JEFF CAPLAN'S MINUTE OF NEWS

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The real history of Monopoly

Apr 27, 2024, 5:00 AM

Monopoly... the raw exercise of capitalism... started as a game for liberals....

Monopoly... the raw exercise of capitalism... started as a game for liberals. (Canva)

(Canva)

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah loves its board games.  But am I wrong to say we suffer through one of ‘em?  The granddaddy of ‘em all –I’ve never heard anyone say “We played a zesty game of monopoly last night.  So much fun!”

No. 

It’s more like you pick the thimble or top hat… and it’s downhill from there.  A slog ’til everybody’s bankrupt, or someone bravely says,  “I’m so tired… I’m out.”  

But did you know that Monopoly – this exercise in raw capitalism, began as a game for liberals?  It was originally called The Landlord’s Game. The New York Times says it was invented by Elizabeth Magie in 1904.  She filed a patent the same day the Wright Brothers patented their airplane.  

Elizabeth Magie’s message in creating the game was that people shouldn’t have to pay taxes.  She – and many others at the time – thought landowners should pay taxes on their land to fund the government and thereby eliminate lower class poverty.  That was the guiding principle of her game, which she sold to Parker Brothers for 500 bucks.  And they did nothing with it.  The history books say Monopoly was invented by Charles Darrow 25 years later. But he only tuned-up the game.  Parker Brothers released his during the Great Depression and people all over the country could become millionaires at their kitchen tables.  

Or become very bored.  Because its monopoly

Jeff Caplan is the host of Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on KSL NewsRadio. Follow him on Facebook and X. 

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Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The real history of Monopoly