Monopoly and Jail

My kids love the game Monopoly.  They play it on the computer.  The other day, one of my boys was playing against the computer.  He had the game won.  He owned every piece of property.  The computer opponents could do nothing.  My son commented how the only safe place left for his opponent was prison.

Now, I have had this feeling lately that Monopoly is a better model of our economy than we might think possible.  I mean, when the game is over, you have to put all the things back in the box.  All those houses and hotels.  All those utilities and rail roads.  All that glorious money.  It all goes back in the box.  It’s not yours any more.  It never was yours and you can’t keep it when the game is over.

When I was a child, my big sister would play Monopoly with me.  When it came to the point where I knew that I was not going to win I would try to concede.  My sister did not want the game to end so she would ‘loan’ me money to pay for my bills.  Thinking about this as an adult, as I was looking to consolidate some credit card debt, it struck me that the bank is helping me stay in the game.  At that time, I thought I had lost a game that I didn’t even know I was playing.

Now, my 10 year old made his comment about jail.  I was struck again.  For the poor people, is it getting to the point where jail the only option left to them?

I fear that we are trapped in a game of Monopoly.  We didn’t choose to sit down at this table, but it’s the only table we have.

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Filed under games, Money, Politics

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