Long Virtual Money, Short the Banker

by Mr Juggles

Debit not cashMonopoly is a metaphor for life in many ways. For instance, people often claim the outcome depends little on skill and largely on luck. In reality, the best way to win is the same as in life: become the banker and then skim off the top. However, this equation may change with Monopoly’s introduction of a version that uses debit cards rather than cash. This trend should reduce the demand for Monopoly money and increase the velocity of virtual currency.

Furthermore, cheating will become more costly as the requirements have increased from merely being bold, sly, or sticky-fingered (aka a generic finance type) to having a computer science degree (aka a generic nerd). This will represent a shift in the labor supply curve of thieving bankers. Increased regulation and greater financial transparecny should also serve to reduce shadow market opportunities in the greater Monopoly market, such as trades in “One in every currency for rolling snake eyes” or “All the cash in the middle for landing on Free Parking.”

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  1. LAN3
    August 29th, 2006 | 10:48 pm

    Worth noting that Parker Brothers’ Monopoly website features downloadable PDF files permitting the savvy user to print his or her own Monopoly money.

    Despite this fact, Monopoly money is weirdly inflation-proof– or are those real-estate prices fixed by regulation?

  2. Mr Juggles
    August 30th, 2006 | 9:03 am

    Definitely regulation. However, the regulator’s authority is paper thin. With no federal oversight, we find that most games develop thriving shadow markets wherein everything from real estate to rolling compensation becomes negotiable and securitizable.