Sunday, March 17, 2019

Economic philosophy of Monopoly

I have a small collection of Monopoly board games at home. I used to play them with my cousins, but haven't pulled them out for years.

Never really appreciated the philosophical aspects of the classic boardgame other than it's very important capitalistic overtones. I never knew it has "left-wing" roots and some have termed it as more "Georgist" as it's underlying philosophy.

Regardless until I read the article from the Washington Post which was published back in 2015, I never knew it had a longer history than when the game first became popular during the Great Depression.
To Lizzie Magie, a 30-something single woman working as a stenographer in Washington at the turn of the century, the monopolists who controlled banks, railroads and oil fields seemed almost impossible to challenge.

But, night after night, Magie drew and redrew a board game that she hoped would be a teaching tool for her left-wing political ideals and spark changes that would ease the economic injustices of society. In 1903, she walked into a patent office and applied for a legal claim for her Landlord’s Game, today known to millions as Monopoly.

An impassioned follower of political economist Henry George and his single-tax theory, Magie designed the game to be a “practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences,” she wrote in a 1902 issue of the Single Tax Review.
BTW, it's funny how through social media old articles come alive years after the fact. I thought this was a recent article, but know it's only at least four years old. Interesting

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