The Parable of the Monopoly Game

Three people decided to get together to play a game of Monopoly. One was a computer technician, one was an oil trucker, and the other was a police chief.

As the game was in progress, the computer technician and the oil trucker noticed something unusual: the game was only a few turns in, but the police chief had just purchased Boardwalk. The wealth that he had accumulated didn’t seem to make sense.

“How much money do you have?” asked the computer technician.

“Two thousand dollars.” answered the police chief.

“I saw you stealing from the bank.” said the oil trucker. “I think we should count your money to see how much you really have.”

“Accusing me of cheating is tantamount to challenging the integrity of the game.” answered the police chief, getting defensive.

Yet, the computer technician and the oil trucker were hesitant to challenge the police chief too far. He is the police chief, after all. He could retaliate by later writing them tickets for minor traffic violations. The computer technician and the oil trucker only made just enough to get by, and could hardly afford an additional expense.

“In that case,” said the computer technician, “we’ll just count the community chest cards. You’re the only one who has been drawing any, so we’ll see whether it adds up to the amount of money you claim you have.”

“That’s not going to make a difference.” said the police chief. “At this point, I’ve pretty much won. The outcome is already determined, so you should just accept it.”

If the police chief had nothing to hide, there would be no reason for him to obstruct any effort to verify the information he presented. Both the computer technician and the oil trucker knew it. If the police chief were really playing honest, he’d take the opportunity to say, “There you go, everything is accounted for, and it all adds up. You happy?”

Do the computer technician and the oil trucker have the courage to challenge the police chief any further? That’s up to you.

“I’m looking forward to playing against the police chief again in four days.” said the oil trucker. “Maybe he won’t cheat next time.”

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