Hello from China (and the UK)

Hi, everybody. I am Shujun, and I am from Harbin, China. I am a PhD student studying behavioural and experimental economics at the University of Manchester.

I have been learning modern classical economics for several years and recently became interested in new types of planned economy. My friends and I have been running a Minecraft server to simulate a planned economy with real human players. Though the original aim is to simulate Cockshott’s planned economy, we welcome international players to build Hahnel’s participatory planned economy as well!

If you guys are interested in this simulation, we can discuss it more.

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Welcome, it’s great to have you! The Minecraft server sounds really cool. Would love to learn more about it if you have more info!

Minecraft can be used to construct a virtual economy since there are many resources (such as ores) in this game, and players can combine their labours with them to produce, distribute and consume multiple goods with different economic modes.

We aim to construct a democratic, participatory and socialist economy in this virtual world. Since we only knew Cockshott’s model initially, we have been working on constructing a Cockshott’s version of planned economy.

Here are some summaries:

The official name of this virtual economy is ‘The Commune’, and it has three
administrative districts: The Centre (the capital), Cannan and Tirana.

(1) Economic institution

At the current stage, the economy is a mixture of market socialist and mutual aid economies. We are trying to transform it into a planned economy in the future.

Production and Firms:

  • Three loose-organised firms: an agricultural workers’ co-op, a railway workers’ co-op and an institute of Architects have been established. And we are laying the railroad from The Centre to Cannan now.

Exchange and Distribution:

  • The official money in The Commune is the ‘Labour Certificate of The Commune (LCC)’. In future, LCC will be used as Cockshott described in his book ‘Toward the New Socialism’.

National Economic Accounting

  • We have almost established an input-output statistics tool that can be used for labour contribution accounting and various types of economic planning.

(2) Political institution

Democracy

  • We don’t have enough members yet (20+ in total currently), so we just have a general assembly of the Commune and practice direct democracy. In principle, multiple parties and organisations are allowed to exist in the Commune (as long as they comply the Constitution of the Commune), but since we only have a few members, there is no party yet in the Commune.

If in future there are enough members, sortition and Soviet delegate systems will be used together.

Laws

  • Two laws are passed: the Constitution and the co-op law.

Relation with Hahnel’s idea
Despite the historical reason we are experimenting with Cockshott’s proposal, we do think there is room to accommodate Hahnel’s idea within it as well. Potential international players who want to practice Hahnel’s proposal exclusively may want to make a confederation with the Commune, and then we may gradually turn it into a socialist federal.

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That’s really cool! Would love to see videos of it in action. I don’t play Minecraft, but I think it’s neat to see the stuff people come up with.

I’m actually an independent game developer. I’ve been doing it professionally for 10+ years, and am currently making a game that simulates different types of post-capitalist societies. I wrote an article about it here if you’re interested: Dissent on Mars Announced: Create a Participatory Economy on Mars and Live In It - Participatory Economy

Would love to hear more about your server as it progresses!

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Your game seems really cool! Just a quick question: how do you simulate production in this game? I’d like to know the details of it!

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Thanks! The colonists go into work and make products that are in the plan. Each product has a randomly generated recipe, so there will be different amounts of natural resources and labor required to make things. There are a lot of details we could dive into, but that’s the simple explanation haha.