The World Game was an idea proposed by Buckminster Fuller. The idea was to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone."
When Buckminster Fuller introduced the "World Game" in the 70's, it was looked at as Utopian, naive, and a bit far fetched. For example, one of the things that Bucky felt was needed to really implement the World Game at a effective level was everyone having access to 'interactive television sets' that could relay information around the world. Of course now, we just call that the Internet and most of us can't live without it.
As we leap into these times of extreme uncertainty, it's good to point out a few optimistic yet realistic ideas that we can use to navigate through the building chaos. Although we have never faced an worldwide economic crisis like this before, we also have never had the Internet before and the ability to collective problem solve and network.
Many of the world's leaders are now meeting to work together to solve this crisis. Link. Now, I know, many of us are skeptical about such meetings, however, I think this potentially could be a ray of hope.
Consider; Bucky's World Game was based entirely on 'synergy'. We can understand 'synergy' as 'all sides contribute, all sides receiving the collective output of all contributing', or even more simpler as win - win foreign policy. Bucky felt that if world leaders could play a game where the goal was to help solve each other's problems, that such a strategy could out compete 'War Games' for effectiveness.
So imagine if France had to worry about resolving the financial problems of the UK, and the UK had to worry about the financial problems of Russia, ad infinitum. What would such a strategy accomplish? Well, for one thing it would create an objective outside observer and problem solver for a countries' problems where solutions are often hampered down by internal politics. Now all of these leaders are meeting somewhere and trying to work together to solve the problem, which is a good start.
Naturally, however, we can do better. So why are we waiting for the global leaders to do this, and why are they doing this offline? Why not open the entire world wide economic problem up online so the collective contributions of intelligent and aware global citizens can participate in solving, and resolving, each other's problems?
Think about it, how archaic is the current approach considering our new digital millennium? Why would the G7 or G20 leaders need to travel to Switzerland to resolve the crisis over a series of formal dinners and speeches? Why not just have an online discussion forum and everyone can stay put, save time, and increase problem solving effectiveness? Why not open up each and every idea presented to solve the crisis to a collective that can deconstruct each idea, research and game it's effectiveness for rationality?
So, here is a ray of hope. This may be the first global crisis that could really get countries working together and exploring new options for problem solving. In the desperate attempt to find reasonable solutions that must produce win win economic outcomes, at some point someone will consider the option of allowing social networking collective intelligence into the equation, and booyah - we could potentially resolve these problems in a very short amount of time.
Although I gloss over quickly such solutions and problems in this essay, I don't think that such a scenario is too far fetched or outlandish to suggest. And this idea, like all ideas, can spread and take root in our Internet society, planting the seeds online that will eventually reach the appropriate leaders who would consider such options.
As dire as it may sound, the very ray of hope is that for the first time, the entire world is in an mutually undeniable crisis together, and the solutions lay inside the problem. Personally, I think this may be be best opportunity we have ever had to suggest and implement Bucky's World Game. And we can all immediately begin playing the World Game by talking about the World Game online in our blogs, emails, social networks, and discussion forums and insist we all begin to use it. Immediately. As in now and why the hell not?
This post comes from Rome's O.S.012 blog.
Image: "Biosphere - HDR" by Rene Ehrhardt on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.Tweet