Communism: Sounds good, doesn't work
A short game which depicts how we might reorganise the capitalist present into a postcapitalist utopia.
If you have feedback/comments, feel free to contact me by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @colestia3.
Music: "Ghost" by Onda Suave
[Note: Downloadable builds are provided here for sake of completion only. The game was designed to be played in-browser, so the standalone versions may be buggy or completely broken. Sorry about that...]
If you have any comments/thoughts, feel free to get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @colestia3. And if you like the games I'm making, please consider supporting me on Patreon!
Click download now to get access to the following files:
Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.
This is such a cool concept, executed really neatly. It's hard to balance fun against learning new stuff/drawing connections in a clear way, but this does both! I really loved it!
Wonderful job, I would help you with money, but currently I am unemployed (yeah, capitalism).
I see that someone already translated this content to portuguese, so I also can't help you here unfortunately (I am brazilian), But I will show this game to all my marxists friends.
I would like to translate this game into French to use it as a tool in debates and discussions with other activists in my country. Would you help me out, Colestia?
That would be amazing! Do you mind sending me an email at email@example.com and we can work things out there?
Interesting piece. Guys, stop arguing about Soviet Union - most of you understand nothing about this country and why it collapsed. All of you don't understand why Stalin did what he did.
To those who love to mention 100 mil. deaths figure - how much people got killed because of greediness of market people? Let me remind you Iraq, Libya, Syria.
very nice because of the idealism, the game itself could be better tho
hey! so the game seems really cool and I'm excited to play it, but the right click button doesn't seem to work on Mac (I use control + click to right click.) Any tips on solving this? I'm playing blind here!!
A neat little game, not anything id like play more then once, as I am into this stuff. but its enjpyable
I want to translate this game to portuguese! I'm teacher and I want it for my classes! Can we work this out, Colestia?
Sure thing! Could you send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll work something out?
I love the concept and music! This is a really cool game and I really enjoyed it.
Weird, I think the famines and gulags aren't functioning as intended.
I tried to play the game but every time I clicked on something the city only got worse.
Very neat game! Many people are disillusioned by the crises of capitalism these days, so having a way to grapple with these issues in a (virtual) concrete way is entertaining and heartening at the same time.
i beat it xD i love the music
Socialism = production resource is owned by society.
By this definition, socialism cannot co-exist with despotism, since a group of "leaders" cannot represent the society.
Europe is the most socialist place. As of China or SU, they are somewhat crony capitalism in nature.
Also, this game is not only about socialism. It is about human rights (e.g. the right to get education for free).
that is a very butchered down definition of socialism
Socialism is the social and economic system that values equality and freedom to its fullest extent. it socializes all production, social production is the dominant form of production under socialism, production for use, as well as this all resources of production are owned by society as a whole.
there is no "more" or "Less" socialist. you are socialist or you aren't
Did I finished the game successfully?
Hey, the background colour will change from blue to green when you've changed every element. Try drawing connections between these elements: unemployment and the supermarket, waste and the department store, and the alarm clock in the bottom with the office at the top. Hope that helps!
A fun game, would love it to go a bit deeper into the theory and ideas of the solutions - and some kind of end game celebration would be great. but this is a great little art piece/game!
A great experience!
i think i won lol there is nothing left thats its letting me click lol
very detailed nice game mechanics couldnt win though here is my playthrough
The game misses some soldiers shooting people who want to leave the utopia.
lol yeah it glosses alot no doubt
Is your idea of socialism so basic that you’ll use this to try to satisfy your lack of arguments? Many socialist examples, including China and Cuba fully allowed reactionaries to leave the country. If you think that any future post capitalist society will run exactly like Russia, you need to modernize your thinking.
An interesting thought experiment and a good starting point for discussion as evidenced in this comment section.
Hi, I’m nobody, and I’ll be doing a running commentary of my experience with the game.
Ok so we start looking at this society, which we are told is terrible because apparently we all know Capitalism is self evidently terrible. We can tell Capitalism is terrible because we’re sat in our comfortable centrally heated homes, using our consumerism perfected technology, during our free time were we are well off enough to not be working, to look at this game telling us Capitalism is terrible.
So what do we have here, the tutorial is telling me what’s wrong.
So the environment in this place is being destroyed by Capitalism, because as we know; socialist societies operate using only the cleanest of energy. They’re totally not driving around in 1950s vehicles running off pre-global warming discovery combustion engines, due to the lack of any driving force for technological advancement in their society. While in Western Capitalist countries they have wind turbines, solar panels, electric cars are gradually getting better…
In the name of environmentalism, I’ll be performing this review using a mini-PC that consumes less than 10 watts of power. Thanks consumerism for compacting a whole computer down into this neat little efficient package, but of course most people these days have even smaller computers consuming just 5 watts of power, sat in their pocket. So nothing special about my little box these days.
Extraction... because Socialism gets its resources from somewhere else? I’m curious how Socialism is going to create great abundance, without taxing our environmental resources. Capitalism’s solution is the pricing mechanism, rarer and harder to get materials are higher priced; which encourages markets to seek and invent alternative materials to keep prices low. But of course Socialism doesn’t have a pricing mechanism.
Ecological harm is externalised? I agree that polluting elsewhere isn’t a solution, but again what is Socialism’s green alternative that apparently Capitalism is unable to grasp? It’s easy to criticise a situation, but offering a functioning better alternative is a different matter.
Work is the leading cause of physical and mental illness? Well working conditions have advanced considerably since the 1920s, we’re not living under the same Capitalism that spawned the movements that led to the Soviet Union. While it’s not uncommon for people to become depressed due to a lack of meaning in their lives, seeking meaning is pretty high on the hierarchy of needs. You can only worry about meaning when all your other needs are being satisfied.
That said, what’s with the attack on people working? Do people not have to work under Socialism? That’s certainly news to everyone who has even the briefest understanding of history. If people don’t have to work under Socialism, who is producing all the goods and services needed to maintain human civilisation? Who is engaging in the creative thinking to improve said goods and services, and where is their motivation to do so; given apparently this society is going to transcend work? Guess I’ll have to wait and see.
