The dear departed.

This post of Gerard’s brought on quite a few comments. I think, my first comment to this post of Gerard’s was this one:

“Gerard, your imaginary ‘obituary’ shows your great imagination and humor! It is so humorous, that I made me laugh instantly.

But then I thought a bit more about it, why is it that ‘obituaries’ nearly always deal only with the ‘good’ things a person has done during a life-time?

It leads me to what I call my ‘personal’ belief about ‘Jesus’. I am not sure, whether I am a sort of ‘odd’ Catholic convert. I really do not have a lot of contact to other Catholics. I do not want to go into the reason for that. It is really another subject I would have a lot to say about . . . .

So, at age 40 I became a Catholic convert!

I was attracted by everything that related to what Jesus is supposed to have said.

He said, something like that if a great sinner (for instance someone who did commit murder) if this ‘mortal’ sinner is truly sorry for having done such a horrible sin, Jesus says, In this case a forgiveness of this sin can be granted!

I find the ‘Hail Mary’ Prayer has great faith value!

The first part of the Prayer says how blessed Mary is.

The second part of the Hail Mary goes like this:

Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
Pray for us Sinners,
Save us from the Fires of Hell,
And bring all Souls to
Heaven, especially those
That most need thy mercy. Amen

The Catholic belief, as far as I know, is that every person can become as wholesome as Jesus at death’s door, and then go straight to ‘Heaven’ so to speak. So when a person is dead and has regretted every bit of ‘Wrongdoing (Sin)’ then this person is totally blame-free, meaning nothing bad at all should be said about this deceased person!

Church people, that tend to threaten a mortal Sinner, as for instance
a murderer, with everlasting ‘Hell’ in my view do not act the way the (imaginative) ‘Jesus’ would have acted towards a ‘mortal’ Sinner!

The way, I imagine Jesus, he would have talked gently towards this person who committed a very grave Sin! Probably in most cases, there would not have been an instant forgiveness, but some urging to do a lot of ‘penance’!

When you do ‘penance’, you try extremely hard, to lead a life of a kind of self-sacrifice to make up for the very great wrong of mortal Sin!

Now to Mary, who is called ‘Mother of God’: This, to my mind wholly imaginary ‘Mother of God’, is just someone, that can pray for us so much better than we can ever be praying for ourselves!

In the Hail Mary Prayer, we think especially about those who do need most this special kind of mercy, so are in need of a lot of prayer!

My feeling is, that it is quite alright, ‘to speak only well’ about the deceased.

However, somebody who says on his deathbed that it was right that it was right to murder a person because that person is from a different race, how a person like this can ever be forgiven – – – – Well, I do not have an answer to this.

What I write here, are my personal feelings.

At this stage, I do just express my personal belief!

I do not claim, that my interpretations about ‘Belief’ are of general value: Really, not at all!

I assume, to be able to talk more sufficiently about the subject of belief, would, for sure, require some proper studying!”

Liked by 1 person

My other comments, to what Gerard published, I might publish soon as a follow-up!

Oosterman Treats Blog

IMG_3074

It is impossible to read a bad word about those that have gone. All of us, men and women are faultless when in the icy embrace of the dearly departed. Here some examples from the obituary page of the Sydney Morning Herald: “Norman. Devoted father and beloved husband, sadly missed at 98 years old after 68 years of unstinting love to his dear wife Gladys, unselfishly gave to the community. Or Mavis, at 102 years sadly passed surrounded by loving family at Eventide Home, fascinating and loving wife of Geoffrey (who remained, faithful till the bitter end). She pioneered tirelessly for the sport of indoor sword fighting, boxing and gun clubs.”

