Gaming Absolute Nothing

Absolute nothing can be gamed (manipulated to produce winners and losers or to obtain rights without incurring obligations). It is being manipulated all the time without us being aware of it.

One example of manipulation, which churns our left/right politics, is in the different ways in which a buyer and seller are treated after credit (money) and debt are created to effect the sale of a good or service. The buyer is obliged to pay off the debt, but the seller is not obliged to pay off the credit (spend the money by buying something off someone in debt). Returning to zero for a buyer (+1 turns -1 into 0) is a wholly different experience than returning to zero for a seller (-1 turns +1 into 0). We can all see the problems of rising inequality and trade imbalances, and our politicians compete to offer their solutions for this, but these solutions are all rooted in a shared belief in an absolute zero. The politicians compete for our vote based on competing visions of how to use money to fix the problem.

Another example of manipulation is voting. Voting systems are based on one, absolute zero. A vote for every candidate has the same effect as a vote for no candidates. A vote for one candidate has the same effect as a vote against the other candidates. There is no mechanism whereby voters can reject all candidates, or both choices in a referendum. There is no way in which voters can draw a distinction between a candidate that they accept and a candidate that they reject. Consequently it often happens that a candidate gains power, or a decision is taken through a referendum, when the majority of the voters is actually against this. Two political parties in opposition to one another can manipulate the properties of absolute zero to their mutual advantage simply by controlling the choice of candidates and the questions on which votes are taken in elections, in referendums and in parliaments.  This gaming embeds the interests of the parties in the political landscape.

Absolute zero is also being gamed whenever property rights change state, as for example when assets are created; exchanged; redeemed; nationalized, for example as in taxation; or privatized. This can be explored by playing the board game described in this website.

Our belief in absolute nothing leaves us open to manipulation by any person or organisation that is seeking to control how we conduct our lives without giving us reciprocal control of how they conduct theirs. It enables asymmetric control of the two sides of a relationship.