Unemployment? Well apparently you’re going to transcend the need to work, so now not working is a problem? Unemployment is an inevitable consequence of progress, old jobs are made redundant; which make way for more modernised jobs. Which of course leads to…
Precariousness, but thus far human civilization has always produced enough jobs to keep unemployment levels to a minimum. You’re never going to fully eliminated unemployment, but most developed western countries have some form of welfare to keep those people alive between jobs. I’ve made use of it myself, and while it’s not a comfortable life it’s better than starving in the street. I’m curious how Socialism is going to eliminate unemployment, while also eliminating the need to work.
Workplace discipline is an odd one, should we not be disciplined and aim to be efficient? It means we are able to do more, in less time, with less resources. Should employees be able to slack off and check their Facebook feed during paid office hours? Even the Soviets were very strict on efficiency, if someone wasn’t pulling their weight they were “stealing from the people” so to speak. Because they didn’t own their own labour, it was the people's labour.
Unnecessary work? That’s another perplexing one, because you just criticised Capitalism for unemployment and being efficient. Now you are claiming Capitalism is being wasteful by creating jobs that don’t need to exist, which kind of contradicts their never ending pursuit of minimising costs and maximising productivity.
Travel, because travel isn’t going to exist in this Socialist world, what? Do they not have jobs to go to, but unemployment is bad!? I’m getting confused here.
Colonisation of time, again there is a lot of contradictory claims going on here. You seem to think Socialism is going to be able to do everything better than Capitalism, without any of the consequences. Work is bad, but so is unemployment. Efficiency is bad, but so is being wasteful. Now people will apparently be coming home from their “work” feeling well rested? Is work in this world somehow not going to tax human physical and mental energy reserves?
Education, well everyone is entitled to a basic education in modern Capitalist societies, which is beyond the dreams of just a century ago. We’ve managed to improve wealth and productivity to a point that youth have been freed up to become educated, were as prior the whole family was forced to work.
What you mean is there are higher levels of education, which cost too much to be delivered broadly across the population. Not everyone can go to Harvard, Harvard is a finite resource and people have differing abilities, maybe their goals in life don’t require a higher education? There is also the problem of qualification inflation, if everyone has a degree then that becomes the minimum standard. Jobs that previously didn’t require qualifications now do, not out of malice but in an attempt to filter through the applications. It would be ideal if everyone with the ability was able to go to higher education, but you need some system to distribute those resources. Cost is one way to filter those applications.
I admit this isn’t the best answer, but I have a lot to get through.
So now self discipline is bad?
Unpaid work, I take it you’re referring to the basics of life like raising children and maintaining your property? There are no transactions taking place in these scenarios, they’re not raising the kids on behalf of an employer; they’re raising their own children because they love them. This is self service and people should not be expected to be compensated for working for themselves. No one pays me to look after my hygiene, even though I am performing a service for all those around me by not stinking. There is no transfer of goods and services taking place when I look after my own life.
Empty apartments, so who is going to engage in the strenuous and labour intensive activity of building homes, which will then be given away for free? Work hurts physical and mental well being, didn’t you know. How are you going to compensate them for creating something of intrinsic value to society, at personal physical and mental expense, if the intention is the occupant doesn’t have to pay to live in it?
Luxuries are made to be enjoyed by the rich and desired by the rest? What are these luxuries? What are these things that the rich enjoy that the rest of society cannot, which would be approved of in your Socialist society? I can essentially buy all the things the rich can in a more affordable form, I just don’t need a private jet to get into work; the public transportation system is good enough. My smartphone doesn’t have to be gold plated, it works just fine without.
The basic needs for survival have to be purchased, well they do but that’s not technically true. The United Kingdom, America and many other developed countries have some sort of welfare system to look after people who are down on their luck. I understand that welfare is a Socialist system, but that just demonstrates Capitalism and Socialism doesn’t have to be exclusive. Most developed countries are hybrid systems in which they both operate.
Advertising, yeah it’s kind of necessary that if you wish to sell a product; that people are actually aware it exists. Socialist countries would have to inform their citizens that, you know, things exist. However in Capitalist countries we have this thing called competition, so advertising has to convince you to buy product B rather than product A. The choice at the end of the day is you, advertising cannot force you to buy anything; it can only make an argument for you to.
Waste, goods are designed to be purchased but not used, what? You know we do have regulations that require products to meet specific standards, and if they fail to meet that; the company can be prosecuted? Does waste not exist under Socialism? It certainly existed under the Soviets, there was no need to be efficient because people got what they were given. There was no choice.
Did I get everything? Can I finally start the game? Good.
So I have to click on things until they change into something else, which may affect other things elsewhere. But I cannot right click to get info on the changed state, did I just chop down all those trees and replace them with solar panels? Is that the preferred state? I’ve prevented ecological harm but I’m not really sure how or why.
Now the person in the apartment seems to be producing a smiley face, and listening to music, but I’m not sure why…
I just turned the roads into trains, we already have those in Capitalist society. Is the idea replacing roads with public transport? You know that already exists and we can choose between them? I don’t drive, I can go to work via train or bus, or boat but that’s expensive and slow.
I haven’t quite grasped the mechanics of this game yet. I click on things to make them better, but there is no explanation as to how or why they became better and how Socialism is responsible for this. I clicked on the unemployment section and now it’s a one way route upward… there is no explanation as to how Socialism has achieved this miraculous transformation. No one loses their job under Socialism? What, even if they’re bad at that job?
I just automated jobs with robots, so those jobs are gone. The person in the apartment is no longer happy, I assume that’s because he’s unemployed now. I clicked unemployment away, but now people have resumed being fired, I assume as a result of the competition posed by all those unemployed people chasing their jobs. Guess they’ll have to demonstrate they deserve the job more by actually being productive...
Clicking on work discipline turned it into one of those failed experiments to get employees to engage with each other, by forcing them to stare at each other all day. They’ve demonstrated that to be wrong because it makes people feel vulnerable, they’re stuck in the fight and flight response because they have no sense of privacy and security. So Socialism is applying old ideas that were demonstrated to be wrong? Nothing new there.
Clicking on solving basic needs has created unemployment again, I assume that’s because the government took control of providing basic needs; destroying all the private sector jobs involved in those areas. Making the apartment guy happy again has gotten rid of the trains… Ok I’ll use the right click linking system to find the relations now.
