MonopolyTM is widely held to be the most boring board game ever conceived, and I think we can all sympathise with this assessment. Yet what many don’t know is that the game’s origins were in an earlier game designed to teach its players about the evils of Landlordism and Monopoly Capitalism. Its evolution, as we all know, has created a broken game; the game that we all know and avoid. Other than the subtle rule changes that have broken the original game, MonopolyTM no longer reflects the socio-economic realities of a world dominated by Capitalist thinking and practice. Each player, for example, starts with the same amount of money, and, theoretically, has the same chances of winning as every other player. These changes have resulted in a game that is a far cry from the Socialist folk game created back in 1906 by Elizabeth Maggie Phillips which was intended to allow people to experience the misery of living in a society where Capitalism was allowed to run its course. Perhaps, then it is time to revisit the original game and show how the game would be if it reflected our reality.
Let’s imagine a board game with property for auction and rents to pay with all the attendant rewards and penalties. Most of the players begin the game with no money whatsoever and are never permitted to collect €200 for passing ‘Go.’ One player starts with twice as much money as all the other players added together, unlimited credit, control of ninety percent of the available property, permission to change the rules on a whim, and free access to the available funds in the bank. No one, other than this single wealthy player, would make one lap of the board before being bankrupted. This game much more closely resembles the reality of modern Capitalism; the outcome of the game is predetermined. Anyone playing such a game would know from the get-go that the dice are loaded and the rules are rigged in favour of the wealthy, and yet this is the closest version of the game to the reality we all share. In the real world the dice are loaded and the rules are rigged in favour of those who begin the game already having everything in their favour. It is astounding that, knowing this, we still allow ‘the losers’ to be blamed for losing because of their laziness.