Monopoly is Anti-Landlord Propaganda -

Monopoly is Anti-Landlord Propaganda

Tom Nicholas
Views: 405334
Like: 20609
Sign up to Morning Brew for free today:

Watch this video ad-free on Nebula:

A video about Monopoly, landlords, propaganda and one of the most devious acts of intellectual property fraud of all time.

Written, presented and directed by Tom Nicholas.
Edited by Georgia Burrows.


00:00 Monopoly: A Story of Board Game Propaganda
05:17 Part One: Lizzie vs. the Landlords
06:33 Part One (a): The Slightly Weird Economics of Henry George
14:44 Part One (Redux): Lizzie vs. the Landlords
18:39 Part Two: Open-Sourcing Monopoly
24:06 Part Three: The Man Who Stole Monopoly
29:50 Part Four: The Monopoly Monopoly
37:44 Part Five: Lizzie’s Legacy


You can find an annotated bibliography for this video on my Patreon, here:

*Some Copy About this Video for the YouTube Algorithm*

Monopoly is very likely the most popular commercial board game of all time, having sold more than 275 million copies since it was first retreated in 1935. Come the holidays, families and friendship groups worldwide will around their dining room tables and do their best to bankrupt one another. Until, that is, someone inevitably snaps and flips the board.

Monopoly and its associated iconography including “Mr. Monopoly” (or Rich Uncle Pennybags as he was once officially called), the “Go” corner, “Go to Jail” and “Boardwalk” (or “Mayfair” in the UK edition) is iconic. And, those icons are often presented as a celebration of contemporary capitalism; such as when they’re used in the regular McDonalds Monopoly partnership.

But, what if I was to tell you that what we today know as Monopoly was actually created as a critique of capitalism rather than as a celebration of it? That Monopoly was in fact designed as an ingenious piece of anti-landlord propaganda?

In this video, we’re going to explore how an activist from Oregon called Lizzie Magie was inspired by the economic and political theories of Henry George to create The Landlord’s Game. And how a salesman called Charles Darrow got rich by stealing her invention.

Support the channel on Patreon at

If you’ve enjoyed this video and would like to see more including my What The Theory? series in which I provide some snappy introductions to key theories in the humanities as well as video essays and more then do consider subscribing.

Thanks for watching!


Select footage courtesy of Getty
Board Images courtesy Thomas Forsyth:

#Monopoly #BoardGames #Propaganda


  1. That Arden place actually sounds pretty cool

  2. Monopoly, who knew that the game's origins was in a critique of capitalism?

  3. Tom, I'm really sorry, but has someone mentioned that you look like Gordon Ramsey but he's happy all the time?

  4. What I found funny about monopoly is how easy it is to go to jail. Almost like the local govt is targeting you for trying to make money.

  5. Anyone should be able to challenge the patent on novelty then, given what we know about the history.

  6. oh lord i just blurted out "a george-ist!" at the 6 minute-ish mark.

  7. Happy Carnaval to all from where and when I'm watching

  8. When me and my sis and best friend play monopoly. “Oh no! you ran out money? I got lots, here have some of mine. Now we can all keep playing”.

  9. Without landlords, there wouldn’t be anywhere for you people to live. You should thank wealthy men for saving their money, and investing in an apartment, instead of a new truck and third house.

  10. Great video!!

    Always hated Monopoly and felt the way it was designed to be skewed.

    When I got older I felt that it could be read as a critique of capitalism, but that that was probably me just looking for subtext everywhere 🤠💜

  11. 32:10 bribes. must have been bribes. can't think of any other logical explanation.

  12. I don't know about the rest of the world, but Americans buy into and promote lies such as the Alpha Wolf narrative, as if there were a realization of the fact that such structures only occur in human captivity; Where are humans when they're in human captivity? A prison. This is one big fucking inescapable prison, and everybody's "play-fighting" is a game of Monopoly to practice screwing your friends & family, while calling it "I did my best". And then people can somehow think that their ability to screw people is clear evidence of their virtue and intelligence.

  13. So we should take console when loosing in Monopoly in the fact that it is an actual representation of economic (and let's admit it, governing) system and we are also loosing for real?

  14. Only thing this video needed was a bit about the rules for the second phase of the prohibited game, the Prosperity rules.

    Also on the concept towards the end that the rental value of the land is almost nothing compared to the houses is in Monopoly, one could consider the printed land rent as the value provided by nature, and add additional rent to that land based on the number of houses on nearby properties and utilities, approximating land rents created by the local community at large.

