An Object Lesson On Socialism For Kids

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My husband gave us an object lesson on socialism, human nature, and property ownership at breakfast the other day that seemed to have a great impact on the kids, so I thought I’d share it here.

What you will need

To do this with your own children, you may wish to use:

  • a bag of real or faux coins,
    • marshmallows will work well as currency for kids young enough to place more value on sugar than money!
  • a game board with geographical separations (such as Risk), map, or right click to print off the grid below 
  • a pen, pencil or stickers to mark out which property each child “owns” in the second half of the experiment 
Right click to print

An Object Lesson On Socialism 

Hubby told the story about a man with a pile of coins. To a group of people surrounding him, he said that he would dump out the coins on the ground and everyone was free to grab what they could.

However, each coin they left for a minute would double in value.

The coins were dumped out of his bag, and everyone scrambled to get what they could before the coins even hit the ground.

The man with the coins asked, “Why didn’t you let them fall the to ground and wait a minute so they could double their value?”

“Then we would risk not getting any at all!”

The man gathered his coins and repeated the experiment with one change. This time, he took some masking tape and made a grid on the ground.

Each person “owned” one square of the grid. The new rule was that you could not take the coins that fell into someone else’s square, however, as before, if you left the coins that landed in your own square, they would double in value after a minute.

The man poured out the coins again.

Nobody rushed to pick up the coins.

Instead, they let them sit, and sit, and sit, until they doubled, tripled, quadrupled in value. It didn’t matter if four coins had fallen in their square, or only one – they all recognized the value of multiplying what they had.

Everyone in the first experiment ended up equally poor.

Everyone in the second experiment faired far better, even if they had the least amount of coins allotted to them when the coins were poured out.

Those who didn’t end up with a coin in their property were given some by a few who had plenty to spare, knowing that their other coins would keep increasing in value!

The attitude changed from “every man for himself” in the first experiment, to one of self-discipline – and even generosity – when property ownership was introduced.

Nothing is ours.

Nothing belongs to the government.

The world and everything in it belongs to God, and He has commissioned us to be good stewards of the gifts He has given, multiplying talents so that we canopen thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. ” (Deut. 15:11)

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