GENERAL: World Game.

From: IN%"[email protected]" "List for the discussion of Buckminster Fulle
s works" 16-SEP-1992 07:10:51.01
To: Howard Lawrence <[email protected]>
Subj: RE: World Game Info

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Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1992 19:21:40 -0400
From: Gary Lawrence Murphy <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: World Game Info
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To: Howard Lawrence <[email protected]>
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In-Reply-To: <[email protected]> (Gary Lawrence Murphy)
Comments: Unregistered Shareware User

In <[email protected]> [email protected] writes:
> Are there any members of the World Game Institute on the list?

I'm not a member, but I did have the opportunity to participate in one
of these road shows, and I will say up front that it scared me; I now
believe North America does not stand a chance!

What follows is a report I made for my dear friend and long-time Bucky
supporter Udo Kasemets. It is in LaTeX format, but still should be
legible for those of you not yet equiped with Knuth's typesetter.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++cut here++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
\documentstyle{article} % Specifies the document style.
\def\WorldGame{{{\tt WorldGame}\raise.7ex\hbox{\tiny TM}\ }}
% The preamble begins here.
\title{Environment \WorldGame} % Declares the document's title.
\author{Carleton University/Pugwash} % Declares the author's name.
\date{March 16, 1991} % Deleting this command produces today's date.

\begin{document} % End of preamble and beginning of text.

\maketitle % Produces the title.

News of this \WorldGame came nonchalontly over electronic news:
>From [email protected] Wed Mar 6 15:51:58 1991
From: [email protected] (Michael Gifford)
Newsgroups: ott.general
Subject: The Environmental World Game
Summary: Student Simulation Game at Baker Hall, Carleton U
Keywords: Pugwash, simulation, world, Student, Baker Hall
Date: 6 Mar 91 05:03:08 GMT
Distribution: Ottawa
Organization: Sandelman Software, Debugging Department, Ottawa


The Canadian Student Pugwash is sponcoring an event at
Baker Hall, Carleton U, within a National Conference. This
part of the conference is free and open to students here in

A 3 to 4 hour simulation with 100 to 300 people, played on
a 40x70 foot world map. Participants will engage in actions
that help them learn about the environment. Its problems,
options, and interconnections from a global and local
perspective. Durring the game, players are given the power and
opportunity to solve the world's problems as well as create the
kind of world that they want to live in. Because participants
learn about the environment from an active and empowered
perspective, the game serves as a testing ground for later
action by individuals and groups.

As a participatory event, the Environmental World Game has
been designed to put players in charge of the world. The event
is not an academic exercise, but rather about changing the

1:30 to 5:00 Saturday, March 16th
Baker Hall, Carleton University.
For more info either reply to this letter, respond
to my email address, or call
Mike Gifford @ 563 - 0176
or Canadian Student Pugwash @ 234 - 3622
Mike Gifford -- 2nd year Integrated Science Studies..
** -- I am normal.. And everyone else is wierd..
/ -- [email protected]/[email protected]
\_/ -- attending Carleton University, in Ottawa..

With the new moon overhead in Pisces, Linton and I made our may from
our drop-off point, through the maze of campus tunnels to a
canvas-walled room in the Carlton Unicenter where we filed in with
about a hundred others. At the door, we were issued with a stats chart
for North America, 1970, the two of us representing three fifths the
total population, 6\% of the world total.

\section{Set and Setting}

Inside Porter Hall, a vinyl-coated, dymaxion sky-ocean map two meters
to the icosa-edge was taped to the floor with the north pole at roughly
center court of the gymnasium sized hall. Our guides began with their
preamble on time-scales, beginning at antarctica with geological time
and adding the hydrosphere, lithosphere, flora and fauna at
proportional points along the long edge, eventually crowding the map
with population in the last few millimeters. Overhead, relevant
statistics and key points in European history were synchronously
projected, prompting Linton to ask, often at first and less as he
grasped it, when he and I would climb on board.

Before the game began, hats were issued to represent each 2\% of
humanity, with additional hats for the biosphere's players and the
United Nations, with those left over becoming the media. Plastic food,
fuel candles, technology coupons and \WorldGame money were then issued
in proportion, the current stats on production and consumption
displayed and a brief recess taken while each area decided on a game
plan to obtain their projected needs. In these discussions, those
previously issued illiteracy cards were kept mute.

To gain some perspective, we were then asked a number of questions and
asked to rise if, for example, we had more than 3 candles per hat. A
surprisingly large group stood when asked for those with at least one
food prop per hat but no fuel. Similar questions most conspicuously
singled out we North Americans, and Linton, having at first asked to
hold our excess hats and food, was beginning to perhaps regret his
fortune, and was most definately tired of all the standing and sitting.

Following this, the overhead projection changed to a chart of
current annual consumption and supply values for each of the issued
commodities listed by region. Each line ended with a blank
column for each `team' to fill in their standings at the end of the game.

Before beginning the first round, we were asked to list features we
felt would make the world a perfect place. We were asked for only
positive features, things to be added to the world, rather than for
items we'd wish removed or negatively affected. We offered a number of
seemingly wild requests from a wide spectrum of interests. We offered
cessation of hostilities, world-wide travel and trade, complete
literacy and health and wealth for all. Each suggestion was noted on a
transparency and the game was set to begin.

\section{Playing the Game}

Each round of the game was to follow a simple pattern:

\item mass pandemonium for some period of time

\item a complete halt in world-wide transactions while everyone
watched the media report.


