First Rate Visualization, Can Be Applied to Everything,
February 21, 2007
I was trained in the 1970’s, and did my undergraduate thesis on “Multinational Corporations: Home and Country Issues.” I could have used this stellar book back then. It does for multinational corporations what “Global Reach” by Richard Barnett did, in the 1970’s, but with a powerful method adapted from “State of the World” atlases.
This book could easily be converted into an online interactive serious game for change useful not only to students, but to governments. The book not only charts where and how much the multinationals are doing, but it goes into direct impacts (both benefits and external diseconomies), concluding with an absolutely brilliant section on effects of both governments and multinational corporations across the economic, health, environment, technology, culture, education, and law sectors.
The graphics are in a class by themselves, the notes are effective and to the point (if you’re over 50 as I am, you may need granny glasses for some of the fine print), the overall layout is very well done, and the sources as well as the index are top-notch.
One of the principal authors of this book, Medard Gabel, was associated with Buckminster Fuller when they conceptualized the World Game, which today is still an analog gtame with cards, token, and hard-copy maps. The author has moved on to found BigPictureSmallWorld, producing serious games on hunger and other topics, and he points with great respect to Real Lives, by his friend and colleague Bob Runyan, which can be downloaded such that your teen-ager can experience the real life of a Bangladeshi girl or an Iraqi teen-ager before the US invasion.
Not only is this book tremendous on substance, I believe it is, along with State of the World Atlas and other similar books that I have reviewed in the past, the first view of what a real-time live online Earth Game will look like, where individuals can “game” and learn and act at the zip code level, the state/province level, the national level, and the global levels, first setting their social values, then interacting with the ten high level threats, the twelve policies, and the eight major players other than the EU and the US. From such a game will come informed engaged citizens who will demand moral capitalism and honest democracy.
I don’t want to over-sell this book, so take the following with a grain of salf: this book is to serious games as the printing press was to the democratization of knowledge. The next big leap for mankind is going to be the use of serious games for change to help individuals at every socio-economic level and in every ideo-cultural milieu, “make sense” of all information in all languages all the time. We are now ready for the Earth Game that will allow the people to complete with elites in publicly solving global problems, and it is my view, and I believe also the view of at least one of the authors of this book, that the people working within an open global game will soundly defeat the elites who have relied for too long on very expensive secret intelligence and the deception and manipulation of public opinion, while restricting public knowledge. That era is OVER, and this book is one of the building blocks for the new world of public intelligence in the public service.
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