Abandon All Fear

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Archive for November, 2008

[Educashun] Real-life Monopoly Game Mod

Posted by Lex Fear on November 30, 2008

A recent post by Stef has gotten me seriously thinking about the game of Monopoly and how it relates to our current, completely unforeseen, crunchy, global, it-was-all-Americas-fault, financial crisis.

Monopoly has always been one of my favourite games but ever since I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad back in 2002 (yeah I know people say it’s too anecdotal), I’ve wondered about how to make it more real life.. I mean it’s a potential teaching tool since all the basics are there but when you really think about it, getting money is just too easy.. I mean the bank is just giving it away and it doesn’t ask for it back, and if you’re playing alternative rules, the city doesn’t charge you for parking, instead it gives you a tax windfall.

So I’ve thought of a bunch of ‘real-life’ mods to introduce to a game of Monopoly:

  • All players start with £20, the banker starts with £10,000 which is used to provide mortgages.
  • “Go” symbolises a payday, but you get a wage relative to the price of streets – £20 therefore..
  • In order to buy a street, you need to take out a mortgage. An interest rate is agreed with the bank each time eg. 5%. (players can also take a mortgage to purchase from each other).
  • A mortgage term is agreed over the number of times you pass “Go”, eg. You take out a mortgage on a Train Station for £199.50 (£10 deposit, £190 + 5% interest) over 5 “Go’s”, your mortgage payment will be £39.90 per passing of “Go”.
  • The banker is a player himself but does not take turns to throw the dice and cannot own property. Instead the objective of the banker is to make the most profit out of the game – this means making more money than the last man standing.
  • The banker does not have a wage but is funded by the central bank/government. The banker instead keeps money made from interest on mortgages and other transactions.
  • The banker keeps a seperate account for himself and one for the central bank/government/fund or whatever that wages are paid from.
  • The banker negotiates all mortgages and rates. On taking out a mortgage it is up to the banker to determine whether you are able to afford the payments (by whatever means). The risk for the borrower is losing the the property, the risk for the banker is losing money to a bankruptcy.
  • If an borrower cannot afford to pay the mortgage on thier turn, the banker can decide to repossess at any time until payments are caught up.
  • If the banker forces a repossession, the property must immediately go up for auction, and the banker keeps any money generated from the auction. If a mortgage is needed then this is negotiated as per usual with the bank.
  • In the event of a bankruptcy, the bank recovers all property for auction (and keeps the profits generated), liquid assets are devided between the creditors.
  • There is no such thing as free parking, if you land on the square marked “free parking” then you must pay £6 within 12 squares (by the time you get to Oxford Street), if you don’t pay then the fine rises to £24, if you then don’t pay by the time you pass “Go”, the fine becomes £48 and the banker may optionally increase your interest rates on your mortgage (the fine remains outstanding during this time and must still be paid off) or throw you in jail and cancel the fine.
  • All the train stations and utility companies are privatised and therefore when a player lands on a privatised train station or utility company, the owner also gets a matching payout from the government/central fund. Train station and utiltity company owners are allowed to raise their rates in line with interest rate set by the banker.
  • Rent and sale prices are set individually by property owners.
  • If a player cannot afford to pay rent, they can choose to forfeit a turn of the dice and the banker may also increase the interest rate on their mortgage.
  • The banker must keep the interest rate on any mortgage for the life of the mortgage unless the borrower falls into debt. The banker can only increase the interest rate in the following circumstances: The borrower fails to pay rent, the borrower fails to pay a fine, tax, train station or utility company. The banker keeps the money from the increase.
  • Creditors can optionally wipe out any debt owed (depriving the banker of an interest rate increase).

I have no idea if these rules would work practically, however they would certainly change the game in favour of the banker, the station and utility company owners, thus better reflecting real life. Of course if you wanted to make it more realistic, you could allow the banker to repackage debt and sell it as financial products to other players. You could sell the properties for full price but call it “shared ownership” and allow the government to charge half rent everytime the owner lands on it. The banker could act as Estate Agent and issue ‘valuations’ on each property when a player comes to sell and taking a cut of each sale as well as issuing the mortgages. Finally, if the banker ever runs out of money then the central fund could be used to ‘bail-out’ the banker.

