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The game of Monopoly: a lesson in socialism or a lesson in capitalism?

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There are those who argue that it may be a dangerous thing to teach children how they may thus get the advantage of their fellows, but let me tell you there are no fairer-minded beings in the world than our own little American children. Watch them in their play and see how quick they are, should any one of their number attempt to cheat or take undue advantage of another, to cry, ‘No fair!’ And who has not heard almost every little girl say, ‘I won’t play if you don’t play fair.’  Let the children once see clearly the gross injustice of our present land system and when they grow up, if they are allowed to develop naturally, the evil will soon be remedied.”

Lizzie Magie’s 1902 commentary on The Landlords’ Game, on which Monopoly is based

While doing some Christmas shopping I walked past an end-cap in the toy aisle.  There I saw a new version of Monopoly.  Monopoly Millionaire Edition.

“First to win a million wins!”

The first to win a million dollars wins?  What happend to the old Monopoly game where the point was to “crush the competition into the dust”?

From one of the Monopoly strategy websites linked below here is a strategy to win

If you want to win, follow this set of instructions, which is a sum of everything stated above:

  • Buy every property you can, especially properties from different color sets.
  • Try to acquire the most important sets, otherwise, any set will work.
  • Once you have a set, DO NOT get rid of any of your other properties. If you hold on to the other colors, no other player can get a set
  • If no other player can get a set, they can’t charge you super high rent. However, since you have a set (hopefully), you can!
  • Charging high rents will knock the other players out of the game, leaving you the winner!

Let me translate:

  1. Get all the land you can.  They are not making any more land.  It’s a zero-sum game.  The more you have the less is available for others
  2. Get the most expensive properties as a priority.  But any land is better than no land.
  3. Hold on to whole blocks of properties (color sets)
  4. Charge super-high rents when other players land on your property
  5. The more high-rent properties you control the faster you can crush the other players into the dust and bankrupt them.  You win; they lose.  That’s how the game of Monopoly is played and that’s the way it works in real life.  From board game to real life – lesson learned.

Kids and adults have played the traditional Monopoly game for decades.  Has anyone thought about the underlying values of this game?

Obviously, we are training our kids to be great capitalists through the defeat of other people.

Certainly, Monopoly is not a game of cooperation.

I’m just wondering, this new  Monopoly Millionaire edition, is it non-competitive? 
Is is realistic, or even possible, that we can all “win” without defeating other people?
I don’t think so.

Harpers and NPR did a great set of articles on the history of Monopoly

Listen to the NPR podcast – http://cpa.ds.npr.org/nhpr/audio/2012/12/wom20121204vp3_0.mp3

Read the article from Harpers – http://harpers.org/blog/2012/10/monopoly-is-theft/?single=1

Lots more links to the history of the game Monopoly and Strategy to win

Lizzie Magie’s 1902 commentary on The Landlords’ Game, on which Monopoly is based
http://lvtfan.typepad.com/lvtfans_blog/2011/01/lizzie-magie-1902-commentary-the-landlords-game.html

Why Socialism by Albert Einstein
http://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism

Progress and Poverty
An inquiry into the cause of industrial depressions and of increase of want with increase of wealth… The Remedy
http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/ppcont.html

The Landlord’s Game – 1906
http://landlordsgame.info/games/lg-1906/lg-1906.html

The Shocking History of Monopoly
http://nhpr.org/post/truly-shocking-history-monopoly

Anti-Monopoly
http://antimonopoly.com/

Strategy to win Monopoly
http://www.amnesta.net/other/monopoly/
http://micahi.hubpages.com/hub/monopoly-stratguide

Other Related
Why the rich can get richer by sheer dumb luck
http://globalconsensus.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/why-the-rich-can-get-richer-by-sheer-dumb-luck/

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Written by frrl

December 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm

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