Found 2 comments on HN
javajosh · 2013-10-13 · Original thread
I think a lot of the emotion here comes not only from empathizing with Meem's plight, but the twin realizations that a) the problem is much wider than Meem, and b) individuals are largely powerless to do anything about the wider issue of poverty.

It can be difficult to accept your own powerlessness in the face of large scale social problems. Our instinct is to want to confer the same quality of life we have on those who, through no fault or failing of their own, live in a much poorer society with much poorer prospects for virtually everyone born there. Clearly "society" is to blame, but how do you change a society, from top to bottom? Does Bangaldesh need a Lee Kuan Yew[1]?

So no, it's not tourism. It's a howl of pain when confronted with newly realized powerlessness. And personally, I prefer it to cool indifference.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/From-Third-World-First-Singapore/dp/00...

ramanujan · 2011-10-04 · Original thread
Right. And here's a different flash site, which shows that literally hundreds of millions of people worldwide increased their real income over the last twenty years:

http://www.gapminder.org/labs/gapminder-china/#$majorMode=ch...

Somehow hundreds of millions of people in China and elsewhere went from far more deprived conditions to first world status over the span of a few decades. Nothing in that game compares to the horrors of the Cultural Revolution or the mass starvation of the Great Leap Forward. So clearly it is possible for an entire civilization to pull itself up by its bootstraps through capitalism. [0]

Finally, as noted the game stacks the deck against reality. It starts you out as a single parent with no savings and evidently no family members who will help you out...without any acknowledgement of the fact that broken homes, divorce, out-of-wedlock births, a lack of a high school diploma, and a failure to save are the major causes of poverty. [1], [2]

If the game started a few years earlier and asked "do you want to complete high school" and "do you wait till you're financially stable before marrying & having children", the overall message would be very different. Indeed, the authors would likely be accused of having unfashionable political sympathies for simply advising that people mimic the behaviors of middle class Asian immigrant families.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Third-World-First-Singapore-1965-2000/...

[1] http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba428

[2] http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2010/pdf/bg2465.pdf

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