Speculation with fake money works … until it doesn’t … When it is only backed by belief, money is just ink on paper. By listening to Uncle Richie (the local), Uncle Bernie (the national) and Uncle Sammy (the world), we may question our money system and draw practical lessons for our daily lives.
Uncle Richie a/k/a Mr Monopoly a/k/a The Banker.
Uncle Richie prints fake money but he looks like a good guy because (1) he gives everyone the same capital to start the real estate speculation game, (2) that capital is a gift and not a loan, and (3) he has no expectations at the end of the game whether from millionaires or bankrupts. Non of this would actually happen in real life.
The Monopoly money devilish side. Good Uncle Richie has also an evil side as he encourages all players (1) to try to become the single entity to control the real estate market and (2) to rejoice in driving the other players into bankruptcy. Hurting family and friends feelings is not worth material gains, even in a game.
Uncle Richie lesson. Monopoly money is fake but family and friends are real. What if all world money was fake? Money can’t buy love. One day, the ink on money may evaporate and we should be prepared to stick together when that happens. Lesson #1: Loved ones are more important than money. Family unity is priceless. Cultivate your friendships old and new. They are irreplaceable. Be there for them.
Uncle Bernie a/k/a Mr Ponzi Scheme a/k/a The Stock Broker. Before the Monopoly game starts, Uncle Richie is the ultimate monopolist as he owns all the money and all the properties. Nobody knows how he got in that position and nobody is asking him to prove it. Unlike Uncle Richie, Uncle Bernie was facing the major challenge to make believe that his fake debts were backed by real assets. Uncle Bernie started as a respected stockbroker who even became Nasdaq Chairman. Later he gained the reputation of a magician as he would produce superior financial results regardless of the market volatility. In order to live up to his reputation, new money would be used to pay ongoing unusual returns rather than buying backing assets. At a certain point, Uncle Bernie had reached a thriving business with no assets at all. Master in manipulation, he would only accept new clients when sponsored by existing ones. This talented staging would last for decades until the tragic day when there was not enough new money to keep the snowball rolling.
Uncle Bernie lesson. In the Monopoly game there is a card to get out of jail, but not in real life for Uncle Bernie. Clients, friends and charitable organizations lost a lot of money and family tragedies followed Uncle Bernie downfall. Instead of creating misery to everyone, Uncle Bernie could have used his natural talents for good, such as becoming another David Copperfield. What if all the world debt was fake? Money can’t buy you talents. One day, the ink on money may evaporate and your talents may save your life when that happens. Lesson #2: Talents are more important than money. Cultivate your own gifts, what you do better than others. Not only you will enjoy it, but who knows it may help you one day reinventing yourself if needed.
Uncle Sammy a/k/a Mr. USA a/k/a The Federal Banker. Backed by commodities, uncle Sammy has printed paper dollars forever. In 1944, the dollar would become the world reserve and Uncle Sammy would guarantee its convertibility in gold. In 1971 he decided unilaterally to terminate the gold convertibility (the Nixon shock) and the dollar continued to be printed at infinitum ever since without any backing other than their beholders beliefs.
Uncle Sammy lesson. Like for Uncle Bernie, Uncle Sammy has passed the critical mass where there is no more possible pause and control. Here is what Voltaire had to say in 1729: “Paper money, based on the sole trust in its printing government, eventually returns to its intrinsic value, which is zero.” Instead of wasting his monetary power in unnecessary wars and useless goods, Uncle Sammy could have used his experience more wisely. What if all the world debt was fake? Money can’t buy you experience. One day, the ink on money may evaporate and your experience may save your life when that happens. Lesson #3: Experience is more important than money. Never stop learning from your life events, especially when things don’t go your way. We learn nothing from our successes, only from overcoming hardship. Good judgement comes from experience, which comes from bad judgement!!
The 3 Uncles lessons. Loved ones, talent and experience are more important than money, but would be worthless without health. What good is it to waste an entire life making money only to pay the doctor at the end? Here is the final ranking of values: (1) Health, (2) Loved Ones, (3) Experience, (4) Talent and (5) Money. For most people money is number one, a priority worth revisiting.