Scenario 1999: International Relations between SSEs and their Central Governments

What has been said about diplomacy between the Student Governments and Central Governments of different nations in The Third Place (1st Ed.) is readily applicable to the digital realm. One of the more promising developments since the 1990s was the newfound ability to communicate with others across vast distances from any corner of the world. The National Intranets of Scenario 1999 boast websites and servers where Foreigners could visit them and interact with Nationals interested in having a dialogue or two with them. The obvious benefit of facilitating such a feature is that there will be greater cultural understanding among the Totalities and Student Bodies of the world. Certain misconceptions held by a Totality could be exposed by the Student Body, who were able to learn about them from the Student Body of another Totality.

All the usual amenities used to communicate in the WWW, such as email, chatroom, peer sharing and video streaming, are also available among the National Intranets of Scenario 1999. The International Internet in this context acts as a two-way relay of information across different National Intranets. Somebody in one country could send to or share something with somebody else in another country. The recipient gets the message and is more than welcome to respond to the sender. There is nothing too mind-bending, apart from the fact that the digital realm is organized differently and governed by the legal jurisprudence of nations.

Besides Student Exchanges, the Student Governments of SSEs will maintain servers and websites devoted to contacting the Student Governments of other SSEs. These servers and websites are intended for the afterschool communications of the Student Body. It is meant to complement, rather than outright replace, other methods of communication like face-to-face contact, mail, and telephone calls.

There will be two different types of platforms for online communications for both the Totality and the Student Body. One platform is written in the native language, allowing mundane conversations between members of the Totality and the Student Body on the National Intranet. The other platform type would be written in foreign languages, the Explicit Intent of which is allow the Totality and Student Body to practice learning other languages by conversing with Foreigners.

Tourism and the LERE Process

Back in the VCS Economy’s Services Sector, the Tourist Industry will no doubt be contributing Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld from helping the Internet Cafés implement “Cybertourism.” When Foreigners access the National Intranet, their experience is going to be something akin to arriving at an unknown, mysterious land. This experience could be compared to somebody learning and visiting the WWW’s Dark Web for the first time, with the obvious exception being that there will be no Malware and hackers lurking to attack them and their computer or smartphone. Just like in the Real World offline, tourists expect the country to be safe enough for their initial arrival and stay. It should also be safe enough for them to make the return trip back to their country of origin.

For the Tourist Industry to start contributing Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld, it is vital that Foreigners are able to access the National Intranet. Next, the National Intranet should already have websites and servers, written in the Foreigners’ language. There should be platforms where Foreigners could visit, interact with the Nationals, and learn about the National Culture driving the National Consciousness of the Totality. That is just the first half of Cybertourism.

The other is where the Student Body enters the picture. Again, the Student Body will have special websites and servers where they can practice their foreign language skills in the company of people around their age. By interacting with similarly-aged young adults, the Student Body can then be in the position to form social bonds, begin lasting friendships, and provide opportunities for their Student Government to build good relations with the rest of the world. If the Central Government happens to be not particularly liked by the rest of the world, at least the Student Government is tolerable. After all, not every new generation is going to think the same way as the previous one.

The Tourist and Hospitality Industries should consider working with the Video Game Industry in allowing the Student Body to create Machinimas, set up multiplayer gaming servers, and allow websites for Students to download and share mods with others. That would obviously be another major role for the Internet Cafés, a feature that could be expanded upon by allowing Foreigners to access the National Intranet from their own home computer. Apart from the usual requirement to present their passport and visa, a few possibilities could be envisaged that could not have otherwise been considered back in The Third Place (1st Ed.). Those possibilities will be explored later in this Entry. All of this and more will become achievable when the Council State sets aside a small portion of its State Budget for the endeavor.     

Given the involvements of the Tourist, Hospitality and Video Game Industries, the Student Government shall hereby receive the Constitutional Obligation to uphold and enforce proper etiquette among all Students, both Foreigners and Nationals alike. Unruly Foreigners are not to be welcomed to the National Intranet unless they change their behavior.

From the outset, the concept of Cybertourism sounds about as great as actually visiting the homeland back in the Real World. The Tourist, Hospitality and Video Game Industries would expand the number of opportunities for the Student Body to receive hands-on training and instruction outside of the classroom. The great challenge now is how to properly determine the basis in which Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld could be contributed from such an endeavor.

