It’s nice to see Monopoly catching up with the times. In a new version of Monopoly, there is no cash included. All transactions are done via a bank card and a scanner that will add or deduct money from an account as you purchase or sell properties (or pay fines, pass Go, etc). It’s my hope this will make for a better future, where people can interact with the real money system with more intuition.
It seems a lot of people today still have a weird hang-up for cash, which I never understood. I was never paid in cash. My first few years of work were checks, which I deposited promptly into my bank account, and not long after that every employer moved to direct-deposit, so I don’t have to make the annoying stop at the bank anymore! :) This meant that from the very beginning, I intuitively understood that the number in my bank account was my life.
All my effort and labor was represented in that number when it went up every other week. All my rent, car payments, insurance, and utilities came from reducing that number. In a perfectly literal sense every essential in my life flowed from that number. And that number was accessed by using my check book or my bank card as the keys. My bank card was the REAL money in my life. It was what mattered.
Cash, on the other hand, was a frivolity. If someone gave me cash, what good was it? It could not contribute toward sustaining my life unless I first visited the bank and converted it into the Life Number. Cash always felt like Monopoly Money – a fake thing that you don’t worry too much about. It was always kinda amazing that I could hand over some colored slips of paper and someone would give me food or physical objects in return. Really? Shit, OK, if you say so. I’m glad I don’t have to touch my Life Number for this toy transaction. :)
I was surprised when I heard from others that they felt the opposite way. That only cash felt “real” to them, and they ran up credit cards because, I dunno, it didn’t take away from their cash? It was a bizarre mindset. But I guess if you grew up in a cash economy, rather than an electronic one, you would put emotional weight on those papers as containing true value, as opposed to your bank account’s Life Number.
I don’t think one system is inherently better than another. But in the modern world, where the most important transactions often will not accept cash at all, and even in day-to-day purchases cash is becoming obsolete and everything is handled by cards, I think considering your Life Number to be the emotionally-real store of value is more adaptive.
It is my hope that games like the new Monopoly will help children to focus on the abstract Life Number rather than physical slips of paper very early in life, and therefore be more prepared to enter the economy and not be swindled by the common credit card traps that young people used to fall into.