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Paul Goodman: A change in Monopoly and the decline of capitalism

By Paul Goodman
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Screen shot 2012-12-30 at 10.53.18The Christmas and New Year season is a time for playing Monopoly with your family.  But something strange has happened to our set.

  • The benign and mustachioed elderly gentleman, himself clearly a survivor from the pre-Big Bang age, has vanished from the box.
  • The top hat, dog, thimble and iron have disappeared from the set of tokens.  All that is available are flash motorcycles, fast cars, speed boats and a (clearly private) jet.
  • Old Kent Road, Trafalgar Square, Mayfair and the rest of the familiar London surroundings have been replaced by such locations as Movie District, Showtime Boulevard and Bling Beach.
  • Instead of Community Chest, with its grim reminders of the realities of life (paying income tax on compulsion, stumping up fines, or only winning second prize in a beauty contest), there is a "Fortune Series", which includes "Sly Deal! - Steal a property card from a player of your choice".
  • The rules now explicitly state that "you win when you have £1 million in cash.  No need to bankrupt everyone else."  But everyone knows that capitalism requires bankruptcies as well as fortunes - and that sometimes the same people enjoy both (though not usually at once).
  • You can "upgrade your mover to give you a better chance of winning" with a view to "living the high life".
  • Above all, something worrying has happened to money.  The lowest note available is £1 million.  Has Mark Carney taken charge of the game and installed nominal GDP targetting?

Oh, hang on.  I take it all back.  On closer inspection, we've been playing a newer game called Monopoly Millionaire.

None the less, I feel that there is a moral in all this about the banking crisis and the condition of capitalism.  I don't like to think what it could be.

P.S: And no, I'm not bitter and twisted just because I didn't win.


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