I realise that contrary to the usual game mods, mine could actually make the game of Monopoly more boring, and would be very difficult to introduce to people not so interested in the details of how supply and demand works.. which just goes to show how screwed we really are as a human race. I mean, if.. IF our current former-Chancellor turned Great Leader Gordon Brown could not see the “credit crunch” coming, then just what was he doing for the past 11 years as head of the UK’s economy? Perhaps he really meant “No. More boom and Bust!”

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Posted in Bank Robbers, Financial Terrorism, Property Market, Wealth Creation | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

[Comment Sharing] The Wrath of God

Posted by Lex Fear on November 13, 2008

Over at The County Shrink, a heartfelt response to a reluctant atheist:

Believe it or not, I at one time, was in a similar position. You have a
lot of questions about Christianity. So did I. And we are not alone.
All believers have doubts at times. In fact, I think doubt is a
necessary part of faith. It wouldn’t be called faith, if there was no
doubt.

Reluctant atheist Nick, left a further comment below the post:

I badly want to throw the towel in, and believe again. but i can’t accept the unmerciful side of God.

I didn’t want to risk an online debate particularly because it’s my first comment at TCS but I felt compelled to make a respond with the following (now I just wish I could find the motivation to write my own blog posts):

For me, doubt has been an essential component of my faith. It has been doubt that has steered me to believe.

Each time I question the bible, God, events or my experience, I find simple reasons to walk away from it all.. which is a problem for me, it’s too simple. Christianity is complex and causes a serious enquirer such as myself to think. On the other hand, as an atheist (11 years ago) I never really had much to consider.

There are places in the bible where God intervenes which makes him appear unmerciful, angry even. Once again this indicates that God is a rational being, not just a one-dimensional character-piece in a made up religion.

Nick, I can see you are wrestling with some deep-seated theological questions. May I suggest you read CS Lewis – The Problem of Pain. Also I find the bible itself lends a hand when it comes to understanding Gods mercy – Romans 9:22.

In the UK here we have just had a horrific case of child abuse that has hit the headlines. If we accept that God can see the future and destinies of all people, would it be fair for God to intervene before the abuse happened (eg. prevented the child from being born in order to spare it). For God to then strike down the adults involved before the child was born, punish them before society was even aware of their evil nature?

Perhaps, and we can’t say for certain whether this is already happening since we only have the benefit of hindsight and not the ability to predict destinies.

However, the very existence of evil in this world is an indication of Gods patience and mercy. If one examines the old testament, one sees that when God planned to wipe out a city or a tribe, he always revealed his plans to his prophets first, or he would make his people agents in the destruction. Since God is God, and can destroy as easily as bring to life, why would he approach his people beforehand, or even request they carry out these actions?

Perhaps it is easier to frame it in terms of modern law. Say I was caught speeding, but when I was pulled over the officer can see I have my pregnant wife in the car who is in labour and needs to get to the hospital. What police officer will hold me up, read out my rights and issue me with a ticket whilst my wifes contractions get shorter and shorter in the seat next to me.

I have broken traffic law by speeding, for sure, but any reasonable police officer is going to make a decision to allow the law-break in this instance. Even if some jobsworth officer still decides to issue a ticket.. it’s likely a judge would cancel it on appeal – despite the law, as set by government, being broken.

Laws make society work, but they are never meant to be nor should be used to totalitarian effect. A government that becomes totalitarian in application of its laws will lose the support of its people and risk uprising or rebellion.

In the same way, God made laws for his people, and offered them the choice to live by them or not. When they chose to live by them, and signed the contract, then the law had to be obeyed. But God, rather than simply enforce the law with impunity, instead entrusted the enforcement to his people, continually involving them in his plans to carry out the actions and punishment related to the laws being broken.

So again we must ask, why would God approach prophets before carrying out punishment; Why does the government employ judges to effect it’s laws (considering where the concept of ‘judges’ was taken from)?

