New York Times Tells True Origin of MONOPOLY Game
|December 2, 2013||Posted by Staff under Activism, Patent Copyright|
Monopoly Empire, the latest flavor of the iconic game, substitutes traditional Atlantic City property names with those of large corporations — McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Nestlé, etc. In the latest Monopoly game, players acquire key brands to create corporate empires rather than try to bankrupt their opponents. And the old tokens — the racecar, thimble and top hat that used to race around the board — have been replaced by a 2014 Corvette Stingray, an Xbox controller and a Paramount Pictures movie clapboard.
Ironically the game was created to critique, not celebrate, corporate America. Contrary to popular board game lore, Monopoly was invented not by an unemployed man during the Great Depression but in 1903 by a feminist who lived in the Washington, D.C., area and wanted to teach about the evils of monopolization. Her name was Lizzie Magie.
Seventeen years before women could vote, Ms. Magie, a fiery stenographer, poet, sometime actress and onetime employee of the United States Postal Service’s dead-letter office, ginned up a game that mirrored what she perceived to be the vast economic inequalities of her day. She called it the Landlord’s Game and saw it as an educational tool and gamy rebellion against the era’s corporate titans, John D. Rockefeller Sr., Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan.
Ms. Magie was an ardent follower of Henry George, who advocated a single tax on land [which would fall most heavily on downtowns where locations are by far the steepest].
Rexford G. Tugwell, a Columbia University professor and member of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “brain trust,” played and taught the game. Members of the administration of Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia of New York played it, as did Ernest Angell, an attorney and chairman of the board at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Ed. Notes: The game no longer teaches the role of land but its history reveals the role of real corporate monopoly.