The origins of Monopoly

The origins of the board game Monopoly lay with a game that was designed to teach people about the evils of rent-charging property owners. Called The Landlord's Game, it was desgined by Lizzie Magie who thought a board game would drive her point home better. Matthew Yglesias would approve?

The irony, of course, is that people now play Monopoly with the aim of driving all their opponents into bankruptcy, and so it's become a lesson in ruthless empire building, "Walter-White-Heisenberg-style. Even if the message had been retained, though, much of the game's context and many of its references are outdated now. 

However, using games to teach people some basic economic concepts still seems worthwhile, and techies love games. Someone should adapt a version of Monopoly for Silicon Valley. Among the little character pieces would be a blue-button-down-shirt-and-khaki-pants-wearing VC, and taking the place of the colored real estate properties of Monopoly would be colored web properties. For example, instead of the two blue properties Boardwalk and Park Place we'd have the two blue internet properties Facebook and Twitter (oh wait, someone already thought of that). Instead of Electric Company and Water Works you'd have Amazon Web Services and Github. And as other players landed on your properties, you'd charge them, either by taking a lot of cash from them (direct monetization, the equivalent of hotels in the original Monopoly game) or a little cash from them as ad revenue (like houses in Monopoly; easier to build than hotels, but they monetize more poorly).

Among the Chance and Community Chest cards would be ones like "Facebook just dialed up your newsfeed story frequency coefficient, collect $100,000 in traffic bounty from all the other players" or "Google just stole one of your best developers by offering twice the pay, better benefits, and cushier hours, sit out two turns".