The Georgist Irony of 'Monopoly', the Board Game

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Richard Stanley, May 2, 2016.

  1. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    My contextual comments further below.

    History is filled with surprising stories of how people and ideas are connected. One such story is that of the origins of the most popular board game in modern history. It's an American classic: each new generation of Monopoly players learns to love (harmlessly) indulging its cutthroat, ruthless, greedy impulses. Players begin the game as equals. Luck — and a bit of strategy — eventually enables one player to dominate all others. That player ends up amassing a huge fortune in cash and real estate. Most Monopoly players don't know (or care) that this game was originally the product of a passion for social and economic justice. In the late 1800s, a young woman named Elizabeth Magie was introduced to the writings of Henry George by her father. She eventually became one of many people who took on the task of trying to teach others what she had learned from studying Progress and Poverty and George's other works.

    Collaborating with friends in her Brentwood, Maryland community, Elizabeth Magie created The Landlord's Game. She applied for a patent, which was granted on January 5th, 1904 (No. 748,626). She explained that the game was to be a "practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences."

    While still a young, single woman, Elizabeth -- or "Lizzie" as she came to be called -- became a regular visitor to the Single Tax enclave of Arden, Delaware. This was around 1903. Whether on her own or in conjunction with other Single Taxers in Arden, Lizzie continued to work on the design of The Landlord's Game as a way to explain how Henry George's system of political economy would work in real life. ...

    In researching Jerry's and my next post, a needed diversion from the OT analysis series, I ran across the above ironic history of the Monopoly board game. It seems that the game was designed to teach economic principles, demonstrating how unmitigated rational greed will necessarily lead to the desired traditionalist Christian outcome of disproportionate wealth. As Christ Titus (paraphrasing) mockingly said, 'the poor randy leeches will always be with us'. But the game was sucked up into the corporate system it was designed to shine light on, and the courts, the sole institutional cucksavior of cuckKochian Libertarianism decided in favor of the moneyed Monopoly interests, despite Objective evidence to the contrary.

    As such, the corporate Church (and its veiled sponsors), who in times past had no problem offing problematic individuals, for their own salvation no less, no longer has any need to fear atheists and such as Libertarian 'anarchists', especially if they are anarcho-capitalists. This is because the Hapsburgian Mont Pellerin meme has cleverly substituted (cucked) the elite's most important economic concept to be preserved in place of Jesus, their now worn out Caesarian facade. Here, the elite's, their interests in easy wealth streams contiguous for thousands of years, merely replaced one Fool's Game for another, each making the cuckholded 'freeman' believe that he his acting in his own 'perceived' (delusional) Rational Self Interest.

    In the Old School Christian system, heretics, of all sorts were merely burnt at the stake and such, while in the new school, the metaphorical cuckholds du jour are employed to hysterically attack anything deviating from their neo-Orthodoxy as tantamount to Communism. This last tactic, focuses on Marx, as already revealed as a cynical, and mostly successful elite gentil effort to subvert any effort to alter the elite's desired economic format, an extreme form of capitalism, to a more optimal and balanced approach (that includes appropriate forms of capitalism).

    It turns out that the original intent of the game was to teach the 19th century concepts advanced by Henry George centered around the problems of real estate, especially with rent. And as I have explained elsewhere, this issue originates from at least the time of the rise of civilization in Mesopotamia where the temple of the city-state religion held most of the arable land, and rent it out for income. This is literally where we ultimately get the term 'landlord' from. This is the underlying aspect the mother Church (aka Mystery Babylon) has tried to maintain control over for two thousand years under the obfuscation of countless lesser 'cultural' and such issues.

    The article author was compelled to correctly note that, at some point, promoters of an earlier version of Monopoly had gone off the rails and were hoping to destroy capitalism, which was not the original intent, but rather to mitigate certain negative aspects.

    Burton Wolfe also tells us that a young Rexford E. Tugwell was one of the players. One of Tugwell's own students, Priscilla Robertson -- long-time editor of The Humanist -- provided the following details on the early history of the game: "In those days those who wanted copies of the board for Monopoly took a piece of linen cloth and copied it in crayon. It was considered a point of honor not to sell it to a commercial manufacturer, since it had been worked out by a group of single taxers who were anxious to defeat the capitalist system." (I am obliged to note here the considerable misrepresentation of the objectives pursued by Single Taxers who shared Henry George's principles. Defeating monopoly in all its forms (but, particularly, monopoly of nature), not capitalism, was - and is - the cause embraced then and today.)

