Monopoly was stolen from socialist land-reformers and perverted


44 Responses to “Monopoly was stolen from socialist land-reformers and perverted”

  1. acerplatanoides says:

    Patent error in your favor: Collect $10

  2. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Thanks, Cory!  What a wonderful thing…  I live just down the road from Arden.  I’m going to need to make up a Georgist monopoly set for the family.

  3. Christopher says:

    Oddly enough I always thought the game Monopoly taught the lesson that monopolies are a bad thing. Yes, the object of the game is to achieve complete control of the board, but once that happens the game is over.

    I always thought the conclusion of any Monopoly game was, “You’ve now completely destroyed the system, preventing anyone else from being able to participate. Congratulations asshole.”

    • jandrese says:

      But the person who destroys the system is the winner.

      Just like Wall Street today. 

    • ChicagoD says:

      You played longer than we ever did.

      • Christopher says:

        Actually there almost always came a point when the conclusion seemed inevitable, and all of us, including the person who was poised to win, would collectively say, “Forget this. Let’s go do something entertaining.”

        It’s not hard to believe that the world would be a better place if a similar principle were applied on a grand scale.

        • acerplatanoides says:

          Have you heard of France?

        • GawainLavers says:

          I once played with a three law students and a future stock broker.  No one ever went out because they just entered into debt contracts with more successful players.  After the first three hours everything devolved to contract renegotiation and battles over potential loophole exploits and I don’t think we even rolled any dice for the rest of the evening.

      • blueelm says:

        We played without rules….  or with our own made up rules…

        anarchists I guess.

    • Paul Renault says:

      There used to be a PC game called ‘Nuke’ or ‘MAD’..something..  The only way to ‘win’ was to destroy the other three global powers (among the USA, Russia, China, and India) and in the process, destroy the planet.  You couldn’t win the game unless you reduced Earth to radioactive ash.

      It wasn’t easy, but I managed to do it exactly once.

      • OtherMichael says:

         Nuclear War skip to 14:50 for the “I won, I won!” animation.

        Less talking over in this clip.

      • L_Mariachi says:

        There was a cold war game on MacOS in black & white days that started off with various diplomatic and strategic maneuvers which invariably descended into nuclear war, after which the game chided you in plain text for your role in the destruction of the earth, pointedly refusing to show any ending animation or “reward.”  

        (The fucked thing was that the AI superpowers reacted hugely asymmetrically and unreasonably; if you were playing the US and built missile bases in friendly Canada, the USSR or China would likely as not take it as a provocation to launch a first strike. Whereas if you registered a diplomatic objection to either of them moving ground troops into Mexico, they would take that as… a provocation to launch a first strike.)

  4. I don’t care. I still want to be the shoe.

  5. Hammy Goonan says:

    The followers of Henry George are certainly not Socialists and did not believe in the abolition of land-ownership.

  6. EH says:

    Ah, the Battle of Schrute Farms.

  7. benattenborough says:

    Monoploy was also featured in an episode of Games Britania on BBC Four (In the UK). The full episode is not currently available but here is a clip:

  8. The fact that it was designed as a pedagological tool goes a long way towards explaining why it isn’t that great as a game.

  9. Tostie14 says:

    We covered a lot of this early MONOPOLY history with interviews, pictures, and video in our documentary “Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story,” which is available on Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix, as well as on  In addition to the history of the game, we also take a look at the competitive side to the game, with coverage of the last US & World MONOPOLY Championships.

    - Kevin Tostado,
    Director, “Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story”

  10. A C says:

    That was one of the greatest reads of forgotten history I have ever had the pleasure to sit down to. I had no idea of the real history, and the amazing work of Henry George.

    All these years I thought what George thought over 150 years ago- that renters are screwed by people who add no value to anything, and simply profit for exploiting land ownership.

    I am going to read George’s book now, and research his work. I had no idea till now there was an alternative to the terrible system we live in, and one even outside of socialism. George’s system was neither- and benefited all.

    I cannot understand why his way is not the American way today. Perhaps there is more to it. You’ve really made me think Cory, thank you!

