grading leather, etc.
big_chungus 24 days ago [-]
Leather still is a durable and useful material, if properly cared for. Assuming its production as a by-product of the slaughterhouse, it could be considered more sustainable than plastic (it can biodegrade).
pmorici 23 days ago [-]
Tesla and a lot of other car makers are switching to so called "vegan leather" in their cars. Which is a fashionable way of saying synthetic leather. In Tesla's case it is for everything except the steering wheel which they still use real leather for. It seems to be an admission that the real thing is still more durable under some circumstances.
vilhelm_s 23 days ago [-]
It also says

> Just five years ago, prices soared after a drought shrank the U.S. herd to a six-decade low.

so the $81 high mark is probably more to do with the weather than the consumer trend.

sp332 23 days ago [-]
This is explained near the beginning of the article. Just five years ago... leather outpriced itself, forcing shoe and clothing designers to cut the material from their products. Combine that with the rise of athleisure and the growing popularity of “vegan clothing,” and one can see why demand hasn’t come back.
mc32 24 days ago [-]
It’s the intersection of high global demand for beef with its consequential byproduct of hides and the depressed appetite for leather goods in mature economies influenced by the long campaign against fur which coupled with vegetarianism and veganism have resulted in change in consumer behavior over time.
rasz 23 days ago [-]
>a hide from a branded cow went for as little as $4 the week of July 15

That price point doesnt seem right. Can anyone point me where you can actually buy a cowhide for $4? or even $40? Quick search gives me ~$50 for calf hides. Even Chinese fake leather cowhide rugs start at ~$50.

ngngngng 24 days ago [-]
I'm actually in the market for a leather jacket and boots right now, but I certainly haven't noticed prices going down at all.

I'm finding leather jackets extremely difficult to shop for. Online advice is all over the place, and I want something to last a lifetime.

pvarangot 24 days ago [-]
Made to measure starts at 1kish and bespoke from a nice workshop at around 1.5k to 2k, for normal cow or sheep or goat leather. More than that and you are paying for the brand and less than that and your jacket is probably from an Indian or Chinese sweatshop, like All Saints.

The retail clothes industry is getting insane with all the markup from actually sourcing the garment, the smart choice for expensive pieces if you really know what you want is having it made.

Animats 23 days ago [-]
Find a cheap heavy but stiff motorcycle jacket that's solid leather. Get a can of Hydrophane leather dressing, which is about $20/half liter. This silicone oil is used to soften and waterproof saddles and horse equipment. Paint it on with a paintbrush. Give it about a day to soak in. You now have a soft leather jacket.

Horse people have been using this stuff for decades. It beats the "natural" products like neats-foot oil on both effectiveness and price.

yumraj 23 days ago [-]
Two questions:

1) when you say cheap, roughly how much? Range is fine.

2) any brands, websites that you can refer?

motohagiography 23 days ago [-]
As a motorcyclist who just came in the door from a 300+ mi. day, the two most interesting leather goods makers for jackets are Vanson Leathers and Schott NYC. U.S made, and last forever. Both do custom work as well. Lewis Leathers in the UK is the other big brand, with Roland Sands Design on more trendy end of the spectrum.

For boots, I can recommend Gasonlina, who do made to measure motorcycle boots, and I've a pair of their "shortcut" boots for years.

If there is a drop in leather prices, it's an excellent opportunity to get custom clothing and gear made. Wish prices were down when I got my Vanson.

lwhalen 24 days ago [-]
Depending on where you're located, it might be worth checking out Langlitz Leather in Portland, OR. I have two of their jackets, my girlfriend has one, and I have friends who have them as well. They are absolutely "buy once, cry once" garments, I suspect my family will be fighting over mine when I am (eventually) dead.
stevenbedrick 23 days ago [-]
Seconding the Langlitz recommendation- their stuff is fabulous.
a-wu 24 days ago [-]
I would recommend r/goodyearwelt for recommendations on boots. Really knowledgeable community without being too snobbish (imo).

