Monopoly and the wealth gap

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION -

The wealth gap in the United States is wider than it has been in many decades and in­creases every day. The po­lit­i­cal di­vide is just as wide. The right ac­cuses the left of be­ing too so­cial­is­tic, and the left ac­cuses the right of be­ing too cap­i­tal­is­tic. Ac­tu­ally, the U.S. econ­omy has long com­bined both philoso­phies. We have some pro­grams that have shared re­sources, like school­ing, po­lice and armed forces (so­cial­ism). And we also have for-profit com­pa­nies (cap­i­tal­ism).

The game of Monopoly re­lies on profit and loss, win­ners and losers (cap­i­tal­ism). Maybe so­lu­tions to the wealth gap can be found by mod­i­fy­ing the rules. For ex­am­ple, you could for­bid the build­ing of ho­tels, show­ing what it would look like to cap mass prof­its. You could also try tax­ing every­one when they pass “go” five times.

Try adding $50 to the $200 you win when you pass go each time. This will show what rais­ing the min­i­mum wage or hav­ing a min­i­mum na­tional in­come might look like.

We live in a na­tion that for too long has al­lowed poverty and greed to flour­ish. The top 1% have been helped along by all of us and by a gov­ern­ment that re­fuses to ap­pro­pri­ately tax those in this class.

This must change. A mod­i­fied game of Monopoly could pro­vide a ref­er­ence for how we move for­ward and pro­pose changes we can ap­ply in real life — and be fun to try out in the game. Joseph Di­ethelm, Brook­field

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