We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Monday, July 24, 2017
Monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism
The game of Monopoly has long been a source of wonder for me even though I played it a lot in my high school years without any concerns. To me at that time, it was only a game that had no relevance to contemporary society. Having since become aware of social justice issues and having to deal with adult reality, I have often wondered why such a game became so popular.
After all, it is the ultimate expression in game form of sociopathy. To the extent that the game reflects any kind of reality, it celebrates sociopathy by making the best sociopath the winner. Of course, this is no accident. The game is an integral part of the indoctrination of capitalist values along with all the other pro-capitalist propaganda that all people are subject to growing up in a capitalist-ruled society.
I previously looked cursorily into the history of the game, but (as I remember) it lightly passed over the original game as invented by Elizabeth Magie and its original design and intent before Parker Brothers company got control of it. The company purchased the patent (nearly everything is a commodity under capitalism) and changed the original design of the game to what it essentially is today. Raworth gives us this original history and explains Magie's intended educational purpose of the game as an exercise in understanding the socially immoral aspects of capitalism.
Incidentally, in the 1980s while I was living in San Francisco, I tried to provide an alternative to Monopoly for my family by shopping at a store that advertised as having 10,000 games. I explained to the salesperson that I wanted a game that promoted cooperation, and I was told that they didn't have any such game! Magie's intent had been completely eliminated from any kind of board games.