Apr 26, 2012
6 notes

Soviet Gamification

Phrased that way, it sounds like a problem a certain Vladimir Lenin was facing in 1917: How do we motivate workers, without resorting to paying them based on their work?

Part of his answer was a theory of “socialist competition”, in which factories and individuals were to compete against each other within systems that bear greater or lesser resemblance to game mechanics, and success at the game is symbolically rewarded. A factory might be awarded points for its performance, and win commendations as it surpasses various point thresholds. Teams building a bridge could compete to see which side progresses fastest. Borrowing a symbolic-motivation strategy long used by armies, particularly productive factories or workers might be awarded a medal like the “Order of the Red Banner of Labor”.

Mark Nelson kinda blew my mind with this post. I have to check out the books that he references here.

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Nonstop Maoist hymns, patriotic power ballads & shrill exhortations at all hours. Toronto-based PhD Student in Communication & Culture @ Ryerson/York.

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