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Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Strange Idea - A Virtual World?

My hubby and I were just talking about this and that, and I realized something important... There has ALWAYS been and there will always be poor people. Until the day that the entire world converts to a system in which every single person born has an equal amount of money - or the world gets rid of money altogether somehow - there will always be people who have little to no money, and people who have a lot of money. I don't think this is a bad thing.

I'm not one of those that thinks that some government should be allowed to take money from rich people to give it to poor people - though I do believe that a government should be allowed to collect taxes so that it can take care of poor people. But to simply take a ton of money from a rich person for no reason other than to give it to poorer people so that they can be rich too? No, that's not really fair.

However, I do love a good Robin Hood story, lol! So now that I have run in circles, what does any of this have to do with my idea for a virtual world?

Well, one of the things that certain tax payers bemoan is welfare. They think that poor people choose to be poor, and that giving them any sort of financial aid - even if only food and medical assistance, or even housing assistance - it's ALL bad. It's all simply encouraging people to be needy and depend on the government and tax payers, rather than working for themselves.

I have never understood this. How can ANYONE think this??? This is basically blaming poor people for being poor!! Seriously, if you are a person who thinks that a person woke up one day and said: "Hmm... I think I'd like to be poor. I think I'd like to make sure that my children starve and that we have no place to live."

Seriously, if you think anyone in the world since the beginning of time has said that, then you have bought in to a huge lie told by rich people to other rich people to make themselves feel better.

The other argument is that this is America, the Land of the Free, where anyone can just go out and earn money if they are willing to work for it. That's a lie too. If you want to go out and earn the really big money, then you have to basically sell yourself into the indentured servitude called Student Loans. The more money you want to make, the more student loans you have to take out to live off of while you learn those valuable skills. And THEN... you aren't guaranteed a job.

I like to think of it this way: There are a certain number of jobs. Maybe it's so large that it can't be accurately counted, but it's finite and definitely smaller than the number of people in the world. This means that if every single job in the world was taken by people qualified to do the job well, then there would STILL be millions of people who have no job.

So, are those people really less entitled to live? Do those people truly deserve to starve and have their children starve because they can't get a job?

There are two solutions that I see, actually I see three. The first two are: Either require every company in the world to hire extra employees that it doesn't need until every single person has a job or give these people basic assistance to live decently well - AKA Welfare. I've said this before, that the world NEEDS people who are content to live with next to nothing because without them, there would be mass riots and so much more fighting and stealing then there already is. The third solution I see is to give every person that cannot get a job or isn't qualified for high paying jobs a little bit of land and the seeds and small livestock necessary to survive.

You know, a small farm with a flock of chickens and a goat or a small cow, and just enough space to grow some crops. If they then preserve or keep what they raise and grow - and barter extras for things they don't have - they can keep themselves and their families alive and well and be content and comfortable. I actually think that this would be THE ideal solution :-)

But Roxie - my BFF always points out - Not everyone WANTS to be a small farmer. Not everyone wants to work in the dirt and put all their hope and faith in animals. Not everyone likes the idea of having to struggle all year just to have enough food to survive...

That sounds like any minimum wage worker to me, but she has a point. Not everyone wants that life. In years past, they would not have had a choice. Unless a war needed more soldiers, men had to be farmers if they were born that way, and even then, they were usually working for someone else. ONLY those born to families that had a choice ever truly had a choice.

But these days, we are all raised - at least here in America and in other "1st world" countries - to believe that we can do whatever we want. That we should have dreams and follow them until we either succeed or die trying. We're also taught growing up that being a "dirty farmer" is the worst job in the world, and something to be avoided. This is why almost no one wants to do this all important job anymore.

Well, more people do these days, but still, not that many...

Anyway, so here's the strange and crazy idea I had... A virtual world!

This is just off the top of my head, so I don't have an answer for everything, but lets start with something fairly complete - such as the online world of Grand Theft Auto. Or Assassin's Creed. Or World of Warcraft. Or Hell! Farmville. Maybe there can be more than one world, or maybe they could all be connected, who knows (shrugs), the important part is that it's an online world in which each person can make up a character. They can be anything they want. Cop. Robber. Writer. Ceo. Prostitute. Powerful Elven Warrior, ANYTHING! There wouldn't be many rules in the virtual world because well, even if there were, they would just be broken, and that would be part of the world.

Maybe the powerful Elven warrior would be the Ceo's personal bodyguard. Maybe my character writes a new bedtime story for the CEO's children every night and tells it to them as they fall asleep. Maybe your character wants to be in a cartel selling drugs to everyone in the world.

WHO CARES!!! The drugs aren't real, so they can battle the cops in an epic tale of good versus evil, and if a character is killed, they can be respawned again later. No one is really hurt.

Yeah, but... how does this help those poor people I was talking about earlier??? Simple, let this be their job. They can work in this virtual world doing whatever their character wants. Maybe their character is a bad guy one day and a good guy the next. The point is that they are out of everyone's way and they aren't taking jobs from people who can actually find a job.

Your wounded veterans who can't function back here because their mind is gone. They could do it. Disabled people who are stuck in a wheelchair; they could do it. Maybe - with the right tools - maybe even blind people could do it. So could stay at home moms who want to be with their kids but can't because they need to earn money to support their kids. Anyone with a mental disorder that makes it hard for them to interact with others. Basically ANYONE who needs a job and cannot get one for whatever reason, let them sign up as part of this virtual world, and let their job be to play for a few hours or for a full 40 hour work week, and they can get paid for it.

