Mr. Monopoly Got It Wrong: Cooperation Makes More Money Than Competition
By Kalinda Rose Stevenson
Monopoly is a zero sum game based on competition. Since the money supply cannot increase, the players can win only by taking money from other players. The fundamental belief behind Monopoly is lack of money. This means that the only way to get more money is to take it away from others.
This zero sum competitive game reflects the economic realities of the Great Depression. While thousands stood in breadlines, a handful made fortunes. For one to player to win, the others must lose.
The rules of the Monopoly prohibit partnership. You cannot create joint ventures. You cannot loan money to another player. You cannot borrow money from another player.
The psychological effect of playing this highly competitive game is that you are a solo player doing whatever you can to force the other players to go bankrupt. The last thing you want to do is to help someone else stay in the game because that person might go on to drive you out of the game.
As an economic model for creating wealth, Monopoly teaches that competition is the way of the world. It reinforces social models based on competition, and the idea that success is a lonely climb over the heads of others.
The belief that success means competition reinforces a whole array of social models and beliefs about the "survival of the fittest" and the "law of the jungle" where only the strong prevail. You can see the same belief behind the American mythology of the self-made man who pulls himself up by his bootstraps.
Even Abraham Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" is a model of the individual striving to succeed as an individual. It is all part of the belief that success goes to the individual who wins the competition.
This kind of imagery is deeply embedded in our consciousness about what it takes to make money and what it takes to succeed in business. Monopoly simply reinforces the fundamental belief that the road to success is paved with the bodies of your competitors.
As a success model, what is the effect of a game based on competition for a limited money supply? You don't have to look any further than the statistic that 96% of the population will reach 65 without enough money to be financially self-sufficient. Instead of congratulating the 4% who somehow manage to create financial freedom for themselves in this economic system, you need to ask, "What is wrong with the game? Why do so many lose?"
The short answer is that our economic models teach competition for limited resources as the foundation of wealth. The model itself demands that almost everyone must end the game broke.
What happens when you attempt to create wealth in business according to Monopoly Money Rules? It's a highly competitive game and a lonely struggle. You use your own money and do it alone. Will you succeed? Maybe. You might be one of the lucky few who manage to do it all yourself. More likely, you will end up as one of the casualties of those who tried to start a business but never made enough money to succeed.
As a model for creating wealth, Monopoly is stuck in the mindset and money beliefs of the Great Depression. In the Monopoly game, the winner amasses money but does nothing to create money through transactions.
The Great Depression ended more than sixty years ago. It's time for a new game with a new understanding of money. The fact is, you'll make more money in transactions than you will in takeovers. Mr. Monopoly had it wrong when he thought that winning meant driving competitors out of business. Yes, I know. The business world is still full of "black knights" and hostile takeovers. And sometimes the worst people seem to win.
When you take off the Depression era Mr. Monopoly glasses, you can see a new vision of money and business. Money is not currency. Money is an idea, and the only limits to money are the limits of your vision. With this vision, you'll see that you will make more money in transactions than takeovers. In this era, the most enlightened business people understand that you will make more money in joint ventures with others than you will by competing against them.
About the Author
Kalinda Rose Stevenson, Ph.D.
Author of "No Money Limits For Real Estate Investors: Are Monopoly Money Rules Putting A Lid On Your Real Estate Success?" Discover The Real Estate Money Secret Hidden in the Monopoly Game.
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| Some other articles by Kalinda Rose Stevenson|