Notes on Economics
This is a rather long response to a PM I received on how my economy worked, I figured it's some useful info.
Any shop plugin besides mine that has a global shop is killing your economy currently. What you have right now is not real. My server's economy is hardcore realistic which you might not want to do but you can pull some ideas from it. I'm using Towny.
I start a new map with a single town managed by me. I spawn 30,000 coins. From now on, the amount of money in the economy will remain at 30,000. You do not want the economy to grow. A "growing" economy is one that is failing to give money value. Your main goal as an admin is to keep your players poor.
New players start of with nothing. They get added to the town and given a free plot. Now they start mining, collecting resources, etc. They can put them up on the VirtualShop for any price.
Now, as an admin I don't have time to mine when I need to build. Most admins would use /i or /give or whatever. What I do is take money out of the town bank and buy stuff off the VirtualShop whenever I want to build something or for community projects. The is the equivalent of a government building bridges and infrastructure to boost the economy.
Now players have money and they can bull/sell with each other. Every 24 hours they pay taxes (15%) that go to me so I can continue with government projects. So now you can see the flow of money back and forth. No money is lost or spawned.
Another thing I have to stimulate the economy is a private plugin called Careers. Certain careers such as Officers who hunt down and arrest thieves, murderers, and assassins as well as Knights who protect the town from mobs, are paid BY the town to do their job. This helps with the flow of money out of the government. So on my server, money just exchanges hands.
I love economics, currently and econ, math, stat major and created VirtualShop after trying to simulate a real economy with existing plugins and I couldn't. . I realized the problem was I was SIMULATING and not just letting the players make decisions. With VirtualShop prices rise and fall not because of some fake algorithm, but because of real situations and real player decisions. Someone gets wind a giant cobble castle is being made? Suddenly the price of cobble shoots up since everyone is increasing their prices. That is why I love Virtual Shop, it adds realism.
So that was long, but those are just some ideas. The zero-sum economy may seem intimidating but ever since I switched to that system my economy has become a CENTRAL part of my server. The most important part actually.
PS: The money is backed by supply and demand just like the real world since the removal of gold backed currency.