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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Free Market Economy vs Command Economy Simulation Game

Roller English
Although simulation games may not truly reflect what happens in real life, games are always a fun way to introduce what might be a complex concept for children.

Here’s a simple simulation game that you could try out with your class. It’s definitely not perfect so please feel free to share your thoughts with me.

Market Economy Simulation Game of the Watch Industry
This is a simulation game of a free market economy in the watch industry.

Step 1. Assign roles.
•   Producers: 80% of the students
•   Consumers: 20% of the students

Step 2. Inform students the game rules, duties of each role and distribute relevant resources.
•   Make watches by using the watch templates provided or plain paper. Using plain paper instead of the templates, allows the students to express their creativity more freely.
•   Can offer their watches for sale to consumers at a freely set price.

•   Give each consumer a sheet of printable money which is a total of $68.
•   Can freely accept or reject the price offer to buy the watches as they wish. They can bargain.

Step 3. Host three rounds (Each lasting around 15 mins)

Step 4. Reflection/Debriefing session

Command Economy

Step 1. Assign roles.
•   Teacher: The Government
•   Students: Workers

Step 2. Inform students the game rules, duties of each role and distribute relevant resources.
The Government
•   Inform your students that as the new Government, you control what is produced, how it is produced and who will own these goods or services.
•   Assign a job card to each student randomly. 
•   Distribute $5 to each student when they complete their job at the end of the day.

•   Inform your students that as workers, they will all be assigned jobs, quotas to meet and will be given equal wages regardless of what they do. 
•   Split the class equally into the four jobs of writer, engineer, painter and cleaner.
•   Set a team goal that each job team has to meet. You can write on the board for students’ easy reference. (You can also choose to set a personal goal for each individual but if you are looking to demonstrate unfairness between an individual’s contribution and pay, setting team goals are an effective way to demonstrate this because it is likely that there will be unequal output between students.).
•   Examples of team goals that should be adjusted according to your class size: Write 5 stories, make 15 paper airplanes, clean 5 tables, draw 15 cars.

Step 4.    Host the game for 15 minutes.

Step 5.    Reflection session


It does not matter which economy simulation you start with first.
When you change between economies, you may use the transition lines below.
From market to command
•   “The government has decided to confiscate all private property.”
From command to market
•   “The government has decided to let the free market take control of the economy.”

To create incentives for the students during the market economy simulation, you can choose to tell them that the top three students with the most money will be rewarded with chocolates.
•   Note that if you start with market economy first, this reward would not matter since all their money would be confiscated by the government.

Reflection session
IMPORTANT: It is very important to remind your students that the real world is much more complex than this simulation game can demonstrate!

This activity is merely used to trigger interest and questions from students in relation to our economy.


Hope it helps! 

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Roller English / Author & Editor

Has laoreet percipitur ad. Vide interesset in mei, no his legimus verterem. Et nostrum imperdiet appellantur usu, mnesarchum referrentur id vim.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Very Nice article ..... For more Detail about market economy join Prime institute market economy

  3. Not sure why: "if you start with market economy first, this reward would not matter since all their money would be confiscated by the government." In what way does the government confiscate all their money in a market economy?

  4. Mary, as you've started with the market economy you will do the command economy second. It is the latter, and because you are role playing this second, which will enable you to confiscate the chocolates back from the students.


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