R. Buckminster Fuller's World Game and
(The bellow text
is to be understood as a DRAFT IN PROGRESS; good enough as
is, perhaps, to initiate a discussion?)
R. Buckminster Fuller's World Game (and any of its successors,
to my knowledge) is offering a vision of a world based on ideas of
only a few individuals and a few small groups of people of what
this world should look like to be considered as offering ideal
conditions for life, whereas ModelEarth is offering a way of
reconciling virtually of all any such ideas, by any
and all, of what the ideal world should look like, based on
creating desired results as outlined in Robert Fritz's Path
of Least Resistance (Fritz 1984), applied to creating of a
collectively held vision of an ideal world.
In R. Buckminster Fuller's World Game the vision of a better world
is based on solutions suggested by individuals and teams that
concentrate on solving the world's problems and the vision
thus generated is not shared by all who share the Earth,
however--if the vision that might be emerging from RBF's World Game
(and its successors, but so far no emerging vision, from World Game
and its successors, or from anywhere else, is evident yet) could be
proven and demonstrated in models to be truly sustainable, then by
using the "Universal Platform
for Developing Sustainable Earth Vision Cooperatively" it would
be possible to incorporate this vision together with all other
possible sustainable life-styles into one world.
Model Earth proposes to reconcile the differences that there are
among all and any such ideas in models (or by using any other
expedient means) in order to prevent all the waste (material, life)
that happens normally when these differences reconcile in real
life, causing real damage.
I find it hard to find any records of instances of World Game
played where it would be clear to see what criteria were used to
decide which entries would be more successful than others.
But from what I could see from the material that I found on the
Internet, it would seem that in World Game the actions meant to
improve this world are motivated and driven by the unsatisfactory
state of the world, and not by a commonly held vision that would be
optimally acceptably by all who share the Earth.
The above is based on what I could find about "World Game" in R.
Buckminster Fuller's Critical Path (St. Martin Press, New
York, N.Y. 10010, 1981, ISBN 0-312-17488-8), Thomas T.K. Zung's
Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for the New Millennium (St.
Martin Press, New York, N.Y. 10010, 2001, ISBN 0-312-26639-1), in
R. Buckminster Fuller's Utopia or Oblivion: the prospects for
humanity, Chp. 6.: The World Game--How to Make the World Work
(p157) (The Overlook Press, R. F. D. 301, Woodstock, N. Y. 12498,
1969, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 74-98972), my
correspondence with the Buckminster Fuller Institute -
http://www.bfi.org/ , and my correspondence with Medard Gabel of
Recently, in 2010, Medard Gabel (who spent many years learning from
and collaborating with R. Buckminster Fuller) and the Design
Science/Global Solutions Lab published a book Designing A World
That Works For All. - http://designsciencelab.com/book/
At a first glance it would seem that finally there is an approach
that would not be problem driven, as the vast majority of attempts
to improve the conditions in the world are, but one that is driven
by a vision of an ideal state of the world. The "preferred states"
might seem to be the same as Donella Meadows'
"vision"/"visioning"/"envisioning", however a closer inspection
A "vision" (Meadows 1994, Robert Fritz calls it a "choice"--Fritz
1984) represents the ideal desired into as small detail as possible
(loosely paraphrased from Fritz 1984: if you would run into it on
the street, would you recognize it?) A "vision" has to be as ideal
as possible--it could not get any better, as if (but it could, it
would, because the vision would be improved upon along with the
knowledge pertaining to the "vision").
Let us now have a look at a world that Medard Gabel and his
collaborators would like us to live in; would really everybody care
to live in such a world? In their book Designing A World That
Works For All (Gabel 2010, p17):
Preferred State: Strategies for achieving the Millennium
Development Goals and Preferred State.
As listed in the above assumptions and protocols, the Design
Science problem solving process begins with a vision of how the
world should be. This vision is usually specific to the general
issue or problem being addressed, such as poverty, food and hunger,
energy supply, education and the like. It is often helpful though
to begin the design process with a broader preferred state for the
whole world that encompasses the well being of all the world's life
support systems. The following is such a global preferred
All of humanity--every child, woman, and man in every country in
the world--has, on a sustainable basis,
* Abundant supplies of nutritious and culturally appropriate
* Adequate housing complete with sanitation facilities and clean
* Abundant supplies of energy that are clean, safe, and
* Access to local comprehensive health care and the latest advances
of medical science.
* Access to education, so that literacy is universal, as are
opportunities for advanced (college level) education; access to the
Internet is universal.
* Access to communication and transportation facilities that are
readily available and affordable, so that anyone can communicate
with anyone else on Earth who wants to be communicated with, and
people can travel anywhere they want to go.
* Access to employment opportunities and fulfilling work--including
vocational alternatives, re-training, and on-the-job-training--are
available to all.