I’ve found some pretty good leather jacket threads on Styleforum. There’s another forum whose name is escaping my mind, but they are dedicated to classic reproduction leather jackets.

porknubbins 23 days ago [-]
Sounds like Fedora lounge. I love how they obsess on the differences between like a 1943 and 1944 flight jacket.
elorant 24 days ago [-]
I bought a Ted Lapidus leather jacket fifteen years ago and although it was quite pricey (around 1k in 2004) I haven't regretted the choice. It's in prime condition and will probably last me at least another 15 years. So my advice is to go for a respectable brand or some specialized shop for tailor made clothes and be ready to pay a generous price.
ghaff 24 days ago [-]
For serious hiking boots, might check out Limmer in New Hampshire. They make custom boots but I'm pretty sure they have off-the-shelf boots as well.

I have a pair of their custom boots that are about 20 years old and (with resoling and some repair) they're still great.

Shorel 23 days ago [-]
If you can travel to Argentina, there's another world for leather products there.

Very high quality.

bsder 23 days ago [-]
The article comments on that: high-end leather still has plenty of demand.

What doesn't have demand is the secondary tier of leather. Basically, "let's bond this shitty leather with plastic" doesn't have any takers anymore.

AdrianB1 23 days ago [-]
Someone provided a link showing there are not just high end and low end leathers, but roughly 5 categories. The problem is the price for good leather clothes is astronomical, especially with the very low price of the materials, while the quality of low end is terrible and the middle of the market is completely missing.
dzhiurgis 24 days ago [-]
I can understand a reason why would you want something last a lifetime, but what about comfort?

I've never had a leather jacket - they seem heavy and not really weatherproof.

Something like merino hoodie + gore tex windbraker is my go to for last 4 years now. Absolutely love it.

elorant 24 days ago [-]
It's true that leather jackets aren't very comfortable because they can't stretch. But they're definitely warm and proof of that is that they're worn by motorcyclists for ages. And then there is the fact that you can wear them in multiple occasions, from a social event to a casual stroll with your friends. You can even wear them with a tie.
barrkel 23 days ago [-]
Bikers wear leather for abrasion protection in the event of an accident. Its heft also means it doesn't flap at high speed, particularly if tight fitting as recommended (again, in case of an accident). But it doesn't stretch, so it's not easy to wear more layers underneath.

For protection against the elements, technical clothing with fancy fibres are a better option - way more waterproof, and can work with a heated vest if it gets very cold. Not as good in a long slide though.

allsystemsgo 24 days ago [-]
If you want boots, I highly recommend Tecovas.
sgt101 23 days ago [-]
Trickers Boots.
lwhalen 24 days ago [-]
Interesting. I suppose I'm one of the few holdouts who still love leather clothing (motorcycle jackets, you weirdos ;-)) and accessories (I have multiple Saddleback Leather bags, wallets, etc). I don't see those items getting cheaper any time soon, I guess that indicates their profit margins have gone through the roof in the interim.
stonogo 24 days ago [-]
The expense in producing fine leather goods is the labor costs. It's a craft which requires much training and/or experience, and highly-skilled leatherworkers do not come cheaply.
Scoundreller 23 days ago [-]
Is there any reason why someone in a developing country couldn't be trained to do it?

It's definitely not a niche skill.

Joelexander 23 days ago [-]
Oh there are. They usually make up the "value" segment of the luxury goods markets.

For men's dress shoes brands like Meermin and Grant Stone (China) are competing with Carmina (Spain) and Alden (USA).

I'm sure there's others for every type of leather good imaginable.

AdrianB1 23 days ago [-]
As someone who loves a good quality leather belt (or wallet), I see the same situation in Europe. Probably not a US-specific problem, but a clothing industry problem (where they ask for insane prices and cut all the corners on quality).
billfruit 24 days ago [-]
If you have read Richard Henry Dana, "Two Years Before the Mast", much of life in California used to revolve around the processing and trade of hides, in fact seemingly in many places that was the only activity going on. How the times have changed.
kanaba 23 days ago [-]
An excellent book and insight into a slice in time.
jbob2000 24 days ago [-]
This is a shame because if you search for leather goods online, you’ll find whole shops full of garbage quality leather called Premium Crafted Leather aka PU Leather. They take leather fibers and coat it in polyurethane to give it a “proper” finish.

