As a kid, I think I probably played Monopoly once or twice per year, usually at my grandparents’ house in Maine. I think we ended up playing Parcheesi more, but they liked Monopoly enough to have a fancy wood and velvet game set with gold-plated hotels. I think I tended to remember those times when I won more often than the times when I lost, so I always wanted to play Monopoly, and was probably a nightmare to play with.
I don’t remember when, exactly, I learned about Monopoly’s history as an explicitly anti-capitalist game, but it certainly makes sense. It’s a great demonstration of how, even with everyone getting an actually equal start, the rules of the game inevitably result in one person getting everything, and everyone else getting ruined. As a microcosm, it does a decent job of replicating what we’re seeing around us right now, with a handful of unbelievably greedy assholes measuring their wealth in hundreds of billions of dollars, while still stealing from their already underpaid workers.
Even if you’re already familiar with the broad strokes, this video digs deeper into the political and economic theory surrounding the creation of the game, as well as the details of how the game went from criticism of capitalism to something that almost seems to glorify it. Whether you want to hear the story (and how it involves Quakers, of all people), or you want to learn more about 19th century economics and people like Henry George, you may enjoy this recounting of it by an enthusiastic British man: