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Hunger. The Billions, the poor working masses of the planet, are limited by the urgent need to find enough to eat and to feed and house their families each and every day.
A goodly number of working people—the skilled and the fortunate in advanced countries—are still eating well, even very well (in France for example). But their survival depends on their salaries. So the threat of hunger is only deferred from month to month while awaiting down-sizing, privatization, rationalization, sell-off or the bankruptcy of “their” company. While waiting, the pressure to produce more never stops rising and the working conditions get worse and worse. So even relatively privileged salaried employees and hourly workers are spurred on by the fear of hunger . As for the rest of virtual humanity, at least half the Billions barely manage to get enough to eat, and this struggle uses up all their energy; a quarter are more or less starving. This is a gross handicap for the Billions in the Game.
Immobility. The Virtual Billions are riveted in place by their poverty, by frontiers closed to immigration, by ties of family and culture. Even under conditions of famine, natural disaster and war, they are blocked from escaping and must take extreme risks to survive., crossing seas in flimsy boat at the mercy of brutal traffickers. By contrast, Virtual Capital can cross borders without obstacles, pull out when conditions are bad, invest wherever they are more favorable, leaving employees without recourse. Virtual Capital can also open national borders to immigration when domestic and farm labor, in short supply, becomes too costly. This creates competition among national groups of workers. The Billionaires’ Allies, racism and xenophobia, further divide the Billions.
Ignorance. The Virtual Billions, pushed by the compelling need to find enough to eat every day, often don’t have the time to educate themselves, to inform themselves, to reflect. Isolation, prejudice and superstition often prevent them from seeing the big picture of their situation. So do the media. Invasive forms of religious, nationalist, racist and commercial propaganda deflect the Billions from thinking clearly about their collective self-interest. A very serious handicap.
Patriarchy. Since the majority of the Virtual Planet’s productive workers are female, the repression of women deprives the Virtual Billions of more than half of their forces of resistance – a huge advantage for the Billionaires. Players in the role of Virtual Working Women must accept low wages, long hours and brutal conditions – undermining the male workers. The Rules also make women responsible for all the unpaid work on the Virtual Globe, including subsistence agriculture, bringing up children, preparing meals, tending the sick and home-making. Under the Rule of Patriarchy, Virtual males are entitled to abuse and exploit Virtual females, who are thus reduced to the status of “slaves of slaves.”
According to the Rules, the Billions forfeit their principle Strength (Number), if they fail to unite by neutralising Patriarchy. As long as the male Millions cling to their Patriarchal right to dominate their females, the Billionaires are entitled to dominate and exploit them in turn. All winning strategies involve the free and active participation of the female Billions – united as equals with the male Billions. Even if the Billions manage to win a revolutionary victory over the Billionaires, the Program stipulates that the new Revolution automatically degenerates into an oppressive, exploitative, class society unless its women remain free and equal.