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Inheritance & Monopoly: The Fairness Argument

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In the United States, we laud the notions of fair competition and equality of opportunity. In fact, these notions are constantly used to justify many things about our political and economic systems. But we also have massive tax protection for inheritance. Roughly put, a person could inherit about $11 million without paying taxes. This presents an obvious tension: how do you have fair competition and equal opportunity with an inheritance system that massively favors the wealthy? It might be claimed that there is no problem here. To show that there is, I will use the game of Monopoly in my appeal to intuition argument. What I am trying to do is to get you to think about whether you would play Monopoly with inheritance rules and how your thoughts on this matter might apply to the real world. Almost everyone is familiar with Monopoly. If you are not, the rules can be found here. The idea is that you win by driving all other players into bankruptcy using the rules of the game. In normal play, the outcome of one game does not affect the next: the game is equal opportunity and fair competition in that everyone starts with the same resources, in the same place and with a chance to win based on ability and luck. My proposed variation adds in inheritance rules to simulate, in a simple way, the impact of inheritance. This variation requires playing multiple games.   Monopoly Inheritance (zero-sum game)!   Rule 1:  The first game in the series is played normally using the standard rules.   Rule 2: Upon the conclusion of a game in the series, the winning player records what they possess at the end—money, property, houses, and hotels.   Rule Three: At the start of the second and later games in the series, one player is randomly selected to receive the game possessions of the winning player from the previous game. The receiving player is the heir and the possessions make up their inheritance. The other players start normally. The game is otherwise played using. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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