Warning: This will be a bit long and a tl&dr is at the bottom of the post. However, if you want to see how the market works in relation to a hypothetical takeover of the diamond supply in detail, feel free to read on. Recently, we had diamond ceiling prices increase slightly to give a bit of breathing room between the overall market and the Empire shop. Now, in an economic mindset there is a situation in which you can dictate prices called a monopoly. This is the crutch for the capitalist economy in general but is a good way to drag in a bunch of revenue. The key here is control of the supply. However, to gain control of supply you need to take over the supply lines into the empire. The Waste is too difficult to control and is slow to resupply. But shop supply, wherein stores sell supply on to the general population, can be controlled but you need rupees to do it. This requires an enormous investment and is out of reach for perhaps all of us on EMC.But let’s assume for the sake of argument that someone is not only able to, but decides to go out and do that. For practicality purposes, let’s say Todd_Vinton - sorry for picking on you in advance - is a man that hates price inflation/gouging, depending on whether your economic point of view is a Marxist or a capitalist. He had the means to force diamond prices back down to where they belong, so why not do something about the travesty? He burns most of his rupees buying every diamond for sale in EMC and sets up shop in smp1. He prices the diamond at 80r, a loss of 20-25r each. Yet, by controlling the flow of diamonds he can dictate the prices. Nobody can go higher than he is because they’ll never get a sale. Yet, if they go lower to try to take a piece of the market, they likely won’t have the money or resources to sustain the onslaught that would come – plus they’re losing more money than Todd is and will quickly go broke.This could be plausible in a frozen market like promos, where there a higher demand but no further supply output in most cases. However, a key problem here can be found in the voting rewards itself. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that 5,000 members on the server vote today. On average, they will receive 3 diamonds by the time the voting process is over. This inserts in about 15,000 diamonds, or a little over 4 DCs worth, into the supply chain. The current value of this amount is about 1.5 million rupees, assuming 100r each. Because of the 20r discount, Todd will start seeing business...a lot of business. He continues buying diamonds at 105r per to maintain control, but there’s a problem.A key part of controlling the market in a particular area is being able to ensure that your incoming supply is always greater than or equal to the outgoing supply. If this can be done, you will retain control of the market. However, people start noticing that if they buy from Todd they can sell back to him for a 20r profit. So a loop among several people starts going. While Todd gets new diamonds in from some people, the vast majority of his incoming supply is looping in from his own supply at a loss to him.He’s stuck now. He can’t stop buying diamonds because his supply will evaporate and whatever grip he has left on the market will be broken. But his rupees are evaporating under the weight of his own supply, which is not a fresh supply but is his own being fed back to him. Lowering prices isn’t an option because it’ll compound the current problem. If he increases prices to slow down the output flow he risks having a second party step into the market to undercut him.Note: He can’t raise the sell price to be higher than the buy price. This will fix the problem but a second party will quickly step in and undercut him. That’s not what he’s aiming for – he’s aiming for a complete control of the market. Only then will prices go back to a fair value for the diamonds.This is what happens when you try to force price deflation into the diamond market. However, what about the inverse? What if Todd is a tyrant and wants to exploit the diamond market for his own personal rupee gain? Again, he spends most of his rupees buying all the diamonds in the empire, but goes into his shop and sets the price at 400r each. He’s careful to not hit the ceiling price because that’ll draw business away from him. With the diamond supply gone and the only place to get them being at Todd’s…wouldn’t the diamond value quadruple?Again, he has to control the supply- this means buying at 500+ per diamond. While a lot of money would scatter across the empire, Todd would quickly run out of money due to his own loop discussed earlier. however, the more likely scenario is that a diamond hoarder somewhere will take advantage of the situation and step into the market to sell at 250-275 each. This will draw business away from Todd and back to the other supplier, leaving Todd with a lot of expensive diamonds and no revenue to speak of it. More suppliers will step in at slightly lower prices to get their share of the exploding market. In addition, it will only take a day or so for 4 DCs of diamonds to insert themselves back into the economy. By the time this comes, Todd will be out of business due to no funds and a large group of suppliers will be battling for a share of the market.Theoretically, you can see small price inflation. However, the price war will likely knock diamonds back down to around where it started by the time it’s said and done as it’s possible to undercut all the way down to 110-115 each and still rake in a profit.In short, voting is actually a significant deflector of monopolistic market control with diamonds. The more we as a community vote, the more we ensure people don't get into dominating positions within a particular high demand market.tl&dr: Don’t bother trying to control the overall diamond market – you’re going to burn a lot of rupees gaining control and will lose control again in a matter of days due to voting rewards and, to a smaller degree, resupply from the waste. As an aside, this can be applicable to emeralds and, to a smaller degree, stable vouchers and vault vouchers as well due to the supply output in the voting rewards.Thoughts on this?