# Meritocracy Monopoly

2022 Jun 17th

Monopoly was originally created by Elizabeth Magie in 1903 to protest against monopolists like Carnegie and Rockefeller. In that spirit, the current game has been used to demonstrate systemic inequalities and structural discrimination in society, including pay inequity, class stratification, redlining and more. Several papers have been written about how to use the game to introduce concepts of social justice, including this work outlining how to use Monopoly to introduce race and ethnic relations in the classroom, and this paper providing instructions, assignments and worksheets. Additional reading and instructions can be found here and here.

Building on these ideas, we created a version of the game we’re calling “Meritocracy Monopoly”. In our version, there are 4 player “identities” and each player uses a different set of rules based on actual demographic data. While the outcome of the game isn’t guaranteed, the odds are heavily stacked in the favor of some players and stacked against others.

During the SAGE / GAGE workshop more than 50 participants gathered to play “Meritocracy Monopoly”. After 45 minutes we stopped playing and unveiled the demographic “identities” of the different players, read the statistics that formed the basis for the rules, and had a brief discussion about how systemic inequalities and privilege shape society. Due to time constraints players were not able to finish their games, however the time allotted was sufficient to demonstrate the concept and in almost every case the same player identity was winning. In the future, we will provide more game boards and limit the number of players to 4-5 per board to allow each player to have more turns.

Below are the player rules, sources used to create the rules, and some of the information that was shared at the end of the game. Feel free to use and share these resources.

### Rules

Player 1 (only 1 per game) – [White man]

• Starts with \$2500 (Intergenerational wealth)
• Pass Go \$250 (salary white men)
• Properties – Can buy any property (greenlining)
• Jail - Upon receiving instructions to go to jail, immediately rolls the dice. If you receive an odd roll go to jail, but can roll again immediately. If the second roll is greater than 7, then you are released. If less than 7, you must remain in jail taking their regular turn until a number greater than 7 is rolled, or pay \$50 for release.

Player 2 (up to 2 per game) – [Latina]

• Starts with \$1500 (Intergenerational wealth)
• Pass Go \$125 (salary – latin women – 50% of white men)
• Properties – can buy purple, light blue, maroon and orange (redlining)
• Jail - must go directly to jail. On the next or any following turn can pay \$50 to get out or can remain until a number greater than 7 is rolled.

Player 3 (up to 2 per game) – [Indigenous woman]

• Starts with \$1000 (Intergenerational wealth)
• Pass Go \$125 (salary – Indigenous women – 50% of white men)
• Properties – can buy purple, light blue, maroon (redlining)
• Jail - must go directly to jail. On the next or any following turn can pay \$50 to get out or can remain until doubles are rolled.

Player 4 (up to 2 per game) – [Black man]

• Starts with \$1000 (Intergenerational wealth)
• Pass go \$200 (salary – black men – 80% white men)
• Properties – can buy purple and light blue (redlining)
• Jail - must go directly to jail. Must remain there until doubles are rolled.

PRINTABLE RULES

### Take Aways (Drawn from References below)

Intergenerational Wealth

"Wealth inequality in one generation also translates into inequality in opportunity for the next generation. For instance, the relationship between families’ wealth and their children’s college attainment is strong and rapidly growing, contributing to intergenerational stability in the wealth distribution." - Stone Center for Inequity Dynamics

"In the 2019 survey, White families have the highest level of both median and mean family wealth: \$188,200 and \$983,400, respectively. Black families' median and mean wealth is less than 15 percent that of White families, at \$24,100 and \$142,500, respectively. Hispanic families' median and mean wealth is \$36,100 and \$165,500, respectively. Other families—a diverse group that includes those identifying as Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, other race, and all respondents reporting more than one racial identification—have lower wealth than White families but higher wealth than Black and Hispanic families." – Federal Reserve

Salary

• White men – highest earner
• Latinas make \$0.49 for every dollar
• Native American women are paid \$0.50 for every dollar
• Black men make \$0.87

Property

"Redlining - redlining is a discriminatory practice in which services (financial and otherwise) are withheld from potential customers who reside in neighborhoods classified as 'hazardous' to investment; these neighborhoods have significant numbers of racial and ethnic minorities."-Wikipedia

"…found that nearly all formerly redlined zones in the country are still disproportionately Black, Latino or Asian compared with their surrounding metropolitan area, while two-thirds of greenlined zones — neighborhoods that HOLC deemed “best” for mortgage lending — are still overwhelmingly white." – 538

“Indian Country has been plagued by systemic red-lining and lack of access to capital and banking services for decades. This is one of the major contributing factors to the impoverished conditions that unfortunately continue to exist in many Native communities and on reservations,” - Tearsheet

Incarceration

• A Black person is five times more likely to be stopped without just cause than a white person. - NAACP
• A Black man is twice as likely to be stopped without just cause than a Black woman.- NAACP
• 65% of Black adults have felt targeted because of their race. Similarly, approximately 35% of Latino and Asian adults have felt targeted because of race.- NAACP
• One out of every three Black boys born today can expect to be sentenced to prison, compared 1 out 6 Latino boys; one out of 17 white boys.- NAACP
• If African Americans and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates as whites, prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40%.- NAACP
• Native people made up 2.1% of all federally incarcerated people in 2019, larger than their share of the total U.S. population, which was less than one percent. - Prison Policy
• Native women are particularly overrepresented in the incarcerated population: They made up 2.5% of women in prisons and jails in 2010,; that year, Native women were just 0.7% of the total U.S. female population- Prison Policy

### References

Intergenerational Wealth

Wage Gap

Redlining

Criminal Justice