Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No monopoly on Monopoly

I’ve never been a board game aficionado [1]. I don’t know why; its how I’m built. As a nipper I played a fair bit of Monopoly. But only if I used the top hat token. My family’s Monopoly set was ancient. I still recall each player’s starting money: £500 x 1, £100 x 6, £50 x 4, £20 x 3, £10 x 10, £5 x 7 and £1 x 5. Though Monopoly’s origins date from 1903, its present form dates from 1935. Its statistics are legion, including 275M games sold (with over 6B green houses and 2.25B red hotels), available in 111 countries and 43 languages (including braille), played by over 1B people and so the most played board game ever, longest game 70 days, used in WWII to help escapes from Nazi POW camps, most expensive game US$2M (gold board, diamond-studded dice), played in space by astronauts, can be played online, recently available as an iPhone app, several websites devoted to it [2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The message? For 75 years it’s been hugely popular. And its popularity continues. But beyond this, has it taught, and does it teach, anything of economics, money management, financial planning etc – noting it was invented to illustrate the negative aspects of private monopolies. Last week Planet Money devoted an episode (#201) to this topic [7]. Two economists were interviewed: One loves it and uses it in classes, the other despises it. So, as with all complex questions, there’s no simple answer. Ho hum.

1 comment:

Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

So we share another thing; the only board game I like is Scrabble. I dislike Monopoly and detested Risk.
I have refused to ever play bridge I have watched people play and it seems to be divisive particularly between partners. I actually am brain lazy as I would much rather talk to people than play a game with them.
Chess seemed to require way to much mental energy for no particular purpose.

I was reading about Pavlova, the dessert on Writer Bee blog, I had forgotten that decadent food, I have never run into it outside Australia.
Sel says Aus is donating more per capita than USA so not to feel too bad!