Socialism is boring : Monopoly edition

July 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

Frances Coppola has an interesting take on alternate versions of Monopoly (a game that always attracts economic curiosity). I enjoyed following rendition in particular:

Suppose our car park squatters took over the Bank, expropriated the monopolist’s property and evicted him from the game. The Socialist Monopoly Republic (SMR) would then own all property. It would dish out a basic income to all participants, as before, but it would additionally charge rents on property (the Bank doesn’t do this in the normal version of the game) – it would have to do this to avoid eternal money printing. Rents would initially be set in such a way that in a normal round, they would be affordable within the basic income. However, as the SMR can also build houses, rents would be likely to rise over time as sites were improved. To make this version of the game sustainable, the following rules would have to be established;

  • property would not be for sale, only for rent
  • if the Socialist Monopoly Republic raised rents, it would also raise basic income by an equivalent amount

This version of the game could go on for ever. But boy would it be boring. The person playing the Banker, or rather Glorious Leader, might have some fun building houses and messing around with prices and incomes. But everyone else would just be going round and round, collecting basic income and paying rent. The Chance and Community Chest cards would liven things up a bit, and you could add a few more such as random lottery payouts. But basically, everyone would be living a very quiet life. We might call this game “Socialist Stagnation”.

Guess this explains why socialist governments can disinterest people living in it. Unless you live in Uruguay.

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