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Moving to Game B - A New Paradigm for Human Existence

“Make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

What is meant by “Game B”? 

One way to understand the hidden drivers that shape human activity is to analyze them in terms of game theory. Games have rules (e.g., how to win) and boundaries. In our previous Kaleidoscope, we described the current paradigm for human socio-political-economic activity called “Game A” and assessed the urgent need for a shift to a new paradigm, Game B.

Jim Rutt, a founder of the Santa Fe Institute was one of the first to articulate the concept of Game B, the goal of which he wrote was to enable the creation of “a metastable society emphasizing human wellbeing, built on good values that we will be happy to call home and we will be proud to leave to our descendants.”

The challenge the world faces is transitioning to Game B before the momentum of Game A takes us rushing over a civilizational cliff.

What it might take to move to Game B is brilliantly described in a long podcast, In Search of the Third Attractor,by Daniel Schmactenberger .  An attractor, he tells us, is an idea from Complexity Science defined as a a pattern of activity or “basin of attraction” in a complex system which draws energy toward it, rather like a watershed where streams are drawn down into a valley.

Attractor One is composed of western democracies with neo-liberal, market driven capitalism as the dominant ideology.  These societies allow significant freedom of action to large corporations and powerful individuals such as Elon Musk.   He describes how the patterns of human behavior defined in this “attractor,” operating inside Game A with no one willing or wanting it, will in the foreseeable future, drive humans over an existential cliff.

Attractor Two he describes as autocracy, best exemplified by mainland China where rather than allowing large corporations free reign, the government attempts to hold ultimate power over people and organizations.  This attractor may stave off collapse for a longer time, but ultimately falls prey to similar problems as Attractor One, where rivalrous Game A relationships within the ruling elite emerge and lead to a similar outcome; hence the need to imagine the design of a Third Attractor.

Although this Third Attractor is not yet defined, it does have to meet several criteria. These include:

    1. The ability to prevent all human-induced catastrophes
    2. Coherentcollectivewise, and rapid choice-making
    3. Social operating systems that foster collective well-being, and
    4. Integration at the levels of infrastructuresocial structure, and super structure. (from Wikiuniversity) Developing a Game B global operating system that meets these criteria presents a way out of the existential dilemma we appear to be in.

Going further with the idea of the Third Attractor is outside the scope of this essay; however, it is something we should become familiar because it seems to me that Genii Earth and the thousands of organizations that share our aspirations are attempting to be a part of the movement toward Game B. Building the Third Attractor is the path to a civilizational Game B.

A recent concrete example of a how organizations can be structured  inside a Game B framework (without using that terminology) is described in Net Positive by Paul Polman and Andrew Winston.  Polman was CEO of Unilever, one of the three largest household products companies in the world. During his tenure, Polman moved Unilever to the forefront of large organizations attempting to be “net positive” — a business that by their very operation improve well-being for everyone they impact, including future generations and the rest of life.  Polman led Unilever with the world-view that business can deliver profit and purpose, when applying a long-term financial horizon combined with multi-stakeholder engagement. In doing so, he increased Unilever’s financial returns by 290% while consistently ranking #1 in the world for corporate sustainability.

Transforming large and small organizations, political entities and ultimately individuals and families to be net-positive is one of the vectors for the transition necessary for a Game B world.  Encouraging this transition through these transformations is what animates Genii Earth.

Let’s give Bucky the last word in this edition of The Kaleidoscope.

“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.” ~ Buckminster Fuller

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