Ecological harm was prevented… somehow.
Basic income is provided as a right, so people are being paid to just exist. How this is being funded without placing a huge tax burden on wealth producing sectors, as well as acting as a disincentive to work, isn’t explained.
Consumerism for profit is bad apparently, even though the profit motive is what informs companies as to what consumers want but never mind. Somehow they know what people want without any means of consulting them…
All work has been supported, so I guess we’re going to pay people for performing basic duties in their lives… Again, placing a tax burden on the productive economy.
So apparently there is too much work to do, and they have solved this by placing maximum limits on working hours… In other news, my council has solved the problem of excess waste by giving everyone smaller bins… However...
For many people, there isn’t enough work! So we have both too much and too little work at the same time. Which I’ve apparently solved by guaranteeing everyone work, because governments can do that apparently.
But wait, maximum limits on work hours is conflicting with guaranteed work. Ecological harm is conflicting with all work being financially supported. We’ll try to sort these later.
Basic needs have now been provided as a right, because of course as we learned earlier; the environmental resources are finite… Guaranteeing resources is totally compatible with that…
Now I’ve apparently solved overproduction for the rich (because the rich are such big consumers…) by redistribution of wealth and assets. Sensing problems here, given there is little reward for working harder than the average chap as you’ll be taxed to buggery for it. Yet somehow there's an abundance of resources being produced to guarantee them to everyone, all without over taxing the environment… somehow.
Land was changed from a commodity to being held in commons, because it’s not like there is a long history of people not respecting what was held in commons… It’s just a defect of human nature, people don’t respect things that are owned by everyone. They litter in public parks, they don’t maintain buildings, they don’t invest their own limited resources in something they don’t have ownership of.
Here in the UK we saw an explosion of home improvement when council housing was allowed to be purchased by those occupying them. Because once they became private property, suddenly people started caring about them. No one invests their savings into improving something that can just be taken away from them.
I’m just clicking on things at this point and seeing what they enable/disable, reading the comments section I’m now supposed to match these…
So land being a commodity and basic needs are a commodity are linked by things being valued by exchange, which is fixed by… things being valued by their use… Do you know the problem with that? Because everyone values things differently and what we value as a society doesn’t always follow what you’d think it would be. Logically, doctors are worth more than actors. Doctors use value is much higher than an actor, yet, famous actors often earn more than doctors.
This is confusing to the use value argument, but makes sense when you factor supply and demand. Lots of people can be a doctor, but there is only one Morgan Freeman. That’s why Morgan Freeman gets paid more than the doctor, that’s why your celebrity of choice gets paid more than the doctor. Because you, yes you, make that vote with your money.
But the Socialist central planner isn’t psychic, they don’t know what you want; they only know what they think you need. So you get more doctors, and assuming this environment doesn’t imper their creation; your celebrity of preference buggers off somewhere that actually appreciates them. Assuming the socialists haven’t built a wall to keep people in.
Right so all work being supported is incompatible with ecological harm being externalised, which are solved by… The true cost of Capitalism is excluded from calculation? Oy, how much damage has historical attempts to implement Socialism caused, care to do those calculations? At least Capitalism has produced a functioning society, which is continuing to improve living standards and incentify progress. Socialism has yet to produce a demonstrable example that actually does what it says on the tin.
But of course everyone knows, Socialists never recognise their own history, because it’s never “real Socialism”... But Capitalism is responsible for everything, even when it’s state interference it is still Capitalisms fault...
Lack of work and too much work, claims the problem is labour is exchanged as a commodity, which is solved by… Labour not being sold. So you don’t have a right to sell your own labour? Who is working in this society? Who is producing the tangible wealth that is being consumed by all these people, magic automation tech that doesn’t exist yet?
Now this one is combined with the UBI, with wage labour being expressed to be the dominant form of work; as the apparent problem. So how are you going to solve the ‘problem’ of people earning something in return for their efforts, hmm? Labour is given from each in accordance to their ability… You haven’t explained what they get in return for their lifetime service, or are they just expected to work for the sustenance you are providing them? Because Capitalism offers them a lot more than just sustenance.
Ok let’s combined consumption not being subordinate to financial gain; with things are valued for their use. We get production is directed to profit through exchange, because apparently getting something in exchange for your production is a bad thing… Go on, what’s the solution? Production is directed to satisfy human need. Again, all these people working hard for your production, what are they getting in return for that? We are a tad beyond basic needs as a society, people want to work for more than basic survival. How are they performing all this labour without taxing their body and mind? Where is all this automation tech coming from without a market advancing towards it?
So is that it, no more combining, we reached utopia have we? I can’t see anything else to click on, everything that’s combinable appears combined. This didn’t actually feel like a game, it wasn’t even a puzzle, you just followed instruction. The hows and whys weren’t explained, we are just to accept the presented solutions. In much the same way that the citizenry of a Socialist country are to accept what they are given.
Where is the game in this? What do I do now, have I reached the end? A conclusion screen would have been nice. The argued solutions in this simply haven’t been demonstrated in the wild, Socialist countries are often terrible to live in, people flee to the Capitalist countries; not from them to the supposedly superior Socialist ones.
This is just yet another example of someone attempting to paint Capitalism as self evidently terrible, while offering no demonstrable better alternative.
They use the lack of perfection to argue the whole system is flawed, when there is no such thing as perfection, never mind from the Socialist system that has done nothing but repeatedly fail throughout history. If Socialism worked, we’ve have seen it by now. Capitalist countries wouldn’t be the dominant force on the planet; the naturally superior systems would have overtaken it.
Uh, the time I’ve spent going over this today and there wasn’t even a game in it. It might as well have been a powerpoint presentation.
That’s quite enough of that I think, I’m going to vote with my wallet and not support this one. There are actual economic simulators out there, which have actual gameplay, not simplistic propaganda masquerading as a game.
