The Economic Philosophy of Borderlands
Principles inspired by one of the greatest board game designs ever made
ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES INSPIRED BY BOARDERLANDS, OR GEARWORLD.
“Socialism is when the government does stuff!”
-Richard D. Wolff.
1. Humans are different from other creatures, because instead of looking for what sustains us, we make it. We make things that sustain us.
1a. We need “resources” to make thing.
1b. While animals are dependent upon the environment, we can shape the resources available to our own human interests.
2. Humans use their brain and muscles to shape and control or transform our environment. (That environment is on planet Earth, but we could also say it’s all in the Borderlands or Gearworld). We get resources around our environment. Period. We could get iron, coal, metal, …you name it. It’s takes a natural resource like gold, and itself could be turned into a watch. These resources are exclusive to things we make out of them.
2a. The action to get or use resources, and to make things out of them with physical or mental effort, is called "work," and it is a natural, innate, healthy behavior that all living creatures possess. We love working. It’s not possible to avoid work, just like our own sexual urges or biological realities that make us humans.
2b. Animals share the same biological urge to work, but we as humans can work to our own interests. Both humans and animals have the same biological urge to work.
3. We transform the things we find in our environment, (on Earth, provided by nature) and put them to use in a different form that pleases us.
3a. For example, we make a tree and turn it into a table. We take a cotton plant and turn it into a shirt, etc. On a virtual level, consider we use resources in Minecraft and make virtual objects out of them, and so on. Consider what you can make in Gearworld! A weapon? A riverboat? A ship? A bridge? You get it.
3b. Human beings, along with animals, have been doing this for as long we have an existing human record. Read point 2a again.
4. Work means that we are "producing" goods and services out of nature. Resources come from nature. And thus new resources can also come from artificial human developments as well. This means we create societies around us. We create and instill the economic reality around us, and itself has a physical property.
4a. We produce to satisfy, to take care of ourselves, and to explain the world around us. We implement economics, as a social construction and as a physical invention, around us.
4b. Human beings started producing for themselves as “individuals,” completely owning the means of production. This was a departure from animals, as animals relied on the environment, while humans made things (Read point 1 again). Some were called “barbarians,” who only looked out for themselves, while others, “alphas,” who looked out for their own personal tribe.
4c. Two classes, barbarians and alphas, would help structure society.
5. As we became aware of our own reality and existence, the human race noticed we could change the way we can organize work and production. This is called “awareness.” It’s a progressive notion of history.
5a. For example, humans use to work as barbarians (isolated individuals) or alphas with tribes (read point 4b again). These tribes, through reproduction and environmental ties, formed the phenomena of a high-trust, economic family. This awareness of the family lead into the creation of society. In other words, awareness leads to enlightenment, and further increases the intelligence of mankind.
5b. In a family, or a small group of at least three or more genetically related individuals, could now each use their brains and muscles to produce larger amounts of goods and services to consume in.
5c. Together, the family worked on bigger projects. For example, such as farming the vegetables, goading the animals, and building structures.
6. Eventually, multiple families formed together to start a village, or a small town.
6a. This village then required bigger projects for it to be sustainable, and more people had commit to these large-scale projects. Read point 5b again.
6b. Not everyone could commit to these projects, as multiple groups had to secure different resources for different purposes. It wasn’t possible that every individual was a “renaissance man” of sorts, or, they could not juggle all work at once.
7. Work in a village then require unique special interests for each project, and thus "the division of labor" was created.
7a. Individuals no longer produced for selfish voluntary interest, or for their own family, but instead, had to contribute to the village. The barbarian ceased to exist. He became obsolete (for a time being).
7b. This contribution required specialization, and a focus on a specific trade, or “skill,” required for the “job.” Thus, these concepts were created.
7c. For example, there must be a baker for the bread, a spinner for wool, a builder for a house, a teacher for the kids, and so on. Every skill became divided and required.
8. No longer did individuals produced what they consumed in. These resources, for everyone but the individual, was invested into a new concept, called "distribution.”