It’s disappointing to see a race to the bottom with leather quality when it seems like there’s no need for that.

human20190310 24 days ago [-]
Non-leather goods are even worse. It's really hard to find a vegan wallet and belt that isn't pretending to be leather in some inadequate way.
hombre_fatal 24 days ago [-]
> It's really hard

You can't just google "canvas wallet" or whatever is your preferred material?

human20190310 23 days ago [-]
Many of these canvas wallets include features such as "full-grain leather trim" which defeats the purpose of the search. Those that don't mostly look like fragile garbage.
nitrogen 24 days ago [-]
Maybe just skip the traditional look entirely and buy a wallet made from Tyvek, or maybe a solid metal billfold/card holder.
rjsw 24 days ago [-]
There seem to be plenty of fabric wallets available to me.
DoreenMichele 23 days ago [-]
Suspenders, money clip.
wolco 24 days ago [-]
Vegan wallet? Sounds like a marketing ploy. Look for plastic or hemp or clothe if leather is off the table.
dcchambers 23 days ago [-]
Unfortunately these lower leather prices certainly don't seem to have affected the price of premium, handmade leather goods. Leather is good in so many things: wallets, belts, shoes, bags, jackets... It's naturally water-resistant and lasts for decades, yet it seems like all the big-box stores and manufactures have abandoned real full-grain leather for synthetics or even cheaper leather alternatives (PU, "top grain," "corrected grain," "genuine," etc). Despite the leather prices falling off a cliff, real full-grain leather is becoming a niche market.

> “There are hides with no value. We’re throwing a natural product in the garbage.”

This makes me very sad. The least we could do with the burgeoning meat market is use all of the parts of the animal to the best of our ability. The fact that people still prefer fake synthetic leather when real leather is so cheap and readily available it's being thrown away is unfortunate.

ValentineC 23 days ago [-]
> it seems like all the big-box stores and manufactures have abandoned real full-grain leather for synthetics or even cheaper leather alternatives (PU, "top grain," "corrected grain," "genuine," etc).

If we're specifically talking about full-grain leather, I suspect that it's because consumers have this unrealistic ideal of "unmarked"/"mint" leather that's hard to achieve, at low prices, on large pieces of full-grain leather.

EliRivers 23 days ago [-]
Unfortunately these lower leather prices certainly don't seem to have affected the price of premium, handmade leather goods.

I suspect (but cannot prove) that in the case of premium, handmade leather goods, the majority of the cost (probably a really big majority) is the time of the people hand-making it, which is unaffected by the drop of the cost in the leather.

wyldfire 24 days ago [-]
> So-called fast-fashion and athleisure — clothing which contains no leather at all — now dominate American retail.

This makes me think of the wallmount synthetic-fiber-clothing-dispenser from "Idiocracy."

reallydude 24 days ago [-]
I saw a pile of leather pieces outside a home, on the street, near Seattle with a sign that said "free leather". I'm not sure why anyone would want it, but it looked someone had died and they were clearing the home.
criddell 24 days ago [-]
People make stuff with it.

Check out

gumby 24 days ago [-]
I never liked leather as a material: heavy, easily scratched, etc. when I was a kid it was used in everything from backpacks to camera cases. Leather seats in cars get hot in ways cloth ones do not. Etc. Good riddance!

Well, I have leather hiking boots. Heavy but highly functional.

It always seemed crazy to me that leather goods, while functionally inferior in most cases, are considered the ”luxury” versions. Some sort of Vleben reasoning I suppose.

Well, at least it’s biodegradable unlike most of the alternatives. That’s a big deal too.

inamberclad 24 days ago [-]
My boots scratch because they're coated and dyed oddly, drives me nuts. All the scratches on my belt blend in over time.

I love the stuff (thank you, cows), it's a heavy, reliable organic construction material. Lasts a lot longer than fabrics.

The trick is to get 'full grain' leather, that's the actual thickness of the cowhide and doesn't have backings or multiple layers glued together.

theandrewbailey 23 days ago [-]
> Leather seats in cars get hot in ways cloth ones do not.

