December 2013

So according to Paul Mason writing in that bastion of balanced political views, The Guardian, computer games, and specifically Skyrim, can help overthrow Capitalism. Who wouldda thought it? Here’s the crux of his argument:

“… But what if you could choose to play any of these games without trying to gain wealth through conquest, violence or the mercantile capitalist strategy of buying cheap and selling dear? What if you could pursue a strategy to create things collaboratively, outside the market, and give the basic necessities of life away for free? Would you be able, singly or in groups, to screw the slash-and-grab economy so badly that you forced it into a transition state beyond destructive competition?”

Apparently delusion knows no bounds. Look Paul, I appreciate the effort that must have gone into this astoundingly complicated piece, but taking away from the fact that under a socialist community commune Skyrim wouldn’t have been developed in the first place, your argument shows a complete lack of understanding of the online community, and thus human behaviour itself. Far from working in groups to screw the slash-and-grab economy, players would circumvent this in any number of ways. Firstly, there would be a well-meaning and misguided core group of followers who would throw themselves into this great idea at its inception. They would soon become jaded however, at discovering that their efforts were being splurged on by coat-riding slackers who would sign up after promising to do all the required work only to do next to nothing while taking as much of the group’s output as they could get away with.

Que the next inevitable step where the collective sets up a series of rules and restrictions designed to counter this unscrupulous behaviour only to discover that all it does is restrict their own core membership while a few individuals at the top skim off all the profits under the guise of benevolent leadership while ruthlessly purging any members unwise enough to speak out until the whole thing self-implodes in a wave of acrimony and pain. If anything it sounds like just about every guild of which I’ve ever been a member.

But the real hilarity would ensue if this was done in a sandbox virtual world. Can you imagine the licking of lips in anticipation of raiding the “communist socialist popular gnomish front” and taking all their hard-earned gains while skewering them just for good measure? I don’t even want to think about this possibility as I may get too excited and the people next door will call the police on me again.

Mr Paul Mason continues with: “… These are good questions, because a whole school of economists thinks what they describe is the basic problem facing us in the real world.”

No, they’re not good questions, Paul. They’re fucking brain-dead questions. And the fact that you talk about this in terms of the real world and then go on to cite someone from the Harvard Law school, that bastion of ivory-tower group-think which bares no relation to any real world that any half-sane person comes into contact with, (although to be fair, at least he didn’t try to quote some from the Harvard school of Economics), just shows how ridiculous all this is. I mean, Wikipedia? Really? That’s your example of something that creates a glitch within Capitalism? Of course it does, you moron. It’s free. Although, just about every time I open it there’s a pathetic appeal for funds which seem to grow even more desperate with every passing week. Maybe that’s because they’re discovering that providing a free service does not put bread on your table, let alone pay for the bandwidth. But hey, you guys at The Guardian are making such an awesome profit, right?

As to be expected there are many comments deriding Mr Mason’s ability to think rationally about this matter. The best comment? It has to be this one:

“… I was once a capitalist swine like you until I took an arrow to the knee.”

Thank God for that.