February 8, 2009

World of Hurt: Boom or Bust

Here's an article on a new experimental video game on business ethics. Looks like it might be pretty good:
The game invites you to assume the roles of tycoons in a real time, multiplayer, morally challenging Monopoly game in which you try to build the biggest possible empire while avoiding exposure as a fraud and financial collapse.

You could choose a “greed route,” which relies on crimes and cheating but produces speedy financial growth. Or you could choose a “conscience route,” which relies on trust and transparency but produces much slower growth. Eventually, you would face a day of reckoning prompted by randomly timed “reality checks” like whistleblowers, government investigations and public outrage.

You could defend your empire with lawyers and public relations consultants in a lavishly decorated headquarters, but you’d pay a high price for these “smokescreens.” You could also leave your fate to chance at a minigame of musical chairs in which you passed healthy assets and toxic assets to other players until the music stopped.
This could be a great tool for teaching business ethics, that is to say, a great way to get business students excited about the subject either at the start of a business ethics class or at the midpoint to keep the steam going. I certainly would put it to good use!

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