* Access to open borders, free of trade and emigration
restrictions, subsidies, and other barriers to market-driven
* Access to information so that all public negotiations (for
example, labor contracts, legislation, and government contracts),
accounting practices, and elections are transparent and open to
inspection by anyone at anytime.
* Access to decision making, so that all citizens have a
significant role in decision-making processes that affect their
lives, and each lives in a peaceful, democratic, secure and safe
world that is free from crime, terror, and nuclear, chemical, and
* Access to a clean, healthy environment that is free of toxic
wastes, pollution of all kinds, soil erosion, and damaging
industrial and agricultural practices.
* The biosphere and its resources are self-regenerating, with
humans cooperating to ensure this.
* Biodiversity is increasing throughout the world.
* Around the globe, strong social incentives foster democracy
personal initiative, trust, cooperation, respect, and love--and
discourage all forms of torture, degrading treatment, and
* Access to an independent and impartial tribunal to which each
person is entitled, on an equal basis; each person has the right to
nationality and to perform public service in one's own country.
* Access to rest and leisure.
* Access to special protection, care, and assistance for mothers
* Freedoms of speech, of the press, and of religion are the rule
* All forms of prejudice--against another's ethnicity, race,
religion, origins, gender, age, sexual preference, or income
* Every culture and nation respects and celebrates the unique value
of all others, and provides strong social supports for individuals,
families, and communities.
* The arts in all forms are widely appreciated and cultivated.
* Spiritual growth and fulfillment is the norm for all
One good test
of the "preferred state" presented above (or any other "preferred
state"), a product of many minds over the years, would be this: how
well would this "preferred state" perform on the "Universal Platform for Developing
Sustainable Earth Vision Cooperatively"?
The "Universal Platform for Developing Sustainable Earth Vision
Cooperatively" is meant to accommodate any and all conceivable
sustainable life-styles existing side-by-side (as if, but not too
close to each other) on one Earth--as long as all those are
truly, demonstrably, and transparently sustainable.
All the points of the above "preferred state" might (to some) look
well on the paper--but only presenting them in a model to represent
an actual situation "on the ground" would demonstrate their
viability and sustainability. E. g.--it would be quite challenging
to model in a transparent fashion "market-driven economies" (for an
example) in order to prove them to be sustainable, as I think it is
impossible to represent in a model any processes that even experts
on the subject don't quite understand.
Unless the above blockquoted "preferred state" is modeled by
what-so-ever means into as small detail as possible to represent a
transparent depiction of itself, it would continue to represent a
different Earth to different interpreters.
ModelEarth's objective is to first collectively design (in a model)
the ideal state of affairs of any social entity regardless of its
size (from the very minimally sized community to the whole global
community) before starting devising ways of achieving that ideal
state. This approach follows the idea that it is easier to achieve
something that we know what it is that we want to have, rather than
trying to make things ideal, without first knowing what the "ideal"
actually should be.
In ModelEarth the actions are motivated and driven by the desire to
get as close as possible to the ideal presented in the model.
In ModelEarth it is ideas inputted by anyone that compete for the
ideal design, not individuals.
Modeling could be employed in designing an ideal state of being for
any social entity of any size--from a group of humans (conflict
resolution) to the whole global society.
In order to achieve an ecologically and socially sustainable future
we, collectively, have to first decide what a "sustainable" future
should be. Then, after we know what a sustainable future agreeable
to all should be, we can decide the steps how to achieve this
If we don't agree on what our collective "sustainable" future
should be, reconciling differences in real life would be very
costly (in terms of over-using resources, even in terms of loss of
life)--this could even prevent us from achieving sustainability
The concept of designing the future cooperatively is based on what
I understand Mahayana
to be and on The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz.
(Salem, MA, DMA, Inc., 1984, ISBN: 0-930641-00-0).
It could, perhaps, be argued that by using RBF's approach one would
eventually arrive at the same results as by using the approach of
ModelEarth concept. The main difference would be that in World
Game, despite continuous solving of problems by "playing", the
differences among the Earth inhabitants would continue resolving in
real life with costly results creating an endless stream of
problems needing to be addressed and "played" in World Game
continuously, whereas most such problems would be resolved "in
modelo" by the ModelEarth approach without any real life
1984 The Path of
Least Resistance. Salem, MA: DMA Inc., ISBN:
Gabel, Medard, Design Science / Global Solutions Lab
2010 Designing A
World That Works For All. BigPictureSmallWorld
Meadows, Donella H.
1996 "Envisioning a
Sustainable World." written for the Third Biennial Meeting of the
Society for Ecological Economics, October 24-28, 1994, San Jose,
In Getting Down to
Earth, 1996 Practical Applications of Ecological
Costanza, Olman Segura and Juan Martinez-Alier Washington DC:
Meadows, Donella H. "Envisioning a Sustainable World." is
It is a must read document; it explains best what Donella Meadows'