Monopoly the game

We had a fun time playing Monopoly with friends this weekend. As with every game of Monopoly, it got competitive, but we are all still friends :) 

Monopoly was invented by Elizabeth Magie in 1908 to demonstrate the evils of Capitalism (which has ironically sustained and grown over the years thanks to a capitalistic engine).  

Teaching through games is such a clever and effective idea. It's fun, hands-on, experiential, and demonstrates a variety of scenarios. It helps you develop an instinct for the concept in a way that reading books or doing projects rarely do. 

The game is indeed illustrative of many aspects of Capitalism. I have listed some of them in no particular order below -  

1. The first couple of rounds start out as a mix of mostly luck and some skill. If you are fortunate with good die rolls and happen to land on unowned properties, you get to buy them at a great price. 

2. But quickly wealth concentrates among a few, and the rest are squeezed with exponentially rising rent prices but stagnant wages. It's very rare to make a comeback in the later rounds if you aren't lucky in the early rounds. 

3. Those who invest in buying properties and buildings do well as assets grow exponentially, while cash depreciates exponentially. Almost everyone underestimates the exponential nature of the game.  

4. Those who trade well do well, and those who do poor trades or don't trade are likely to lose. You can't land on all properties you want, so it's quite important to be open and good at deal-making. 

5. Cash management becomes key as the rounds progress when prices rise. If you are property-rich and cash poor, you risk getting squeezed and bankrupt.  

6. When you are wealthy (cash & property rich) you become resilient to bad luck and get multiple chances to become lucky. But if you aren't, a bad die roll can be fatal. Once you get to the point of mortgaging property, there's never coming back.  

7. Salary, Chance and Community chest cards, including income taxes, fines, or gifts aren't adjusted for the recipient's wealth. 

8. Everyone except the winner feels a tad bit resentful. The winner/wealthier almost always get a bit cocky. 

I believe that Capitalism's system of incentives and a free market is better than most alternatives for innovation and freedom. But thoughtful regulation, taxation, and universal social services or income are necessary pairings for a society with economic mobility, safety nets, and fairer distribution of wealth and power.