There’s a book called « Finite And Infinite Games » which was written some time ago. Over the next few years, it’ll become more famous because Simon Sinek references it for his latest work, « The Infinite Game ».
Simply, finite games are the ones with a clearly defined winner, while infinite games keep going. A game of chess or football is a finite game; getting fit might be considered an infinite game.
When it comes to some activities, you may have some people playing a finite game, while others play the infinite game. You may be trying to raise enough money for a house deposit, while Andrew is trying to become the richest person in Australia. Your game stops once you have a certain amount of money, while Andrew needs to continue going even he does become the richest person because there’s always the risk that someone will become more successful than he is.
So if you consider politics in terms of finite and infinite games, you can see that there are all sorts of finite games that can be played. As an Opposition, Labor might like to play, « Let’s make Angus Taylor resign in disgrace! » Ok, in the current environment that’s not very likely because it doesn’t seem to matter what any minister does, they simply say something like: « It was a member of my staff! » or « I made a mistake and paid the money back! » or « That was against the rules but the rules were changed once we realised that most government MPs had broken them. » After that, there’s a bit of tsk, tsk and then they go on their merry way.
But the big finite game in politics is: « Let’s win the election. »’
Don’t get me wrong. Of course, this is an important game because not only do you get smaller offices, but there’s actually not a lot you can do in Opposition, even if you’re the Labor Party who seem to be getting asked about their policies more often than the actual government… However, it’s a problem when you become so obsessed with the finite game that you forget that some people are actually hoping for an Infinite game from their leaders.
The question for Labor and The Greens is which is more important at this point in history: the finite or the infinite game?
In days gone by, I would have said:
My admiration for The Greens was the fact that they were always playing the infinite game; they were actually trying to create a better future. My admiration for the Labor Party was the fact that they actually got into government and were much better than the Coalition. My admiration for the Liberals was their belief in individual liberty…in theory, at least. My admiration for the National Party was that that they had the sense to realise that they could attach themselves to the rump of the Liberal Party and join in the spoils of government even though only represented a very small percentage of the overall population. (No, I don’t mean country people. They haven’t done that for years; they represent the small percentage that are actually National Party members and you have to admire that in the same way that you admire the way cockroaches will survive nuclear war!) My admiration for One Nation is that Pauline represents the people who can’t string an intelligent sentence together. And she does this admirably by not even… sentence… forget the intelligent bit… we don’t need to… intelligent… I represent the men and people… that’s all right for city… but… look…
Anyway, I think you can see that I’m losing my admiration for just about all political parties and I’m wondering how we get even one of them to focus on the infinite game. How can we get even one to say, “Fuck this opinion poll shit and fuck what the focus groups say, this is what we believe and this is important and if we go down, then so be it…”
But I guess that’s not the way to fight a war. After all, didn’t the ANZACs decide not to charge because they’d lose? Didn’t all the diggers just come back because the Kokoda trail was full of hazards? No, they fought on. (See we can all invoke the silly war shit when it suits us.)
I better stop before I say: Lest we forget and have to leave the country like Yassmin.
On other matters, I have to say that I was gobsmacked by the story about China trying to get someone elected to Chisholm. All I can say is thank God we got Gladys who assured us that she was never a member of all those Communist Party groups and thank God that we have Scott who told the media that they take these allegations seriously, because I find it pretty hard to take anything coming out of Canberra seriously these days!
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