With all the rain it did make me somewhat melancholic or inward looking and spend the time as usefully as possible and of late have come to peruse the paper’s Deaths and Funerals pages. It is amazing how few…

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This Reblog shows what our Thoughts were like already seven years ago about a certain Crisis

  1. berlioz1935 EditIt is easy for people to lose sight of the “big” picture. They are mostly concerned with their “own little” world. Perhaps it is human nature and we need leaders who can explain it all to us. But the leaders are not always “fair dinkum” as we say here in Australia. They have their own agenda and it takes a while before we noticed we have been had.Reply
    1. auntyuta EditI think, Berlioz, that elected leaders, once they are in government, do not go very much by what the people want, who elected them. They can always lead the majority of voters astray, again and again.Reply
      1. berlioz1935 EditToday at the parliamentary question time, I heard the PM saying Labor was stopping the City Link tunnel project in Melbourne. It was outrageously misleading if not even a lie. Because this particular project was rejected by the people of Victoria at the recent state election.
      2. auntyuta EditIn that case the people won. The project was stopped because the people did not like it. Naturally, the PM would not have liked it, that Labor promised the people to stop the project. It got them elected at Victorians State elections, and they kept their promise. For sure, the PM hates it even more, that Labor stuck to their promise!
  2. cardamone5 EditYou are very wise, Aunty Uta. Having been in Germany during World War II, you should be advising leaders in how to avoid war or any strife. I feel a blog post coming for you…can’t wait to read it.What you say about Australians wanting to keep taxes low but expecting government to cover infrastructure, etc, is true in America as well. Also true about it impacting low income households the most. Here in America the top 1% income bracket runs the government because they need to be wealthy to afford to run campaigns. We elect them, but their fear related platforms make voters lose their heads temporarily under the delusion that if they don’t get their vote their rights will be infringed on. Of course this is my opinion.Thank you for this thoughtful post, and the lovely pic.Love,
    EReply
    1. auntyuta EditDear E, what you say about voters’ sentiments sounds absolutely right to me. Berlioz says that it is easy for people to lose sight of the “big” picture. They are mostly concerned with their “own little” world.
      Advising leaders? For that, leaders have to be open to advice. Chancellor Merkel for instance says in the Ukraine Crisis a military solution is not possible. It remains to be seen whether what she says is going to be taken seriously.
      There are well known academics in US who have done research on the East European situation. They can explain to you why it is not wise to confront Russia. The Ukraine can never defeat Russia. It is not possible, unless you have World War Three! Russia needs Ukraine or at lest part of it, as a buffer zone. The West should not prop up a corrupt Ukrainian government. It is not to the benefit of the common people no matter how much they long to belong to the West. Let them have normal trade relations with the West. That should really be sufficient. They do not need to belong to NATO. This only confronts the Russians. Why are Western leaders so determined to confront Russia? Why are they not willing to listen to the experts?Reply
    2. berlioz1935 EditDear cardamone5, Aunty Uta’s wisdom seems to be backed up by a study of the University of Central Oklahoma which shows that introducing new and more weapons will only prolong and worsen the conflict.http://www.dw.de/study-suggests-arming-ukraine-would-prolong-conflict/a-18249802The OCSE seems to come to the same conclusion and gave that advice to the recent Munich Security Conference.http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/08/arming-ukraine-army-escalate-conflict-ocseReply
      1. auntyuta EditThank you very much, dear Berlioz, for these very important links! Much appreciated. Thank you.
  3. elizabeth2560 EditMy mother lives in a strata complex of nine units. She has been treasurer of her body corporate in a voluntary capacity for many years. With her health issues, she is no longer able to do it and there is no-one else who will take it over. My brother suggested to the other owners they contribute just a little more each moth and pay for a body corporate manager. Well that did not go too well with them at all! You are correct that people do not want to pay just that little bit extra for shared expenses. They feel they are being robbed and cannot see it as improving their own quality of life.Reply
    1. auntyuta EditOur complex has ten units, Elizabeth, and Peter has been taking on this honorary job right from the start when the units had just been built. That was twenty years ago! We are in a similar kind of situation. Nobody wants to relieve Peter of the job, and nobody wants to pay extra fees for employing someone. Peter is really getting on in age. I don’t know for how much longer he can do it. All the body corporate business is handled by an office in Wollongong who are very good in handling all our requests which Peter has to relate to them.
      Thank you very much for your comment, Elizabeth. 🙂Reply
  4. The Emu EditGood to read your comments on such diverse subjects Uta. Nobody really wants to take chances with their money anymore, much like in the bigger picture where various governments control taxpayers money and do not spend it on what the people expect, they tend to spend it on infrastructures that appeal to their electorates, hence ensuring their political aspirations.
    I have never seen Australia go through a worse government phase as we have seen, and seeing still, in over a decade or more now.
    Regards to you both, hot tomorrow, 43 here.Reply
  5. auntyuta EditReblogged this on AuntyUta

