Go for Broke

If you think of Monopoly as too focused on accumulating property and money while destroying the competition, you might have liked the game that my best friend, Beth, and I spent countless hours of our pre-teen years playing on long summer evenings. Go for Broke was Monopoly’s counterpart. As the name suggests, the goal was to be the first player to lose all your money. Perhaps there was an underlying message as going to the casino or betting on horse races were two sure-fire methods of getting rid of cash, but we played for fun, not for moral direction. (We usually did not do well investing in the game’s stock market either.) We certainly didn’t see the game as guidance for living. “Go for broke” was the name of a board game, not a suggestion for handling our economic transactions.

I can’t say the same for those running various companies today, among them Target, Budweiser, Disney, and too many more to count. They seem to be holding up my childhood game as their lodestone. How quickly can they tank a vibrant company? Who can destroy their company first?

What in the world are they thinking?

None of the CEOs have reached out to me with an answer. Here are two possibilities I have been mulling over. I hope you will suggest more ideas at the bottom of this Musing.

My first thought is that huge corporations are somewhat like cruise liners or battleships. It is relatively easy to change direction in a small sailing dinghy. You need space and time to stop or zig-zag a massive ship. Way too many Americans today are blind to the fissures in the country. They still think that the New York Times, for example, is an honorable newspaper. As corporations become behemoths, those at the top might be completely unaware that advertising agencies are increasingly staffed by people who have never met and certainly don’t respect, the company’s core audience. Those advertising “geniuses” may put their arrogant personal views of social justice ahead of helping the company that is paying for their work. Stepping in and shouting, “Whoa! Stop,” to your entire marketing division does not happen overnight.

Here is an alternative thought. While the founders of some of these companies appreciated salt-of-the-earth Americans, their successors in the executive suites may disdain that clientele. They may be embarrassed by those who buy the products that justify their salaries and, quite frankly, they are not living paycheck to paycheck and could probably stop working and still do just fine. My husband and I watched this happen on a smaller level in Seattle, where a top-ranking and highly influential radio station tanked when the children of the owners took over and were ashamed to be running conservative talk. I don’t know who runs, shall we say, Maybelline, but could they look down on women (like me) who buy lipstick at the drugstore rather than paying five times the amount for a posh brand? What better way to stick it to people like me than have a man wearing lipstick in your ads? Perhaps they even believe that socialism is moral while capitalism is evil and destroying their company is the socially desirable thing to do.

Both or neither of my ideas may be correct. But I would love to know what the true story behind this self-destructive behavior is.

Is Rebecca (Lapin) Masinter’s webinar for you?

What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Susan’s Musings post.
We Happy Warrior members can both read and write comments HERE.

Not a member yet? Susan’s Musings is a reader-supported publication.
To support our work, consider signing up for a Basic membership and join the conversation.

SAVE $10 NOW!!!
$24.95 $14.95–Hardcover / $11.95 $9–E-Book

Join Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin on a fascinating treasure hunt through the Lord’s language. Discover why in Hebrew the word “face” only appears in the plural, why a table is a place of grace, why it is more important to have a spouse who is committed to you than one who professes love for you, and much more.
Download a free chapter of Buried Treasure today!

Shopping Cart