Tuesday, March 1, 2011

If high RWAs run the world


In an experiment, a sophisticated simulation of the earth, called the Global Change Game, is played on a big map of the world by 50-70 participants who have been split into various regions, such as North America, Africa, and so forth.

Before the exercise begins, participants study up on their region’s resources, prospects, and environmental issues. Then, the facilitators, who service the simulation, call for any member of each region to assume the role of team leader by simply standing up. Once the “Elites” in the world have risen to the task, they are taken aside and given control of their region’s bank account. They can use this to buy factories, hospitals, armies, and they can travel the world making deals with other Elites. They also discover they can discretely put some of their region’s wealth into their own pockets. Then the game begins, simulating 40 years in two and a half hours. What will happen if low-RWAs run the world? And, what if high RWAs populate the earth?


The Low RWA Game

In an experiment with only low RWAs, as soon as the simulation began, the Pacific Rim Elite called for a summit on the “Island Paradise of Tasmania.” All the Elites attended and agreed to meet there again whenever big issues arose. A world-wide organization was thus immediately created by mutual consent.

Regions set to work on their individual problems. The number of armies in the world dropped. No wars or threat of wars occurred.

An hour into the game the facilitators announced a (scheduled) crisis in the earth’s ozone layer. All the Elites met and contributed enough money to buy new technology to replenish the ozone layer.

Problems in Africa and India mounted. Europe gave some aid, but North America refused to help. Africa eventually lost 300 million people to starvation and disease, and India 100 million.

Populations had grown and by the time forty years had passed the earth held 8.7 billion people, and the players were able to provide food, health facilities, and jobs for almost all of them. They did so by demilitarizing, by making a lot of trades that benefited both parties, by developing sustainable economic programs, and the Elites diverted only small amounts of the treasury into their own pockets. This was a highly successful run of the game, compared to most.

The homogeneity of the players, in terms of their RWA scores and related attitudes, played a role. Low RWAs do not typically see the world as “Us versus Them.” They are more interested in cooperation than most people are, and they are often concerned about the environment. They would have usually found themselves “on the same page” – and writ large on that page was, “Let’s Work Together and Clean up This Mess.”


The High RWA Game

In an experiment with just high RWAs, as soon as the game began, the Elite from the Middle East announced the price of oil had just doubled. A little later the former Soviet Union bought a lot of armies and invaded North America. The latter had insufficient conventional forces to defend itself and so retaliated with nuclear weapons. A nuclear holocaust ensued which killed everyone on earth.

The players were given a second chance, and the facilitators turned back the clock to two years before the war broke out. The former Soviet Union rebuilt its armies and invaded China this time, killing 400 million people. The Middle East Elite then called for a “United Nations” meeting to discuss handling future crises, but no agreements were reached.

The ozone-layer crisis occurred but – perhaps because of the recent failure of the United Nations meeting – no one called for a summit. Only Europe took steps to reduce its harmful gas emissions, so the crisis got worse.

Poverty was spreading unchecked in the underdeveloped regions, which could not control their population growth. Instead of dealing with the social and economic problems, Elites began jockeying among themselves for power and protection, forming military alliances to confront other budding alliances. Threats raced around the room and the Soviet Union warned it was ready to start another nuclear war. Africa and Asia were on the point of collapse. An Elite called for a United Nations meeting to deal with the crises and nobody came.

By the time forty years had passed the world was divided into armed camps threatening each other with nuclear destruction (having not learned from the first time). One billion, seven hundred thousand people had died of starvation and disease. Throw in the 400 million who died in the Soviet-China war and casualties reached 2.1 billion. High RAW Elites put more than twice as much money in their own pockets as the low RWA Elites had. And high RWAs were incredibly ethnocentric: they were in a big room full of people just like themselves, and they all turned their backs on each other and paid attention only to their own group. The high RWAs world ended in a global disaster.


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