Monday, July 19, 2021

How monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism

I loved the game Monopoly the first few times I played it when I was a boy, and with all those fancy little houses and hotels it was kind of magical. But I soon learned to not like it so much as it was a slow, drawn out, painful death most of the time. 

The purpose of the dual sets of rules, said Magie, was for players to experience a 'practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences' and hence to understand how different approaches to property ownership can lead to vastly different social outcomes. 'It might well have been called “The Game of Life",' remarked Magie, 'as it contains all the elements of success and failure in the real world, and the object is the same as the human race in general seems to have, ie, the accumulation of wealth.'

Once the game's true origins came to light, Parker Brothers bought up Magie's patent, but then re-launched the board game simply as Monopoly, and provided the eager public with just one set of rules: those that celebrate the triumph of one over all. Worse, they marketed it along with the claim that the game's inventor was Darrow, who they said had dreamed it up in the 1930s, sold it to Parker Brothers, and become a millionaire. It was a rags-to-riches fabrication that ironically exemplified Monopoly's implicit values: chase wealth and crush your opponents if you want to come out on top.


How monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism


Joe said...

There a card game version of monopoly that's way more fun than the board game. You can play an entire game in about 15-20 minutes. The secret is you get to do 3 turns at a time. It's pretty fun. I actually found mine at the grocery store.

Stephen Best said...

To make Monopoly more representative of modern capitalism, a small rule change works well.

At the beginning of the game, the players all cast the dice. The player with the highest score is given half the bank's money and half of the property before the game begins. Then the game proceeds as usual.

This change better reflects what is really happening in today's capitalist system.

Peter Pan said...

They should add Epstein's Island to the rental places.

Kaivey said...

That does sound good. I remember it taking hours to go bankrupt playing monopoly. It ceases to be fun once you start losing.

Kaivey said...

Yep, that's it.

Kaivey said...