The relevance of the game of Monopoly

by | Oct 16, 2011 | Justice and Peace

Did you know that Monopoly was invented by a Quaker woman to show how rents enrich property owners and impoverish tenants?

James Martin in a piece America magazine called “God’s economy” connects the dots. “Unregulated capitalism results in money and power funneling up into fewer and fewer hands.  The game Monopoly was invented by a pious Quaker lady to teach that very lesson.  The problem with unregulated capitalism is that “ it doesn’t get enough capital to enough people” (G.K. Chesterton).

According to Wikipedia “Although Monopoly is frequently said to have been invented by Charles Darrow in 1935, its origins actually go back to when Lizzie Magie, patented (748,626 (US) issued January 5, 1904,) a game called “The Landlord’s Game” with the object of demonstrating how rents enrich property owners and impoverish tenants. She knew that some people can find it hard to understand why this happens and what might be done about it and she thought that if Georgist ideas (that is, a supporter of political economist Henry George), were put into the concrete form of a game, they might be easier to demonstrate.”

So it seems long before computer games such as “Sim City” and “Saving Darfur” games have been used to teach.

Reflections…

  • What life lessons might you have absorbed from “old fashioned” board games?
  • What life lessons are being taught by today’s computer games?

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