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R. Buckminster Fuller's World Game and ModelEarth.

(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 - , and my correspondence with Medard Gabel of "BigPictureSmallWorld" - .

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. -

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 reveals otherwise:

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):

Global 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 state:

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 food.
* Adequate housing complete with sanitation facilities and clean running water.
* Abundant supplies of energy that are clean, safe, and affordable.
* 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 economies.
* 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 biological weapons.
* 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 punishment.
* 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 and children.
* Freedoms of speech, of the press, and of religion are the rule everywhere.
* All forms of prejudice--against another's ethnicity, race, religion, origins, gender, age, sexual preference, or income level--are gone.
* 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 humans.

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 ideal.
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 ever.

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 consequences.


Fritz, Robert
        1984 The Path of Least Resistance.   Salem, MA: DMA Inc., ISBN: 0-930641-00-0. 

Gabel, Medard, Design Science / Global Solutions Lab
        2010 Designing A World That Works For All.   BigPictureSmallWorld Inc. 

Meadows, Donella H.
        1996 "Envisioning a Sustainable World." written for the Third Biennial Meeting of the         International Society for Ecological Economics, October 24-28, 1994, San Jose, Costa Rica
        In Getting Down to Earth, 1996 Practical Applications of Ecological Economics
        editors Robert Costanza, Olman Segura and Juan Martinez-Alier Washington DC:
        Island Press

Meadows, Donella H. "Envisioning a Sustainable World." is online:
<> (accessed 10/06/2009)
It is a must read document; it explains best what Donella Meadows' "visioning" is. 

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