This was published in HARPERS Magazine in October 2012 about the “Landlord’s Game” versus “Monopoly

I published this blog in June 30, 2015. So what I publish here is a copy of that old blog. I do want to publish it again, so people that like to play Monopoly in its present form, may perhaps start thinking about it, that one could say that:

Monopoly Is Theft

Anyhow, as a game it is quite interesting and to this day a lot of people do like playing it. I did not have this game anymore for a number of years. Recently I had the opportunity to buy this game in a department store. I quickly decided to purchase it for myself in the hope that maybe in future I might have some visitors who might like to play it with me. Playing it again would bring lots of memories for me!

I just hope, some people might be interested enough to play it with me in the near future! Maybe around Christmas time? We’ll see.

So here is the copy now of my post from June 30, 2015:

http://harpers.org/blog/2012/10/monopoly-is-theft/?single=1

The antimonopolist history of the world’s most popular board game

By Christopher Ketcham

The players at Table 25 fought first over the choice of pawns. Doug Herold, a forty-four-year-old real estate appraiser, settled on the car. The player across from him, a shark-eyed IT recruiter named Billy, opted for the ship and took a pull from a can of Coors. The shoe was taken by a goateed toxic-tort litigator named Eric, who periodically distracted himself from the game on a BlackBerry so that he “could get billable hours out of this.” The dog was taken by a doughy computer technician named Trevis, who had driven from Canton, Ohio, as a “good deed” to help the National Kidney Foundation, sponsor of the 25th Annual Corporate Monopoly Tournament, which is held each year in the lobby of the U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh. On hand for the event, which had attracted 112 players, divided into twenty-eight tables of four, were the Pittsburgh Steelers’ mascot, Steely McBeam, who hopped around the lobby grunting and huzzahing with a giant foam I beam under his arm; three referees dressed in stripes, with whistles around their necks; and a sleepy-looking man, attired in a long judges’ robe and carrying a two-foot-long oaken gavel, who was in fact a civil-court judge for Allegheny County donating his time “to make sure these people follow the rules.”

I had spoken the night before with Doug, who won the previous year’s tournament, about his strategy for victory. “Well, last year I managed to get Boardwalk and Park Place, and then everybody landed on them,” he explained, chalking his success up to dumb luck. “What you have to do,” he said, “is get a monopoly, any monopoly, as quickly as you can.” I asked him if he knew the secret history of the game. He confessed that he did not.

The official history of Monopoly, as told by Hasbro, which owns the brand, states that the board game was invented in 1933 by an unemployed steam-radiator repairman and part-time dog walker from Philadelphia named Charles Darrow. Darrow had dreamed up what he described as a real estate trading game whose property names were taken from Atlantic City, the resort town where he’d summered as a child. Patented in 1935 by Darrow and the corporate game maker Parker Brothers, Monopoly sold just over 2 million copies in its first two years of production, making Darrow a rich man and likely saving Parker Brothers from bankruptcy. It would go on to become the world’s best-selling proprietary board game. At least 1 billion people in 111 countries speaking forty-three languages have played it, with an estimated 6 billion little green houses manufactured to date. Monopoly boards have been created using the streets of almost every major American city; they’ve been branded around financiers (Berkshire Hathaway Monopoly), sports teams (Chicago Bears Monopoly), television shows (The Simpsons Monopoly), automobiles (Corvette Monopoly), and farm equipment (John Deere Monopoly).

The game’s true origins, however, go unmentioned in the official literature. Three decades before Darrow’s patent, in 1903, a Maryland actress named Lizzie Magie created a proto-Monopoly as a tool for teaching the philosophy of Henry George, a nineteenth-century writer who had popularized the notion that no single person could claim to “own” land. In his book Progress and Poverty (1879), George called private land ownership an “erroneous and destructive principle” and argued that land should be held in common, with members of society acting collectively as “the general landlord.”

