Even Geniuses Are Confused By "Bernanke Bucks"
What happens when you get a bunch of Mensa members in a room and try to get them to understand a fake monetary system based loosely on our own monetary system? Hilarity and confusion abound, obviously.
Go fucking figure:
"I don't understand these 'Bernanke Bucks' at all," said Flannery, a 34-year Mensa member from North Tustin, grinning as she described the fake money she used to buy herself and a friend their VIP table seats. "All I know is that it got us this."
About 110 Mensa members from as far away as Arizona and Washington took part in the Bernanke Bucks social experiment during the Orange County Mensa chapter's annual Labor Day weekend summit, held this year at the Radisson Suites Hotel in Buena Park. It started Friday and runs through Monday.
Genius fun time isn't all that different from real life, as we discover:
As is the case in the real world of personal finance, many Mensa members like Flannery did not spend time trying to understand how the Bernanke Bucks were distributed, spent and earned, said the game's brainchild, Mensa member Al Schwartz of Irvine. As a result, only a privileged few were able to work the system to their advantage by the second day of the conference Saturday, he reported.Wealth is such a draw - even when it's fake - that it can lure even the most skeptical in the group to sacrifice their moral fortitude just for a chance to dine at the 1% table:
"I don't tell them what to do," said Schwartz, the game's moderator and a retired synthetic organic chemist. "They're in control. I'm a door, and they choose to do the walking through it."
Karon Roberts, a 25-year Mensa member from Anaheim, said she initially was conflicted about participating in the Bernanke Bucks game because of her egalitarian life philosophy. But by Saturday morning, Roberts, who was placed into an upper economic tier, decided to put her personal convictions aside and take a seat at the VIP dining table.I hear the Fed has a few high horses on its balance sheet, any takers?
"I had lox and bagels and champagne for breakfast," said Roberts, laughing as she recalled the opulent, full-service meal. "It seemed like a bad idea at first – my personal philosophy is things should be good for everyone. But I decided to get off my high horse."