Anyone who has played the game Monopoly, knows that the ultimate goal of the game is to vanquish all of your competitors by bankrupting them and controlling all of the real estates. It's even fun to see other players who land on your tricked out properties, struggle to figure out how they're going to pay your high rents, or have to mortgage their properties just to keep from being eliminated from the game.
This is why you might find it surprising to learn that the original objective of the game was the exact opposite of this. Originally called, The Landlord’s Game, and created by progressive writer, Elizabeth Magie Phillips, the game was created to teach players about the dangers of wealth concentration and capitalism. The Landlord's Game was designed over 100 years ago, in a period of time, where it was normal for children to spend their days working instead of going to school.
During this time, children had limited time to play and a small portion of the family budget was allocated to toys and games. Unlike currently, where marketers direct their ads towards children; in the hopes that children will wear their parents down from begging them for a new toy, marketers 100 years ago targeted to parents. Toys, back then, also were meant to be more than just fun, and were meant to teach valuable life lessons as well.
As much as the lesson may have benefited past generations, during a time of financial hardships, the game wasn't as well-received as hoped. It didn't, in fact, become a hit until the Depression when the game was redesigned by Charles Darrow. The new design is represented by the current version, and it has completely casted away the ideas of anti-capitalism and wealth distribution.
Interestingly enough, in today's economic climate, the original lesson of Monopoly seems so relevant. As 40 percent of the country makes up 1% percent of the nation's wealth, and the other 60% struggle to save money, and make ends meet. It seems as if the nation's inability to grasp the original concepts of the game has caused us to be living in a real-life version of the game.
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