This is paragraph per paragraph because I had a lot of problems that can be summed up with a) please take some intro level economics classes (or watch Khan Academy) and b) pay your taxes, tax evasion is a crime
(3)Actually its a well known fact that in mainstream economics, things that do not affect or are primarily affected by the market mechanism are externalities. This is in fact the definition of externality, the term used in the game and also the very first example your Econ prof will give you. Economics is primarily focused on (data wise) meeting demand with supply; earth dying isnt part of it. It still has utility of course and is a normal part of normative policy but is seen as secondary to the industry. Secondly, the entire point is that we wish to move towards a post Capitalist society. You can see already that its changing. Also, tbh, the current shift towards more sustainable forms of energy often come from the best of non-market mechanisms (e.g. the Tokyo Accords, govt agencies etc) as its pretty normal-individuals care about the environment but when youre looking at profit margins and stuff, its difficult to focus on sustainable building. This is called the tragedy of the commons. Its also of note that capitalism DID cause global warming; the industrial revolution was when pollution really kicked off and capitalism further gained traction as capital (e.g. machines) became more prominent.
Are you an industry? When we talk about systems its not so much about individuals. Rather its why are PCs so important? Why doesn't anyone bother with serious recycling efforts? Why are we so focused still on traditional power systems? Every individual matters but sometimes you miss the forest for the trees.
Extraction is a fairly harmful industry in that its really easy to exploit? Venezuelas a good example as well as the usual extraction industries pretty much everywhere. While its true the basic D/S says that shifting price up decreases quantity demand but you also gotta think what does this say? Firstly, its also a problem of course when only few companies get this power. While pricing mechanism can help, its a problem when its easy to jack up the prices to maximise profit. This is normally called deadweight loss- if you prices goods cheaper you'd earn less profit but still be able to keep earning enough to go on while maximising utility for everyone. Also because its easy to get rich fast (especially if you dont care about workers or the environment) its very easy to fuck over the families who live in mountains you explode and the ecosystems you wreck to maximise profits. This is a common issue especially in developing nations and is aggravated by firms being encouraged to do what's best for them. Socialism doesn't have a pricing mechanism is weird? More likely the supply will be from the government rather than firms. More likely they'd have a very traditional econ pricing mechanism; MC=MR=P (or P=AR w/e) or something similar as the government has a higher incentive to maximise consumer (aka the people who vote them in)'s gains.
Have covered this, would just like to add that this is like what? A 10 minute game? Are we really arguing the merit of its failure to expound on economic and political theory? From the get go it's clear that it's focused on different paradigms of the two systems. You're talking about how capitalism is so great but neither are you expounding on the mechanisms that make them neccesary. But that doesn't make me right for flaying you for it; it just makes me a dick.
..........I'm very confused? You are right that self worth is fairly high but that doesn't mean the lack isn't felt. Often it means that these things are daily struggles you can do little about. For example, if you live in poverty and live paycheck to paycheck, you don't address the stress or depression you feel because you're unable to not because you don't feel it. You can't worry only means that you dont have the problem or resources to focus on those problems due to more pressing matters but those problems still exist. For example, homeless people struggle more with food but are also worried about their safety and only sacrifice safety for food when the situation is life threatening. This shows that while there is a hierarchy, both are pressing needs.
People do need to work but the game makes it clear. Capitalism has two main issues- not enough work (underemployment) and too much work. The latter is very dependent. If you like in Europe and relatively doing well, its likely not as big of an issue. But if you're trying to make ends meet, live in bad place or places which are rich but have strong-to-unhealthy work cultures (e.g. Japan is really notorious for this) where overtime is expected, then that is a problem. If you're dying to stay alive, that's a problem. That's the games point. Secondly, refer to the game. It doesn't say work shouldn't exist but that it shouldn't destroy people's lives (maximum hours; because a lot of labor capitalises on cheap wages and long hours case in point Amazon lately; but its fairly common) and neither should it be both something you need to live (work=wages=means to live) but also be incredibly scarce (jobs today and issue also in places where people don't want to retire and more people enter the market but less are retiring.) Socialism focuses on universal income to ensure that people don't die. Generally, I would think people WOULD want to work. UBI is essentially how much you'd earn on minimum wage, but a lot of people don't want that. Most people actively don't want that. If we didnt, why do so many people exert effort to not just go to college but focus on high income fields or try to get promotions? People always want to better if not themselves then the computers they have and the food they eat and the hous they live in. Recent UBI experiments reflect this but I think its also clear. We all like going out to a fancy restaurant and getting to spend hilidays in Disneyland.
what on earth are you on about. Natural rate of unemplyoment is generally assumed to about 3-4%. Current world average is about 6% and that covers all rates from >1 to more than 12. Welfare is not a capitalist structure. Socialism a) covers welfare in the form of UBI (generally) b) removes the gaps that cause too high/low unemployment by being less focused on capital gains and creating a society where labor structures are created by entites whos focus isn't just profit, e.g. government.
* i cant unlock the node to allow the two labor nodes to be on at the same time but the reason why work isnt always efficient is covered all around. also really its worse in capitalism, because youre not even stealing from others, youre stealing from the person earnining from everyone's efforts and gets to kick it.
Unnecessary work is common? One good example (which I'm super appalled about tbh!) is the number of military contracts the US keeps because they help keep jobs in states. Capitalism isn't about just efficiency, thats economics. Capitalism is about the best arbiters for the market are people because people naturally want to earn more so they'd maximise efficiency. As we can see, people suck! All these things assume that people are perfectly rational and that information is freely given AND that we are capable of true competition. Every basic econ class will cover that but also underscores everything with 'this is purely theoretical' (your ads thing are a good example of how these qualifictions are easily broken actually! Ads are very good at influencing decisions while still being part of monopolistic powers as ads are expensive to produce.)
Travel's nice! But in status quo, travel is really expensive and relies on everyone being in the luxary of a good boss or a job that won't fire you if you take too many vacation days. Socialism, or a postcapitalist world, hopefully moves beyond this to allow people to have both leisure and work life. Same principle as lots of people have vacation time now but only a few days a year. Enough time to kick back and celebrate special occasions. Not everyone is lucky enough to have those.
