The Comedy of Monopoly
By Bryan Caplan
I just came across a chuckle-worthy piece by Russ Roberts on Monopoly – the game, not the market structure:
Monopoly is the ultimate zero-sum game. You profit only by taking from others. The assets of its world are fixed in number. Yes, you can build houses or hotels, but somehow, the greater the supply of places to live, the HIGHER the price, an absurd contradiction to real-world economic life.
In Monopoly, hotels never get a makeover and railroads, unlike Amtrak, are always profitable.
This reminds me of a stab I took at economic comedy back in 1995, when I wrote a couple of Gilbert and Sullivan parodies for the Princeton Christmas follies. They were never used, but I consider them some of my best work. From “I Am the Very Model of a Post-Economics-General”:
In fact, when I know what is meant by "find a job" and "New Orleans", When I can tell at sight depression from prosperity, When such affairs as interviews and job talks I'm more wary at, And when I know precisely what is meant by "post-graduate", When I have learnt what progress has been made throughout the century, When I know more of markets than a novice at Monopoly- In short, when I've a smattering of common sense, You'll say a better post-economics-general has never passed his tests.