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"Climate Change" Leads to Revolt Under the Golden Arches

This has got to be one of the strangest announcements I have read in a long time:

McDonald's Games Division To Leave Parent Company

"We can no longer stand by while McDonald's corporate policies help lead the planet to ruin," said Andrew Shimery-Wolf, co-director of the former Interactive Division.

Here is a link to the address given today by Shimery-Wolf.

So, McDonald's Interactive is seceding from McDonald's because McDonald's is destroying the world with global warming by selling too many Big Macs. I knew tht Big Macs would destroy my figure, but the planet?


Print This Story
Jun 5th, 2006: 22:55:46
Apparently, the company that was originally formed to create market simulations for use in training managers, will strike out in a new direction - inciting popular revolt:
The new organization's charter will be to help stimulate mass mobilization for policy change. "Mass mobilization has had some huge effects," said Dan Licari, the organizer of the International Serious Games Event. "No matter what the government thinks they want to do, they have to act, they're pressed into action."

"Scientists believe that to avoid ever-more-likely calamity, we must reduce our emissions by 70% very quickly," said Shimery-Wolf. "Since governments won't do that without popular pressure, helping to generate revolt is the only responsible choice, the only true CSR."

How did this all come about? It started with the aforementioned fast food simulation, which was used as a game sim in accelerated time, where fast food restaurant managers competed with each other. And then they combined this sim with a climate model, and here's what happened:

First to be integrated was a sophisticated economics package developed at MIT.

Next, the "Externalities" module was augmented with a sophisticated environment sim.

These modules definitely improved the realism. But at the next iteration, in April 2003, a serious problem emerged. We'd just updated the environment sim with a full-fledged GCM, or Ocean Atmosphere Coupled General Circulation Module, that reflected the latest scientific thinking on how the global climate works.

Suddenly, there seemed to be a limit on the length of a game; at anywhere between fifteen and a hundred and fifty game years, games ground to a halt - often for all players at once.

Sometimes, regional temperatures would swing to extreme hot or cold. More often, global sea-level would start rising uncontrollably over the course of a decade, ruining pasture and cropland, destroying low-lying restaurants and destablizing society so that many other restaurants ended up being looted, or so that no one around could afford hamburgers anymore.

Was it a glitch in the program?

At first we thought we had a bug. But the scientists who had provided the module said It was normal, and suggested several factors of gameplay that might be increasing the likelihood of these abrupt changes.

    * Accelerating beef production was raising the levels of greenhouse-gas CO2 considerably, through burning of forest and pastureland, for example.

    * Ever-increasing transport needs were also generating more CO2.

    * The ever-more-numerous cows were generating many millions more tons of methane, a greenhouse gas dozens of times more powerful than CO2.

    * The production of animal feed in the Amazon was deforesting one of the primary sources of CO2 absorption.

    * These activities were cueing the simulation of other industries too, leading to more gas production there too.

Whoa. All those extra cows needed to create the billions and billions of Big Macs and Quarter Pounders served create waaaaay too much flatulence. In other words, we "billions and billions" are destroying the world by eating too many Big Macs.

What to do?

Our first thought was: these bastards, selling us a module which ended the game and made the whole thing a whole lot less fun. Our impulse was simply to change the parameters of the GCM module, or even remove it. But accuracy had been what we'd wanted, after all, and the scientists were telling us that the sim was being quite accurate. In actual fact, our current policies were going to lead to catastrophic problems, at least in combination with the actions of all other companies. Could we ignore a morbid truth just because it interfered with our sense of fun gameplay?

We tried to tell the players to do fewer of the things that were leading to calamity - to reduce emissions, stop cutting forests, etc. But they didn't. Even if they knew what was going to happen, they invariably ended up playing to win. They might hold out for a while - but as soon as one took off towards greater profits, the rest did as well, so as not to be left behind and lose the game.

Hmm. Asking the managers to voluntarily destroy their profitability didn't seem to work, how about some big government solutions?