8b. Distribution is the action of sharing resources out among a number of recipients, workers, or citizens.
9. Distribution required a specific mode in order to operate. Without distribution, resources and skills would not move out of the family. Distribution arose out of a need to trade with others and the need to contribute towards the village. Both came about through the division of labor. Read point 7 again.
9a. For example, a ladder maker can only make ladders, but needs other resources, like wood, in order to create the ladder. The ladder maker must make a trade with the lumberjack, who cuts the wood. Both benefit from this transaction. Or, think about the lumberjack who cuts the wood, but has no ladder to get up on top of the tree or building. The lumberjack must make a trade with the ladder maker. This is mandatory.
10. Early models of distribution took form as social, even religious rituals. Concepts like "harvest" invoke this. This came about through sheer happenstance within the culture.
10a. For example, in a “harvest,” everyone meets at a specific place and time, and does all the actions required for a universal trade, than of a individual one. This is a duty.
10b. Or, a "festival" is a congregation of all the food and resources available. This is a celebration.
10c. Even elders, or people of authority, would be in charge of distribution, and dictate who gets what. This was an early development of economic dictatorship. Think about players in a game who get to decide who gets what. Such a situation also works out in Sid Sackson’s I’m The Boss.
11. A rule, custom, or social manner develops around distribution. Such as working within the family to produce, and as well provide access to resources. For example, a brother maybe asking for food for free during dinner, the sister asking for more jam, the younger brother asking for the fork, or the oldest person eating first, and who eats dessert first and last, etc. Read point 10 again.
12. Because distribution could be unfair at times, people desired justice. So a new model appeared, right after unfair distributing (read point 10c again), called "the market."
13. The market allowed individuals to act as a “merchant,” and everyone could "bargain" with one another, for transactions between personal resources. Read point 9a again. Everyone became a merchant under the market.
14. This market system reverted back to the concept of lone individualism (read point 4b again), where families no longer decided to use democracy or rituals to determine distribution. As Plato and Aristotle noticed, the market created hostility within the community. Goods and services are provided by other individuals acting as merchants. Hypothetically, everyone became a merchant, and naturally went against any economic paternalism. Thus, the barbarian returned in a new form.
14a. The market, although new and progressive, was criticized as a modern invention that is naturally hostile towards society. Markets thus became places to make both beneficial or unfair trades. in daily fashion. Markets naturally destroyed the organic community, and hostility developed around the market subculture.
15. Merchants eventually increased their trade to larger quantities. For example, “I will give you 50 apples for that piece of land.” Or, If a house was to be build, people would contribute to help as a trade commodity. These larger projects both required commitment and time. The trade thus became larger, because everyone now was a competing merchant who constantly anted their trade offerings.
16. Something called a "collective" was formed to get done these bigger projects, apart of the trade. This was done by force, and had similar interactions found in the tribe. This time, personal supply and demand was dictating the economy.
16a. However, collectives often had petty infighting and created social obstacles when dealing with people didn't want to work together on the projects, making things harder to complete.
16b. Collectives eventually formed into something called a "commune," or, an entire collective looking out for one another in a friendly manner. This reversed back to the family friendly mode of distribution. Read points 5b and 11 again.
16c. The communes thus became idealized as "communities," where an entire party, or extended family without genetic relationship, would look out for one another in the context of a village, than of a series of projects. No longer were collectives required for bigger projects, as communes, turned into communities, now produced all the projects within the interest of the newly developed village.
17. Eventually these communities would required an individual to dictate the working patterns, or a strong leader. This leader told others what work was to be done and how to go about it. In some way, it reverted back to the barbarian mode in a managerial context. Read point 4b again. This caused power tensions within the family project of the community.
18. Those who didn't want to work, eventually became forced to do so, and other humans became commodities, known as "slaves." Humans, for the first time, became commodities, or resources, for other human beings.
18a. The collective (Read point 15 and 16 again) was the first to become aware that human beings can be commodities too, or resources. Instead of forming a friendly commune and evolving into a community, merchants became aware of communes as resources.
