21st Century Monopoly
As a child, I used to play the board game of Monopoly. I still vividly remember the excitement of a “Get out of Jail Free” card and the royal blue of Boardwalk and Park Place. My brothers would be angry when I’d start using the pink pastel colored dollars for imaginary scenarios in make-believe businesses. Who knew that one day I’d be an energetic entrepreneur, learning real life lessons of business and true Capitalism?
Looking at Monopoly as an adult, I am reminded of how urgently its lessons are needed in truly preparing us for the real world and a free market.
Playing the Game
Monopoly was developed from “The Landlord’s Game,” which was invented by Lizzie J. Magie in 1903 and updated in 1924. The Landlord’s Game was Magie’s attempt to portray that “renting of land and real estate produced an unearned increase in land values that profited a few individuals (landlords) rather than the majority of the people (tenants).
The game grew in popularity and was played in various homemade versions, eventually coming to look like the game we know today.
Monopoly is designed in a way that all players cannot improve their properties equally. With every move some players end up being hurt by the player pursuing the growth of his own wealth and the building of ultimate power. It is no wonder that the final version of the game was named “Monopoly.”
Monopoly Definition: The exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.
The Monopoly Game Played Today
Monopoly looks a lot like Washington D.C. today. Consider us as the players trying to make it around the board in pursuit of a lifestyle of security and freedom; an idea America was built on! Some of us take risks; some of us hold “our cards” more tightly. At the start of the game, each player (you and I) chooses a token and one player is selected as the banker.
The role of the banker in Monopoly is to facilitate all monetary and property transactions, and to collect fees and taxes. The banker does not influence who wins or loses.
Unfortunately, as we’ve been reminded recently through stories such as the Solyndra bankruptcy, power is all too often abused and the “banker” starts choosing who wins and who loses.
The government and Energy Department gave money to a politically connected business (Solyndra). Solyndra funneled some of this money to the California Democratic Party. The principals in the business were handsomely paid. Regular American citizens became outraged when they found this out, as the money gifted to Solyndra was from your and my tax dollars.
As you see, the best part about being the “banker” in today’s ruling class game is that he controls the money and can manipulate the market. The power elite have the playbook and the rulebook, guaranteeing their own success even when the “players” go bankrupt.
Perhaps the saddest outcome is when unsuccessful firms are considered “too big to fail.” In the game of Monopoly, a bankrupt player leaves the game. In Washington’s game, even bankrupt businesses are allowed to remain if the “banker” (politician) so choses.
A Free Enterprise system credits a business owner with “pay for performance.” When people get bonuses after running a business into the ground, human nature knows this is fundamentally wrong. There is joy in playing a board game with successes and failures. Likewise there is fulfillment in running a business with potential for both gains and losses.
The government should not be picking winners and losers by rigging the rules in favor of companies of their choosing. This is called Mercantilism, and it is what our Founding Fathers rebelled against. Today it is simply called Washington Inc.
Television, radio and the Internet have shown us an unending stream of this type of corruption in government. It happens in many forms, including direct money transfers, preferential tax treatments, price controls, research grants and trade restrictions.
Once a company has received government favor and its hand is in the cookie jar, it’s hard to resist “one more.” The addiction to this dependence creates relentless lobbying in both Congress and the White House. Often we wind up with corrupt inside deals that lead to endless wasteful government spending. If there is any hope of saving our nation, Washington Inc. must be halted in its tracks.
History and The Struggle Against Monopolies
Over two centuries ago, after our nation’s founders struggled under the economic tyranny of King George, they rebelled against the British authorities. They pledged that America would forever be free of such monopolies. This is the reason they refused to establish a central bank, public schools, business favors, or a centralized government without the checks and balances needed to sustain a free market.
The cookie jar has been out for far too long. Just like our Founding Fathers who fought as citizens and merchants under brutal conditions, we must bring the country back from a long-practiced tyranny to liberty and freedom.
 The 1923 patent application for The Landlords Game http://www.google.com/patents?pg=PA1&zoom=4&id=lD1cAAAAEBAJ – v=onepage&q=&f=false
 The History of the Monopoly Board Game http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121997.htm
 The Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/sep/25/bankrupt-solyndras-curious-creditor/?page=all