I recently picked up Democracy 3 on Steam (I fell for the 50% off adverts I admit!). I once upon a time used to have Democracy 2, but it had been a good 5 years since I flexed my political muscles and sat down to play a Democracy game. For those who haven’t heard of the Democracy series, its one of the best political simulators out there. Sounds boring, I know, but bear with me as I take you through the Digital Salad Democracy 3 journey!
I know it sounds really boring to many but, to me, the idea behind the Democracy series has always sounded exciting. Be the leader of a country, lead it how you want and see if it works – see if the people love you and if wages get paid. I guess I’ve always been politically aware, although studying it academically killed any flare of every getting into politics professional. This way, playing Democracy 3 is a far more fun way of satisfying the natural curiosity of what would happen if all your ideas were suddenly national policy.
Democracy 3 isn’t a massive upgrade from the Democracy 2 that I played years ago, but the simulation codes have been improved and the issues updated. There’s renewable energy ideas that you can enact in number 3, and that just makes sense. All in all though, the core game is still the same old solid concept.
I’ll take you through my journey on Democracy 3 as Prime Minister Digital Salad of Great Britain.
I started with an exaggerated mock-up of modern day Britain. The economy was nose-diving, debt was rising, the government budget was huge and the people were unhappy. I started a Britain with a violent crime epidemic, which I soon had spiraling into urban ghettos and gang warfare. Doesn’t sound a very happy place – a place in need of some Digital Salad intervention!
So, I enacted some policies starting off with a couple of taxes. I wanted to make sure the budget balanced so I decided that a Luxury Goods Tax would be a good idea, essentially the VAT we have in the UK in real life. That helped the economy a bit, but my budget was still a problem – as was the crime epidemic.
Of course, bumping up the police budget didn’t do the budget problem much good, and neither did the huge amount I chucked into science research funding when I realised that was non-existent.
It all worked out quite nicely though, the increased police spending brought the crime epidemic under control eventually, which thankfully meant that more people were working and paying taxes – so good for the economy. The really winner was when all that science funding started to bear fruit – making Digital Salad UK the most technologically advanced place in the world.
People were flocking from all over the world to buy Digital Salad technology, and my fairly high import taxes meant that it was extra money into the coffers. The economy was saved!
The economy was even more saved, funnily enough, by all the money I was putting into Green policies. People were working from home more, an eco-policy that made commuters happy and saved companies money, and car usage was right down. That meant we didn’t need much oil, which was even better for the economy – that was largely unaffected when the world oil price started to spike up.
With such a healthy budget I started to implement some more expensive policies that I’d had to hold off on, focusing on Health and Education especially. The people of Digital Salad Britain became the healthiest and most educated in the world, which meant they were happy enough to vote me in for a second term.
I felt fantastic having turned Britain around from the very sorry state it was in. My cabinet went through several re-shuffles – my party colleagues didn’t always like my policies. I guess I’m more of the pragmatic type than someone who will always follow a party line, so I was never going to keep the loyalty of a cabinet. That said, pragmatism worked, Britain was saved.
You might say its a fairly socialist Britain I created, although it wasn’t by any grand design that that happened – I just followed with what seemed to make most sense to me as a politically aware citizen of the real life UK! The graphs would reasonably agree with the argument that I created a socialist Britain though:
It seemed to work for my Digital Salad Great Britain though. We became a technologically advanced nation, a healthy nation, an educated nation and a country which lead the world in saving the planet from Climate Change. I’m really quite proud of the Britain I created, and its not all that removed from reality.
Its not the only Britain that would have worked either, that’s the gold of Democracy 3. You can make anything work if you’ve got the right political skills – everyone will have a slightly different story to tell.
The sad thing about playing Democracy 3 is that, perhaps all the more for its very dry sarcastic humour throughout, you realise that the only world where you can actually solve your country’s problems is in the digital world. It doesn’t show real life politics up all that well.
I’m not a great fan of politicians, I was around future ones for too long in academia and they were truly insufferable types. It depresses me that the people who really can make a difference will never be able to; the closest most of us can get to that is to play Democracy 3 and see what we can do for our country.
So pick up a copy of Democracy 3, see if you can make a better job of it than politicians and share your funny stories of farmers rioting about rail subsidies with your friends. It is good fun despite initial impressions!
Digital Salad – https://lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com