Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finally! The Polish Give the World a Communist Version of Monopoly!

1/27/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
Today we dedicate The Mint to a Pole named Karol Madaj who, with the help of the Polish National Remembrance Institute, has created a board game to teach people how to obtain goods in a Socialist (Communist) society.  According to AP, the game, called "Kolejka" which essentially means line or queue, is to help young Poles understand the hardships of life under communism.

Madaj has given the world an amazing gift, a chance to learn the despair of Socialism (commonly called Communism) without actually having to live through it.  We ask that they send copies to the White House and the US Congress members, along with a copy to every grade school in America, maybe the world.  It is that important. 

The man should win a Nobel Prize!

Kolejka is being loosely compared to Monopoly, a board game based on Capitalism.  The main difference being that, instead of moving around the board, acquiring property and charging or paying rent while dealing with other random events, the players in Kolejka choose a line to stand in to wait to receive what would hopefully be something they needed while trying to avoid standing in lines where inventories would run out before your turn came up, among other things.  From the AP article:
"In the game, players are tasked with buying a number of goods, but a lack of deliveries, shortages and the connections competitors have to communist authorities turn the task into a string of frustrations.

"We want to show young people and remind the older ones what hard times these were and what mechanisms were at play," said Karol Madaj, the game's creator.

Players try to buy basic goods but food supplies run out before they reach the counter. If a bed is needed, they may be offered stools instead. Players needing the shop's last pair of shoes can get edged out by someone holding a "mother with small child" or "friend in government" card.

"We want to show how it was when you lost your chance because someone with high connections jumped the line," said Madaj, a 30-year-old who still remembers spending long hours with his mother in lines.

"We may laugh at it today, but it was not funny for them, when they were wasting their lives in lines."
News of the game got a hearty laugh from our Polish colleague.  According to her, standing in a "Kolejka" was simply a way of life during the communist regime.  More precisely, the term Kolejka has come to mean standing in line without knowing what you would get.  During the days of the communist regime, when you were walking down the street, from time to time you would see a line forming outside of a store.  The line generally meant that there was a delivery on the way.  Of what, no one in the line seemed to know.  Even without knowing what they were waiting for, millions of Poles waited in these lines.
Get the Feel of Standing in Line for anything and everything just like in Communist Poland!
Why?  Scarcity was so widespread during this time (scarcity and Socialism go hand in hand because a Socialist system cannot make economic calculations necessary to know what and how much to produce, let alone where to deliver it) that, whatever you may receive at the front of the line could be traded to a friend or neighbor for something that you really may need.

Imagine your thoughts as you stand in line.  Do you need a refrigerator?  You may get a pair of shoes at the front of the line.  You know Boris, your colleague, needs a refrigerator.  Perhaps he will take this in exchange for his shoes?  This type of bartering based sub-economic system may be fun if you are rushing at a Fraternity house and have to do it for a number of days.  It is quite another matter when the game goes on for years and millions are starving to death while their homes are filled with the latest models of Soviet appliances.

Our colleague also told the story of awaking at four in the morning to sit in line for bread.  Her grandmother would read to her to pass the time.  It was advantageous to take the entire family to wait because each person could get "just one" of whatever had been delivered.

Socialism (more commonly called Communism today) is insanity.

Next time you are in line at the grocery checkout stand after walking through aisle after aisle of fully stocked shelves, thank God that, no matter how long you wait, at least you know what you are waiting for and that, in a Capitalist society, there will always be enough.

In what we think is a nice touch, the first copies of Kolejka will be released in a limited quantity that, you guessed it, people will need to stand in line in hopes of getting one!

Stay Fresh!

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Key Indicators for Thursday, January 27th, 2011

*See FED Perceived Economic Effect Rate Chart at bottom of blog.  This rate is the FED Target rate with a 39 month lag, representing the time it takes for the FED Target rate changes to affect the real economy.  This is a 39 months head start that the FED member banks have on the rest of us on using the new money that is created.