  15. Hannukah-wise, you actually have the wrong number of candles there, it's 7, the Hanukkah thing has 9 (canonically Judaism would consider it to be 8 but the 9th one is a candle, as much as Judaism wants to reject it)

  16. Patent trolls and trademark trolls are the lowest of the low. Taking something you haven't made and monetising it, pushing out the creator in the process, is digusting.

  17. Notbing wrong with owning property. But it’s supposed to show you how one person grabbing up too much land leads to most people unhappy and one small percent with way more than they need. I don’t support socialism but home ownership should be a human right. Rent and mortgages are practically slave labour. It costs them next to nothing and you work most of your life to mostly just pay banks by mortgage or by rent

  18. Monopoly is my favorite game. I can attest that people hate playing it. I only ever get to play it on my birthday because it's the only time I can get everyone to play. Haha.

    I don't think I've gotten upset over Monopoly since I was a kid. To me, the anger is supposed to be there, it's about an unfair system. No idea that that was the original intention. Thanks Tom!

  19. I despise copyright law. Its mostly just used by rich people to steal credit and work from inventors. Sometimes even when inventors don't want their worked to be copyrighted at all.

  20. Henry George's viewpoint and proposed solution is much more feasible than Karl Marx's ever were, and a lot of achievements that were rooted on Georgism has been unfairly regarded as socialist policy by today's leftists.

    For example, Singapore's housing system and Denmark's taxation system is hailed and praised by socialists as examples of "socialist" policy, yet both those countries are more inspired by Georgist style land reform economics than any Marxian economics.

  21. my god. what have i done?
    This is a good quaker people sales pitch

  22. fwiw, that candelabra is a Menorah, you're looking for a Chanukkia, similar, but a Chanukkia should have 9 total candel holders not 7.

  23. Monopoly is fun if you play it with a bunch of socialists! From my observations, we already know how screwed we are under capitalism, and so we don’t get angry about it anymore. If we did, we’d be raging every day of our lives, and that’s just not sustainable.

  24. don't forget in real life, you will have to add more player into the very same table game while the game is playing non-stop. Which mean the more player step in, the more they have nothing to buy. Because that is how real life work. More new generation start living on the very same planet.

  25. It's downright dismaying how the game became its own antithesis. And the fact that people embraced the corrupted version so readily says terrible things about the human race.

  26. How is it when the only satisfaction in the lathargic game is owning the most

  27. Thank you for making many holiday gatherings more “interesting”.

  28. I like the point you made; people try to modify the game to make it more interesting, only to delay the inevitable results. In contrast, imagine a football game in which both teams work together to maximize the number of goals that are scored by both sides.

    What is entertaining in a game is not necessarily preferable in actual life. Perhaps, in real life, we would be better off developing a new “game” reflective of shared goals and values, as opposed to trying to modify a deeply flawed one.

    History is never static; it is only a matter of how quickly and smoothly the change happens.

  29. I’m a worker who saved to be a landlord as a pension as I think when I get old I’ll struggle to get a good job. Am I wrong?

  30. What's funniest to me about Monopoly 's marketing is that the game rules themselves are at odds with it. The game punishes everyone but the richest, but the marketing makes that seem like a reward to the richest, which you could totally be! Except only one player can be, and everyone else has to play along while their funds slowly dry up and hope they can get the one roll they need to turn it all around.

    Despite Hasbro's best efforts and continual insistence to the contrary, Monopoly remains an anti-capitalist game.

  31. An interesting aside for this story is that there was also versions of the landlord’s game in other countries!
    I grew up with DKT (Das kaufmännische Talent – roughly translates to 'The Business Talent') in Austria, which is a whole separate game from Monopoly with very similar rules. According to their own website released in the 30’s.

  32. Like snakes and ladders Monopoly is really a game about life not a diversion

  33. I got completely distracted here by the music

  34. It's mind blowing that people can't figure out why they should hate landlords without anti-landlord propaganda.

  35. Every New Year's Eve, I play monopoly with 11-15 other ppl. We play be insane rules and actually have to use 2 sets of money and use tokens from other games, on account of how many of us there are. We have never finished a game.

  36. Buying a factory and machinery is exactly the same as buying land if one should be compensated the other one should too, or I would sell the land and use the money to buy something else with it that would make me more money . There is an argument that land should not be for sale but even then you would be renting it from the state ,local government as they are always keen to take money from you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.