Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Dream of a Giving Communities

In thinking about the design of a game designed to foster different forms of economic thinking and theories, one of the issues is to help people see how these alternative theories may be able to operate with a wider context that is hostile or operating in opposition to the desired theory.

Israel was encouraged to behave in one manner to fellow Jews and sojourners but to treat the foreigner differently. My thought is that we want to foster giving communities but that these communities can be exploited by a self interest community that surrounds them.

In our society, there are barter communities that deal with out side communities either by barter or by the prevailing economic practices. This same model could apply to a giving community. Internally, the focus is on giving. When dealing with other communities the desire would be a focus on giving but it may need to use barter or priced commodity. Never should it barter or set a price for personal advantage. The giving communities operation should always challenge alternative economic systems even if at times, it places its own existence at risk. It should never allow the self interest policies communities to destroy the foundation of its operation. This is what I believe has happened with current Christian communities. Priority has been given to personal survival and as a consequence, the economic practices of ensuring personal gain have taken over destroying the emphasis of satisfying the need of others.

Any economic game needs to bring these different forces into play so that the game player has to make decisions based on joining a giving focused community where personal needs are meet by the community, and a self interest community where the individual is forced to fend for themselves. The consequences of the choices need to become visible fairly quickly with in the game play.

The player needs to not only join a community but will also need to play at the boundary between communities. This way, they will have to experience the interactions and resolve the conflicts caused by different philosophies and theories.

Keeping the game simple also has to be an integral part of the game design. If the game gets too complex, it will cause the player to lose interest or slow down the game too much.

I am just wondering what influence games like Civilisation are having on my thinking. I haven't played them often but I am aware of their community focus and on the interaction between communities. What I see wrong with these games is the emphasis on building a community that dominates the surrounding communities. I have not found a way to build co-existing communities. As I reflect, I wonder what Gandhi would think of modern India? Would he still see it pursuing his model for community? What we see is communities falling in favour of Western Capitalism and then struggling to retain their independence and sense of community. All these things should visible in a game.

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