Still assumes that capitalism is bred for efficiency for maximum allocation. Both socialism and capitalism have economic theories, both of them aims towards market efficiency (positive economics) and deciding what's the best economic policy/effect to help people (normative economics). Essentially capitalism says people like money so they'll help themselves! (see, current status quo wage gap and all the shitty 1% stuff which is basically tragedy of the commons and monopolistic power) while socialist says no! people are greedy, the state should decide so everyone gets to live (see; people are still shitty as well as USSR China etc etc. Worth noting that simply because capitalism profits doesn't mean they win who's best. Beggar-thy-neighbor policies and monopolies all maximise profit for the policy maker at the expense of other people in the market)
Not reeaally? If youre in America maybe. In many places higher education is still a dream. Or in some places, education is still a contest in that the best jobs are gated generally to high achievers. If you're to poor to afford Stanford or you don't live in America, you'll never get the same opportunity. Even here, it's a race to like 4 colleges in a single area- if you can afford to finish high school. Or even some places where there is such a large disadvantage if you don't go to a good school. (Which alternatively- even if one can succeed with those thus proving the person is good enough; then why do you feel the need to put them through hell?) As terrible as the situation with loans are (which clearly, 300k debt for your whole life? Not sure one is truly winning when you have to pay that off for the rest of your life yikes) you forget that not everyone is so lucky! Most countries are capitalist or leaning capitalist (e.g. China) and not everyone is so lucky.
Harvard is a longshot. What if I told you that here (and we're not that poor! I doubt this situation is exclusive to us and we're very capitalist) 20k (for a 4 year stay) is so hard to reach? Harvard is 90k a year according to their site. Hell, here, even 600 dollars a year for tuition is difficult for many students who are stuck in poverty precisely because they can't afford higher education and neither could everyone. While it's totally fair that their should be some way to filter people out, are we really saying that because you have more money you should be allowed to succeed? If you're poor or can't afford to go to a good high school and fall through the cracks, well, sorry try again next life? That's harsh my dude. (There are alternative forms of tertiary education that people don't like to focus on. We still need lots of vocational and hands on jobs, like electricians, mechanics, etc. Nothing wrong with blue collar work, but because the high paying white collar jobs and universities earn the most, its easy for them to advertise and promote white collar work as the only way to succeed and thus making it sound like if you don't make it to college you'll fail in life.)
I don't know if I've hit this node? Also a problem. Firstly, it's common for women to be paid less or let go if they require maternity leave. Secondly, if someone is a parent or say their mom is dying and they are the only ones who can take care of her, but they'll lose their job, what then? UBI is part of this I would think. Not paid sounds like a combination of employers don't like time off (wage gaps are most presnet due to the presence of enforced maternity leave which is! someones gotta take care of the newborn) and that UBI would technically cover this? Again the focus of post capitalist worlds tends to be how do we maximise everyone's utility? Is wealth really so fairly distributed that people need the millions to their name when some barely have a hundred?
Apartments cause a shitload of money no one has. People generally live shitty lives with out homes. Some people can easily pay for a hundred shitty studio apartments in the Bronx, some people choose to only keep building in expensive high profit places. Empty apartments are a common example for price ceilings because everyone NEEDS a house so it's easy to up the profit margins until it hits the point that no one has enough money to keep living in those expensive places save those who are already rich.
Smartphones are a luxury. Flights are a luxury. Getting to nice restaurants, knowing your retirement is safe are all luxuries. Not everyone has them. Economic and political terms aren't exactly the same as day to day usage.
I like how you can admit that noncapitalist policies can improve capitalist systems but not the vce versa. Also welfare isnt perfect and is a bandaid solution to problems like why dont people have jobs? why do people slip through the cracks? etc etc. Doesnt address why we should stop at some socialist policies in regards to UBI and similar steps.
Advertising causes market inefficiency by feeding misinformation or creating irrational associations. See: Sea Monkeys, fad food, junk food, slap bracelets, shitty well marketed games like NMS, AC franchise, Pokemon GO!, makreting tactics (e.g. bigger plates to make you think you ate less to spend more), knowing that people have emotions and aren't robots who have perfect knowledge and using this to your gain. (a good link: https://www.tutor2u.net/economics/reference/information-failure)
Glass bottles of soft drinks are seldom recycled along with most food packaging. The Boeing example. Lots of shit are used once then likely dumped in a landfill. Plastic's a good example- it's ultimately waste as once you use it, its usually too shitty to be used again (hence why you dont drink coke bottles left under the sun) but also refuses to degrade naturally and doesn't recycle well. Postcapitalism worlds is more likely to build recycling centers and focus on sustainable containers. Capitalism? Plastic containers are cheap, avoid health hazards because they're 1 use and aren't consumed, and any cost of actual disposal falls on the government. There is a TON of waste always generated that's only there because it's cheap and therefore helps minimise costs.
(part 2 let me know if you want a more readable excel of paragraph to paragraph responses lol)
You havent started the game?? Its really not a long game....
Solar panels create energy. I do not think this is a very hard game. It's not Dark Souls. It's not even Pokemon
Electricity is cheaper.
Public transports earn less. People like being rich and having cars its also a problem in many places. Also lowkey, my country has shift public transpo precisely because of capitalism related problems which turned into an apathic lower class and lots of nepotism and corruption because some people are super rich and use capital to stay in power. Public transportation is ideal because it's much more efficient in terns of fuel cost, space used (the car equivalent of a full subway takes way more space. or alternatively if you put a line of cars as long as a subway train, its not be as full of people.) Public transpo is great and the future there are too many people
I feel like you missed the intro? It's not about Socialism or how its responsible because uhh its 10 minute point and click game? Its showing the different ideals. Same in the you didnt even talk about all the shit that makes capitalism great and how it happens but it doesnt make it untrue. Its unrefined but many of these are common parts of popular socialist theory and welfare economics.
My dude I sure wished the myth of everyone who tries on equal ground is true. We all wish its true. Sadly, it's the Kool-Aid talking.
squints at you
congrats on figuring out the tutorial which explained requisite parts of gameplay. go you!
UBI isn't that expensive and also really is it so hard to take that much money from millions some people earn? Tax is progressive. Also we've been over this, and I feel like this is obvious. People like nice things. UBI covers basic sustenance. Sadly, we're all greedy fucks who like eating nice food and good wifi. Its doubtful people will actually stop working. (You can easily google this)
For profit also incetivises ways to cheat people out of what they want or using marketing to influence people to buy stupid shit no one wants like sea monkeys. Unless you live in a country where no nepotism exists or exploitative practices be it in the form of Anaheim & Disneyland or cheap labor in undeveloped countries. In which case, congrats! You are on the winning side of the market.