Suppose the Student Tournament is hosting a single multiplayer gaming server for a video game popular in another country. Members of the Student Body are attracted to the gameplay and the experience of meeting Foreign Students. There should be three main sources of Arbeit and Geld. The production process stems from the establishment and maintenance of the multiplayer gaming server, the facilitation of the transactional sale to the Student Tournament, and the transactional sales where Students purchased copies of the video game in question. The production process and facilitation of the transactional sale in the Student Tournament both yielded Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld. The transactional sales themselves, however, generated Actual Geld.   

Obviously, in the context of a video game developed and published abroad, the Actual Geld from the transactional sales would go to the country of origin under the terms of a Real Trade Agreement (RTA). The real question concerns the production process for the multiplayer gaming server. Who established that server, the Students of the homeland or the Students in the country where the game was developed? That question in turn will determine whether the importer or the exporter receives the Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld from the production process of just this one multiplayer gaming server. Should the multiplayer gaming server be established by the Student Body with help from the Tourist, Hospitality, and Video Game Industries, the Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld from the production process stays in the homeland.

Whichever the case may be, the International Internet will always serve as the central hub where interactions between different National Intranets occur. These interactions will continue to occur until either the declaration of war or the Council State denies the Foreigners of another nation access to the National Intranet. Such an event can only be the result of a breakdown in diplomatic relations between the central governments of the affected nations. Their Student Governments, meanwhile, could always play devil’s advocate by striving to resolve potential conflicts before they can escalate into an actual cyberwar. The Social Forums can provide that avenue for the Student Body to raise their concerns online.     

Taxation on the Digital Intranet

As stated earlier, an important issue has emerged regarding whether the Foreigners should be able to access the National Intranet from outside the Internet Cafés. Assuming the Foreigners were able to present their passport and travel visa to the border authorities guarding the entry nodes between the National Intranet and the International Internet, there should be no problems. Even so, the issue of Overtourism remains an important matter, even on the National Intranet. One notable problem is the fact that the speed at which somebody connects to the National Intranet becomes slower if there are too many people logging on at the same time. While nowhere as terrible as a DOS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) Attack, the experience would become really inconvenient for anyone trying to access the National Intranet. At the same time, there are questions on whether the Council State should be implementing taxation policies on the National Intranet. As the Digital Economy and its Virtual Economies become more and more relevant vis-à-vis the “Digital Tournament” of the National Intranet, the Council State would become compelled to do so if that meant an additional source of Geld for its State Budget.  

Should Foreigners’ Social Ranks determine their eligibility to access the National Intranet from outside the Internet Cafés? Should the Totality and the Student Body be obliged to pay certain taxes? If so, in what manner would both of those policies be realized by the Council State?

Back in Production for Profit and Production for Utility, the proposal from the Liberal Capitalists was for Parliaments to levy taxes either on goods and services sold on the WWW, facilitating access to the digital realm, or treating emails with the same rates as postal mail. While the third proposal was self-explanatory, the first taxation policy is the online equivalent of a Sales Tax or VAT (Value-Added Tax), the second functions similarly to charging tolls and fares. It may seem like an odd idea from hindsight, but the Liberal Capitalists did at one point consider taxing emails back in the 1990s.

 More recently, another proposal involved the levying of a “Digital Services Tax (DST)” that would be applicable to foreign privatized commercial firms that do not have a physical presence within a Liberal Capitalist regime. It would also be applicable to those which provide services such as streaming, advertising, software, and overall data usage. When put into practice, a DST would function as a stopgap between the more conventional Sales Taxes and VATs and Corporate Income Taxes.  

For the purposes of the Work-Standard, the Council State will not be levying such taxes on the Totality, Student Body or Foreigners. It will also not be charging taxes on Foreigners outside of the terms of an RTA. What the Council State should consider, however, is whether Foreigners should meet a certain Social Rank within their own nations before they could be eligible to access the National Intranet from outside an Internet Café. This question deserves to be left open-ended insofar as there are potential arguments for and against such a proposal if brought to the floor of the State Council within a functioning Council Democracy. The requirement is different from that of the Social Rank prerequisite for acquiring NSFIs (National-Socialized Financial Instruments) because the Kontore expect only the most reliable and dependable Investors. The Investors need to be those whom they can trust and work with over the long term.  

Categories: Digital Realm

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  1. Economic History Case Studies: Taxation and the Digital Realm Revisited (1990s-Present) – The Fourth Estate

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