Archive for March, 2016

04
Mar
16

A Monopoly meme critical of economic fairness completely misses the point.

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I saw this posted as an attack on socialist economic ideas. Have you ever played Monopoly? Apart from the American Civil War, it’s probably the single greatest cause of brother on brother violence in human history. You start with an equal playing field, and with some random input and a few rules, you end up with all wealth concentrated in a single person. The other players are either driven into dust, or more commonly, the indignity of inescapable debt drives the losing player to upend the board and scatter all of the pieces to the corners of the room.
I did some checking into the game on Wikipedia and found that it was created precisely to illustrate the effects of concentration of wealth. The outrage you feel playing that game is intentional.
Apparently, the intent of the game was to promote the economic theories of Henry George. I didn’t know much about him, so I looked him up as well. Turns out he was a proponent of such ideas as: fair elections with secret ballots, reducing the size of the military, free mass transportation and libraries, women’s right to vote, campaign finance reform and political spending limits, disability income, unconditional basic income as a right, abolishment of unfair debt and credit systems. Sound like anyone you know?
And so it would seem that the point was entirely missed by the creators of the meme. Monopoly wasn’t meant to be a template for an economic system, but rather a cautionary tale. We are headed toward a board flipping of historical proportions.
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