  11. tcv says:

    I read Anspach’s book, “The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle,” some time back and aside from the tone (which is, essentially “HAH! I WAS RIGHT YOU BASTARDS!”) it was a pretty fascinating history. There are many versions of “Monopoly” that were created/edited/played around early 20th century. Anspach goes through all the ones he could find. The book is available via Kindle

  12. Sirkowski says:

    Socialists created Monopoly? Shit, I guess the Republicans were right, socialism is evil.

  13. Dan Sullivan says:

    Monopoly was created by classical progressives who were *not* socialists. The only people who called them socialists are the socialists who want to take credit that is not theirs, and the reactionaries who want to discredit everything by calling it socialist. The actual socialists of the time hailed monopoly as an inevitable step toward socialism, and attacked progressives for trying to remove privilege instead of taking over.

  14. I always thought it was a personality test – what kind of plying piece did you choose? What properties did you gravitate towards?  I all means something, right?

    I found some old games at an estate sale this weekend…

  15. Anonymous Bosch says:

    I imagine that a nicely turned reproduction of the 1906 game might sell quite a few copies. I’d be interested.

  16. azaner says:

    So, copying is theft when you, personally, agree with the agenda of the victim.  Yet when you agree with the agenda of the thief, copying is not theft.  Got it.

    • L_Mariachi says:

      Don’t be daft. Copying in and of itself is not “theft” and to my knowledge BB has never said it was. The theft here occurred when Charles Darrow took out a patent that rightfully should have belonged to the game’s developer(s).  Got it now?

  17. James David says:

    Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives is a great antidote to Monopoly!

  18. Dan Sullivan says:

    “As to what is the just distribution of wealth there can be no dispute. It is that which gives wealth to him who makes it, and secures wealth to him who saves it. So clearly is this the only just distribution of wealth that even those shallow writers who attempt to defend the existing order of things are driven, by a logical necessity, falsely to assume that those who now possess the larger share of wealth made it and saved it, or got it by gift or by inheritance, from those who did make it and save it; whereas the fact is, as I have in a previous chapter shown, that all these great fortunes, whose corollaries are paupers and tramps, really come from the sheer appropriation of the makings and savings of other people.”

    - Henry George, *Social Problems*, Chapter 9, “First Principles”

  19. gt bear says:

    I  grew up in walking distance of Arden. Studied Henry George there. My first girlfriend still lives there. It’s a wonderful artist-colony type place, at least when compared to the sterile suburbs it’s in the middle of, where we were so bored we played a lot of monopoly… I knew the game had single-tax origins but didn’t know there was an Arden connection. Nowadays I mostly aspire to be a landlord.

  20. Art Carnage says:

    Really old news. Even Parker Bros. had long ago rewritten their history to include the story of The Landlord Game.  However, Darrow didn’t just “copy it”. He did massive amounts of play testing and tinkering, and then did the legwork to get it into stores.

  21. Dan Sullivan says:

    “However, Darrow didn’t just ‘copy it.’ He did massive amounts of play testing and tinkering, and then did the legwork to get it into stores.”

    That’s not true, although it’s part of the Parker Brothers myth. The game evolved as a folk game over the years, and most of the changes Darrow claimed for himself (such as the grouping of properties to get building rights) had been developed and thoroughly tested by his predecessors. Darrow didn’t even correct the misspelling of Marven Gardens from the incorrect spelling in the game he stole from the Raifords.

    Basically, Parker Brothers wanted to strip all political implications out of the game, and needed a myth. They purchased Lizzie Magie’s patents in a deal that included their agreement to manufacture a goodly number of games with the original rules. They manufactured the games but refused to sell them, and after Lizzie Magie died, they destroyed those games.

    And while it’s old news to those who know a lot about it, it’s not as widely known as it should be, given the game’s significance and popularity. Of all games developed during the 20th century, it was the most popular in terms of sales.

  22. The principles behind the Landlord’s Game & Henry George can be seen in the short doco Real Estate 4 Ransom

  23. Great learning opportunity!  But please note that Henry George DID NOT propose the abolition of land ownership; he proposed redirecting the flow of rental income, real or implied.

    “For justice to be done between men it is not necessary for the State to take the land; it is only necessary to take its rent.” – Henry George, Progress & Poverty, 1879

    From the French Physiocrats to Adam Smith, Simon Patten and Thorstein Veblen, this was considered the prerequisite for free market capitalism.

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