My belief is this: God was not looking for people to carry out his wrath, he was looking for intercessors, perhaps even people to debate with him and refuse to carry out said wrath.

How would we know mercy, if there were no laws, no righteousness or ultimate authority to ensure they were carried out.

And how would God reveal his mercy without giving power to judge and carry out punishment, to his creation?

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Posted in Apologetics, Justice & Mercy, Laymans Theology, The Purpose Missing Church | Leave a Comment »

[Government Policy Announcement] Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang… You’re Dead

Posted by Lex Fear on November 1, 2008

Since I don’t contribute enough to my own blog, I sometimes take the liberty of reproducing stealing a comment I leave on someone elses blog, the following is what I just left over at The Osterley Times:

It’s about time the truth started to get out. I never believed the official police or media account when certain witnesses were coming forward to say he had a heavy brown winter jacket on and “wires sticking out”.

The Met police have shamefully and barefaced tried to obfuscate and bury this incident from day 1.

Mr De Menzes reputation has been dragged through various incarnations of a rapist, drug user, illegal immigrant (overstayed visa) and such with the complicit help of evil publications like The Sun.

We have had dark days in the last 5 years with the political and authoritarian spin machine and though I may sound like a conspiraloon there are far too many questions and nefarious subplots going on around our government and that of the US.

Someone should lose their job- possibly go to prison over De Menezes, unfortunately I think all that will come out of this inquiry is a fine at the most.

Lastly, I hope the worst for Cressida Prick.

She has openly admitted that this could happen again, and with the same forked tongue has the gall to defend their actions and say that there was no way it could be prevented, no lessons learned, no changes to policy.

And it requires a change of government policy that’s for sure. The announcement of a shoot-to-kill policy came in the form of a bullet through one of our own heads (‘one of our own’ as in ‘innocent civilian’).

Policies like this should not be made in secret and I find it shocking that Tony Blair, Ken Livingstone and Ian Blair are not all sitting in jail now awaiting sentencing. Gordon Brown of course may not have been the man to order this policy but he is also complicit in that he allows it to now continue.. just as he allows the Iraq war to continue.

And watch for the announcement of troop withdrawal from someone with balls like Obama, will Brown then follow and withdraw our own?

Someone in the Met needs to lose their head for this, otherwise it could be any one of us travelling the tube one day.. best not to go on any foreign holidays and risk getting a tan!

[/rant]

Sorry but De Menezes the whole thing just makes my blood boil- I’m so angry with the people who did this and have got away with it.

Anyone following the events surrounding Jean Charles De Menezes murder unfortunate identity crisis, the media spin, government and police spin and inquiry would be well aware of the gross amount of lies misunderestimations about what happened that day.

Many of us who didn’t swallow the media and Met police official pill have now had our suspicions confirmed by at least 2 witnesses that this was a cold execution of an innocent man who was given no warning.

Next time you board a tube, you may want to make sure that you (a) don’t have a tan, (b) aren’t foreign, (c) don’t have a heavy rucksack (though this seems to make no difference) and (d) better warn your family in advance there is a slight chance you may not survive the journey.

Also, you may want to prepare your family that if you are ever killed by anti-terrorists whilst travelling on the tube or generally minding your own business, that you are in no way a sex offender, rapist, peadophile, drug dealer, illegal immigrant, know a muslim who knows a muslim or anything else which may slightly damage a reputation because, garaunteed, this is what you will become as the anti-terrorists attempt to clear themselves of all wrongdoing in the eyes of the Daily Mail.

God Bless you all, as I frequently travel the tube, and have just written a peice of anti-government hate speech, I cannot garuantee I will survive my next tube journey to blog again.. however please be assured I’ve never raped, sexed a minor, dealt in drugs, illegally entered the UK… but I did overstay a visa in Switzerland! – oh shit that’s it then.

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Posted in Absolute Power, Anti-Terrorists, Copland, Justice & Mercy, Little Hitlers, Londonland, Opinion, Pharisees, Propaganda, Realpolitik, Uncircumcised Philistines, V for Vendetta | 3 Comments »