Sounds like...UBI. Technically less of an issue if private ownership is reduced, govt owns more assets and create more equitable distribution rather than funnelling wages disproportionately.
Have covered this
Have covered this. Gross obesity in America does not negate people living check to check and unable to eat.
Covered why work isnt perfect in capitalist societies/status quo.
guess theyll just die. or perhaps, the world is enough but people are irresponsible as fuck. See: the problem with the growing middle class thus creating higher and higher demand for meat.
Wow Im sure the CEO must be working so hard. That dude busting his ass on 16 hour shifts or that student in university who handles 2 part time jobs to eat? Can't possibly be working as hard. Can't possibly need that money more. Everyone knows that everyone pays the exact same amount of tax! Tax rates aren't real, their quotas after all. This was sarcasm. Please pay your taxes or ask your guardian to pay your household's taxes. tax evasion is a crime.
Alllowing commodities is the tragedy of the commons. Both are shitty tbh but generally the commons can also mean organisations with the commons in mind such as the government. Like Socialism. Which youve suddenly dropped because its inconvenient. And tragedy of the commons which you DID pick up because its convenient.
Oh youre not American. Fuck sorry, alot of my examples are American; Im less familiar with Europe. Also this...sounds weird. Like it sounds wrong in the sense that people genuinely like nicer homes? Sounds like a twofold problem of why does your govt want shitty houses (like the recent fire) and I dont know? its a eird issue becuase of both not everyone can have housing and just because people have the opportunity to improve doesnt mean, jobs done clearly the systems fixed. You cant waffle between saying tragedy of commons is real then saying private ownership will always succeed. Its never so simple as singular examples. Doesn't change all the other shit private ownership has destroyed and where it can fail.
Actually it was in the tutorial and the first connection comes pretty fast but alright.
Not every price equation can be solved by D/S. It comes from somewhere and demand can both be imperfect due to imperfect information and supply can be wrong due to monopoly power. Vote with your money also sucks a bit because youre saying that the ability to spend is an open and shut case of this the real value. Man the people who bought houses in 2007 sure wishes that were true. And the poor tulips.
Okay this is just...tinhatting. At some point, its fairly safe to assume society wants certain things like good healthcare and regulated food. If it wasn't then why do we have government officals who represent people and don't have to run back and forth to ask all the time? Chill out mu dude
See arguments on extraction. Capitalist focuses on private gain (aka purely market mechanism because its profit) so ecological harm tends to only be an issue if theres a harn endogenous to the market; thats the functions of fines or carbon tax. Lots of things produce functioning society with improving living standards that due incentivise progress. Very easy in Imperial Japan. Paint good or be skilled at reading weather patterns and someone will sponsor you. Lots of excellent advances during the various golden ages of various civilizations. Know of a few dicators who managed to greatly improve infrastructure as well. For all the reasons above, capitalism is clearly flawed as well.
Somehow I do not think think Marxists advocate to follow in Lenin's footsteps. Also capitalism is doing it now. Many of the issues outlined by the connector nodes are accepted tenets of capitalist thought.
Commodities mean demand supply of the labor market, which inevitably means some goods are inevitably unsold or underpriced. tie back to wages=means of living, so if you cant find work or are expected to overtime, then its a function of the market mechanism. By making it a noncommodity, laborers (the supply side) are less beholden to demands. Your work is not a good because your work IS you. By tagging labor as commodities, we're okay with all the shit that goes with it. Sadly, we dont like people dying or dependent on luck and circumstances. Also ties back to because firms have more power in this relationship, further commodification encourages this behaviour.
UBI is universal basic income. Aka not the only income, you can still get paid. Have already mentioned why people want more than UBI.
Think this is directed to what you do should directly be equivalent to how muc you earn. This is the same as what drives gross inequality and at the same time creates cycles of poverty. I feel like for someone whos mad at people ragging on Capitalism needlessly, you similarly strawmen noncapitalist thought.
you are thinking way to deep into this. Do I know why it took 7 chest shots with my pistol to kill a grunt in Bioshock yesterday? Sadly we just accept this without a proper explanation. Why dont dress up games offer the full experience? Your complaint is so basic that it could be anything from you didnt read the intro, you just wanted to shit on non capitalist thought, you wanted to wank off your brain boner or youre looking for other simulators. Get over it. We all wished NMS had multiplayer but it didnt! Assassins Creed doesnt even have those close ups that Sniper game has. Alas, the world is a greedy mistress.
its a free browser game on itch io. fair enough.
its not that deep
and monarchies existed for hundreds of years and kicked off lots of good shit before being beheaded. give capitalism sometime. demoracy didnt come out fully formed on a summer day
You didnt get this from the tutorial? Or other point and click games? You need to play more. Would recommend Firewatch, Life is Strange and Her Story. Telltale games have excellent tie ins with other franchises if you like GOT or TWD.
This is a free game. A free 5 minute game which was pretty clear on what it was. Get off your high horse
Have you boys considered posting this on your blogs? Like what yours truly has? Wink wink?
I'm not going to write a detailed point by point response, because of course that first post took long enough and I don't want a competition of who can produce the biggest wall of text. I'm sure we both have better things to do during weekdays.
My post was part taking the piss and part serious, you say it's just a simple browser game, but it's a simple game pushing an ideology that killed one hundred million people and counting. People make a big deal about Hitler, Hitler had nothing on Stalin and Mao in terms of death count and crimes against humanity. Kind of puts the whole thing under a malicious light. We wouldn't exactly give a National Socialist simulator the benefit of a doubt, especially when miraculously everything turns out so rosy... according to it.
Here we are in the 21st century and we still don't have a single sample of Socialism in the wild that hasn't turned horrible, yet for whatever reason this is an ideology that refuses to die. No matter how self evidently wealthy and successful the Western world becomes, no matter how many dictators suddenly insert themselves into what was once considered good examples of Socialism, it doesn't stop the people in these comments down rating anything that doesn't speak highly of it.
