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Wed

04

Mar

2009

Why is the Bank alone playing Monopoly?
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 22:09
by Roland Michel Tremblay

Monopoly is one of the oldest board games in the Western World. It has become a symbol to everything that we are about, a symbol to capitalism. It is such a simple game, anyone can learn to play it in minutes, and yet, within this simple game, it is amazing how our whole way of life can be resumed. Is it still worth playing the game though, or is the bank playing alone nowadays?

I always loved playing Monopoly, I have been playing since I was born. My first time must have been when I was 3 years old. Today I play it on my Nintendo DS, on my PC, and even on my phone/Pocket PC. I still enjoy it tremendously. Critics of the game have pointed out that you can get tired of playing Monopoly, since it is always the same, and it lasts for a bloody long time, before everyone goes bust, except the winner.

Of course, they are right, which is why my generation is so lucky: now I play alone, with five other AI players. Artificial Intelligence or CPU players. They never get tired of playing Monopoly, they will play as soon as I order it, they will also lose on command (once set at the easy level), because I still have to lose one game.

I lost only once at Monopoly, you don’t want to know the result. I was 7 years old, I hit my playing partner in the face (common assault), destroyed the game, destroyed a table, threw a chair out of a window (damaging property), and I sulked for a week. Thankfully I lost only once. A second time… and certainly I would have started a Nuclear Third World War on your head! Because, you know, this is human nature, in the West. This is who we are! No one needs to be ashamed of it.

I bet you want to know my strategy, the strategy of a real winner in life. It’s very simple, you have to ensure you play with brainless people. There is only one strategy at Monopoly, you need to own every single piece of land in the world, after that, only you can build and own any piece of real estate and make a profit.

Now, it is difficult to buy everything, to land on everything, so you have to pay big money to get all those lands from the other players, and this is when playing with brainless people is essential. It has been said that anyone had a price, and if you have enough money to throw away, you can always buy anything you want, everything that exists in the world, even the government! I always risk it all, this is the sign of a real capitalist winner. The Shock Doctrine would also come in handy, or The Prince of Machiavelli if you insist on being old fashion.


At first this is difficult, because though everyone else seems to go around the board like if there was no tomorrow, and win cash right left and centre, you always appear to be stuck forever in a loop. You never pass go, you always end up in prison.

No problem, I just mortgage everything I buy, and somehow that leaves me enough money to buy out everyone else out of it all. So at the end I own everything, and everyone pays me a fortune. As soon as I build my first house, that’s it, I simply have to wait a few rolls of the dice, until everyone goes bust and that I acquire all their money and everything they might still own that I don’t already own. Monopoly is such a satisfying game, as long as you always win.

If you had never heard of the game, and even, did not know I was talking about a game, you could potentially be horrified right now. Because the very basis of Monopoly, our international national symbol of all that we are and represent, is all about becoming the richest person alive, but also to ensure that everyone else goes bankrupt, and hopefully die a painful death. And when they do, cheer up and open a bottle of Champagne, you have won the game of life!

I find it terribly ironic that I have enjoyed winning at Monopoly for most of my life, and yet, in real life, which is more or less based on the very same principles, I never owned anything, and my partner is about to lose our apartment to the bank, because of the depression. I have never applied those same principles in life that I have applied for so long playing Monopoly. And so, my partner and I are totally bankrupted.

Others have won, the banks, they are the ones popping up the Champagne right now. They have been for a very long time, and no one will allow them to go bust. We all pay dearly to sustain them before that happens, so they can continue to finance houses and hotels, and repossess it all when we default on our payments. It never fails to happen, as soon as a little economic depression shows up, every decade or so.

And the worst part of it all, the Bank has become God, the God of the capitalism religion. The Bank is all powerful, has always existed, is omnipresent, it knows everything about you. And the money it lends you, is not based on any asset it had to acquire, or even on assets of others they have a claim on, or money or gold they have at their disposal. That money is created out of nothing, with each loan, guaranteed by the government (us). And when we all go bankrupt, the bank simply finally acquire everything we own. This is not in the instruction manual, or else, no one would play Monopoly.

Actually, the real worst part of it all, is that despite registering record profits of billions in recent years, on our back, whilst we were all going bankrupt, banks still managed to go bust themselves! And, we bailed them out! If it was not so ridiculous, meaningless, plain stupid, and sad… I would cry myself to death.

One has to wonder, who thought of this system, or who was able in the first place to impose it on us all through time. I suggest we leave it out of our history books, something we have become very good at. We don’t want future generations to know how brainless we were at playing Monopoly, do we? I could not justify it, it would bruise my die hard capitalist Ego.

One could be tempted here to talk about a great analogy of the game of Monopoly, the real great corporations buying everything they can, because they have unlimited funds, and, remember my strategy, everyone has a price. And once you own everything, you can charge whatever you want, and people pay, and then they go bust.

