Last weekend I spent a good length of time playing Monopoly. My luck was poor from the start and each time I threw the dice I either only moved a couple of spaces or landed on a ‘CHANCE’ or ‘COMMUNITY CHEST’ in which I had to pay a fine. Before I had completed a full circuit I was sent to ‘Jail’ and watched whilst my friends continued to hop around the board successfully buying up all the property and leaving nothing available to me when I finally got out of ‘Jail’.
The next round was no better – now I had little money and kept landing on their property incurring a fine. The only complete property I could afford was Old Kent Road and Whitechapel – which brought in the grand sum of £4 should someone happen to fall on it (having just passed Go and collected £200!). Apart from that I owned single properties which only enabled a minimum rent and no buying power.
Nevertheless it took a long time to completely bankrupt me – the other players gave me high interest loans or eventually bought up my assets for ridiculous prices, claiming that they were ‘doing me a favour’.
When the game was finally over we played a rematch, but this time brought some equality into the board – the properties were shared out and those with the more lucrative streets didn’t place hotels so that the fines were more equal. The game went on for ages with all of us happily claiming rent, and paying fnes without difficulty. It was only when we re-introduced inequality, with a few additional hotels, that clear winners and losers emerged, along with a sense of ‘that’s not fair’.
Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium has much to say on this matter… here is an extract, but you can access the full text by clicking the link.
57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.