I never understood the fascination with leather car seats. Climbing into an oven to sit on a burner isn't my definition of premium or luxury by a long shot.

g_2k3 23 days ago [-]
Does anybody know where to get these low price hides in the US. I am a hobbyist leather worker and I have not noticed any fall in prices.
rdlecler1 23 days ago [-]
Cheap corn and soybeans = cheap feed = more cows = more leather = lower prices.
pitcher 23 days ago [-]
Doubt if this has much to do with not needing a use v/s the ethical problems attached to it + synthetic options being more viable and cheaper
rabbitonrails 24 days ago [-]
How long can hides be stored before becoming unusable?
compiler-guy 24 days ago [-]
With proper prep and good climate control, you can store leather for decades.
brundolf 24 days ago [-]
Americans are eating more beef than they have in a decade? That's really surprising; seems everyone I talk to - not just vegetarians - have started looking at beef as something to be indulged in only on occasion. I assume the climate impact is the main reason.
efiecho 24 days ago [-]
That's why one should not make assumptions based on limited personal experience.

We have eaten meat for thousands of years and most people will not stop doing that, just bcause it's currently fashionable to say you do not eat meat or have reduced consumption.

24 days ago [-]
erikpukinskis 24 days ago [-]
Calling something fashionable is just a cheap way to be dismissive. I’d respect you more if you stated openly which aspects of vegetarian efficiency, morality, pollution, health you think are nonsense. There are good arguments to be made there, but you’re hiding behind an empty insult.
petrocrat 23 days ago [-]
The argument for omnivorianism that I find unassailable is that plowing which is required for annuals is actually worse for the environment than ruminant emissions. While utilizing perenials will require ruminants for a truly holistic agriculture that cycles all nutrients efficiently. So a Perennial plant base agriculture with ruminants to hlelp cycle nutrients is the best ag option available, so eating a few a of the ruminants as they age out of the cohort makes sense, and would be wasteful not to do so.
erikpukinskis 23 days ago [-]
That seems plausible, although it rules out almost all commercial meat. Since the feed will have gone through the same tillage.

I certainly wouldn’t argue against anyone who is buying meat from someone like Joel Salatin.

I wonder if there’s a word for this... “either stop eating beef or start paying a lot for it” diet?

MandieD 22 days ago [-]
Selective omnivorism?

I actively avoid meat in the company cafeteria and at most restaurants, but buy grass-fed beef or a free-range chicken most weekends to cook, or packaged free-range chicken legs if I’m feeling a bit lazy. The price per pound is ridiculous (“why did you spend 15 bucks on a little chicken that looks like a damn mockingbird?”) to my dad, who eats a good half pound of meat every day.

In the end, I probably spend about as much on meat as a less-picky meat eater in Germany does. 1kg free-range chicken legs: 8-10 EUR, 1kg cheapest chicken legs: 2-3 EUR. Two free-range chicken legs weigh about the same as one cheap one.

erikpukinskis 22 days ago [-]
Way to be!
Pinckney 24 days ago [-]

So beef consumption is up slightly since 2015, but is still far below its peak in 1976

jobigoud 24 days ago [-]
This is per capita. It would make more sense to get total numbers in this context.
happytoexplain 24 days ago [-]
I disagree, if we're saying that "this context" is the GP post's surprise.
inimino 24 days ago [-]
Leather and leather goods are easier to export than beef, so what really matters would be total world supply and demand, not so much local per capita consumption, no?
mrep 24 days ago [-]
Total red meat and poultry shows 2020 and 2019 as the 2 highest estimates though and the rest of the data shows a pretty clear trend line going upwards.

I'm guessing it has more to do with doctor recommendations to limit red meat for health concerns and so people are moving to other meats like poultry.

tempsy 24 days ago [-]
The surge in interest in keto (and less so the "carnivore" diet) would probably have something to do with it. As far as meat goes, beef is preferred to poultry or pork on that diet due to fat content.
1123581321 24 days ago [-]
I would bet money that some of the people you talk to have had a McDouble in the last month. :)
diminoten 24 days ago [-]
Huge swaths of America still see meat as an every meal thing ( myself included), and beef is a large part of that.
PopeDotNinja 24 days ago [-]
I would have a hard time without meat. There's so much food I don't like.
radicalbyte 24 days ago [-]
I like most food and am also not able to stop eating meat. It's just too nice. We have cut our consumption a lot though.

