No Solutions. Only Trade-offs.

Posted by PAUL HNIZDIL on 5/25/2021

Building on last year's 4 rounds of the World Peace Game, we were anxiously looking forward to getting 5-6 this 2020-21 school year.  Then it all came crashing down.


In spite of the unwonted circumstances, we were able to facilitate one game this year.  It was a very interesting game, to say the least.  We are learning with each and every game that no game is the same from the previous. Some things happened this time that none of us anticipated.   We were so befuddled by the decisions Tami and I called John Hunter for some guidance and wisdom.  Of course, John didn't offer any solutions. He did what he had taught us to do.  He asked us questions, affirmed our efforts, and encouraged us to press on.  


By the rules and criteria of the game, the players won the game.  However, was the world a better place?  In achieving victory, did the players build a better world from the start of the game?  The consensus from the group was no.  The world was more militarily and politically volatile and on a path for long-term irreversible ecological destruction.   This led to a great two-day debrief when we were able to deep dive into the decisions, intended results, and unintended consequences.  With the latter bringing the more significant reflections. 


How often do we all, students and adults, focus on the short-term solutions or actions without considering the long-range implications, especially if the short term delivers us the immediate and intended results, rewards, or goals?  


Because of this game, we are adding a third criterion needed to win the game.  To win 1) Solve all crises in the manual and any additional crises from game play.  2) Each nation must increase its financial standing  3) The world must be a better place? 


Economist Thomas Sowell once said, when it comes to policy there are no solutions.  There are only trade-offs.  This clearly played out in this year's WPG.