19. A "master" is an individual who owns other workers, known as "slaves," and these slaves are told what to do by the master. In return, the master does not have to work. The master is busy “working” by using human resources through management.
19a. All masters are actually merchants. Just like how anyone can become a slave, everyone can be a master. Unfortunately, people sided against themselves in their own awareness that everyone can be used as a resource.
20. Slavery, as an economic system, is invented after awareness developed through the commune, which in turn, is ironic, because it betrayed the principles of the community. Read point 16b and 16c again.
21. Slavery, as an isolated practice, evolved into a new system, less focused on the master and slave divide. Under "feudalism," people were born into their economic roles, and a caste system is created around the division of labor. Only “kings” could focus on a life of the highest luxury. Each caste level, downward, trickled down in quality from there. Kings had the resources and freedom to do other projects, while each other caste system had certain privileges and limitations.
22. Eventually, the entire caste system was abolished through social revolution. There was a realization that everyone should belong in the same economic class, at an equal level, each as an individual, each following the master-merchant model. This system, and the current one we have today, is called "capitalism."
23. Capitalism is motivated by profit, and all production is based around profit motivation, for each individual pursing a life of liberty and freedom. However, while the caste system of feudalism was abolished, people have became consensual slaves to employee and employer relationships. A “gig” or “bounty” economy was invented under capitalism. No one had secure jobs, because all jobs became temporary and dictated by the whim of nepotism.
23a. Somewhere, between early developments of feudalism or early capitalism, “money” was invented, as a medium of exchange. Money acted as a placeholder, or ranking, what someone could have or owe. Instead of making direct trades without goods and services, money could be a universal currency, surrogating those goods and services with a hypothetical number based upon it’s presumed “value.” If the person gets more money in a transaction, this can create profit without any goods and services required. Profit grows money, but not production.
24. In turn, profit is motivated by irrational desires. And these desires, dictated by freewheeling consumers, are fleeting. Consumers spend their money on vices and addictions that get others rich, but they themselves poor. These irrational goods and services are called “products.”
25. As of 2022, we now live in a post-capitalist society, where capitalism seems to be failing everyday, and wealth has been centralized to a elite few at the top, and production has halted to a stop. People only have bank accounts with money, representing numbers, not goods or services.
26. The only future after capitalism, or a byproduct of it, is called "automation," where capitalism still functions, but everyone is granted "universal basic income," a promised set income of money, making money is no longer an issue. The masses can enjoy a comfortable welfare system, without protest against automation or the elite master class.
26a. Automation itself emulates out of a "post-scarcity" concept, where there is an overabundance of resources, and producing goods and services becomes optional, and where work is rather initiating back to it's natural instinct to produce without value. Thus, something of a new commune could reappear (Read point 16b again), but without the purpose of building something together. There is no purpose, but there are multiple welfare communities who have an urge to work anyway. Read point 16c again.
27. The act to produce without value is an important struggle. What is of “value” is completely subjective, especially in the realm of art, and therefor, the value in art is dictated by a personal interest in beauty and what the artisan class, as a group, had in mind. Art is a mere expression of human creativity and effort, using their brains and muscles, to produce a subjective “value” that negates all society values. Human expression and creativity went against what was needed, and a new value was constructed to celebrate imaginary, expressive, and individual forms. Perhaps this comes from the concept that “labor is the source of all value,” and that art is confused as “labor.” These are two different concepts, but nonetheless, a plea about value and purpose in a automatized society. A majority of communist societies see post-scarcity, overabundance, and automation as the endgame to provide universal opportunity for every citizen to produce art and enjoy life. To produce without value, and to produce for the sake as a bodily function (i.e. work), is natural and beautiful.
27a. The irony, however, is that the mixed economy of post-capitalism has instilled automation into it's characteristics, and there is no transition to a state after it. Communists are only fooling themselves with the technology and accelerationism that automation is already providing, thanks to post-capitalism.
