By the time I was a teenager, I’d keep my Monopoly board set up for weeks on end in the family room. I left it on a card table that I put between the couch and the TV. Why? I was modifying the rules of the Monopoly game to establish a stable economy with neither inflation nor depressions. How do we establish and maintain a stable economy in the real world? The most fundamental change is to realize that, in the real world, the goal isn’t to drive everybody else into bankruptcy! The goal is to do for others what we would want them to do for us! How do we prevent unrestrained, unbridled, disastrous competition? The ways will vary depending upon times and circumstances. That is why we need to keep our communities of wisdom—such as churches, the press, and education—free from the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of Kingdoms! We need free, independent communities of wisdom to generate ideas that bless ALL people, empower ALL people to be free, and heal ALL hurting people!
Monopoly was the first “grown up” board game I played. I believe I received my own Monopoly game for Christmas when I was only six years old.
At first, I needed help to calculate rents! But I persevered.
Perhaps I should mention that I loved arithmetic!
For example, each Sunday during the worship service I mostly ignored what was going on.
Instead, I started with the numbers in the bulletin for things such as amounts given last week and last year, and the number of people who attended church last week and last year. Then, I filled every empty space in the bulletin by adding long columns of numbers!
My parents never stopped me. They were probably relieved that I was sitting quietly in the pew!
There’s a sermon here somewhere. Too many churches are happy as long as the people sit quietly in their pews!
But I digress.
By the time I was a teenager, I’d keep my Monopoly board set up for weeks on end in the family room. I left it on a card table that I put between the couch and the TV.
I was modifying the rules of the Monopoly game to establish a stable economy with neither inflation nor depressions.
Is it any surprise that in college I minored in both Mathematics and Economics!
Perhaps my interest in establishing a stable economy came from the economic challenges of the 1960s.
Inflation was becoming a problem.
But my parents and grandparents were still living in the Great Depression of the 1930s. They talked about the Depression constantly! My grandfather and his buddies always warned that the country was so far in debt that the next Depression would make the last Depression look small!
Is it any surprise that in college I majored in History?
I think I also became interested in altering the rules of Monopoly in order to establish a stable economy because of the way my Father played the game.
My Father was too kind-hearted to see anyone go bankrupt. He wanted all of us to keep playing the game.
My Father’s solution? Have the Bank loan them enough money so they didn’t have to sell their motels or hotels.
My Father reasoned that nobody had a chance to win, if they didn’t have motels and hotels.
Sadly, we didn’t play Monopoly with my Father very often. He was usually tired from working. Plus, he complained that games of Monopoly took too long—going on and on because nobody ever won!
My Father was a smart man. But he never seemed to grasp that the games of Monopoly only lasted so long because he didn’t have the heart to see anybody go bankrupt and lose! Especially my sister or me!
He seemed to think that the winner of the game was supposed to be the person who saved the most money.
But, of course, you win Monopoly by forcing the other players to quit because they went bankrupt!
It’s been about 50 years since I modified the rules of Monopoly to create a stable economy.
I don’t remember details.
But the basic ideas are obvious.
- Give people more than $200 each time they pass go.
- When people are in financial trouble, lend them money so they can keep their motels and hotels. Extend them a helping hand so they’ll have a chance to dig themselves out of the financial hole they find themselves in.
- Allow people to join their properties together to form monopolies, empowering more than one person to benefit from the monopoly. Is it any surprise that I became General Counsel of a dairy cooperative that enables dairy farm families to join together to market their milk and the products that their milk is made into?
The terms of these joint arrangements needed to be negotiated among the “players”. Even though I was playing by myself, I tried to come up with fair rules for all the players regarding things such as investing their money, and sharing their profits and losses.
Is it any surprise that I became a lawyer?
How do we establish and maintain a stable economy in the real world?
The most fundamental change is to realize that, in the real world, the goal isn’t to drive everybody else into bankruptcy! The goal is to do for others what we would want them to do for us!
As the Prophet Isaiah warned:
“Woe to you who add house to house
and join field to field
till no space is left
and you live alone in the land.
What is the end result of such unrestrained competition—the kind of ruthless competition that destroys all of the competitors until there is no longer any competition?
Disaster for everyone—rich and poor alike!
As the Prophet Isaiah warned:
“The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing:
‘Surely the great houses will become desolate,
the fine mansions without occupants.’ . . .
those of high rank will die of hunger
and the common people will be parched with
thirst. . . .
So people will be brought low
and everyone humbled,
the eyes of the arrogant humbled.”
How do we prevent such unrestrained, unbridled, disastrous competition?
The ways will vary depending upon times and circumstances.
That is why we need to keep our communities of wisdom—such as churches, the press, and education—free from the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of Kingdoms!
We need free, independent communities of wisdom to generate ideas that bless ALL people, empower ALL people to be free, and heal ALL hurting people!
We don’t want communities of “wisdom” that are controlled by—and that generate ideas to increase the power of—the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of Kingdoms.
Because, although the details change, the basic goal of our lives and of our civilizations should remain the same: do for others what we would want them to do for us.
The Law of Moses points the way.
Ancient Israel preserved family farms. These farms trained and educated the young, provided satisfying work, and cared for aging family members with dignity and respect.
The Law of Moses provided different ways to achieve these same goals in towns. For example, different economic rules applied in towns compared to the rules in rural areas. (Leviticus 25:23-34).
Similarly, our vastly different economies and civilizations require vastly different ways to achieve these same goals—training and educating people, providing satisfying work, and caring for aging people with dignity and respect.
Wise people of goodwill have different perspectives and suggestions how to achieve these same goals wisely.
Therefore, in our communities of wisdom, our families, our businesses, our nations, and our civilizations, we should debate the merits of ideas rationally and compassionately.
Is it any surprise to learn that in college I majored in Communication and competed in intercollegiate debates?
In debates in the real world, we should listen courteously.
We should not listen in order to argue with each other. Nor listen in order to anger each other!
Instead, we should listen in order to understand each other. And in order to learn the wisest ways to do for others what we would want them to do for us.
We should reason with each other respectfully!
And without fake “facts”!
For ideas related to the ideas in this blog, please read my blogs “Jezebel and Ahab: Greed, Lies and Violence”, “Intensive Care Units or Health Clubs”, “Deceptive-Drawings-Designed-To-Deceive-and-Divide”, “Individuals and Systems, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable”, and “Spilling Coffee”.
For additional thoughts arising from games, please read my blogs “Chess Lessons: Playing for a Draw”, “Poker Lessons: Playing the Cards? Or Playing the People?”, “Game Lessons: Use It or Lose It”, “Game Lessons: Sustainable Perseverance”, and “Video Game Strategy: Getting Crucified”.