The game: frames for considering the future

October 6, 2010

We have games within games. For example, making movies within the context of a society. But what are the larger games? Unfortunately the nearlyy only game in town, the game that sets the conditins for all other games, is the economy. And the problem with an economy is it can turn crisis into opportunity – that is, exploit the wealnessess. When it comes to the environment, the logic is, where are the financial opportunities? But even here, the bigger game is the use of finance for power

The big game now is international finance. Governments are responsive to it as a life line. Corporations live on ti simbiotically. But the payoff in the game is power, the power to decide the rules for the international economy.  If everyone is in this game, without choice, what does it suggest about climate disruption strategies? Seems to me to come down to two choices (at this level of analysis).

  • Use the game to advantage
  • Add another compelling game (survuval, compassionate civilization, etc.)

quoting from The Shadow Market: How a Group of Wealthy Nations and Powerful Investors Secretly Dominate the World by Eric J Weiner

Tuesday, March 17, 2009, was a typically brisk, rainy weekday in late-winter Washington, DC. Other than an unusually angry wind gusting in off the Potomac River, events were fairly quiet in the district, just another normal business day. But about thirty miles north of the White House, at the Johns Hopkins University Warfare Analysis Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, things were far from normal. There, a group of America’s top military and intelligence officials had come together in secret to watch the work of several dozen innocuous-looking men and women who were gathered in a large war room around a series of V-shaped tables. For the most part, the military and intelligence leaders kept their eyes trained on a bank of video screens, on which deadly conflicts from across the globe were playing out. To their dismay, the United States was losing over and over again. Fortunately these battles weren’t real. Instead they were part of a new war game exercise unlike anything our military strategists had ever come up with. While these types of planning events typically involve strategic bombing campaigns and deployments of fighting forces, this one ignored all that. Instead it was based exclusively on economics. The weapons were dollars, bonds, and stocks. And the grunts on the ground were government economists, academics, hedge fund traders, and Wall Street banking executives. The idea was to simulate what would happen if the world disintegrated into a series of full-fledged financial wars. And as the battles played out over the two-day exercise, our military brass continually found that America’s hands were tied. There was no way for America to win. Regardless of what happened in the world and how the United States responded to it, we ultimately ended up losing—to China. The results presented a deeply sobering reality for our veteran war strategistsUnder the pressure of circumstances, the medieval notion of judging economic actions according to their contribution to the health of the social organism began to collapse

The fact is, this “game” is taken as serious, which mans those with power can co-opt the board (imagine a checker board suddenly infilitrated by chess pieces) and all other concerns are made subordinate.

Moore in social origins Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore says

Under the pressure of circumstances, the medieval notion of judging economic actions according to their contribution to the health of the social organism began to collapse.

what is striking is thet ever was a time when economic actions were dso judged. This game setting at the systems level we need to learn from.

 


 

 

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