Eventually eating only exceptional quality meat 2/3 days a week is fine for me.

diminoten 22 days ago [-]
I also have a terrible palate, do you think that's part of it for us? Beef is a fairly "guaranteed" taste that, depending on the cut, will give you what you're looking for regardless, I'd expect.
southerndrift 24 days ago [-]
What do you eat besides meat? Since meat has the lowest energy density, you most likely get your energy from other sources anyway. Even if you eat 500g / 1lb per day for a 2000kcal target, you would still get 1500kcal from other food.
deftnerd 24 days ago [-]
I think you have those reversed. Meat is incredibly packed with proteins and the calorie density is very high.
radicalbyte 24 days ago [-]
Lean meat is has around 100 kcal per 100 grams. This is similar to most fruits and veg.

More fatty meat sits at around 230 kcal per 100 grams.

You'll find that carb sources are around 200-350 kcal per 100 gram and sweet process foods are around the top of this level.

So when the OP says that the calorie density in meat is low, they are correct in the case of lean meat.

antisthenes 23 days ago [-]
Source for the 100kcal per 100 grams please.

Even rabbit meat, the leanest possible game meat has 136 calories per 100 grams.

Average red meats will have calorie ranges right around 180-240 kcal per 100 grams. Of course that's low compared to sugary processed foods if you're going just by calories.

But it certainly isn't lowest when you consider the entire food pyramid. (most veggies and some fruits are lower)

radicalbyte 23 days ago [-]
My source? The packs the food comes in. Why? Bodybuilding. To build muscle without adding a lot of fat you need to know your protein.

A quick google and here are some example numbers.

Lean beef:

Chicken breast:

White fish like Cod and Haddock are similar only they contain less water.

Maybe you don't have lean cuts in your country?

antisthenes 22 days ago [-]
Seems like your 2nd link is to Aldi.

I'll check it out next time I buy groceries.

southerndrift 23 days ago [-]
Yes, I was thinking in the way of radicalbyte's comment and I take the dry values of carb sources which indeed reverses the ranking.

But even with beef, it takes 800g to reach 2000kcal[1]. I am just wondering if this can actually be the main source of energy for a long period of time.

[1] beef: 1,047 kJ (250 kcal) per 100g

24 days ago [-]
AdrianB1 23 days ago [-]
The population is also growing, even assuming everyone keeps the same eating habits it results in increased total consumption.
gtfratteus 24 days ago [-]
Congratulations on living in a bubble.
craftyguy 24 days ago [-]
Your anecdata is obviously incorrect. It's amusing how folks on 'hacker' 'news' struggle with this concept.
mwfunk 24 days ago [-]
That’s what the person you were responding to was saying- that they were surprised at the difference between their anecdata and the real data. And you responded by shitting on them for no good reason. Great job.
wolco 24 days ago [-]
It's just lot of signalling. If they are vegetarians they eat no meat, ever. No chicken, seafood or taco Tuesday.
prawn 23 days ago [-]
I don’t think it is. A lot of people have serious concerns and take steps because of that.
wolco 23 days ago [-]
A lot of people do but go back some because of health issues, others because there friend circle changed and others keep going forever.

The parent poster mentioned everyone around him.. when the majority has accepted a viewpoint many will signal they are on board but eat meat with their other friends or parents. People want to fit in. It may seem like everyone but it may not be true.

prawn 23 days ago [-]
The parent said: "seems everyone I talk to" and "have started looking at beef as something to be indulged in only on occasion". Not that people weren't still eating the same amount or that they didn't still eat red meat on social occasions to fit in (wait, more signalling!).

My dispute is with the idea that people only take an action to signal and not because they personally care.

PorterDuff 23 days ago [-]
So how come Lucchese boots are still so expensive?
pbhjpbhj 24 days ago [-]
Shoe prices must be rock bottom, right?
wincy 24 days ago [-]
Time to get some whole cut leather shoes, now on sale from $700 to only $600! $5 for the hide and $595 for the shoemakers labor. (Handmade stuff is expensive)
seanmcdirmid 24 days ago [-]
Shoes don’t use a lot of leather at all.
gingabriska 24 days ago [-]
But shoes aren't priced for raw material used, they've brand value which fetches higher price which mostly has to do with social signaling.
bdowling 24 days ago [-]
That’s not true if you’re talking about well-made men’s dress shoes. In that market, the best shoes are the best entirely because of materials and workmanship. Brand mainly indicates the level of quality you should expect as a buyer. Also, the brand can’t serve much of a social signaling function because usually trademarks aren’t visible and designs are traditional.
jefftk 23 days ago [-]
That makes sense, but since you're mostly paying for expert labor, decreases in the cost of the raw materials won't affect the price much.
neonate 24 days ago [-]
lxhmj 24 days ago [-]
In World of Warcraft, there isn't any use for hides either. You can only cure them, but then there's nothing to do with the cured hides. The vendor price is static and set by Blizzard, though, so the prices don't change.

