Pokémon Part Deux
Yesterday’s post elicited some interesting comments. Apparently the most heavily downloaded game in recent history is not supposed to be criticized. Someone even asked me how I dared to compare people spending time playing a game with people spending time trying to achieve world peace. Allow me to explain my thought process, please.
Henry Hazlitt, one of the economist’s quoted yesterday stated that when we are able to see that for which we spend money and our time, then we feel it is profitable. “The Broken Window Fallacy is enduring because of the difficulty of seeing what the shopkeeper would have done. We can see the gain that goes to the glass shop. We can see the new pane of glass in the front of the store. However, we cannot see what the shopkeeper would have done with the money if he had been allowed to keep it, precisely because he wasn’t allowed to keep it.”
I also reference environmental activist David Suzuki and his describing the same thing with an example of a corporation polluting a river instead of a broken window. Once the river is polluted, Suzuki explains that a costly program will be implemented and residents will purchase bottled water because the naturally flowing water they had depended upon is now polluted. While the grocery owner will appreciate the increase in sales of bottled water and some people might be hired to work the cleanup program, overall quality of life has suffered and the individual has lost money in his/her pocket because of the need to purchase the bottled water.
Hazlitt summarized that we never get to see what positive things might have been wrought with the money that was instead spent on repairing the broken window. Suzuki also posited that we would never know what programs might have used that cleanup money if the pollution had not occurred. Economic winners are always easier to track than the losers and Hazlitt proved there will always be losers in such a thought process.
In offered the opinion that world peace offers a much quicker and clearer path toward economic prosperity and general well-being. Monies spent on the destruction and subsequent injuries could be spent on finding cures for naturally-occurring illnesses. Instead of fighting each other, the economies of said countries could grow with stability and increased growth which would provide more trade opportunities, increased production and escalated job growth and prospects.
So what, are you thinking, does this have to do with Pokémon Go? This latest reality-based mobile game is said to get kids off the couch and out into the real world. After all, the more you move around, the more opportunities you have to score points. Like the broken window fallacy, though, we fail to see the real picture. While these players are moving around capturing and accruing points, other things are left undone, other sights unseen, other responsibilities left undone.
I proposed that what we really need is a Peace Go game. We need to recognize the points the world accrues when we do find a cure for a disease like cancer. Forty years ago people died from AIDS but today, people are living with it longer than anyone ever dreamed possible. Two years ago, an ice challenge dared people to pour ice cold water over themselves. Those who failed to take the dare paid ten dollars and many paid rather than get soaked in freezing water. Yesterday it was announce that those monies have resulted in medical breakthroughs. I know of no one who died from the ice bucket challenge but today many have a better chance to live because of it.
I suggested that we need to start awarding points to those who see opportunity in ordinary living and create extraordinary living for others. We need to expand our definition of a hero to include the teacher who teaches a child how to say thank you, to the stay-at-home mother who teaches courtesy to her children, to the father who works a dull job but provides for his family. We need to realize that we all are players in the reality game application called life. The only way to really win that game is to create and support peace. Otherwise we are all losers.
World peace may seem like an ideal but if it happens, it will be a tangible reality that benefits everyone and everything. It will not give power to just one person or group. No one ethnicity or culture will be supreme. What we will have will be a winning strategy for life, foe making every day extraordinary, every life having value and opportunity, of mankind coexisting together and with his/her natural environment. Our points will not be on a scorecard but in the faces of all we encounter. In the game of life, we need to change our goals from beating others to wining together.