Transactions would include deals made to further a group's stated
objectives, but in keeping with the environmental theme of the session,
the transactions would also include warnings and citations made by the
environment and deals made either directly or through agencies such as
the U.N.\ to avert biospheric foreclosures. In preparing each deal, a
form was provided to list the trouble to be addressed, the proposed
solution and the impact this solutions might have.

Once filled in, forms were submitted to the United Nations for pricing.
If affordable, the fee was then to be returned to the U.N.\ where the
deal would be ratified. In the case of projects meant to appease the
environment, the U.N.\ would specify the cost in green technology
credits and/or billions of dollars or some fantastic number of old {\em
standard}\ technology credits and even more dollars. Other regional
objectives, such as improving literacy, would require an appointment
with a \WorldGame official. Beyond this, there were no other rules.

North America does not stand a chance, no matter how philanthropic we
wished to be. We simply do not have the manpower to handle the
overwhelming traffic of a world stage. We also learned the world at
large is not in dire need of our food, our fuel or even our technology,
but they do need our money, and we have scads of it. We saw a
graphic demonstration of why so many North American business people
travel: the office is nuts at home.

By comparison, Europe, Japan, and the emerging third world in South
America and India have all the same resources we have, but they have
very pressing needs to motivate them, and they have enough of a
population to apply themselves to serving the world markets. Here we
have the three of us frantically scribbling out paper-work, running
back and forth to the U.N., making hurried world-tours, answering the
endless line of complaints, trying to make at least a little sense from
the overhead resource-by-region table and, on rare and completely
wasted occasions, finding a few minutes to speak with the press or to
fill in the proper forms. The others have ample staff and can afford
to pair each problem with a person who can pursue it at their leasure.
And they did.

By the end of the game, quite by accident and with a lot of help from
Linton's last-minute wheeling and dealing, we had made our objectives.
We had aimed to maintain our food consumption, complete our literacy to
100\% and even, in good North American style, to consume just a little
more power, and all of these were just met, but not without cost and a
long list of outstanding complaints.

Two of three rounds had us tied up attempting to appease the United
Nations with major environmental campaigns many times larger than any
our competitors could afford. These deals, to be made in the public view
live on TV, never made it to the newscasts and, on the following
rounds, we'd return to the U.N. to find the ante upped considerably.
In the mean time, we had accumulated more warnings and death warrants
from the biosphere than any other region, certainly more per capita,
while our neighbours to the south found they had such surplus of green
technology, they could trade for smiles.

Not that we didn't do some good. Somewhere in the morasse of scribbled
forms, we did buy some tiny amounts of African food surplus for
fantastic amounts to cover the penalty fees levied on each failed
literacy test. Had any of our environmental deals solidified, we would
have clearly scored some bonus points for the dramatic clean-slate, at
a cost of complete and immediate conversion to non-fossil fuels and
some few hundreds of billions. We'd have done so much, had there been

Linton spent the game running reconaisance to find those few candles we
sought and to line up trade deals. As the only one under 18, he was a
little too shy run some of the errands we so desparately needed, such
as running proposals, price-lists and payments to the U.N., but as the
afternoon progressed, he became more comfortable and actually found
several important last-minute deals. I'm not really sure how our
compatriot fared: On each return home to pick up more forms, we'd find
a jumbled stack of environmental warnings, un-ratified proposals,
loosely filed successful deals and the ever-comforting but rapidly
diminishing bale of cash.

In the final media report, we learned the reason for our bad press
coverage. At one interview, I had been asked for a bribe, but had
foolishly thought the fellow was joking. Linton asked if this was
why, when he and Carla had been interviewed by the TV crew at their
lemonade stand, the clip was never shown.

\section{Beyond the Game}

Following the final news, the props and hats were stowed away, the
forms collected for disposal and the map cleared of players in
preparation for a demonstration in numbers. Beginning at Antarctica,
10,000 black bingo chips were poured over the lands, proportional in
area to the size of the ozone hole. A further 20,000 were spread
out over South and North America to depict the total clear-cut area,
and 20,000 more over the remaining continents to show both the total
number of nuclear warheads (53,000) and their proportional area of
total devastation, i.e. total. In the commentary, the chips were also
said to illustrate proportions such as the total number of blacks
living under apartheid in South Africa, and also the proportion of
literate people.

At the closing, we returned to our transparency notes of features for
a perfect world. By this time, the list included food and shelter,
benefits and luxuries and a general world-wide {\em lasse-faire}
complacentcy to be enjoyed by all. This list, according to the
commentary, was not substantially different from those collected at
the other runs of the \WorldGame, and this had prompted them to price
the list. At the bottom line, a total cost for complete world luxury
came to about 50 billion dollars, or, as was graphically depicted,
about one quarter of the current total expenditures on the military.

Finally, we were asked rhetorically if we knew how one person might
begin to take our present world toward the dream: Kneeling to pick
up just one bingo chip and return it to its box, our commentator
recalled the Chinese proverb
``Journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.''

Our map was quickly cleared, a task Linton especially enjoyed,
jumping right in completely free of all shyness. After the crowds
had run off to catch some bus back to the host convention, and while I
talked with the \WorldGame organizers, Linton continued to help with
the map, carefully removing the tape and freeing the sections for


Some months later, Linton came home from school with a new set of {\em
Micro-Machine}\ cars. He explained in detail how one friend had
wanted to trade his cars, but didn't want more cars in return and how a
second friend had had some action figures he was willing to trade for a
few cars \ldots

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++cut here++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Gary Lawrence Murphy -- [email protected] -- (613) 230-6255
"The present moment is a powerful goddess." - Goethe
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