Monopoly

If your holiday customs include gathering the family around for a friendly yet cutthroat game of Monopoly, you should read this article: War-opoly: How History’s Most Popular Board Game Helped Defend The Free World. It tells about how during World War II, the allies hid miniature files, compasses, escape maps, and real money into the game, which was allowed into German POW camps, helping untold numbers of prisoners escape. It also tells about how Monopoly helped to spread capitalism in communist countries, which tried vainly to ban the game.

And to see what is next for our economy, judging from this cultural icon, consider that the latest version of this game heralds the elmination of money: all of that brightly colored cash is replaced by an electronic debit card!

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    If you like monopoly and can get your friends to read a 20 page instruction booklet you should try Trump: the Game. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1824

    Instead of just buying the property you buy certain rights to the property or even lease the property. If you wone the property outright you can develop the property and realize the profits a few turns later.

  • Joe

    If you like monopoly and can get your friends to read a 20 page instruction booklet you should try Trump: the Game. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1824

    Instead of just buying the property you buy certain rights to the property or even lease the property. If you wone the property outright you can develop the property and realize the profits a few turns later.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    But is Monopoly really a capitalist game? Let’s face facts; in truly free markets, the barriers to entry that allow stratospheric rents to be charged don’t exist. Those need government permissions to occur.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    But is Monopoly really a capitalist game? Let’s face facts; in truly free markets, the barriers to entry that allow stratospheric rents to be charged don’t exist. Those need government permissions to occur.

  • Joe

    Not really understanding your post Bike – you saying the gov’t creates barriers to entry or not? And if so what does that have to do with capitalism? Or are you saying that there is a difference between capitalism and a free market?

    I am confused and I thought I had enough coffee today – but maybe I need more!

  • Joe

    Not really understanding your post Bike – you saying the gov’t creates barriers to entry or not? And if so what does that have to do with capitalism? Or are you saying that there is a difference between capitalism and a free market?

    I am confused and I thought I had enough coffee today – but maybe I need more!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Very simple; when you see someone charging exorbitant rent because they have a monopoly on their product, you are generally seeing a place where government has created barriers to entry.

    In other words, “Monopoly” isn’t capitalism, but its sickly older uncle called “mercantilism,” where the government used its sword to protect favored merchants.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Very simple; when you see someone charging exorbitant rent because they have a monopoly on their product, you are generally seeing a place where government has created barriers to entry.

    In other words, “Monopoly” isn’t capitalism, but its sickly older uncle called “mercantilism,” where the government used its sword to protect favored merchants.

  • Joe

    Okay – thanks for clarifying your comment. And I agree that monopolies can and do occur under mercantilism (also called the American System). But a free market can certainly generate a monopoly. They occur less often but they can and do happen. It is not an impossibility.

  • Joe

    Okay – thanks for clarifying your comment. And I agree that monopolies can and do occur under mercantilism (also called the American System). But a free market can certainly generate a monopoly. They occur less often but they can and do happen. It is not an impossibility.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Yes, but when you start charging $2000 to anyone that lands on Boardwalk, you instantly create a great incentive to get into the market that only the government can prevent. Hence, natural monopolies (like Standard Oil prior to the discovery of Texas Tea) tend to actually keep prices at a reasonable level.

    Government monopolies, on the other hand, act a lot like the game.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Yes, but when you start charging $2000 to anyone that lands on Boardwalk, you instantly create a great incentive to get into the market that only the government can prevent. Hence, natural monopolies (like Standard Oil prior to the discovery of Texas Tea) tend to actually keep prices at a reasonable level.

    Government monopolies, on the other hand, act a lot like the game.

  • Joe

    I think monopolies can be a great benefit to consumers, generally in commodity markets. You gave a great example. Of coures, they can be a curse as well.

    “but when you start charging $2000 to anyone that lands on Boardwalk, you instantly create a great incentive to get into the market that only the government can prevent.”

    There are other natural barriers – the availability of land, etc. There are is only one boardwalk on the board and that is not the gov’t’s fault.

  • Joe

    I think monopolies can be a great benefit to consumers, generally in commodity markets. You gave a great example. Of coures, they can be a curse as well.

    “but when you start charging $2000 to anyone that lands on Boardwalk, you instantly create a great incentive to get into the market that only the government can prevent.”

    There are other natural barriers – the availability of land, etc. There are is only one boardwalk on the board and that is not the gov’t’s fault.

  • Joe

    I think monopolies can be a great benefit to consumers, generally in commodity markets. You gave a great example. Of coures, they can be a curse as well.

    “but when you start charging $2000 to anyone that lands on Boardwalk, you instantly create a great incentive to get into the market that only the government can prevent.”

    There are other natural barriers – the availability of land, etc. There are is only one boardwalk on the board and that is not the gov’t’s fault.

  • Joe

    I think monopolies can be a great benefit to consumers, generally in commodity markets. You gave a great example. Of coures, they can be a curse as well.

    “but when you start charging $2000 to anyone that lands on Boardwalk, you instantly create a great incentive to get into the market that only the government can prevent.”

    There are other natural barriers – the availability of land, etc. There are is only one boardwalk on the board and that is not the gov’t’s fault.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Yes, but reality is that there are a lot of nice places to visit on the Jersey shore that don’t charge $2000 a night, or (translated for inflation) $20,000 per night. Forcing one to stay at the Boardwalk IS a government-style innovation.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Yes, but reality is that there are a lot of nice places to visit on the Jersey shore that don’t charge $2000 a night, or (translated for inflation) $20,000 per night. Forcing one to stay at the Boardwalk IS a government-style innovation.


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