    The game, of course, is based upon buying properties and the paying of rent to the owner, which leads to an accumulation of wealth that can become disproportionate (for some) and especially so (in real life) in comparison to wage slavery (also negatively impacted by monetary inflation, the reverse true for such assets as real estate, especially when leveraged). So-called 'monopoly' is only the most extreme form of disproportionate accumulation idealized by the crypto-oligarch wannabees, some of which ironically frequent here.
  2. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    Put up a couple houses on Marvin Gardens, and before you know it, people are calling you a crypto-oligarch wannabee.
  3. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    You are an obvious tool of the cuckKochians. :rolleyes:

    Which reminds me again that the Kochs have announced they may have to back Hillary. Hilarious.
  4. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    I can state categorically that I have never had any affiliations with the Koch bros. But I must confess, I did play a lot of Monopoly during my childhood. I always relished the sense of victory whenever I was able to amass hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, and never felt any sympathy for my victims. When the tables were turned, they never had any sympathy for me.
  5. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    You were a Libertarian like me. I even contributed money to Koch's Cato Institute as well as to the party.

    Do not Pass Go, Go Directly to Jail.

    Your experience is pretty much mine as well, and it goes to show how 'cult-ure' frames one's incoming mindset and expectations, guiding and prioritizing our focus and 'perceptions' of outcome. Like the early game which had different sets of rules (and presumably an explanation that told players what to focus on what was happening in front of them), the government since Reagan has been steadily deregulating (and regulating elsewhere as well) in a destructive manner, changing the rules of the capital game to favor 'financialization' (making money with money) over traditional 'productive' activity.

    As I discussed in one of my posts, CNBC had a documentary about Wall Street M&A players, vulture capitalists like Romney, who all saw their actions as a game to be played, the literal psychological addiction was to get on to the next deal, their current pile of money and how many jobs they destroyed in the process not an issue. This reaction even occurred in those who were raised in a blue collar household.

    I personally watched two companies I had ties to shut down by such actions.
  6. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, but I didn't know the Koch brothers had anything to do with the Libertarians. This is guilt by association!! And besides, you can't prove anything.
  7. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    In 1980 David Koch bought his way onto the Vice Presidential ticket behind Ed Clark (a corporate lawyer for Atlantic Richfield - ARCO). It caused a stir among the faithful, hidden somewhat in the shadow of the excitement from Clark's relative success in running for CA governor earlier (~500K?). This year Reagan announced that he was a (l)ibertarian. ARCO was a major investment of Poppy Bush's BTW.
  8. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    Irritation is the Mother of Invention? The excerpted article below provides suggestions for additional rules for playing Monopoly:

    During a January blizzard, my friends and I settled in for a long night. I did not begin the game particularly successfully, and irritated with the prospect of going to pauper’s jail, I made a spontaneous attempt to bend the rules by offering real money during a prospective deal: St. Charles, $200 of in-game money, and $20 of American money to secure Illinois, which would allow me to achieve a monopoly and begin building. ($20 was a lot, yes, but I’d had a couple of drinks, and was feeling frisky.)

    My opponent immediately said yes, because she realized we were playing a children’s game. But everyone else at the table protested, since it would benefit me, and because they did not want to have to consider spending actual money in future deals. (I futilely attempted to cite the Air Bud corollary, which states that there’s nothing in the rule book that says a dog can’t play basketball.) The deal was rejected, and unsurprisingly, I ended up losing altogether.

    At home, I couldn’t stop thinking about my failed attempt to rewrite the rules. Why shouldn’t real money have been allowed? We were simulating capitalism, and in capitalism, you throw whatever money you have to get what you want. Allowing me to shell out cash to sweeten the deal wouldn’t have just allowed me to succeed in the game; it actually would’ve been truer to the ideological premise.

    I didn’t stop there. I wondered what other rules could be introduced in order to better simulate the dynamics of capitalism, without fundamentally ruining the core Monopoly experience. It should be easier to achieve what we wanted, I thought, both in the game and in life. ...
  9. Jerry Russell

    Jerry Russell Administrator Staff Member

    The article reveals a very amusing concept of the "dynamics of capitalism". The author's version of the game makes it legal for anyone to steal a fortune. In real life, you can only get away with robbery if you already have a fortune.
  10. Richard Stanley

    Richard Stanley Administrator

    Well, you have to start somewhere, right? I have asserted that the original capitalists were the aristocratic nobility and such as their buffer class minions. The former all acquired the basis for their 'capital' formation via the manner their land rights were assigned upon and after conquest. Some characterize 'conquest' as an indeed 'noble' enterprise, whilst others might call it theft.

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