Tag Archives | monopoly

The Official History of Monopoly Is a Fraud

MagiePatent2Page1.png

First page of patent submission for second version of Lizzie Magie’s board game, submitted in 1923 and granted in 1924.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of America’s best-selling board game, Monopoly. And while many folks might fib about their age, Hasbro’s accounting of the game’s birth is quite the tall tale.

The true story is revived in a new book by journalist Mary Pilon, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game, just released by Bloomsbury. I also cover the game’s origins in my documentary PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes, showing how a folk game was co-opted by a big company to become a billion-dollar industry.

I had set out to use a Monopoly metaphor to make the issues of campaign finance more relatable. Since practically everyone played the game in childhood, it has a nostalgic connection, though in hindsight it does teach some rather insidious lessons, such as felony crime.

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The Real Story of ‘Monopoly’ (It Was Anti-Capitalist)

As those of you who have seen the excellent documentary Pay 2 Play know, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding the board game Monopoly. Now Mary Pilon is about to publish a tell-all book, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game, and the New York Times piles on with an article by Pilon titled “Monopoly’s Inventor: The Progressive Who Didn’t Pass ‘Go’”:

For generations, the story of Monopoly’s Depression-era origins delighted fans almost as much as the board game itself.

Landlords Game board, based on Magie's 1924 US patent (no. 1,509,312) (by Lucius Kwok (CC))

Landlord’s Game board, based on Magie’s 1924 US patent (no. 1,509,312) (by Lucius Kwok (CC))

 

The tale, repeated for decades and often tucked into the game’s box along with the Community Chest and Chance cards, was that an unemployed man named Charles Darrow dreamed up Monopoly in the 1930s. He sold it and became a millionaire, his inventiveness saving him — and Parker Brothers, the beloved New England board game maker — from the brink of destruction.

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“Pay 2 Play” – Watch it now!

The time is here! You can now stream Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes for $4 or download the film for $10. Get ready for election day (Tuesday) with a film that exposes America’s “pay to play” political process.

If our political system is like a game of Monopoly, how can outsiders have a voice when only money speaks? John Ennis documents comical corruption, follows political newcomers, and uncovers intrigue in this colorful journey that connects the dots of Big Money in our ever-challenging election process.

You can purchase the film through the trailer below! (If you’re renting, the rental period lasts for 48 hours.)

Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes from disinformation on Vimeo.

“He tells his story with humor and the film is an empowering call to action” — Cinema Assassin

“Full of energy and intelligence and a heartfelt and necessary message…We can only laugh — and hope.

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Playing Monopoly With Our Lives

By Mike Fleming via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

By Mike Fleming via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

In all likelihood, when you were little, you played America’s best-selling board game, Monopoly. The colorful money, antique tokens, and cartoon old man let us pretend to be important, to feel successful, to realize the American Dream of prosperity. This childhood memory becomes something parents share with their children, growing into a cultural touchstone spanning generations.

Perhaps it is the warm memories of playing with siblings that obscures what the game’s objectives are, how it is played, and the lessons it imparts. For one, there is the object of the game itself, plainly stated: The winner is the last player left in the game, having driven their opponents into bankruptcy.

Just recently, Bank of America agreed to the largest court settlement in history: $16 billion with the Department of Justice in a wide-ranging lawsuit over the bank’s collateralized debt schemes. Do you think that the executives at Bank of America that engineered these schemes believed that robbing their customers was okay because it meant they were getting ahead by bankrupting others?… Read the rest

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The Pay 2 Play Board Game, More Realistic Than Monopoly!

pay2play_DVD_CASE smallIn order to face any of our mounting problems, we need leaders who will listen to We The People, not just We The Wealthiest People. I set out to make a documentary about the obstacles to elected office, in hopes of encouraging reform and inspiring future candidates. I also wanted to present this in a way that could be fun, rather than depress the living crap out of folks.

Something about the game Monopoly seemed like the right metaphor for our priced-out political process–perhaps because the player with the most money wins, just like in almost all elections. But upon discovering its true origins as an educational folk game taken over by a corporation, I realized how appropriate Monopoly really is as a symbol for the corporate takeover of our democracy.