This is how it actually happens in real life, and these large corporations eventually end up owning everything, including us. They do whatever they want, even dictate politics worldwide. But at the back of it all, there is always a large bank supporting them, making it all happen. The almighty bank, our God of capitalism.

Monopoly is limited to real estate, lands, money and banks, and in the end, it is pretty much it. Monopoly leaves out everything about products, food, marketing and sales, all that we have truly become. I am not even talking about the Stock Exchange markets, for that you would need to play another great board game I love called Racetrack, a game no one as yet thought of creating a PC version of.

In the game Racetrack, you do play the Stock Exchange markets, the life of the rich and poor, with yacht clubs, racetracks, powerful weddings and costly divorces. Delightful! The king game of spectacular bankruptcies! There is always a way down, but are we even given the chance for a way up these days? I just love that game, I may have to create a Nintendo DS version myself, so I can play it all day long in the toilets at work, whilst my whole life and career are going down the drain.

Another great game that came from the same source is Careers. That too needs to be resuscitated. The Parker Brothers were visionary and geniuses about their games, some people might even think it was a conspiracy theory. They were so spot on and instrumental in cementing it all, they were the symbol of everything we were, everything we are all about today.

Their only miscalculation was their failure to foresee that eventually the banks would take over, eliminate all the players, and play alone endlessly, in some sort of meaningless loop. Well, what’s the point in playing then? What’s the point of living? No one can compete against the bank, or globalization, or those international corporations who have become banks in their own rights.

The whole idea of this article, and we are getting now to why I spent so long writing this introduction, is that life has very much become a game of Monopoly, except that none of us can possibly play or win any longer.

The game has gone off the scale. Where one dollar used to be worth one dollar, now, a million dollar has become, in the space of less than 20 years, worth a billion dollars. And we are quickly reaching a state where one dollar will soon be worth one trillion, and all whilst leaving inflation completely out of it all. How can this be explained? I don’t know.

No one can even buy the cheapest piece of land left on the whole planet, no one can even afford to pay the taxes on any apartment they are renting, and no one ever reaches GO anymore, as there is no job left. Maybe we can spend three rolls of the dice in prison, just to get some breathing space and consider all our options. Even though we know there are none, and we will all go bust any second now. Did you really think you were somehow immune? Think again.

I hate losing, I cannot stand to be manipulated that way by the bank, which has unlimited funds, which owns everything including myself, and against whom I could never possibly compete. We are all now destined to fail by design. There is no point playing Monopoly, Racetrack or Careers any longer, because we can never be a player anymore, only a bystander, an observer of the game of life being played in front of our eyes. And lucky us if somehow we can escape being slaves to those corporations, those monopolies, those banks.

I used to enjoy playing Monopoly, I used to be a real die hard capitalist. However, the rules have changed, and this existence no longer has anything appealing to anyone. Until such time that we get back to what the rules were, until such time that we bring back a chance for all the players to win. Until then, we might as well forget it. If this is what capitalism has become, well, we’ll have to come up with something else, new games to play.

I never thought we could push it so far, to such an extreme, that suddenly the game Monopoly could lose all its appeal. My God, it is our whole way of life, all that we are, that we are on the verge of losing, whilst we are being launched into the unknown of what else could replace it all, at a time when people are truly actually considering changing everything on a massive scale.

I guess we better sort ourselves out and find the solutions, bring back the capitalism we were born with, or else, well, we’ll just have to consider new types of games. Surely someone could think up a game play not too boring about socialism, or even communism? Oh dear… I might as well shoot myself in the head right now!

Bring back the real Monopoly! The one where not only the bank is playing, but where we all have a chance to get rich and live the American Dream, and collectively get out of our eternal misery. The hope of it is usually enough! But you were too greedy. You killed all hope, for all of us.

Starving people have no wish to play any game any longer. They cannot listen to anything, they can only revolutionize everything. And do remember, they are in power, not any monopoly. The people can always take it all away from you, and they will. Your power can never be that absolute for too long. We can all just take it back, all those privatizations, now all public again, overnight, without compensation!

You were quick enough to buy out our corrupt leaders, thinking it would lead to insane profits. You should be prepared now to lose it all. There is not one Judge in the land that will go against this indictment, and suggest that it should all be anything else but a guilty plea. It is all part of playing the game, isn’t it? The risk will not pay off.

We’re all bad losers, and collectively, we can never afford to be losers. We can still break the bank and win. Because collectively, we establish the rules, we dictate around here, not you!

You killed our hope, and my God, you were asking for it, there will be a revolution. Until such time that, by law, we will restore the real rules of the game, where all the players will have a chance, and where, once in a while, the game does end and can be reset, and we can start all over again at GO.

I think we have just reached that point in the game. Don’t you?

“Without irony, this life would hardly be worth living.”

Roland Michel Tremblay

rm@themarginal.com and http://www.themarginal.com/destructivism.htm
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