Reparations and other indigenous / ethnic minority policy suggestions

What’s the problem?

Reparations - broadly defined - are a policy area which is gaining particular salience in the US recently (through BLM etc.), but has been around in various forms in various countries for a long period of time.

Regardless of your personal views on the matter I believe this is an area that is currently lacking in Democracy 4. The Ethnic Minorities group has less policy interaction as a result.

I’d note that the game as present doesn’t distinguish between indigenous peoples and migrant ethnic minorities (often times in conflict with each other), but I accept that for game simplicity it’s possible to wave our hands and say it comes out in the wash.

How does this manifest in the real world?

Coming from New Zealand, this is a source of major political conflict and attention - often times election campaign defining. The 2005 election was fought around this topic in particular (Foreshore and Seabed Act, formation of the Maori Party, Treaty of Waitangi settlement payments etc.).

Race or ethnic minority defined benefits are relevant to greater or lesser extents in many other counties, not just those with large indigenous populations: reservations in the US, affirmative action in various countries, the Malaysian New Economic Policy / National Development Policy / National Vision Policy, indigenous hunting/fishing rights in Canada etc.

Policies that seek to repress ethnic minorities and indigenous people are also historically very common - through limiting language, land confiscation, the stolen generation in Australia etc. Fortunately these policies are increasingly rarer - although significant economic, social, health etc. disparities still exist.

I personally would be uncomfortable about putting policies that would seek to reflect ‘ethnic minority suppression’ in the game. It’s not fun - and most policies in the game are framed in supportive terms (e.g. support trade unions) rather than oppressive (e.g. seize property from capitalists)

How to put this in the game?

So how to include this?
(keeping in mind that the goal of the game is fun over pure realism / hyper-accuracy)

One option is a single ‘Reparations’ policy as a slider - each section costing more, something like:
Cultural funding -> Additional targeted government services -> Tax benefits -> Direct payments

Another option might be to have multiple policies. This would allow separating out cultural aspects like supporting minority languages and culture (which tend to cost less and have broader support), from more ‘controversial’ and/or expensive policies like affirmative action, financial reparations, and political power (reservations, policy veto rights, an indigenous upper house).

The impacts of these policies would likely make ethnic minorities happier, healthier, and at higher levels improve their incomes (or perhaps improve low income group’s income / improve health more generally?).

Also likely to improve/increase equality (perhaps in a non-linear way).

Racial tension impacts also likely to be non-linear - the benefits to racial tension might be highest somewhere in the middle third - very low and high levels may make racial tension worse.

Also likely to help solve the crisis of ghettos.

Conservatives are likely to be opposed, liberals supportive.

Impacts on other groups are more complicated. The capitalist view in NZ is neutral to supportive of reparation payments for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and theft of land (seeing it as government theft of private property and breach of contract), so I’m inclined to leave them out of this and have them neutral.

Anyway, I hope this inspires some thoughts. Thanks Cliff for all your work :slight_smile:



Would love to see reparations.
Lets say you approach Democracy 4 with an agenda to address America’s racial wealth gap.

Nothing in Democracy 3 and probably nothing in the world would addresses something of that magnitude but reparations. You could pass all the racial awareness month, diversity training, criminal justice reform, HBCU funding and affirmative action bills and you still have a racial wealth gap that is so unbalanced it burden’s your Democracy with an ethnic caste system. You pass a real reparations in the 5 to 20 trillion dollar range and you don’t have to worry about racial awareness month, diversity, criminal justice reform etc. Its the difference between treating the symptoms and the actual malady. I think libertarians could even spin it as being cheaper, liberals would love it and if you some how wrap it red white and blue like #ADOS does you might sway conservatives.


I like the policy idea. However i wouldn’t say its needed from a game mechanic perspective. I was able to eliminate the (poor) demographic while maintaining an ethnic minority population of around 100%. 3/4 of my population was considered middle class while 1/4 was wealthy. So while I understand the real world implications of what you are addressing, ypu can actually achieve racial equality in the game. I still would like to see this as a unique American policy.

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How did you have an ethnic minority population of 100%? 100% support? I’m curious as to how you pulled that off. You might have some policy gems that translate to the real world.

Reparations wouldn’t be uniquely American. The CARICOM nations have an active reparations claim and Jamaica has already received some forms of reparations from England. Haiti has paid reparations to France and wants to receive reparations from France. Namibia and some other African countries are seeking reparations for genocide and/or forms of colonialism.

Minority population of 100% and 100% support is extremely easy in this game.
For minority stuff make sure nothing restricts immigration.
100% support just means 100% voters have >50% approval rate.

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Man that logic needs to be upgraded in the USA where reparations and immigration are not on the same political path. The people pushing for reparations wan’t more specification. They don’t wan’t to be rolled into people of color or minorities. I am speaking more about people in the know than generalities but this is trending especially after Biden’s leak where he basically told black people to get in line behind Latinos.

Immigration being so high is actually kind of a bug. Steps to attempt to fix that are under way but it’s very much a WIP

Good to hear. Its tough simulating something that is also a work in progress. I would love to see more division in minorities at least with how Cubans push Florida Republican and how #ADOS rejects flat blackness, minority and people of color identity politics.

Can’t do that 'cause the system tries to be working for any country and the specific types of minorities you might find varies.

Fascinating idea for a policy.

From a mechanics perspective, it’d likely:

  • increase income for the ethnic minority voter group,
  • improve foreign relations,
  • increase inflation,
  • potentially increase corruption (from people claiming they were, say, 1/64th indigenous for a share of the money),
  • potentially increase racial tension
  • potentially increase immigration
  • make ethnic minorities happier
  • make socialists slightly happier
  • make liberals unhappy
  • make conservatives very unhappy

Source for making both liberals & conservatives unhappy: The Legacy of Slavery - AP-NORC

This is a poll conducted by the Associated Press (America’s largest journalism agency) and the National Opinion Research Center based out of the University of Chicago. Of note is how the overall approval for cash repatriations is very, very low with non-Black Americans. It is likely similar in other Western countries, but I don’t have source data for that.


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I would love to see reparations be the costly, idealist solution to post-colonial protest movements borne out of high education, liberal and egalitarian cultures. The history books rewrite decision could set it off.

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Agreed, I am already imagining this being implemented as a long-term solution to bringing down racial tensuon in the game. I may be suprised though with what else it influences.


Bumping for Cliff’s acknowledgement


Yeah I do really think predicting the next big liberal talking point for near-future protestors ought to be something the game thinks about, whether it’s in the base game or a hypothetical expansion. Colonial/war reparations resemble that well.


There are some pretty harsh policies in game so to make it balanced and neutral, there probably should some more “heartless bastard” policies.


Would love to see a few rainbow socialist giga snowflake policies in the mix too.


No doubt! Pile it on!