I hope this comment has been useful to someone.

tialaramex 24 days ago [-]
I would be sympathetic to the idea that in-game economies should try to be "real" except that Ultima Online tried that and it failed spectacularly (think: tragedy of the commons) and so they had to abandon it.
johnzim 24 days ago [-]
To be fair, Ultima Online’s economy was tanked by the innovation of bard/tamers and the Trammel ruleset introduced in Renaissance.

Massively increasing the supply by having it possible for players to trivialise the ransacking of dungeons without risk of losing their haul to PKers. Classic inflationary spiral.

jghn 23 days ago [-]
The virtual economy of UO was killed by the time the beta test ended. We're talking about the NPC shopkeepers here, not the player owned vendors. The NPCs were supposed to follow things like supply/demand as well as having preferences as to what they wanted. Players got mad as they wanted to just be able to dump any old crap (typically bucketloads of skullcaps) to any old NPC.

The NPC shopkeepers also kept hours, would take breaks & walk around town, etc. That was another thing they wound up getting rid of quickly

johnzim 23 days ago [-]
Ah yes, I had forgotten about that stuff. A bunch of it was before my time and I only knew about it from other players' stories. Thank you for posting it!

Even with so much of that removed, UO always had the feeling of a living breathing world more than almost any other game.

jghn 23 days ago [-]
I've heard stories that the Star Wars MMO captured a lot of the same aspects, at least the positive ones. Not surprising considering Koster's influence on both.

I never played it however, I was too hung up on the notion that anything short of a full on sandbox which allowed all the behaviors people were fleeing would be good enough for me. Took me a while to realize that the only people showing any interest in the types of games I was looking for were the people I hated.

tialaramex 22 days ago [-]
Too late now but you might have enjoyed A Tale In The Desert, a very niche MMO where social dynamics were key. As an extreme example, the players could hold an election for Demi-Pharoah and the winner was entitled to ban one player from the game. Not a character, the player. Campaigns might claim they would just never use this power. On the other hand if someone is a total asshole (e.g. building penis shaped art in your farm and deliberately distracting people from group efforts like moving bits of pyramid) maybe a DP campaign could just promise to ban them.
PeterisP 23 days ago [-]
You can't have a meaningful economy if significant parts of that economy are 'magical' such as bucketloads of spawned NPCs getting bucketloads of scullcaps out of nowhere.

Expecting a reasonable supply/demand for something that gets spawned without limit, and gets harvested as a side-effect of something people want to do anyway, is like expecting a supply/demand based trade in candy wrappers or banana peels; The obvious economic value for most NPC drops is zero, and artificial price fixing is required to make it something else.

jghn 23 days ago [-]
Or, if one sticks to their supply/demand guns the skullcaps become worthless and either are avoided by players as a cheap way to skill up or it becomes a gold sink. Both are useful.

NB that in early UO, skullcaps weren’t a drop, they were mass produced as they were the most cost effective way to build stats and skills. Doubly so if shopkeepers would actually pay for them

Qwertystop 23 days ago [-]
Doesn't EVE Online do it and have it work out pretty well?
zsrxx 24 days ago [-]
The in-game economy of WoW is "real" (only vendor prices are set; there's an auction house where prices are set by the players), but Blizzard has to come up with new stuff for players to burn gold with to control the predictable inflation.

To me the most blatant examples are mounts; in the last expansion they added a mount that costed 2M gold[]--when I thought it was crazy and that they couldn't possibly outmatch it, they came up with a 5M gold mount[] that was released in the next (current) expansion.



gingabriska 24 days ago [-]
So is it going to affect India? Leather is prominent industry in India. To what extent will it be affected?
hollerith 23 days ago [-]
Leather workers should see a small increase in demand.
selimthegrim 23 days ago [-]
My impression was Yogi Adityanath had already been picking on the industry in UP largely because of who predominates in it
bendbro 23 days ago [-]
Are you implying something about religion based infighting between Muslims and Hindus?
hexscrews 24 days ago [-]