31 January 2011

The New Wealth Game

Posted by Admin under: Economy; Forum; Future; Global; Inspiration; Leadership; Organization; People; Science; Story; Sustainability .

The New Wealth Game is, at this point, a set of ideas for “Creating, Designing, Exploring, Simulating, Realizing, Testing, and Evaluating Elements of the New Sustainable Economy.”

Several rough ideas for descriptions and starting points are here:

(1) The basic 3-page handout with the five capitals diagram:


The Five Capitals

From: http://www.forumforthefuture.org/projects/the-five-capitals

The goal of the “New Wealth Game” is to create a series of working models of sustainable economy enterprises and innovations. A sustainable economy is one where resources are replaced as they are used, so that succeeding generations will have as much natural capital as our own. Indeed, our economy needs to begin to regenerate the natural environment, to have it flourish so that it can meet our needs without suffering irreparable damage. To do this we must invent new forms of economic behavior that reflect the real economy—the economy that resides within and depends upon the self-sustaining biosphere we co-inhabit.

An excerpt from the sheet:

A “move” consists of a plan, a conversation, or an action that leads to a collaboration designed to increase each player’s real wealth, and the wealth of the community of all living beings. The game is won when everybody wins.

Some very simple examples could include, e.g., a local food coop: a community garden: and the “knowledge business” of education or training. If you create and manage a local food coop that is large enough to financially support your activity, as well as provide you with great local food, everybody wins. (By contrast, if you leave it up to each individual homeowner to hire a landscaping company using low-wage labor to run internal-combustion machines over their lawns, remove all the nutrients, saturate the ground with chemicals and artificial fertilizers, and increase the rate of contaminated storm water run-off, this is a win-lose-lose proposition: you’ve made everyone except the owner of the landscaping service poorer.) A community garden is a clear example of a win-win-win; and so is education (if people are willing to pay for it, use it to increase their knowledge, and as a result make a greater contribution to the world out it.)

In each of these examples, joint action leads to positive outcomes for the players and for the community. No one is harmed. Every participant is benefited in some way, the environment is improved, and the community is stronger. Another example, which is taken from our own neighborhood, was the decision to collectively contract and pay for household trash removal: the service was cheaper, better, and reduced the number of garbage trucks driving around the neighborhood from five to one, thereby leaving everyone with cleaner air.

The game analogy is further developed in describing a method of scoring, and providing numerous other examples. Nonetheless it’s clear that this version is not well-articulated enough to attract actual “players.”

(2) An online conceptualization of the game:


This is an engaging, experimental, and experiential game, in which together we get to co-create wealth in the new economy.

The game has its own currencies, markets, rules, and aggregate outcomes; it offers individual and team accounts; and it interconnects with the “real” world in several productive ways. It is based on a concept by Jonathan Cloud, but is truly a collective product—an open source platform for social and economic transformation.

The fundamental premise of the game is simple: as stated by Paul Hawken, “Our fate will depend on how we understand and treat what is left of the planet’s surpluses—its lands, oceans, species diversity, and people.” What is at stake, according to the best scientific evidence and analysis today, is the continuation of life as we know it. How we address the multiple challenges we face will determine the outcome of this existential crisis.

The elements of the game consist of the familiar actors and situations of modern life, within several “frameworks” or “paradigms” that allow us to compare outcomes and assess the consequences of our actions. There is an opportunity, within the scope of the game, to create new patterns and sequences, to evaluate their success or failure, and to address the whole-systems character of reality.

Participation in the game is, at this stage, essentially participation in the game development process. While it is possible to “play” the game according to the parameters laid out, each such game is essentially forging new ground and establishing the frameworks for simulating and comparing similar games, for assigning values, for assessing actions. Consequently interested participants are invited to collaborate in creating the levels, sequences, software, documentation, and scenarios of the game.

There are several ways to get started. You can register, create an account, and establish a player character or persona. You can explore what has already been developed, and determine where to contribute. You can become an analyst or commentator, undertake research, or seek to legislate additions or changes to the rules. Each of these ways will be explored in the relevant sections.

The site goes on to list seven rules for playing the game:

Playing the Game

1. Read through the posted material.
2. Register and identify a role.
3. Explore the challenges and opportunities.
4. Develop testable scenarios.
5. Engage with other players to test these scenarios.
6. Evaluate and score the outcomes.
7. Report and integrate the consequences.

This is as far as we’ve gotten with this approach, however.

(3) Then there’s Altonomy, a wiki site for documenting alternative economies:


This is a wiki designed to catalog, discuss, and perhaps create, alternative economies — transformational economies, that are designed to alter the way we think and interact with one another as “economic actors.” Examples of such alternative economies range from such quasi-mainstream ideas as “Conscious Capitalism” to seemingly marginal but nonetheless real “local economies” to entirely new conceptions of ecological economics. Our emphasis is, however, on the practical: can these alternative economies provide for our everyday economic needs, and can they be scaled to the level of an entire community or region?

Again, just a concept, but at some point I’ll make it workable for people to add their material…

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