Culture Economics

The Money System is Rigged

If you want to educate your kids (or yourself) about how money works at this point in time, I suggest a simple experiment. Get a bunch of friends around (where Covid-safe) and start a game of Monopoly, but you and your kids aren’t allowed to join at the start. If you are born before 1980 you get to join when about half the properties on the board have been bought by the other players. if you were born between 1980 and 2000 you join when 75% of the properties have been bought, and if you were born after 2000 you get to join when there is only 1 property left for sale.

Everybody still gets the same income each time they pass “GO”, but all the property already owned on the board is a powerful system of wealth re-distribution from those who have less to those who have more. The different joining points for different ages reflects the price of property relative to median incomes over the last 40 years. It also reflects the fact that the world’s assets have already been unevenly distributed before we start playing the game of life, and as time goes on the unevenness increases.

In a normal game of Monopoly, when you land on a property and the “rent” owing is more than you can pay, you are out of the game. But in this educational version you aren’t allowed to quit. Instead the bank will lend you the money to keep playing, so you just keep accumulating more debt. And at the end of the night you don’t put the game away, you leave it as is, so that the next time you play you start from the same positions.

OK, you can point out all the obvious over-simplifications in this, and yes brilliant entrepreneurs can still succeed. But overall I think it does explain why we keep seeing the wealth gap widening and why we urgently need some wealth re-distribution mechanisms (taxes) in the opposite direction. Or better still, a complete re-think of how money and economies should work.

In the real world, property isn’t just land and houses but all kinds of assets, stocks, shares, currencies, precious metals, etc.

An Oxfam report that the 10 richest people in the world increased their wealth by half a trillion US dollars since the pandemic began.…/abolish-billionaires…

And over the same period, the wealth of the US Billionaires increased by $1.1 trillion, and a further 46 billionaires have been minted.…/the-pandemic-has-made-us…/

Over a longer time period, America’s top 1% has taken $50 trillion from the bottom 90% – something that now constitutes a national security risk!

It really is time for a different economic system that is less rigged.


After initially posting this on Facebook, a friend pointed me to a couple of links to the origins of the game Monopoly, which was originally designed to teach people about the evils of unrestrained greed and unfairness. See: Monopoly Was Designed to Teach the 90% About Income Inequality and also The Landlords Game – episode 189

See Also

The Case for Radical Economics

Marx’s Critique of Capitalism

Capitalism is Destroying the World

Private Armies – It’s Just Capitalism