For this unit, we are going to explore a game entitled Millennium Village Simulation developed at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, in partnership with the Economist Jeffrey Sachs.
The game is based on the idea that you are a family of two in a Less Economically Developed countries such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa. You must make decisions on how to spend you time in order to survive. Make sure your necessities are met!! Sickness, drought, income, famine are all realistic possibilities. You are completely self sufficient however, you could invest in your community by raising tax revenues and investing in infrastructure such as water systems, health clinics, etc. or you could take microcredit available to invest in small business and other capital. The decision is yours!! Try to escape poverty! Try to survive the challenges of extreme poverty !! Try to have you village grow and develop!
How to begin:
To start go to the site.
Click on “Need a new account”, sign up for the game using an email address of your choosing, and remembering to record your password somewhere handy.
Then log in and click “My Games” at the top of the screen.
Here is a short video to walk you through how the game is played.
In addition here are a few tools to assist you in playing and in making properly informed decisions:
You need to play two games, one with being self-sustainable (meaning no government intervention, and no micro-loans) and another with the support of the government and micro-loans.
Record what happened during both games and afterwards answer the following questions:
1- Did the poverty trap take you and your family as victims? If so why. Explain
If not, what strategies allowed you to get out of poverty? Explain.
2- Was it easy to invest in capital during the game? Explain. What options did you have to assist in capital?
3- Did you make use of microcredit? Did it help you increase your real income over time? or was it more of a burden? Explain
4- Did you see any development in your community over the course of the game? Explain.
5- How was your environment affected during the game? Explain. Looking at the situations in many Less Economically Developed countries, what problems do you see for common access resources? What examples of this do we have in the game? How could we solve these problems as a community?
6- What would you have done differently if you were to play again? Explain.
7- This games makes a good case for why the United Nations and Jeffrey Sachs are both pushing for all countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals. How would the MDGs help in creating growth and development in LEDCs? Explain.
Here is a video of Jeffrey Sachs explaining why the importance of MEDCs supporting LEDCs in meeting MDG targets. He also gives details as to how MEDCs will benefit from such efforts.
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Creator and IB DP Econ/ MYP Humanities Teacher at New International School of Thailand
John is teaching DP Economics and MYP Humanities at the New International School of Thailand (NIST) in Bangkok. Prior to NIST John taught at the United Nations International School of Hanoi and the International School of Tanganyika. He has enjoyed teaching Economics for the past 9 years.
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