I think part of the problem is people want perfection, despite that being a fiction. 2017 Capitalism is superior to 1917 Capitalism for the vast majority of people, so a process of continuous improvement is taking place. Yet, people demand perfection and their on paper fantasy land utopia is going to beat anything in the real world hands down. Just ignore all the failed Socialist states in the real world, because that wasn't "real" Socialism anyway...
People see Capitalism isn't perfect, but rather than try to improve a system that has consistently demonstrated itself to work; they want to scrap it and give Socialism another go... a system that has consistently never worked.
So I'm not going to give a token pat on the head to a non-game, promoting an abhorrent ideology. It's not cute, it's not innocent, this is how propaganda works. It's subtle and retrains people to think differently about the world. People are sat in their safe cosy societies, enabled by market forces, humouring a system that would see most of them turned into slaves. All because most of them don't understand why things are the way they are, think it's unfair, and become vulnerable to the snake oil salesmen promising them utopia.
Socialists don't get to complain about injustices, they have way too much blood on their hands to gain any moral high ground. People today don't know how good they have it.
What really makes me an annoyed dragon, is when people associate genocides committed by totalitarian communist governments, with socialist economic policies (particularly if you act like capitalism hasn't cost any lives). To go on to say that 2017 capitalism is better than 1917 capitalism (ignoring that the reason there are sometimes better outcomes than in the Gilded Age is because those have been forced by "big government" regulations for the public good - which is basically the antithesis of capitalism), and then fail to provide that 2017 socialism / or democratic socialism / or social democracy is better than 1947 totalitarian communism is just a bit of a disingenuous argument... particularly leaving off repeatedly that totalitarian communism is not the same thing at all. Hey, some of those countries had "socialist" in their names, so that's what socialism is right? Just like how the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a shining example of a democratic republic? Any criticism of representative democracies like parliamentary systems or the U.S. republic can fairly include the worst practices of the DPRK and assign them to all those other governments, for the sake of argument, because that's what a democratic republic is, right? It's right there in the name. (sarcasm, it's not just for the kids)
Here's my problem with your comment: this game isn't suggesting a government. It's criticizing what we all know is wrong. It's suggesting alternatives to those things, and showing the possibilities of a world with some of those things changed. It's not suggesting exactly how to implement the changes, and... no, I didn't notice in there anywhere, this game suggesting any genocide.
It would be nice if our food supply were better set up so that we didn't throw away so much while so many go hungry. It would be nice if companies took their own risks instead of gambling with the livelihoods of workers who just need to get by. It would be nice if the rent weren't so damn high. It would be nice if people who need work could get some, but if anyone who works for a living didn't have to spend their whole life on a paycheck as a lot of people do. It would be nice if education and health care were considered rights rather than luxuries. And it would be nice if we weren't trashing the planet. There are ways to address problems like these, and there's a way of looking at the world that doesn't require them to exist.
Being terrified that any and every criticism of capitalism will inevitably lead us to the genocide of millions is not only counter-productive, and exactly the attitude that keeps "capitalists" in control (by which I mean the rich beneficiaries, not the poor believers), it's also supremely unimaginative. There's no one model for a post-capitalist society, and there's no one way to imagine the world being a better place.
Wow essentially you said it in the very first sentence. You are nobody.
Interesting stuff. I definitely have some misgivings about capitalism, so it's pretty refreshing to see a game like this. I don't completely understand how it all works, and I think that could be helped by some tweaks. I think the game would be improved if you could see descriptions of the elements of society (buildings, institutions, concepts) after you've changed them. These descriptions could detail what they were initially and then what you transform them into. I think this would help people to understand what's actually happening in the game. I like the minimalist/low-poly look, but that also makes it difficult to discern what you're looking at.
Please read some stories of people who lived in a communist country.
There has never been a communist country, and any country you think is communist has never claimed to be communist, they are all forms of stalinism, and claimed to building socialism, no more no less ? Is your statement supposed to make me hate a premise just because some people suffered under a system you think was communism. Just because people suffered under governments who attempted to get to socialism/communism I should embrace capitalism? I can point to hundreds of people in my own community who could write stories right now who are in a living hell under capitalism. You are a fool to think capitolism's hands are not bloody, and far more bloody than any other system being proposed. And I have read stories, from people not only who suffered, but supported these governments, andi still think socialism is better than capitolism.
Since most if not all countries which attempted communism were failures, your way of doing communism would most probably fail too. I don't know in which country you live and what your experiences with capitalism are but I assume you haven't experienced socialism (socialism and communism are very similar anyway). Neither did I but my parents and grandparents experienced both and none of them want socialism back. Back in those days everyone was the same - everyone was poor (except for the government of course). Since everyone was the same everyone had to think the same way as well. If you dared to dissagree with the government's ideas you would get sent to prison or Siberia. Now that you have democracy you can advocate for your ideas freely even if those ideas like communism hurt millions of people. Now that we have capitalism we can get paid according to how much of a hard worker you are (if you studied in a university, etc). That's much more fair than being a hard worker and getting paid the same as some lazy person if you ask me. Some other negatives of the past are that people would have to wait in very long lines just to get basic neccesities like food and clothes, everyone had to steal from their jobs because of it, people didn't have any important property like land, since everyone had to be the same they tried to destroy my country's culture and make us into russians. And no I don't think that everything about capitalism is good but because of capitalism my people can finally live normal lives. Feel free to write your experiences I'll read it once I find a notification in my email. I hope this helped you to see the other side of the story
Which model of socialism s this taken from? Not that it matters. It's been tried many times and always ends in massive loss of life on an industrial scale and the claim from socialists that "Ahh but, they did it wrong, if only they'd have done socialism MY way"... a conceit that is as hard to swallow as this game.
Great job with the game! And super cool to see it on Kotaku!
I haven't a clue what i'm doing, but i'm loving this nonetheless. Very addictive and well made game. Anyone care to point me to an idiots guide?
When you change the items and receive the little blocks/diamonds, remember to right-click the diamonds together! It'll help you!
Thank you, I was clicking on those and making some choices accordingly, but the game never seemed to progress. I could have a strong welfare state but riddled with pollution, or an environmental paradise powered by consumerism. I get that the game is about choices, but surely there's a mechanic that kicks in at some point? I just kept clicking the same things over and over and not really progressing.
