I decided to take a course on Mexican labor in the United States during one semester of college in an attempt to learn more about my culture and heritage. The first portion of the course dealt with the history of Mexico and how its economy came to be what it is today. At the time, I was trying to raise money to go on the class trip to Arizona, all while attempting to fundraise to bring a prominent speaker to campus to lecture on men’s role in ending sexual violence on college campuses. I spent my days surrounding myself with spreadsheets and writing letters to potential donors, claiming that their help was greatly appreciated, while, at the same time, I had no idea what exactly they did. My victories came in the form of letters and emails from those who agreed; my defeats from those who denied my requests.
By the time it was all over, I actually believed that socialism was the only thing that could make me happy again because capitalism was driving me insane.
While trying to learn about the Mexican economy, the only thing I actually learned was that I knew nothing about economics and that Mexico did not have anything resembling an economy until 1994—until then, what they had was a cluster of debts.
My instructor tried to explain the history of the Mexican economy using a simulation game that involved paper money, cans of corn, hats, and a timer (I would tell you what each item symbolized, but, frankly, I don’t remember, and it all went way over my head).
The only thing that I remember about that simulation was that, in my head, I kept thinking that it was the world’s most depressing game of Monopoly.
Since then, I’ve realized that economics is just like Monopoly (and I base this on absolutely no prior knowledge of economics whatsoever): not in the sense of supply and demand or business savvy—it’s all about people you hate fucking you over.
Monopoly is a long, tedious game where people you formally loved—like your family—immediately take every opportunity to take every possible fake dollar from you that they can. It usually ends with deep frustration for the people who have made you go “bankrupt” (“Fuck you and you’re hotel on St. James’ Place, Grandma!”).
Economics is a long, tedious process where people you formally trusted—like your government—immediately take every opportunity to take every possible real dollar form you that they can. It usually ends with deep frustration (also known as “poverty”) for the people who have made you go bankrupt (“Fuck you and your cheap labor and economic prosperity, China!”).
I was never good at Monopoly—I will never be good at economics.