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Do the Games Children Play - Guide their Future
While in primary school, age group Five and a half year old to Thirteen year old, were we, unbeknown to us already being formed and molded,into what we would become in later life? no not by the education system, but by our interaction with each other, and we played those games? Are these the real building blocks of how we would conduct our lives and business ethics in later years and if so, would it influence what make of ourselves in the world of business in years to come?
A strange question?
Marbles - first leason in economics
Marbles, they came in a string bag, which contained, if my memory serves me correctly, six marbles or arlies, as well as one goon. This was for the princely cost 1 tickey, which was a quarter of a shilling, pre-decimalisation prices.
How may you ask has this got anything to do with economics? Well firstly what was the use of marbles. It was a game of skill and strategy, that had a variety of variations, some I may have forgotten, but the ultimate objective was to acquire more marbles than you started out with.
The spoils were proudly carried around from playground to classroom and back again, in one of your old school socks, by most of us. There were those who had old bank bags, and the like, to demonstrate their prowess at the game. This is not always true, it was in actuality a display of there cunning, carnival artistry and or gamesmanship.
Then there were the players
That was most us, a lot of grubby, scuffed shoed individuals that played which ever game was available. We honed our skills and practised whenever we could, at perfecting our aim over the various distances that the games required.
A circle was drawn in the sand, a lone marble was placed in the center of that circle, he was the owner of that game. From the centre of the circle at a piont , 'x" number of paces away a line was drawn, this was were the players stood. This was usually the one played by a group of friends, playing order would be established by, either "Rock, Paper Scissors" or the order their surnames.
The object was to pitch your marble at the target marble, to hit hit out of the circle, with your marble also going out of the circle.
Clean Play. You then retained both marbles and the 'owner' of the circle would place another marble down in the centre.
If you did not acheive a clean hit and either missed the target marble or failed to get them both outside, you then forfieted your marble, and it stayed joined the marble in the circle.
Once there were several marbles within the circle, they all became target marbles and the rule applied.
This game lasted as long as the playtime or break period, and at the end of that the owner would pick up the marbles that were in the circle, deposit them in his sock and go onto the next class.
These players would become at home within suberbia, and be the mainstream of society. Some venturing into new business, making a success or failure of it, They would be the norm and backbone of the economy.
Then there were the Serious Players
These were those that put up higher than the two to one stakes, these were run by, in most cases individuals, and in quite a few case by several players who combined spread the risk and shared the profits.
These were either 4 or 10 man shy's
The required sized pyramid of marbles was placed on the ground and the distances for each was paced out. The person who set it up sat behind his pyramid.
It was a fairly free for all type affair, as player after player would try and knock down the pyramid in order to claim the spoils. If you missed you lost.
There was a certain amount of gamanship in setting up the pyramid, as nothing could stop you from sprinkling some sand between the marbles to make it a bit more difficult fro them to be dislodged.
From this group of people one would expect our more affluent movers and shakers, taking the risks, that is needed to expand our economy.
Finally the Showmen
This was the games made out of a shoe box. This was a simple way of clearing up the most marbles, with the least chance of paying out too many wins in a single break period.
It was simple to make. You needed a pair of scissors, ruler and a pencil. With this you had a licence to collect marbles in a serious way.
Construction simple. Place the box on a table with the lid off, and the bottom of the box facing the ceiling.
Take a marble and your pencil, at regular intervals across the the long side of the box mark off the space for little doors, the width of a marble, and slightly higher than a marble, about five doors should do.
Carefully cut out the marked doors. Check to see if a marble can actually fit through into the doorway. It must be possible for them to go in. Once you have adjusted them so that they all work, you decide on the amount of marbles you are going to give them for getting their marble in, We always worked with 2, through to six. Mark each gate or doorway with its value.
Set up your box, draw your line, again a free for all as to who wants to play, payout their winnings and collect their losses.
Where are these entrepreneurially spirited ones today? High flyer's and .......