Finally we hit on a solution. There was one element in the game that hadn't yet been really simulated, and that was legislation. Up until now, laws had been minimal - essentially just zoning restrictions, limits on the number of franchises in a neighborhood, that sort of thing. We greatly expanded the ruleset:

    * There was to be no deforestation whatsoever

    * Only 30% of previous emissions would be allowed - no easy-out "emissions trading," either.

    * "Real costs" of throwaway materials, etc. would be charged as taxes, and there was also a "hard-coded" limit as well.

Any violations of these rules would be penalized heavily, and a "third strike" could result in the company's dissolution.

The result (my emphasis)?

It worked. Players found ways to grow food locally, shift the menu from beef to grain products, replace all packaging with reusables, etc. And although profits were immediately lower, and the heady frenesy [sic] of earlier versions was lost, at least the games lasted beyond the century, for the most part.

In other words, stop selling Big Macs, start selling salads, and if they won't do it willingly, get the government to force them to do it.

Their plans? "Abrupt Social Change" via legislation:

So now what? Will we stand by while we know that our activities are helping lead to catastrophe? No. We believe in CSR, and so if popular pressure is what government needs in order to change, then we must help generate popular pressure.

The concept of Abrupt Social Change, or ASC, is an old and respectable one, a shortcut from rationality to the nerve centers of power that has often accomplished what more systemic approaches cannot. The British Occupation of India, the Vietnam War, even feudalism in Europe were only ended through ASC movements.

And just as governments and NGOs have sometimes assisted ASC movements abroad, so we can be a force for Abrupt Social Change here at home. We in the Interactive Division are using all of our autonomy within McDonald's to do so.

  1. For one thing, we are appealing to McDonald's franchisees to allow their restaurants to serve part-time as meeting areas where plans for mobilization can be developed, hatched, and acted upon. We have commitments so far from seven owners in Decatur, Illinois, Tucson, Arizona, and Troy, New York.

  2. We will offer direct financial assistance from our divisional budget to groups actively involved in effecting ASC, within or outside of franchisee restaurants.

  3. We will help develop technologies useful to mass mobilization, such as the cell-phone text broadcasters so useful in the Ukraine in the recent Orange Revolution. As for McMarketplace, it will serve as a tool to explore methods for change, and to learn just how governments might be forced to adequately control corporations.

Again, we strongly feel that legislation is indeed our only hope, and what we must fight for via Abrupt Social Change.

It seems that Shimery-Wolf is willing to destroy his company based on the results of a climate model, the creators of which have assured him is accurate. (Of course they say it works. It's their product, isn't it?) Furthermore, he seems to want to move the world several large steps closer to global socialist government. Has he been spending too much time with Al Gore? And hasn't he seen all the doom predicted by other failed climate models? Doom which never came to pass?

He also mentions that with the massive regulation introduced into their model, world poverty and hunger went down. Heh. I guess that proves that the model is fatally flawed. It has been demonstrated over and over again that poverty and hunger increase under repressive socialist governments. (Let me see if I can remember which direction millions and millions were going risking their lives to cross the Iron Curtain when I was a kid. Could it have been west, away from the Socialist Republics?)

A week ago I linked to this article, where I found this chilling statement:

[P]olitical forces ... view the theory of CO2-induced global warming as a mighty lever for moving the nations of the earth in the direction of global governance - via the establishment of an entity with power to regulate nearly all forms of human enterprise in the guise of protecting the planet from the climatic consequences of CO2-producing activities...

Keep this statement in the back of your mind and reread Shimery-Wolf's comments. Massive amounts of coercive legislation. Massive regulation of the fast food industry. Massive regulation of all other industries. With people like himself in charge. Because he knows what's good for you.

< Bring the Senate to Heel (4 comments) | They Just Don't Get It! (0 comments) >

Pins the Bogusity meter By: Robert A. Hahn
This is a PR stunt that is going to get somebody in a lot of trouble. McDonalds is ferocious about defending their trademarks, and these idiots have infringed several.

Drink Good Coffee. You can sleep when you're dead.

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