28. Nonetheless, even as we live under automation, we as human beings have an innate desire to work. While we may not need a bridge or food to cook, we produce anyway on our own, subjective free will. “Desire” becomes the main motivator of production in the mode of automation.
28a. Capitalism presents desires as consumer goods, and communism presents desires within the freedom that overabundant resources can give us. Read point 24 again.
29. With the concept of “freewill work” in mind, awareness cannot abolish desire or the urge to work. Work and desire are innate urges, and by nature, morally good (Read point 2a again). There is no “progression in history” related to Hegel, or anything like that. It is impossible to supersede desire, and it is impossible to supersede the natural urge to work.
30. We as humans work. We love work. That’s how art is made, and everything we desire. We will create because that’s what we do. As nihilism and egoism slips in, the artist can only produce for himself. Read points 1 through 4b again.
30a. Using the internet, we can produce “dark data” and take up space.
…Play a game of Boarderlands, Gearworld: The Boarderlands, Dune Arrakis: Dawn of the Fremen, or even Lords of Conquest, and I think you know what I’m talking about.
Sorry Dr. Wolff. I made your explanation better.
"Work shall set you free!"
ALPHA - Strong leaders with orbiting tribes.
ART - Human expression and imagination, transformed through work and with resources.
AUTOMATION - A society after capitalism, where all work is automated, and there is an overabundance of resources. People may work under freewill.
AWARENESS - Becoming aware of the current environment and economic situation.
BARBARIANS - Strong leaders who work for themselves, without tribes.
BARGAIN - An agreement between two or more parties as to what each party will do for the other.
CAPITALISM - An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
COLLECTIVE - A cooperative enterprise, done by people in a group, to get done large-scale projects.
COMMUNE - A group of people living together and sharing possessions and responsibilities.
COMMUNISM - An ideology, opposed to capitalism, around post-scarcity, overabundance, and direct paternalism forming an automation society.
COMMUNTITY - A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common, and a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
CONSUMER - A person who purchases goods and services for personal use.
DARK DATA - Data, or art, on the internet that exists against the state, in abundance and accelerating.
DESIRE - A strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.
DICTATORSHIP - Absolute authority by a single figure, or a few.
DISTRIBUTION - The action of sharing something out among a number of recipients.
DIVISION OF LABOR, THE - The assignment of different parts of a manufacturing process or task to different people in order to improve efficiency.
FAMILY - A group of one or more parents and their children living together as a unit.
FEUDALISM - The dominant social system in medieval Europe, in which the nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were in turn tenants of the nobles, while the peasants (villeins or serfs) were obliged to live on their lord's land and give him homage, labor, and a share of the produce, notionally in exchange for military protection.
FREEWILL WORK - Work that can focus on art, or any subjective will.
INDIVIDUALS - A single human being as distinct or separate from a group, class, or family.
JOB - A paid position, task or work, of regular employment.
LABOR - Work, especially hard physical work.
MARKET, THE - A regular gathering of people for the purchase and sale of provisions, livestock, and other commodities.
MASTER - A man who has people working for him, especially servants or slaves.
MERCHANT - A person involved in trade, especially one dealing or supplying goods and services.
MONEY - A current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes. An economic or value ranking.
POST-SCARCITY - A period where demand is not longer required, and resources are overabundant to the public.
PRODUCTION - The action of making or manufacturing from components or raw materials, or the process of being so manufactured.
PRODUCTS - An article or substance that is manufactured or refined for sale, especially edible and for profit.
PROFIT - A financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating, or producing something.
PROJECT - An individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim.
RESOURCES - A stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.
SKILL - The ability to do something well, or a particular task.
SLAVE - A person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.
SLAVERY - The practice or system of owning slaves, by masters.
TRADE - The action of buying and selling goods and services, or, a skilled job, typically one requiring manual skills and special training.
TRANSFORM - Make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of, from resources.
TRIBE - A social division in a traditional society consisting of communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader. Lead by Alphas, or has Barbarians within them.
VALUE - The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
WORK - An activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. A biological and innate reality, akin to our own sexuality.