HOW DO children learn about the world of property and finance?
They play games that simulate adult experiences. And one of the world’s most famous games is Monopoly.
The history of Monopoly dates back to 1904 when a Quaker named Elizabeth Magie invented The Landlord’s Game in an attempt to teach people about Henry George’s single tax theory and the dangers of monopolised property ownership.
Fellow American Charles Darrow later sold his similar game, Monopoly, to Parker Brothers which has gone on to become one of the most popular board games of all time.
The object of Monopoly is to bankrupt your opponents and become the wealthiest player. That is, of course, the only way the game ends – when one player wins and the rest are left with nothing.
All of this happens by the roll of the dice. Much like poverty and homelessness in our society today, it is a game of chance.
What does that teach young people (and not so young people) about how to treat others?
If people land on our property we charge them exorbitant fees and force them to mortgage their own property to stay in the game, we sometimes force them into homelessness or jail, leaving them reliant on those who possess wealth and property. They are impoverished and vulnerable and we are the winners.
Ms Magie’s original concept was to warn people of the evils of a monopolised society. Yet even the most compassion-ate person can turn into a tyrant when Monopoly victory is on the line!
So next time you sit down to a game of Monopoly I challenge you to play with a different mindset.
I challenge you to play with compassion and a willingness to help those who are down on their luck.
The only problem will be that by playing this way the game will never end and everyone will have something of value.
Wouldn’t it be good if society worked like that?