Playing Democracy 3 helps me in further developing my political views

(Interface of the game’s homepage. Screengrabbed from my iPad Mini 2. No coyright infringement intended.)

I’ve been playing this game for 2 years since I asked my mom to buy me this (expensive considering the Philippines’ status as a developing country, costing around $4.99 I think, costing around 249 in Philippine pesos), nonetheless the game helped me shape further my politics and as a guide for future policy, either for future politicians out there or dream about being president, which will always be fantasy.

This game, Democracy 3, is a government simulation game developed by Positech. You could play 6 countries (United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, I hope the developers add more countries including the Philippines, though for the desktop model modding is possible though I have no knowledge of which), be the president or prime minister and be in charge of policy, staying popular, and not end up assassinated (I was always ending up being assassinated so I turned it off in my settings). 

I have played all countries, but this time I played the United States. My usual formula in my games are as follows:

  • Significant budget increases in the health, education, welfare systems, initializing public housing and pension systems
  • Prioritizing infrastructure development, like railways and road, also setting up monorail systems, telecommuting, bus subsidies
  • Imposing a 75% tax on alcohol and tobacco (which is already punitive by most standards) 
  • Strict pollution controls, with major fines and occasionally imposing tax on carbon emissions
  • Instituting childcare provision and subsidies in raising children, disability and unemployment benefits
  • High spending on renewable energy, ensuring low pollution levels
  • Labor laws favoring workers, with full maternity pay, shorter working hours, safety laws, wage increases
  • Flexible tax policy, increasing and decreasing taxes whenever possible
  • Ensuring the debt is entirely paid off and there’s significant budget surplus to accumulate reserves
  • Law enforcement focusing on rehabilitation, increasing legal aid, preventing race discrimination, reliance on community policing
  • Medium foreign aid, a moderate immigration policy
  • High spending on the arts (presumably includes public broadcasting of which I’m a strong advocate, it is not specified in the game)
  • Strong intelligence, police, military
  • Encouraging agriculture and organic farming
  • Encouraging small businesses and rural development
  • A space program
  • Rehabilitation of prisoners
  • Public libraries, adult education, college grants
  • So on and so forth (drugs remain illegal, abortion is for limited circumstances, strict alcohol and gun laws, etc.)

I would normally introduce these in packages, thus resulting in huge increases in popularity (and disapproval in some sectors) and might put a strain on the budget, though on most occasions I ensure there’s a balance. Whenever I run into a budget crisis (that is accumulating budget deficits) that puts me in huge amounts of debt, I don’t roll back on the social programs and infrastructure programs I have put in place (conventional austerity measures), and instead increase taxes on property, inheritance, on vehicles, carbon, airlines, sales taxes, CGT, corporate taxes, income tax, and institute a flat income tax until the budget gets back on track. Thankfully I’m able to pull this one off which would be hard in the real setting.

I will show you my budget as President of the United States:


And where do I get the money? 


How does that affect my performance? 


Where exactly am I in the political spectrum? I personally consider myself as a socialist but, in this one I’m more of a left-libertarian. You can see me slowly do away from the previous neoliberal/neoconservative policies when I started by term? 


Where do I get my support? 



How popular am I? 


How are my policies faring? 


And how that that effect my country? 


I hope that impresses you, but in the real world this could be difficult to achieve. At least I have you an idea how this game has helped me shape my political views.

Banat Top 5 for 2016

With this blog barely a year old and due my relatively busy schedule (coupled with a penchant for procrastination), we have not been able to post that much content, but we would like to end the year with the top 5 issues that we feel  made a lot of impact.

5. Geopolitical earthquakes one after another

The rise of populist movements from both sides of the political spectrum, the resignations of and removals of various heads of state, struggles to resolve armed conflicts, among others. To enumerate:

  • Impeachment of Park Geun-hye (South Korea), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil)
  • Resignation of British PM David Cameron, New Zealand PM John Key, Italian PM Matteo Renzi
  • Death of former Cuban Fidel Castro, Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Uzbek President Islam Karimov
  • Brexit and the upset victory of the ‘leave’ camp
  • Ratification of the Colombian FARC peace deal and its subsequent rejection in a referendum
  • Increased Russian involvement in the Syrian civil war, especially Aleppo
  • Failed coup attempt in Turkey which resulted in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cracking down further on dissent
  • North Korean nuclear threat
  • Resolution of the Spanish government crisis with Mariano Rajoy keeping his seat
  • Election victory of Tsai Ing-wen and the resumption of cross-strait tensions
  • The rise of the alt-right movement
  • Victory of Donald Trump
  • The Philippine drug war
  • Rescue of the Chibok girls
  • Economic collapse of Zimbabwe
  • Continued tensions in Ukraine

The list goes on.

4. Terrorist attacks

The most recent of which, the Berlin attack, assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov. Some of those were:

  • Nice, France
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Davao City
  • Cairo, Egypt

The list goes on.

3. Social media responsibility

The use of social media has become more prominent, with calls for responsibility increasing. The spread of so-called “fake news” and the heavily toxic air of debate has been a worrying trend.

The above mentioned are meant for our international audience, as this year we have tried to reach a readership outside of the Philippines. The top 2 will be geared towards our local readers.

2. Media trends

  • The never-ending claim for television rating leadership (ABS-CBN vs. GMA)
  • MMFF’s shift to one based on independent productions
  • Baron Geisler’s issues

The list goes on. For more on these, visit Ralph Domingo’s From The Tube (fromthetube.wordpress.com) or Timow’s Turf. (timowparagas.wordpress.com).

1. Philippine political landscape

By next year, the blog might start to avoid talking about Filipino politics as it has become so divided at such a point people are being bullied.

  • Duterte’s victory
  • The ruling on South China Sea
  • The war on drugs
  • Marcos burial
  • Independent foreign policy

The list goes on.

We have not delved into details as it might be depressing and provoking to some and it takes lots of research to squeeze an entire year in one short post.

From us in Banat, we wish you a happy holidays and may 2017 bring us peace in our minds.

 

Why not a new trade bloc with Latin America? 


(Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shaking hands with Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kucyznski during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Lima, Peru last November 18-20, 2016. Photo credits: Philstar)

As part of the Philippines’ ongoing push to pursue a foreign policy independent from the West, we would like to suggest why don’t we consider establishing stronger links with the Latin American nations? 

Previously this blog has discussed the possibility of direct air links with the continent, this time we will discuss closer political and economic cooperation.

We all know the Philippines and Latin America has shared cultural links thanks to three centuries of Spanish colonization. We have had the Acapulco galleon trade from 1565 to 1821, when the Latin American counties declared independence from Spain one by one.

American influence in our culture had somehow diminished centuries of common heritage, but why can’t we rekindle these? For example, we have something in common when it comes to religiosity, telenovelas, and populist politics to name a few.

In keeping with modern challenges, this proposes that a new regional bloc with these countries could help us cope with common problems such as poverty and income inequality, a common approach in combating illegal drugs (PNP Dir. Gen. Bato dela Rosa has visited Colombia to study their approaches), and reestablishing cultural links, including reintroduction of the Spanish language.

We can also heavily promote tourism and trade opportunities, generating revenue and creating jobs.

There’s a lot of work to be done and this is a big gamble which if handled efficiently will generate huge benefits for both sides.