Has anyone stopped to think what is the goal of the popular boardgame Monopoly produced worldwide by Parker Brothers? According to many parents Monopoly teaches good capitalism, money management, and real world business practices that should be learned and emulated so that their children can later grow up to become a rental and/or landlord tycoon.
Is it such a good idea to perpetuate the idea that creating bigger businesses is usually best, that greed is good and that one can be rewarded handsomely by creating monopolies as a desired path to gaining power and control over others?
What kind of society promotes a game generation after generation that basically teaches children and some adults that it is “fun and entertaining” to bankrupt your friends and family members! Perhaps the game should be banned in the name of common sense and decency towards fellow human beings.
On the other hand in some ways one could say that the game is a wonderful learning tool, it teaches children how to count and horde money. How the banking system works and how to mortgage your house and property. The game Monopoly clearly illustrates and promotes the economic concept that it is good business practice and a worthy goal of individuals or business to create monopolies, run others out of business, and totally dominate markets eliminating all competition.
Other lessons learned in the game could be that Monopoly does a good job of forcing players to pay taxes from time to time, while that revenue does nothing to enhance the quality of life of the players.
Also the game has Chance and Community Chest cards that send players to jail for not doing anything illegal or wrong, just for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
In addition there is only one central bank, and there are rules to keep out competition by not allowing players to lend money to other players.
It is interesting to note that the game was banned in both Communist Russia and Cuba, where it could have done the most good perhaps illustrating the flaws in capitalism and that bad things happen to almost all the players except the one that creates and controls the most monopolies.
A suggestion for house rules might include teaching something good about charity or compassion and perhaps implementing catch-up features for those that have through no fault of their own experienced a unlucky roll of the dice.
Also worth a thought is how much fun is a game and what benefits are there for society where in the end you only get to play with yourself?
CNN contributor, Green journalist, photographer and activist. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last six years.