Wednesday, April 22, 2009

John Nash would be proud.

Look where the morals of Monopoly have got us

This innocent-looking board game has probably had a corrosive influence on western morals, writes Rowan Pelling. "I wonder if Joanne and Darren Jones, found guilty this week of snaffling over £60,000 from a faulty cash machine, ever played Monopoly when they were young? For all the modern angst about violent computer games, this innocent-looking board game has probably had a more corrosive influence on western morals. For starters, Monopoly brazenly encourages players to plunder their savings and put every last penny into property. And just look where that's got us all: the Joneses were symbolic of our crazy age, owning three properties yet up to their gills in credit-card debt."

Posted by charlie brooker @ 12:37 AM (1166 views)
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10 thoughts on “John Nash would be proud.

  • Look up The Landlords Game on Wikipedia and you will see that Monopoly originated as teaching-aid illustrating the evils of property speculation.It was meant to show how ,left unchecked, rising property values ruined people and that the answer lay in the works of Henry George who advocated Land Value Tax.

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  • I wish people would leave John Nash alone as well. He gets trotted out like a knackered old horse everytime someone gets a whiff of game theory.

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  • charlie brooker says:

    @fubar

    “He gets trotted out like a knackered old horse everytime someone gets a whiff of game theory”

    Yeah, I know, its like so much a part of everyday conversation.

    Mind you, there probably were times when he thought he really was a knackered old horse.

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  • Most people, even as children, who played Monopoly to the end soon realised it was a pointless game when cash flow
    dried up. A good example of how modern capitalism is fundamentally flawed and can only function via starting up the “quantative easing”printing press. Only the “central banks” and their shadowy owners win.

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  • At least with Monopoly, no-one was getting into debt..

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  • I am finding an interesting change in reporting style. Frugal is good. Greed is bad again. It reminds me of a section in the Hugo Bouleau book “the final crash” that explained that when people start feeling a lot poorer, they no longer admire those with money, they despise them. The very people that thought it was big and clever to drive around in a 4×4 tank flashing the cash, and whose neighbours envied them, will soon be despised.

    I cannot f-ing wait.

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  • 6. inbreda said…

    “I am finding an interesting change in reporting style. Frugal is good. Greed is bad again. It reminds me of a section in the Hugo Bouleau book “the final crash” that explained that when people start feeling a lot poorer, they no longer admire those with money, they despise them. The very people that thought it was big and clever to drive around in a 4×4 tank flashing the cash, and whose neighbours envied them, will soon be despised.”

    Why envy or despise them? A life lived through others is a life wasted.

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  • Enoughalready says:

    I was just thinking this the other day. I remembered that I hated Monopoly as a child and always ended up throwing the board across the room because I had cash – but no property. Just like real life today, I thought. Now I read this article – I think I must be psychic.

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  • UT @ 9:43AM You’ve obviously never played house rules…normally someone turns into a loan shark who keeps bankrolling people just so they can extract even more out of them and enjoy the pleasure of them wriggling to survive their enormous debt burden, all the while giving them false hope…and when it all becomes too much to handle they have first pick of the assets over the central “bank”. It is interesting though how the liquidity in Monopoly dries up as the game progresses and all the difficulties that entails.

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  • Edward J. Dodson says:

    dbc reed wrote:
    Look up The Landlords Game on Wikipedia and you will see that Monopoly originated as teaching-aid illustrating the evils of property speculation.It was meant to show how ,left unchecked, rising property values ruined people and that the answer lay in the works of Henry George who advocated Land Value Tax.

    Ed Dodson here:
    Yes. There is a long and very interesting history associated with the creation of The Landlords Game (that evolved into Monopoly). The game may have been created by a group of people trying to come up with a good way to teach Henry George’s insights into how the world works. A woman named Elizabeth Magee patented the game early in the 1900s, and eventually sold her patent to Parker Brothers (after they already paid for the Monopoly version). What is more important, I suggest, is that the reasons for creating The Landlords Game are still with us. Those of you in the U.K. have your own long political struggle against land monopoly that has largely failed. Find a copy of the book on the subject by historian Roy Douglas. Lloyd George and Philip Snowden tried in 1909 to introduce changes in how Britain raised its public revenue, but the landed interests defeated them. Ironically, Winston Churchill (when first campaigning as a Liberal) delivered some of the harded-hitting speeches I have ever read on the destructive nature of land monopoly.

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