September 2016: Richard ‘Jerry’ Haworth - From Park Lane to Old Kent Road

Six kids are playing monopoly – but with a twist.

Last time they played it was a disaster; five kids went broke and one owned all the properties. Mum deemed that very unfair and concluded that the system was inherently unfair and needed redress.

The board gets set up again but this time it’s different, she agrees to lend at near zero interest rates any amount of money to any of the kids whom she deems disadvantaged.

The game starts and naturally, the most risk-seeking of the kids buy every property they land on, the risk averse pick and choose selectively.

After a while, the risk averse kids start running out of money as they land on more and more of the speculators’ properties. One hapless child was too risk averse to buy anything and is now technically broke.

Mum wades in and dishes the dosh to the property disadvantaged kids making sure that the game, though rigged, continues.

All that now happens is that the kids with the most properties get richer, the kids without properties get poorer, the middle class (the sensible, moderate  kids with only a few properties) get hollowed out and must borrow more, they then get lucky and become rich or are unlucky and become poor. Mum increases her deficit in order to lend to the disadvantaged kids to keep the game going.

Tensions mount… the inequality is palpable. Mum, though sensing the error of her previous decision to lend without discretion and despite her best intentions, is not about to acknowledge that she is wrong.

Eventually one of the kids throws his hand up in disgust. Mum tries to placate him, saying that she will assist him in buying more properties, she will buy him a new car to move around the board, she will tax the kid with the most money, etc. etc.

He is not having it and kicks the board over. There is chaos – kicking and punching ensues.

Everybody is now worth nothing… But 5 of the kids are happy. A new game can begin.

 

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