Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

Historical Insanity

Will Video Games Destroy the People’s Republic of China?

Strangely, video games could bring down the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Republic of China. To elaborate, restrictions on video games could trigger a revolution in China.

The Chinese government restricted online gaming for those under 18 to three hours a week in August, Reuters reports. The new rules became one of the most discussed topics on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, Reuters observes. Predictably, comments criticizing the rules attracted many likes.

The restrictions are part of a larger crusade against gaming by the Chinese Communist Party. Official media has attacked games as “spiritual opium.” Spiritual opium is a reference to the humiliating Opium Wars of the 19th Century in which the British military forced the Chinese government to open its ports to world trade and import opium.

The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) is slowing approval of licenses for new games, The South China Morning Post claims. The NPPA regulates video games in China. Game companies are also being asked to remove the wrong sets of values from games, The Morning Post claims. The wrong sets of values include “love of money” and “gay love.”

Can Video Games Trigger a Revolution?

I think the Chinese Communist Party could make a huge mistake here because history shows irrational government interference in mundane activities can trigger revolutions.

For example, tea became one of the principal causes of the American Revolution. In the 1770s, Americans became upset when the British government tried to take over the tea trade. To bail out the British East India Company, Parliament created a tea monopoly and a tea tax. One result was the Boston Tea Party.

In response to the Tea Party, parliament passed the Coercive Acts, revoked Massachusetts’ Royal Charter and right to self-government, and ordered the army to occupy Boston. Within two years, open fighting broke out between British troops and colonial militia. The American Revolution had begun.

Similarly, anger at salt taxes turned Gandhi’s opposition to British rule in India into a mass movement. Protests against the salt tax forced the Viceroy Lord Irwin to negotiate with Gandhi, which turned the nonviolent rebel into a national leader and international celebrity in 1931. Finally, it was mercenary or sepoy soldiers’ frustration with the grease used to pack rifle cartridges that triggered the bloody Indian War of Independence, or Great Sepoy Mutiny in 1857.

Video Games and Revolution

Given that history, restricting video games could trigger revolts or demonstrations against the Chinese Communist Party.

The Party is telling tens of millions of patriotic young Chinese that their favorite activity is evil and traitorous. Moreover, those young people will now have lots of spare time to gather and organize against the ban. Reuters estimates that 62.5% of Chinese minors play online games.

I think the Communist leaders could be as out of touch with ordinary Chinese as parliament was with ordinary Americans in 1774 and ordinary Indians in 1931. To elaborate, authoritarian regimes such as the Chinese Communist Party and the British Empire stay in power by staying out of ordinary people’s lives.

IE ordinary Chinese will tolerate the Party as long as they can play video games and watch what they want on TV. Chinese who do not care what happens to the Uyghurs or Hong Kong will get mad if they cannot play League of Legends.

I have to wonder what will happen if millions of young Chinese take to the streets demanding the right to play video games. What will President Xi Jinping do, send in the Army?

I imagine the average soldier in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is around 18 or 20, and plays video games. The young soldiers are apt to sympathize with the protesters and possibly join them. Hence, simple frustration with a gaming ban could turn into a full-blown revolt.

A Video Game Revolution

My suspicion is that frightened Communist leaders will jettison Xi and give the mob unlimited gaming to quell the unrest. A smart Communist leader could become a national hero by promoting unlimited gaming.

It will not surprise me if in the next year the Party abruptly abandons all restrictions on games. Smart Communist leaders will understand that youths at home playing games are no threat to them. Angry youths in the streets, on the other hand, are a threat.

Smart leaders who oppose Xi will get the support and financing of China’s tech oligarchs whom Xi has been oppressing. One reason Communist leaders will side with tech oligarchs such as Jack Ma against Xi is that tech oligarchs have huge bank accounts.

I suspect many Communist Party members’ loyalty to Xi will disappear the moment they realize how much money Ma has to bribe them with. Ma, who has supposedly disappeared is worth $42.3 billion. One probable scenario in the future is that Xi will disappear one day and Ma will reappear and get showered with honors by the new party leaders. Meanwhile, the new party leaders will receive enormous blocks of Alibaba (BABA) and Ant Group stock as presents from their new friend Ma.

I have to wonder if 20 years from now, when he writes his memoirs at his villa on the French Riviera. Will Xi list the video game restrictions as the greatest mistake of his presidency?

History shows that everyday things like video game can trigger revolutions. I have to wonder if Xi has read any history besides whatever Maoist nonsense the Chinese Communist Party promotes. I think fate and games could soon give President Xi a history lesson he will not enjoy.