If Daniel Hamermesh is Monopoly’s economist champion, Russ Roberts of George Mason University, is its economist defector. While Russ admits to playing as a child, these days he says the only time it’s played in his house, is when he wants to teach his kids “how bad” its lessons are. In a 2006 Morning Edition commentary, Roberts said about the game “…only Marxists look at the world of capitalism the way the game of Monopoly does, as an unrelentingly gloomy system of exploitation where the rich eventually wear everyone else down.”
I really enjoyed this episode of the brilliant podcast Planet Money, the podcast from NPR that explains complex economic issues in understandable ways. In this episode, two hosts play a game of Monopoly with two economists with different views of the game and, while they play, they discuss what it really teaches people about capitalism.