Monopoly: Reinforcement of the American Dream Many board games are used to bring in family, friends, and even strangers to come together and socialize. What many people do not know is that sometimes these games teaches our society the values, skills, and social statuses in each individual’s life. Video games such as Medal of Honor or Call of Duty teach young teens (even children), the American pride of being a soldier. Board games such as Life teaches individuals about life in general or what is expected by society when children move on to be adults (go to college, have a job, have kids, get married).
I’ve decided to examine the Monopoly board game, where it teaches a variety of values, skills, and social inequalities. Some good aspects about the Monopoly game are the teachings of real life accounting. A player learns how to budget their money and makes decisions on what to spend. There are even taxes, such as luxury tax and income tax. Mastilak (2012) states that “Monopoly involves investing money into a financial enterprise, developing a strategy, making investment decisions, paying expenses, collecting revenues, and competing with other similar enterprises. ” Monopoly teaches individuals the value of the American Dream.
It is supposedly said that everyone starts off in the same social conditions and everyone has equal chances to climb the social classes. In the game, every player starts off with the same amount of money. In life, everyone is born with the same opportunities among your peers. For example, individuals born in a low social class have the same amount of chances to reach the higher social statuses. To reach a high social class, individuals have to invest themselves in the American dream, so that one-day individuals will own a house, have money, have luxurious items, and “live happily. The Monopoly game incorporates the American dream elements into the game. The paper money obviously represents money, the houses and hotels represents real estate; luxuries are included in the game as well, such as a jet plane, a limo, a yacht, and a bullet train. Even household luxuries such as water and electricity are included. The game is based on competition; the winner is clearly the wealthiest. The game represents corporate culture, where the game is about winners and losers, it’s about greed and it’s about being heartless. Players are suppose to use every way to get their wants, even if it means hurting their family and friends.
For example, if a player lands on another player’s spot, the player has to find a way to pay for landing in the spot, even if it means that the player doesn’t have the money for it. Monopoly also teaches players the rules of social engagement. Taking turns, following the rules, and fair play are general norms of social engagement (Glasberg, Nangle, Maatita, and Schauer 1998). Glasberg, Nangle, Maatita, and Schauer also bring out a good observation when players noticed the political socialization. They stated that since unknown players made up these games, the players did not debate or negotiate the rules.
What I’ve noticed about the game is that the square that says “In Jail”, “Just Visiting”, the price of the estates are relatively cheap. This reinforces the idea that people who are in jail are most likely people from bad neighborhoods. It can also mean that the estates are cheap because it’s next to a jail and it brings down the value of the estate. While on the other hand, the estates near the “Go To Jail” square are significantly higher on prices. The way I interpreted this is that higher security is placed among valuable estates. It’s like in life; people with the money can afford to buy security cameras or high security equipments.
Or it can mean that higher securities are placed around rich neighborhoods. Another square, called the “Free Parking” represents luck. The way I interpreted the “Free Parking” spot is the chances of winning the lottery, or in the case of the game it is to take all the money piled in the middle of the board game. There are many Americans who play the lottery, hoping to beat against the odds to win a vast amount of money. If the game were to be played different, for example some players start of wealthy while other players start off poor, the real life application may be accurate.
A professor from Pennsylvania State University tested 50 students with the poor and rich elements. As suspected, the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. According to the article Classroom Monopoly Game Shows Rich Often Get Richer, 20% of the people control 40% of the wealth and 20% splits 1%. The remainder divides the middle 59% in the United States. It’s just really interesting that how easy it is for players to adjust to the power of money and how accurate it is sometimes. For example, it was very interesting that a student stole $100 from a neighbor because the student was poor.
That’s how it is in some places; people have no other choice but to steal for survival. Monopoly does have many useful skills such as accounting and money investments. However, the board game does reinforce American values, it incorporates the lemets of the American Dream and the corporate culture as well. Even if the game is played differently, these values remain the same and some players even become greedy and heartless (do anything to win, even if it means hurting friends or family). It’s very interesting, it taught me new ideas, and made me think of games that they are not always as it seems.
Works Cited 1. Classroom monopoly game shows rich often get richer. (1992, Feb 22). Journal Record. Retrieved from www. search. proquest. com 2. Glasberg, D. , Nangle, B. , Maatita, F. , & Schauer, T. (1998, Apr). Games children play: an exercise illustrating agents of socialization. Teaching Sociology, 26(2), 130-139. Retrieved from www. jstor. org 3. Mastilak, C. (2012): First-Day Strategies for Millennial Students in Introductory Accounting Courses: It’s All Fun and Games Until Something Gets Learned, Journal of Education for Business, 87(1), 48-51. Retrieved from www. ebscohost. com
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