Who Owns the Land?

When I was a 20-something my family received a copy of the board game Monopoly as a gift. Being all varying levels of anti-capitalists, but certainly united in not being fans of rich guys in top hats and interminable games based on acting like tycoons, we were all quite satisfied with our decision to save the various game pieces for use with other games (especially those from the departed and sorely missed [update: actually resurrected!] Cheap Ass Games, for which you always had to provide your own game pieces, dice, and counters) and toss the rest in the garbage.

Imagine my embarrassment to learn, at a recent conference on community land trusts, that Monopoly was first invented under the name The Landlord Game to illustrate the problematic effects of private land ownership and the system of rents. Continue reading