Is this a joke? Is there some message I'm not getting? Communism is bound to struggle like capitalism is now. It always has. It's gonna have just as many problems, more or less. Sure, they might be different problems, but there are still going to be problems. That's why I genuinely wonder if this is some sort of joke. Communism isn't going to bring us utopia, it could even bring us dystopia. I'm not saying that's going to happen, I'm just saying it's a possibility. Capitalism with UBI is seemingly a WAY better option than just communism.
I would've liked the game better if at the end everything just started to turn bad like how the society was at the beginning of the game, but in different ways. Like instead of people starving because of capitalism, people are starving because of communism. And your goal at that point would be to turn the society back in to a capitalistic one. After that inevitably turns bad too, you just keep going back and forth between capitalism and communism, endlessly trying to find utopia but it never comes. The game wouldn't have an end.
But that's just what I think of the political message. I think the game itself has a nice art style. I like the blocky minimalist design of things. The gameplay, well there really isn't any, but I know that's not the point of this game. I do think trying to find everything to click on gets a little annoying, though. Some stuff is kinda hard to find and other things you don't really notice if they change back.
Anyways, if you disagree with me, please explain why. I would love to have a discussion.
Historically society hasn't progressed into a new system, then regressed into the previous system cyclically. Different societies are qualitatively different, not merely different arrangements of quantitative variables that all add up to the same sum; there are certain arrangements that one can regard as better than others. It's true that communism won't be a struggle-less, problem-free utopia, but I regard it as a better arrangement of society and as the next step in historical development after capitalism.
You just said a whole lot of nothing. You say it's better but you never gave a reason why. So... Why?
I wasn't arguing for communism over capitalism; the main issue I took with your post was the stupid ahistorical assumption that communism and capitalism are two sides of the same coin, that the two could ever interchange or revert between eachother. Communist society comes about by the movement to abolish capitalism, a movement generated by the contradictions present within capitalism. If communism isn't the end of history, then what follows it will emerge out of the contradictions present within communist society and generate something qualitatively different both from communist and capialist society.
"Thee main issue I took with your post was the stupid ahistorical assumption that communism and capitalism are two sides of the same coin, that the two could ever interchange or revert between eachother. " Hahaha! Ahistorical, huh? Wanna check how many countries changed to capitalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union? Russia, for example. And while you may argue that the Soviet Union wasn't communist, it seemingly got closer to communism than anything I can think of, which was reeeaaaaallly close.
The USSR was not communist. It was not close to being communist. It was not progressing towards communism. If you think that the USSR was reeeaaallly close to communism, then you have a completely inaaccurate understanding of both the USSR and communism. Only a few minutes reading the Wikipedia articles on communism and the USSR would show how demonstrably false you understanding is. Considering that you are apparantly too lazy to look these things up before bringing them up, I'll help you by posting links below.
You keep saying communism, but this is about socialism. So basically, yeah, you missed the entire message... They could say Socialism inevitably leads to Communism which is irrelevant to this topic and I don't necessarily believe.
That said, your entire rant is about a completely different subject, Communism. Which is in fact, not Socialism.
Also, if you had finished the game, you would see it does revert back to Capitalism in the end. Once you've managed to change all of the pieces of Society to Socialism the everything begins to shift back. Because in order to change everything you have to juggle certain policies, you can't have them all. But with a tedious balancing act, you can achieve Utopia. Once the person or peoples tirelessly balancing everything get tired, or become complacent with the benefits of their utopia (The player does nothing because there is nothing to do). The policies begin to shift back, either due to greed or some other force, which in turn reverts the entire city back to Capitalism.
I think the point of the game is to show that a utopian society is possible with Socialism, but it is a tireless effort and people will inevitably become complacent once "perfection" is achieved and the "greed of men" will seep back into society and slowly revert everything back to capitalism.
Unless I missed something, which is entirely possible, the society you build in the game seems to be a society that runs on communism. Also, if the society genuinely does revert back to capitalism at the end, I must have not gotten there as I couldn't find anything else to click on, and I searched for a while. Even if it does though, I specifically said it should do it because the society turns to crap after it changes to communism, or socialism if that's what it is, and in order to try and obtain Utopia, you switch back to capitalism, and then that goes bad too, so you have to switch back, and it keeps going forever. Though, that's just my opinion on the message and I don't think effects the overall quality of the game. Also, you said that this game shows it's possible to achieve a Utopian society with socialism. No it doesn't. Someone could make a game like this, but instead of going from capitalism to socialism, you go from socialism to capitalism and you achieve Utopia that way. That game wouldn't show capitalism is the way to achieve Utopia, would it?
Good game, but I don't think that jobs should be a right. People don't want to work, they want to live
People do want to work, clearly you have no understanding of human labour. People want meaningful work, not redundant mindless, drudgery that grinds you down and leaves you an empty husk. If humans/people don't want to work, then how did we even get to this stage of our development (Not a question just a rhetorical statement). Human labour is why we have progressed, it began in it's infancy, prehistory and grew because humans remain active, not only for survival but also for the drive to learn. If we do not learn we die, our brains deteriorate. Even under capitalism when people retire do they remain inactive, no, because it is boring to be inactive. They typically do something they like or have always wanted to do, if they have the means, and continue until they die, or become to physically impaired. Your statements is ridiculous and just because an idea pops into your head doesn't mean you should say it. And just because you have the ability to say your opinion, doesn't mean it holds any weight or is logical in any way. Sometimes it is better to say nothing and be thought dumb than say something and prove it.
this is a great game...it's kind of depressing, haha, realizing nothing cant happen without sacrifice...but it's such a great game. thank you for your hard work and thank you for making this available to everyone!
It kinda sounds like you didn't use the feature where you can make changing something not cause something else to become capitalistic again by connecting them to the underlying issue...
Interesting piece. I like how it explains why it's possible to replace/improve a few things under capitalism, but that you'll be fighting an uphill/unwinnable battle unless you also fix the underlying assumptions and systems.
I guess it begs the question, though: what actual policies should we put in place, or what action can we take, to "click the gems"?
Amazing game. I wish it was this easy to fix problems in real life.
i really like the concept and how one problem leads to another but can be solved.
I like the slow build and the way you can combine abstracts to get to bigger issues!