Wednesday, July 14, 2010

從大富翁遊戲到美國貨幣政策

黃佑謙, 信報財經新聞 (理財投資, P35 2010. 07. 14)

近期,著名遊戲「大富翁」推陳出新。一向以版圖、機會卡、鈔票及骰子組成的地產投資遊戲,現在加推了以遊戲卡操作的「交易系列」。 這新系列,在朋友圈中大受歡迎,皆因它不但方便攜帶,而且遊戲速度大幅提高,連上班一族用畢午膳也可以「玩番幾手」,一時間成為忙裏偷閒的恩物。

「交易系列」遊戲規則一改了原版要迫使其中一名玩家破產才定勝負這要費時才能達致的局面(出產商報稱最長的一局「大富翁」,一共花了一千六百八十小時、即十星期才分勝負)。要在「交易系列」中勝出,只要成為最快集齊三街業權的玩家便可,協助玩家收集所需的業權,遊戲卡內加插了多張易權卡。只要一使出易權卡,業權便會瞬間由一方玩家轉移到另外一方。

這規則締造了財富轉移的機會,增加了反敗為勝的變數,亦大大加快了遊戲速度。而在某程度上也反影了現實。財主一但過度借貸投資,經濟逆轉時資不抵債,便要賤價賣出資產。這時,資金充裕的便可以以較低價錢買得資產,完成資產轉移。

新自行發鈔功能趣味增

遊戲另一特點,也和近日經濟狀況有點關連。以往的「大富翁」遊戲,有自家發行的鈔票,而鈔票的發行量是固定的。換句話說,貨幣供應量不變。而在新的「交易系列」中,遊戲保留自家發行的鈔票,不過則改為以遊戲卡代表。而比起傳統的「大富翁」遊戲,「交易系列」的貨幣供應是可以增加的。因為好些遊戲卡是一卡兩用──是功能卡,亦是現金卡。

至於一卡作為功能卡或是現金卡則由玩家自行決定。這變相便容許了玩家自行印銀紙,使貨幣供應有了彈性。本人在初接觸遊戲時,便曾有以下經驗。以為手持現金足以使自己成為最有實力的一方,可抵禦遊戲中之變數卓卓有餘,可是其中一方不斷採用「量化寬鬆」(quantitative easing)政策,把手上的功能卡都變成現金卡,頓時成了「大富翁」之餘亦把其他對手的財金也比下去, 最後更在該局勝出。

還記得那次對手採用量化寬鬆的手法勝出後,我還戲言這一招是變相財富轉移,因為資產的相對值,在非自己能控制之下,是能掌握在其他人上。那一局輸了後,我大喊:「不公平呀,搶錢呀!」贏家陰陰笑說:「這量化寬鬆的遊戲玩法,你我均可使用。抽得到可兌現為現金的功能卡,你我都有均等機會。這局抽得到如此多張的功能現金兩用卡,是我幸運極了!卻絕不是不公平啊。」無言以對的我,只可希望下一局能幸運點。

提起量化寬鬆,很自然便會聯想到美國聯儲局近年的財金政策。 量化寬鬆用意在於在極低的息率的環境下再加力刺激經濟。一般方法是透過中央銀行,直接向財金機構購入毒資產,然後再透過這些鬆了綁的財金機構,再發債推動經濟。而在過去一回量化寬鬆措施之下,美國股市的確由2009年3月的低位至2010年4月近期高位,大幅反彈近七成, 可是刺激經濟的成效卻一直成疑。

美國大印銀紙 經濟未見起色在股市飆升的這一年多間,雖然美國白宮及財經界人士高叫經濟復蘇及綠芽之聲此起彼落,可是美國的失業率卻長期處於10%左右,而各州破產的消息又不斷傳出。因此,很難想像一般的美國國民有份享受經濟復蘇的成果。

而那邊廂,卻傳來大型財金機構在過去一年來錄得破紀錄的盈利,向員工派發破紀錄的獎金。從表面證據看,美國一般國民並無分享到量化寬鬆的效益。而透過出售毒資產,大型財金機構就掌握了這筆由美國聯儲局新印出來的流動資金。情況就像「大富翁」的「交易系列」中,有一方操控了印銀紙的大權,有能力把其他玩家的財富貶值。

美國經濟數據未見起色。銀行業績在上個季度又並不如意。新一輪的量化寬鬆措施已聞樓梯聲響。其實,美國經濟弄至如斯境地,與美國各大財金機構投資失誤有極大關係。本來早就該讓它們破產,容許更有能力的營運者冒起革新。可是,物競天擇這市場定理,給「大得不能倒下」(too big to fail)的理論蓋過之外,如今量化寬鬆更給予這些早應破產的財金機構更大操控資金的權力,變相把財富由一般美國國民轉移到財金機構手上。繼續採用這錯誤的貨幣政策,美國經濟局面難以扭轉過來。

獅子山學會政策研究員

黃佑謙

http://www.hkej.com/template/dnews/jsp/dnews_search_results.jsp?txtSearch=%E5%BE%9E%E5%A4%A7%E5%AF%8C%E7%BF%81%E9%81%8A%E6%88%B2%E5%88%B0%E7%BE%8E%E5%9C%8B%E8%B2%A8

4 comments:

anigeo said...

作者已經搞錯遊戲規則

傳統大富翁遊戲,鈔票發行量是無限量的,當隨遊戲而來的紙幣不夠時,可以用紙筆篤數。否則,跟本不可能能玩上十星期,銀行老早就破產了。

相反,Deal 交易系列,總共只有一百一十張牌,任你如何把功能咭變做錢,也是有限量的。

LRI Admin said...

Dear Anigeo

Thank you for your comments.

Granted different players adopt different rules for Monopoly and of course it would be natural to develop some sort of a credit system to keep track of cash owed were paper money run out. A credit system however, in this case of penciling down cash owed when paper money run out, does not create a new supply of money. Nevertheless, this credit system is developed by players outside of the game and as far as I know, such a credit system is not included in the game by the game developer.

You are quite right on Monopoly Deal and how I wish you were right on your comment that "如何把功能咭變做錢, 也是有限量的. 如何把功能咭變做錢, 也是有限量的." If the FED keeps on printing money without limit, we will all be doomed. Unfortunately, the FED, adopting your analogy, are allowed to print as many sets of Monopoly Deal as Ben Bernanke desires and I already play with 2 sets when we have more than 4 players (I hope you don't play alone at home with 1 set). It goes to show that the FED has unchecked power in controlling the money supply.

Converting "function cards" to "cash cards" was just an analogy and it is based on the perspective that "cash cards" was the intended size of monetary supply. I regret that this analogy does not ring resonance with you but I hope by this response will supplement the missing link in understanding what was trying to be conveyed.

LRI Admin said...

The longest MONOPOLY game in history lasted 70 straight days.

http://www.hasb​ro.co​m/mon​opoly​/en_U​S/dis​cover​/hist​ory.c​fm

anigeo said...

Thanks for the comments.

Of cause there are different rules, but according to http://www.hasbro.com/common/instruct/monins.pdf the official game instruction, page one: 'The Bank never “goes broke.”If the Bank runs out of money, the Banker may issue as much more as may be needed by writing on any ordinary paper.'

Me myself is just an ordinary board-game lover, not economic student so these may be wrong. When you and your friends play with 2 (or more) sets Deal, you and your friends are agreed to use certain number of decks before the game has began. I don't think it's same as what FED did, they did not and they cannot initialize the market at all.

Technically, the properties on traditional game have own values, you can mortgage, trade lands or return buildings to keep more cash. And these is one of the basic strategy to play this game. Just like what you can be done to "function cards".