Having outlined, at least in broad terms, the way the “game” works, and its major functional elements, now, I want to spend at least a little time looking ahead to what it all MEANS.
Once I realized that I’d hit upon a way to use a “game” to change stuff in the real world, the very next question I asked myself was, “Okay – so it looks like this works…now what the hell do you want to do with it? What would you like to change, exactly?”
It didn’t take long to come up with an answer. There are issues (poverty, hunger, homelessness, hopelessness) that we’ve been struggling with since civilization began. Lots of really smart people have tried lots of different strategies to alleviate them, but so far at least, nobody has succeeded.
I am not a Utopian. Truth be told, I don’t even like people all that much (what I mean by that is that I’m Bi-Polar and people generally scare the shit out of me, which is why I live all by myself on top of a freaking mountain), so the irony of the fact that I’m making a game designed to help cure a variety of social ills is not lost on me. And I’ll be quick to add that the level of success this project sees with regards to solving ANYTHING isn’t going to be up to me, but rather, will be a function of the enthusiasm and level of determination with which players of the game “Play the Planet.” Maybe we’ll make one helluva dent in these problems, and maybe we won’t. I have no idea. What I DO know is that this method is something we haven’t tried yet, and I’m willing to do the work to build the architecture so we can give it a go and find out.
Again though, NOT a Utopian. I don’t believe that sitting around a camp fire, holding hands and singing Kum-Bay-Yah will solve a damned thing. If you wanna do something like that after a hard day of ass-busting work, awesome, but don’t forget the ass-busting work bit, because that’s what’s actually going to move the needle.
So – full circle. What, specifically, do I want to change?
The first thing I did was look at what we actually had statistics for.
The USDA tells us how many food insecure people in each county there are. Check. Let’s use that as a metric, and set a long term goal to reduce that number to zero, Holon by Holon.
We know, or can find out what percentage of energy produced in each Holon is produced sustainably. Check. Let’s make that a metric. Target = 100%.
We have access to county by county homeless figures. Check. Target = 0%.
That’s where I stopped initially. I decided I was actually NOT going to worry about the unemployment rate. At all.
Does that surprise you?
It shouldn’t, and here’s why.
One of the biggest challenges of our age will be what to do with all the human capital we’re shedding in favor of large scale robotics.
This is creating a permanent underclass of unemployed people who literally have nothing to do.
Play the Planet gives them something creative, fun, and challenging to do, without requiring them to have a “job” per se.
In fact, once the system begins to take root, it is my hope that it will render the notion of a “job” obsolete.
Note, this is not the same thing as saying that it will render WORK obsolete – obviously not. But once the system achieves critical mass, it will be possible for an individual without a “job” in the classical sense of the word to Play the Planet, live his life in the service of others, be rewarded for doing so with Gc (trade credits), and use those trade credits to see that the resources he needs flow to him and his family.
The dollar economy isn’t going anywhere (obviously), and this system is not designed to supplant or replace it. It’s designed to work in tandem WITH it. A companion system. A complimentary system designed to take up the slack when people get kicked out of the dollar economy game.
People who are not kicked out of the dollar economy game can play too, of course, and the great thing is, you can earn as much as you want. You don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to earn Gc…you just find something that needs to be done and you do it. No forms to sign, no need to get your boss’ okay to work overtime – you just…live.
“By serving each other, we become free.” And sure enough, we do. Pretty cool.