February 6, 2007 : Tuesday
The Real-Life Sim City: Good Governance at its limits?
Jan Richard A. Renes
Sim City is a game developed by Maxis and distributed by EA Games. No, that’s not my topic, but speaking of Sim City, you can actually practice good governance, in a city or regional scale, with this game. Proper zoning, ample infrastructure, fiscal policies, tax measures, foreign relations and other important factors are always considered in order to create a good city in Sim City. Sounds good, right? But how does this all relate to good governance in real life?
If you closely consider all factors in playing Sim City, they are just a quarter of what we should understand in governance. The biggest factor in governance that does not exist in Sim City is Politics. The “in’s and out’s” of politics can actually affect how individuals run a public office. So, can a person really implement a “Sim City-like” type of governance in a real life city?
Yes! But NO… You can adopt the “drag, zone and plop” method of city planning, with due consideration to the principle “if you build it, they will come”. But you cannot aptly consider your political moves, motives and machineries if you use a “Sim City system”. Simply disregarding Politics in the game of Governance would be careless, to a point where you do good things which are not appreciated by your colleagues and/or your constituents, which would eventually lead to chaos and instability.
So, is Sim City, Good Governance at its limits? Well, at the end of the day, it’s not. Because politics is the mechanism on how one person actually implements his policies that will very well please everyone (or at least the majority), so disregarding politics is tantamount to disregarding good governance itself.
Sim City + Politics = Good Governance (I just gave EA Games a new idea.., hehehe.)