Tropico 4: Modern Economy Guide

The problem with the Stock Exchange is that all four Investors (let us not forget about the EU) might want your precious resources. On top of that you rarely have any control over the method of “extraction” of goods. As such, you could have three lumber camps of your own, carefully cutting down only adult trees, or a single Chinese Lumber Camp cutting down every single tree. You have to be very careful with the suggested Investments and try to focus only on those you know will work-out (such as Residential Buildings) and not ruin the quality of life for your people (low wages or crappy jobs).

Telecom HQ - The Telecom HQ is what you would call your Mobile Phone/Internet company. You can have only one, but if placed centrally in your main residential area it will have good coverage, especially if you expand its “reach” through upgrades. It can improve the quality of life as well as increase the profits of local entertainment buildings or generate its own money. The third option is profitable, more so than the Business Centers. Due to the high power consumption though, and need for College graduates, it has a higher upkeep than usual.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of a Modern Economy

Let us hammer down the substantial weaknesses of planning a “Modern Economy”. All your Modern buildings need power. Without Power you cannot have Business Centers, the Babel Tower or the National Bank. As such in order to have a “Modern” economy you need to have a highly Indsutrial or Tourism centered economy in place already. Only through having a secure base can you then invest in these Modern buildings, and shift slowly from Factories to Offices. Your Offices will not provide that much income, unless they are placed strategically where they are needed. It has to be noted that during a disaster your Life-Insurance companies could face a crack, so make sure you have all possible counter-measures against natural disasters (a weather station with all possible upgrades covers that). In the case of Investors you may lose natural or non-renewable resources, while getting only petty money for what they are actually worth.

What are the strengths of a Modern Economy though? First substantial strength, stable income. Your Life-Insurance company will generate income based on local residents. If you build more residential buildings the higher its income. The only case when this income drops is when you decide to demolish local residents, or a disaster destroys the buildings, which can be quickly rebuilt anyway. Unlike all the other “Economies” on your island your Offices, Telecom HQ and even your National Bank will not fall under the influence of changing prices of goods or sudden drops in Tourist visits. You could call your Modern Economy a “Safety Net” for an economic crisis. Another important element is the synergy between your buildings. A highly concentrated urban area allows your Media buildings to make money, which also allows Business Centers to make money both off the Media buildings and your citizens. You have to plan your urban areas in such a way as to put as many people as possible in one area, stacked next to each other. Modern Apartment Blocks are the simplest solution for that, since they have high capacity, and good housing quality. Your Modern Economy does not need a solid infrastructure. You do not need roads leading everywhere (although it still helps your Industry).

If you observe your Income charts you will see, without a doubt, that your Offices and Media Buildings generate a steady increasing income, while your Industry, Tourism, Farming and Mining will vary, depending on your infrastructure, global prices and the availability of specific resources. The “General Overhead” is the statistic you are after. There is a problem, sadly, the General Overhead includes a lot of different statistics. When you end up studying your “balance” for the General Overhead you will normally see a loss. Why? Because anything that does not qualify as Agriculture, Mining, Logging, Industry or Tourism will fall under the General Overhead. So, all the costs for your army, power plants, service buildings (such as pubs, restaurants and casinos), police force and many, many more go under the “General Overhead”. You might observe that your Income for the General Overhead increases, but typically your General Overhead Costs will also increase. However, unlike all the other areas of your economy the General Overhead, especially if you expand your Business Centers, Telecom HQ and Media buildings, will not fluctuate as much, since there is no supply chain, per se, that would stop your offices from making money. The only exception I can think of is a major power failure.

What about the other Service Structures?

I am sure you are aware of other Service and Business Structures, such as the National Art Gallery, the different Restaurants, Night Clubs and more. If you want to get rid of unwanted costs you would have to pay absolute attention to closing down any business venture that does not bring a profit eventually. Casinos are one such example. Even when you might have a total population of 1,000 Casinos will stand almost empty, making barely any money. On the other end of the spectrum I found that Pubs, Restaurants and Gourmet Restaurants are extremely popular with your citizens, and they will always bring about a profit.

A useful thing to remember is that when you increase the wages of your workers you should also, delicately, scale the costs of their room rental and all the other services. Why? Since you pay your people more they can spend more, and since their time is limited anyway you can increase the costs for their leisure, thus ensuring that the buildings that are most often visited earn even more money. Care should be taken however, since Tourist Prices are influenced by your citizen prices. Even though your people are richer, and capable of buying all manner of items does not mean that the Tourists will agree to pay much higher fees.

A few concluding words

As your economy expands you will have to, at some point, sit back, observe your island and ask yourself the question, “What next?”. That is the time when you may decide to Modernise your Economy. Get rid of the old, build the new. Build Bio Farms, Bio Ranches and Modern Fisheries. Construct factories producing electronics over guns. Finally, you may decide to change your traditional residential areas to far more modern apartment blocks combined with offices and media buildings. This is a bold step for one simple reason, it will be extremely expensive. Every single upgrade will cost money, time and manpower. You may decide that there is no need to go in this direction, and you will focus on your Industry, Agriculture and Tourism, that is perfectly fine. What this Guide aimed to do is to offer you another option. One which is in its own way challenging.

While I said in the beginning that this method of expansion does not grant economic autonomy others have been trying to achieve it. In other words, using these buildings to abandon any need for Industry or Tourism, become fully self-sufficient. I did not try going that far, but if you succeed in this, Kudos to you!

Alex “WriterX” Bielski


About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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