Required Courses for Politicians: MMORPG Design

If you could make any educational course mandatory for politicians to take and pass before they could be elected, what would it be?

There are probably many good candidates, like world history or economics, to ensure some basic understanding of the past and how money changes hands. And it’s clear that an important part of what a politician is doing is in crafting and arguing for and against various laws; so perhaps a remedial law course should be required?

Instead, I’d say that developing a robust intuition for the effects of laws will make more effective politicians. Many well-intentioned laws have perverse effects because of unintended consequences.

Economies are incredibly complex, human behavior is difficult to predict, and seemingly trivial aspects of laws can have surprisingly large and counter-intuitive impacts. While it might seem like there is no test-bed for playing god with economies or laws, MMORPGs offer a unique opportunities for experimentation.

Perhaps we should require all politicians to learn how to design MMORPGs; not the programming of them, but the way their laws and rules and economies are structured. That way they can learn from experience. They can gain first-hand insight into the complex dynamics that result from the simples rules or laws or economic policy they put into a virtual system. They can try audacious things that wouldn’t fly in the real world.

A complex system

Why not at least have politicians run for virtual office first — perhaps in the future the president of World of Warcraft will be a helpful credential when attempting to get into the white house. After all, we allow pilots to crash a simulated jumbo jet into the mountain to make passengers safer — shouldn’t we do the same for the citizens of our country?

2 thoughts on “Required Courses for Politicians: MMORPG Design

  1. I’d settle for a course in common sense for most politicians.

    Or have them play an MMO, get really involved in it, and then change the rules to break everything.


  2. In fact, I think this should be a required course in all schools. One year of building an MMO as a class project, or as a group project would be great. Kids will love it, and they’d learn from much from it.

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