That's super helpful. Now I understand. Early in a set I feel as if everyone else is doing horribly - aka I'm in the #1 spot and nobody's networth is rising.
But that's because they're accumulating huge amounts of cash and bushels. Their networth is 'hidden'. Can't be attacked, can't be seen on score, because it's on the public market to preserve it.
People build up millions of bushels, then at the end of a set, sell it to private market and then cash in, buying military off the public market.
I had no idea this was going on.
It seems as if this is not a game of making decisions in an evolving set. It's actually a game of making linear equations intersect on private spreadsheets. AKA, I grow linearly in a hidden manner for X hundred turns, destock at the end, hope I'm at a higher networth than other guys all secretly doing the same thing.
Your conclusion is right, but I think you may have a mistaken impression of the bushel thing. There's unlikely to be good players stocking significant bushels at this point in the game or any time soon, because the value of those bushels would be better spent as a growth investment (tech, military to grab or defend land with).
If you are first for the first few days and then fall off it's either because your country isn't specialized or efficient (buildings focused on one strategy with tech to enhance this strategy), or isn't growing its production enough to keep up with those that are expanding.