Should the US Switch from the Dollar to Monopoly Money?

by Johnny Debacle

From user Ignatius:

Even as economists have derided the U.S. dollar as heading toward parity with Monopoly money, Monopoly money itself has held its value with marked consistency.

Price of Boardwalk in 1950: m$400
Price of Boardwalk in 2007: m$400
Concurrent decline in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar: 87%

Recommendation: Not only would the switch to monopoly provide the US with a more stable currency, but it would also grant the Fed even further control over the economy by enabling them to set the “house rules.” By determining the “Free Parking Rules” and financial outcomes from such events as “rolling snake eyes” and “landing directly on Go”, the Fed could steer the economy with even greater precision. Too little liquidity? Just tell the “banker” to actually become a bank and provide loans rather than solely acting as a cash register. More research is needed, but there seem to be real and compelling reasons for the US to switch to the Monopoly currency.

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  1. Poseidon
    October 1st, 2007 | 1:53 pm

    I see some significant leveraged arbitrage opportunities between Monopoly (orig Parker Brothers) and Life (orig Milton Bradley). Now are both rolled up to Hasbro; convergence is likely. However, Monopoly dollar has held value whereas Life dollar has paced with US dollar inflationary tendencies.

  2. Ignatius
    October 1st, 2007 | 2:23 pm

    Good lord, imagine my embarrassment at going long Milton Bradley in my original comment. Little did I know.

    This reminds me of a most unfortunate day in 1998, when I inadvertently entered an order to buy 400 COMS, rather than the intended 400 QCOM.

    Sell, goddammit! Sell!

  3. October 1st, 2007 | 3:06 pm

    87% ?

    It’s actually far worse than that. Look at the price of bread, milk, a house, gold.

    87% is a bogus government CPI statistic.

  4. Charlie McDanger
    October 1st, 2007 | 3:52 pm

    I offer as contrary evidence the lap dance, which has remained steady at US$20 for many years.

    In fact, in 1980 twenty bucks would buy you a lap dance from a 110-lb. woman; today for that price you can procure a woman at least fifty percent larger.

    Inflation? Humbug.

  5. Methinks
    October 1st, 2007 | 6:49 pm

    I fail to see the problem. The 1970’s were a swell time in American economic history. Or, at least that’s what Paul Krugman keeps saying. Why wouldn’t we want to revisit that idealic time when fewer people had jobs to stress them out so they could spend more time hanging out in short-sleeved, lime green polyester suits?

  6. richard roma
    October 2nd, 2007 | 8:41 am

    I think the US is aiming for parity with the peso given their hyper phobia of recessions. I’d suggest hedging every $10 in currency with 2 cans of Tomato soup.

  7. cmsd2
    October 2nd, 2007 | 2:19 pm

    Are you sure the correct hedging ratio is 2?

    Anyway I couldn’t find much data on the price of tinned tomatoes.

    But whole tomatoes in december 1980 in the average US city, would have cost you 66 cents per pound, compared with 1.64 dollars in 2006. That’s a factor of about 2.48

    This compares pretty well with the compounded effect of measured inflation in that same range:

    $2.45 using the Consumer Price Index
    $2.16 using the GDP deflator
    $2.40 using the unskilled wage
    $3.59 using the nominal GDP per capita
    $4.73 using the relative share of GDP

    (courtesy of

    Personally I reckon that a basket of fruit is a more appropriate hedging tool. No view on lemons versus limes though.


  8. Poseidon
    October 2nd, 2007 | 2:52 pm

    Limes definitely have a premium over lemons due to strategic relationship with Corona.

  9. October 2nd, 2007 | 2:54 pm

    We are still long limes, short lemons

  10. Sir Gay Federov
    October 2nd, 2007 | 3:24 pm

    The only way that picture could be any more perfect is if it said “Eracism” underneath.

  11. October 3rd, 2007 | 12:11 pm

    >>We are still long limes, short lemons

  12. deloitte and toosh
    October 3rd, 2007 | 1:23 pm

    the lemons limes first ever longorshortpost makes a comeback?

  13. October 4th, 2007 | 7:59 pm

    Charlie McDanger is onto something.
    I propose a fixed lap dance price to floating USD/EUR rate swap derivative.

  14. chris
    October 5th, 2007 | 8:42 am

    I don’t know if Boardwalk is a good asset to measure whether Monopoly money holds its purchasing power. Although the absolute number of Monopoly dollars required to purcase Boardwalk has not changed, it may be that due to the decline of Atlantic City in the last 57 years, the value of Boardwalk and a Monopoly dollar have simply declined in value at the same rate. Have you walked around Atlantic City lately?

  15. October 6th, 2007 | 2:02 am

    The challenge is the initial currency exchange during the changeover. If $100 in Monopoly money in 1950 is worth $100 today, US$100 dollars in 1950 has only US$12.24 in purchasing power today. So US$8.17 dollars needs to be exchanged by the government for every $1 of Monopoly money. As the former is quite nicely printed on special paper by the Federal Reserve while the latter is printed by a toy company, many might object.

  16. Brian
    October 6th, 2007 | 7:27 am

    Ignatius raises an interesting issue vis-a-vis the value of Monopoly money compared to the US$. I submit, however, that relative to the US$ Monopoly money circa 1950 has actually increased in value. Do a Google for vintage Monopoly money to see what I mean.