Monopoly: The Secret Socialist Board Game You Never Got To Play

Millie Goebel

Growing up most of us have at some point played a board game. Many childhood favorites include Clue, Shoots and Ladders, Candyland, Life, and Monopoly. Could the board games we grow up playing teach us about Neoliberalism? In all of these board games there is a definite winner and loser. The game of Life, my personal favorite essentially says the person with the most money at the end of the game wins. I know for a fact growing up when I would play the game of Life, I would cheat just so I could win. Now what does that say about my child hood character? Probably a little sketchy, and overly competitive. However, it is fascinating to look at board games that we all play during our childhood that fit into the capitalist super structure . After Tuesdays class I googled, socialist board games just out of curiosity of what would come up. Well an interesting article came up about the original prototype of Monopoly. The original intent of the game was to teach the philosophy of Henry George that no single person can claim to own land. George believed private ownership was detrimental and destructive to society. The game was originally called the Landlords Game and instead of the “Go” box it originally read “Labor Upon Mother Earth Produces Wages”. The game did have one Supermonoplist winner that would win the game however players in the prototype could vote to cooperate. Instead of paying rent to the property title holder players can pay into a common pot. This common pot would allow players to be collective owners of property and share the land. Are the board games we are playing teaching us how to be effective players in a capitalist society? Are they board games out there where we have multiple winners?

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