On Size and Amalgamation: Monopoly, anyone?

The European Union is experiencing difficulties.

The G20 are trying to convince themselves that competitive currency devaluation is not going to be a strategy going forward.

The Soviet Union apparently collapsed.

The United States is in trouble with many governments, at various levels, in debt, and being down-rated by such as Standard & Poors.

The amalgamated city of Toronto is worse off, and its politicians less represent its citizens, than before amalgamation.

In the case of Toronto, there was the famous “Golden Report” by Anne Golden, which promised wonderful savings from amalgamation. Essentially none of these came to fruition, and there were problems due to conflicting street names, zoning regulations, police forces, garbage services, et cetera. The amalgamation did allow developers to exploit uncertainty of zoning laws, imho. But in terms of efficiency and representative government, the experiment is both a failure, and impossible to undo.

The EU is likely ‘too big to succeed’ in the same sense: amalgamation with mobility of key components (money, capital equipment, workers) generates a ‘race to the bottom’ in some areas and exacerbates regional disparities. Having a common currency guarantees that inequalities in ‘terms of trade’ will increase automatically, since profit can be made from this. Sadly, the trade itself is financed by countries and their companies who cannot really afford the borrowing it takes.

It is conceivable that both the USA and the USSR are ‘too big to succeed’ in a similar fashion. With modern speed of transport, funds movement, profit shifting, the expected result is, them that get ahead, get farther ahead.

I submit that any economic system today works like a Monopoly™ game, with some added extras. Like Monopoly, after a while one player at each table is collecting rent from all the others, who struggle to ‘pass go’ or get into jail.

Amalgamation is like connecting a series of monopoly games, in various stages of development, together. A few winners will now be able to take over nearby tables’ winners, and the concentration of wealth will accelerate. The middle class will disappear, and the 99.9% will end up with very little.

Real systems (economies, for example) have an additional extra. The winners get to change the rules of the game, of course in their own favour. Lobbying is one way. Influence gets rid of legal obstacles while protecting the largest players, generally large international corporations and specific foreign countries. The citizen majority does not have this power, and cannot withstand it either.

Meanwhile, our government is making free-trade agreements with many countries. We have one with Columbia, for example. For a list of recent trade agreements, including one being negotiated with India, click here.

If you look at the above link, you’ll see marvellous benefits are promised from these agreements. Profit will come out of thin air. This is like buying your etch-a-sketch from China: the company that puts it in your store will make more money. Your neighbour will lose his job. Your country’s credit rating will start to erode.

It is, again, like monopoly. We are connecting our ‘game’ to others’ games. Any ‘extra money’ in the system will go to those who already have most of the wealth, and are busy making up these new trade ‘rules.’

Monopoly, anyone?

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