Spent was designed a few years ago for the North Carolina charity Urban Ministries of Durham. The concept is simple. The gamer assumes the role of a low-wage worker — like, say, someone at McDonald’s — attempting to get by until the end of the month. Players are faced with a relentless series of decisions and tradeoffs, and almost anything — a gift for a child’s birthday, a plea from a family member to help pay for needed medication — can send them into a financial downward spiral.
Needless to say, it’s just about impossible to achieve anything resembling financial success in the game of Spent. And that’s the point. “It challenges the dominant framing of financial insecurity as wholly a problem of ignorance and irresponsible consumer behavior,” Arthur told me.
Spent, like the controversy that ended up swirling around McDonald’s suggested employee budget, points to an oft-buried truth. The financial literacy movement presumes that with a modicum of education, we can all be equal in the financial and economic marketplace. But that’s a false promise. Financial literacy is, first of all, no substitute for financial regulation. It’s also an ultimately ineffective personal solution to a systemic political and economic problem.
3. After the zombie apocalypse, or the Pulse, or the outbreak or the alien invasion — or whatever sci-fi scenario you prefer as a premise for your post-apocalyptic setting in which civilization needs to be rebuilt from scratch — I recommend you go and find Dr. Oluyombo Awojobi.
Awojobi is a medical MacGyver whose hospital in Eruwa, Nigeria, is praised for offering quality, affordable care. His hospital also only uses equipment that he can build and maintain by himself. Amazing.
5. Religious liberty! But not for women, of course. Can’t have that.
6. Emily Timbol shares a personal testimony: “Why Hearing, ‘I’m Gay’ Changed My Straight, Christian Life.”
7. The Belle Jar: “Do We Have to Be Offended by Everything?”
Life is an ongoing exercise in empathy. As a human being, your job should be constantly learning how to make your own way in this world while causing as little harm as possible. Which is why I’m ultimately baffled when people wonder aloud if they’re supposed to look at everything critically and worry about its potential to harm others. Because yes. Yes, that is exactly what you are supposed to do.