The original idea was to show all the hoops a candidate would have to go through running for office, like pointers for campaign reform.… Read the rest

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Citizens unite online to beat big business

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Matthew Bailes, Swinburne University of Technology


More people are using the internet to find what they want and bypass big business.
jessica zhou/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

There’s nothing corporations like more than a good monopoly. Plug in the consumer and turn on the profits! In Australia there’s seemingly no end to the spiralling cost of living as our utilities, banks and other service providers find new ways to hit us with fees that deliver them record profits.

Although in principle we have competition, in practice it is often difficult to understand the true cost of changing banks, electricity suppliers or internet service providers (ISPs) so we end up getting gouged.

But recently citizens have been fighting back, and it might signal a new dawn for consumers. The answer is not in shopping around between this duopoly or that, but in using the internet to advertise, supply and connect with other citizens that cut out the middlemen and eliminate the establishment.… Read the rest

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Paul Krugman: Comcast and Time Warner ‘Barons of Broadband’

Pic: PD

Pic: PD

Paul Krugman rightly casts a jaundiced eye at the Comcast/Time Warner merger…

Via New York Times:

Last week’s big business news was the announcement that Comcast, a gigantic provider of cable TV and high-speed Internet service, has reached a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable, which is merely huge. If regulators approve the deal, Comcast will be an overwhelmingly dominant player in the business, with around 30 million subscribers.

So let me ask two questions about the proposed deal. First, why would we even think about letting it go through? Second, when and why did we stop worrying about monopoly power?

On the first question, broadband Internet and cable TV are already highly concentrated industries, with a handful of corporations accounting for most of the customers. Once upon a time antitrust authorities, looking at this situation, would probably have been trying to cut Comcast down to size. Letting it expand would have been unthinkable.

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The Rise of Big Chocolate

“The Rise of Big Chocolate” certainly sounds like a lascivious porno movie, but if there is any movie that comes to mind in this article, it’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a wonderful and memorable family movie with catchy songs coating a rather bitter and dark enterprise involving vulture legal contracts, unsafe working conditions (why, oh why, is there never a barrier around the chocolate river?), worker exploitation, and even corporate espionage (remember Slugsworth), a movie that unfortunately mirrors the present due to monopolization of confectionery companies by Cargill and Barry Callebaut.

VIA Foreign Policy

Small and mid-size confectioners have traditionally been able to request specific blends and recipe mixtures from cocoa processors. But as the number of sellers has thinned, chocolatiers struggle to procure these specialties. “When it comes to Belgian chocolate, there is not that much variety anymore,” says Van Riet. He explains that his customers “are very nervous” as the consolidation in the industry continues.

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The Disappearance of the Monarch Butterfly


When Star Livingstone’s Mother purchased her Adirondack Homestead in 1963, she added some lime to the acidic soil. Soon after this, some Milkweeds began to grow on the two acre plot attracting Monarch butterflies. She allowed these Milkweeds to flourish in a little patch creating a small sanctuary. When she built a house she dubbed it “The Butterfly Barn.” Every year since then for nearly 50 years, monarch butterflies have been flying here to reproduce and lay eggs and die. Their offspring would then make the return trip in the fall, flying over 2000 miles to winter in Central Mexico, in what is now known as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Last summer at least 50 to 100 monarch caterpillars were seen eating the milkweed and spinning cocoons. Some Milkweed plants “volunteered” in the middle of the vegetable garden, where they were allowed to grow. At least one monarch caterpillar, reached maturity and successfully metamorphosed into a butterfly in the middle of a cabbage bed.… Read the rest

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Pixar and LucasFilm Settle After Allegedly Shutting Former Employees Out of Jobs

monopoly-logo-mickey-mouse-parodyIt’s a small world after all… especially if you’re an animator looking a new job in Silicon Valley.

Disney’s Pixar and LucasFilm subsidiaries have agreed to a settlement over their alleged involvement in a Silicon Valley-wide pact to avoid hiring competitors’ employees. Reuters reports that a Friday court filing stated that both branches had settled a suit brought by former tech company employees, though no further details were disclosed. The suit, filed in 2011, was brought by five employees who said they had lost out on higher wages and better job opportunities because Pixar, Lucasfilm, Google, Apple, Adobe, Intel, and Intuit had all agreed to avoid hiring each others’ workers.

Evidence from the trial suggests that between 2005 and 2007, company executives began creating agreements that shut workers out of jobs unless both companies approved of the hiring. One document said that if a Pixar employee applied to Intel without being recruited, Intel would “contact the CEO of Pixar for approval to hire” before moving forward.

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