Power Play: A Game Illustrating Power Transition in Authoritarian Regimes

Power Play: A Game Illustrating Power Transition in Authoritarian Regimes

By Susan Turner Haynes, Lipscomb University

One of the most alarming trends of the past decade has been the rise in authoritarianism and the growing support of strongman politics among citizens of democratic regimes. College instructors have a unique opportunity to challenge such thinking at a time when many of their students are still forming their political beliefs. Using a game, instructors not only can show students the perils of authoritarianism, they also can potentially expand students’ appreciation of democracy. This article describes a game suitable for this purpose. Students take on the role of workers, soldiers, and rulers in a military dictatorship to learn about the “guns-and-butter tradeoff” and authoritarian uncertainty.

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