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Sometime around 1903, Elizabeth J. Magie Phillips created a game, the purpose of which was to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in the hands of a very few. She called her invention “The Landlord’s Game” and it was commercially published in 1923. I don’t know how she expected to show the negative side of such reckless accumulation to users of the game, but it doesn’t seem to have worked. 

In the early 1930s, a board game called “Monopoly” was created and formed the basis of the game eventually sold by Parker Brothers. I remember playing Monopoly as a young boy.

Our purpose was to accumulate all the property. When all of the property had been gathered in the hands of one of us the game was over and we had a winner.

It was just another zero-sum game like baseball using different tools. Because it was a game we never asked the “now what” question so I’m going to ask it now. My reason for asking it is that the game has become the way of the world in which we live.

Wealth is being concentrated in the coffers of very few individuals and corporations and it looks to me as if they are playing “Monopoly” and each of them is trying to accumulate all the money.

Our form of capitalism has devolved into a zero-sum game of “Monopoly” like accumulation where the wealth of our nation is racing into the accounts of a very few. 

Over the last few decades, the financial services “industry” has become a larger and larger fraction of our overall economy and these companies produce nothing. 


Photo by BP Miller on Unsplash