NEW SOURCES: Barbrook_ClassWargames.pdf in “CapitalismTexts” Topic Folder
Introduction: The “Rules” of the fictional class-war game Billions vs. Billionnaires are intended both a satire of capitalism and a pedagogical primer in marxism and internationalism. Originally inspired by Bertell Ollman’s Class Struggle board-game, we have attempted to develop it as a card-game (based on Magic: the Gathering) and an actual-computer game. (See OldMaterial sub-folder in WikiDreams folder.) It is a very rough draft. The satire should be funnier and sharper. There should be more examples. Please add details and improve on it. The ‘conceit’ behind this, is that the epic Mutiny on Starship Earth that follows the BvB section can be conceived either as a representation of a ‘real’ struggle ignited by the fad of BvB and the committment of the young players, or as simply an example of a successful game of BvB.
The Name of the Game is “BILLIONS VS BILLIONNAIRES.” (BvB)
The Game is played on a virtual planet, the Game-Globe.
The time of the Game represents the next 100 years.
To win the Game, players must reach the year 2117.
Programming the Virtual Globe
From the moment players start a new game, the evolution of the virtual planet is programmed in the following manner: starting at the present, all the current trends in the biosphere and in social evolution will continue to develop year after year according to the parameters established by the most reliable statistics, regularly updated.
For example: Year after year on the virtual planet, pollution will continue to get worse,
weapons of mass destruction will continue to proliferate forests to disappear temperature to climb glaciers to melt ice-caps to calve oceans to rise coastlines to submerge famines and epidemics to spread poverty to deepen inequality to increase global unemployment to rise armed conflicts to proliferate refugees to multiply crime to flourish high and low real wages to decline religious and nationalistic fanaticisms to flame women to be degraded, wars to drag on forever risk of atomic war and nuclear accident to increase governments to become more arbitrary and security-minded prisons to boil over youth to despair useless wealth to accumulate the rich to withdraw into gated communities unprecedented storms to proliferate desertification to extend thirst and the struggle for water wars to worsen animals to disappear...
Catastrophic disasters in each of these spheres occur more or less frequently in each fresh game initiated by the players. The program thus imitates the uncertainty in which we live and the different predictions among specialists. The program randomly chooses between higher and lower estimates of the statistical likelihood. The program is periodically updated. Thus the social struggles play out against a background of more or less predictable, more or less preventable global catastrophes.
A game begun in 2017 ends automatically on March 19 of the Virtual Year 2021. At 5:10 Greenwich time, a popup flashes on the screen: “Pakistan has launched a preemptive atomic strike against India.” At 5: 43 another popup indicates that India has counterattacked massively out of fear of losing her nuclear installations in the next strike. China, Pakistan’s ally, feels threatened. So does Russia, India’s ally. At 6:55 the United States announces its intervention. A nuclear world war breaks out in the panic and misunderstandings between governments. From 11:00 on, a thick cloud of nuclear waste covers the earth and begins to absorb all oxygen. By 21:00 all life has died out on the Virtual Planet. Game over. New Game.
Example B: Global warming and climate chaos continue to accellerate at a faster and faster rate until a tipping point of irreversability is reached. The planet become uninhabitable for humans and other mammels. By 2117, most of the Billions have died of starvation, epidemics and massacres, while few Billionaires have launched themselves into space, never to be heard of again. Game Over. New Game.
Example C: It’s already 2039 and New York has not yet disappeared under the Atlantic waves. The Game continues. . .
Example D: The interventions of various coalitions of players in the cause of conservation of forests, limits on industrial pollutants, nuclear treaties, have slowed down deterioration and pushed back disasters. The air is still breathable in 2043 and there has not been a nuclear exchange. The Game continues. . .
Example E: By 2066, as natural conditions grow more and more chaotic and population diminishes radically as famine, war and vast epidemics ravage the population of the globe, what still calls itself “civilization” has regressed to hi-tech fortified enclaves where the few remaining Billionaires live in luxury surrounded by servants and armed guards. Since they no longer require much labor, they condemn the Billions to an accellerating ‘natural’ die-off. Desperate, the remaining Billions swarm and attack the Billionaire enclaves, and both Principal Opponents perish in the ensuing mayhem. Game Peters Out. New Game.
Example F: The Game is won in 2036 when the Federated Assemblies of the world’s Billions share out the wealth of the big capitalist corporations, kick out the Billionaires’ governments, dismantle their armies, and begin to reconstruct the planet.