It's the same pay they are probably already getting; welfare, disability, whatever, but at least they will be doing something to "justify" receiving their money. There would actually be two kinds of money - real and virtual. The virtual money would be just that, money that's used in the virtual world by the characters, which they could earn via jobs or crime or just simply finding it - such as in any game - and then each person would get paid real money based on how much they play the game. I suggest they get paid minimum wage to start with and receive raises as time goes by.

This means that I - as a stay at home mom who likes to crochet, and has a passion for writing - I would probably create a character who does something in the virtual world that isn't so important that I have to do it all the time. Maybe I'd work part time in the virtual library. That way, I could play for a few hours a day (and knowing me, it would probably only be two hours because I am just not into videogames) with the occasional marathon because I have nothing better to do.

Maybe a person with severe depression would choose to play 10 hours a day. Or more. That person would then be earning more than me, BUT I bet they would be seriously working through their depression. Whatever the cause of it, their character could annihilate it!

I know that I am not sure who would be paying these people. I am guessing that it would have to be some corporations who have somehow figured out how to make money off these people, maybe by ads or brand loyalty or whatever. My hubby suggests as Beta testing for games that other people buy and play just for fun.

It could even be the government, but I bet it would be some combination. And this money wouldn't actually replace welfare - at least not like you would think. It would not be required in order to receive welfare (or other benefits), HOWEVER that depressed person playing 10+ hours a day? That person - even at minimum wage - would then be making enough money that they wouldn't qualify for benefits. So in that way, they would be earning money rather than receiving welfare. Savvy?

And now you are gaping at me in horror. Why oh why would ANYONE want to live out their lives in a virtual world instead of a real one???

No wait, that you can understand, what you are actually gaping at me in horror for is this: If everyone starts earning money by living in a virtual world - essentially living in a game - then WHO would be left to actually live in the REAL world??? If everyone could just stay at home and do nothing and earn money, then the world would fall apart! No one would ever leave home to do anything!!!

Oh really? I don't buy it. You know why? Not everyone wants to live off minimum wage. Even if everyone had an account and "worked" part time in the virtual world to make a little extra cash, not everyone would be satisfied earning next to nothing. Even at 40 hours a week, minimum wage is still just scraping by. Yes bills could get paid and food could be bought, but then there'd be nothing left for fun stuff like going to the movies, the amusement park, or even taking a vacation.

SOOOOOO This means that ONLY those people who feel like they can't do any better. Those who are disabled and can't do anything else anyway. THOSE are the people who would actually do this. And those are the people who would need it the most anyway. The rest of us?

Well the rest of us are going to keep trying. We're going to keep working jobs in the real world in order to earn more money so that we can buy all the fun little toys that are available, and maybe save up enough money to put a down payment on a house and be an indentured servant that way. Nope. There's no way in hell EVERYONE would settle for the little bit that could be earned working for minimum wage in a virtual world.

But for those that have no other choice...

Such as a homeless man. Maybe he can only work one hour a day using a public computer at the library. This is the type of job where appearances don't matter, so he can be dirty and smelly. He can also play one hour a day in the library until he gets his first paycheck. Now he has the money to invest in time on a computer in one of those places where you can pay for unlimited time on a computer with highspeed internet. He could then play for as many hours as he he wanted - though obviously his first paycheck would probably also buy him a hot meal and something to eat until his next paycheck.

But you see, in this way, working for minimum wage - even if he initially had to pay for access to a computer - he could eventually save up for a laptop or tablet or something (and using free WIFI), could then work more and more until he had enough to rent an actual place to live. It could change his life!

And it's a much better solution to the homelessness problem than simply doing nothing, ignoring the problem, or even volunteering for a few hours to serve food at a shelter.

Well, that's what I think anyway. It's like when Obama was proposing to bail out the banks for billions of dollars. SOMEONE (who wasn't me) had the idea that if the government simply gave all that money to the people, who would then put it in the banks, pay off their bills, buy new cars, and probably waste it buying a bunch of other new stuff - Well, it would have solved the banks problem, the car companies problems, AND most of the people's problems too, at least for a time. Most people would have wasted their money and been right back where they were within a year or two, the smarter ones would have bought a house and some land and saved the rest of their money.

My system is fairly similar - a stimulus to the economy in which people who normally don't have access to money will, and also can make more money if they need it by putting in more time - but it's different in that people will actually be DOING something to earn the money. Even if what they are doing doesn't matter at all in the real world, still, it's better than doing nothing at all.

Lastly, you know what my husband pointed out? He said: "People would have bad health if they did nothing but sit and play in a virtual world," to which I said: "True, but if they had a treadmill or exercise bike to use if they wanted while they played, then they could stay in good shape, get in some gentle exercise, and still be earning money."

We then discussed an article that talked about how half of effective exercise was done in a person's mind anyway, so if their character was running - chasing down a bad guy - or fighting or something, then they'd have the mental participation that's so often lacking when a person is simply watching TV or listening to music while on the treadmill at the Gym.

Ah who knows?! It could work...

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