The Landlord's Game, 1906

Magie called her invention The Landlord’s Game, and when it was released in 1906 it looked remarkably similar to what we know today as Monopoly. It featured a continuous track along each side of a square board; the track was divided into blocks, each marked with the name of a property, its purchase price, and its rental value. The game was played with dice and scrip cash, and players moved pawns around the track. It had railroads and public utilities—the Soakum Lighting System, the Slambang Trolley—and a “luxury tax” of $75. It also had Chance cards with quotes attributed to Thomas Jefferson (“The earth belongs in usufruct to the living”), John Ruskin (“It begins to be asked on many sides how the possessors of the land became possessed of it”), and Andrew Carnegie (“The greatest astonishment of my life was the discovery that the man who does the work is not the man who gets rich”). The game’s most expensive properties to buy, and those most remunerative to own, were New York City’s Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Wall Street. In place of Monopoly’s “Go!” was a box marked “Labor Upon Mother Earth Produces Wages.” The Landlord Game’s chief entertainment was the same as in Monopoly: competitors were to be saddled with debt and ultimately reduced to financial ruin, and only one person, the supermonopolist, would stand tall in the end. The players could, however, vote to do something not officially allowed in Monopoly: cooperate. Under this alternative rule set, they would pay land rent not to a property’s title holder but into a common pot—the rent effectively socialized so that, as Magie later wrote, “Prosperity is achieved.”

For close to thirty years after Magie fashioned her first board on an old piece of pressed wood, The Landlord’s Game was played in various forms and under different names—“Monopoly,” “Finance,” “Auction.” It was especially popular among Quaker communities in Atlantic City and Philadelphia, as well as among economics professors and university students who’d taken an interest in socialism. Shared freely as an invention in the public domain, as much a part of the cultural commons as chess or checkers, The Landlord’s Game was, in effect, the property of anyone who learned how to play it.

Thousands of Monopoly tournaments are held in the United States each year: county tournaments, school tournaments, church tournaments, corporate tournaments, tournaments in basements, in boardrooms, in lunchrooms, in public libraries, and online. Every four or five years there are the big officiated tournaments—the U.S. Championship and the World Championship—sponsored by Hasbro, which hands out $20,580 pots to the winners of each. I missed the big tournaments—both were last held in 2009—and instead ended up in the lobby of U.S. Steel. I thought the venue fitting, as the corporation was the brainchild of supermonopolists Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan, the latter being the inspiration for Monopoly’s top-hatted, monocled, tails-wearing mascot, Rich Uncle Pennybags.

The emcee called the lobby to order, shouting into his microphone, “You have ninety minutes. Let’s play Monopoly!” Immediately, the men at Table 25 began rolling dice and frantically buying property as they rounded the board. Doug snagged Pacific Avenue (an expensive investment at $300), two yellow parcels, and several slummier properties. Trevis’s portfolio included two railroads and Marvin Gardens, the most expensive property in the yellow group. Billy held the ultrachic Boardwalk ($400). Eric got Tennessee Avenue and St. James Place ($180 each). These last are among the properties most coveted by competitors, because they are relatively cheap and frequently landed on, along with the other properties that sit directly downboard of the jail, where odds are the players will spend a lot of time.

Sixteen minutes into the game Doug offered Billy a trade. (“The propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another,” writes Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, “is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.”) Land was already growing scarce, and as land becomes scarce in Monopoly—as in the real world—its market value rises, often beyond its nominal value. “This,” said Doug, holding up one of his yellow deeds, “for that,” pointing at one of Billy’s slum deeds, “plus three hundred bucks.”

Billy was unimpressed. “No, you give me three hundred bucks.”

“Give you three hundred bucks?”

“Cash is king!”

This in turn inspired Trevis and Eric to start haggling, with Billy and Doug interjecting to gum up the talks when their own interests were threatened. The table got loud. The parties offered, counteroffered, rejected all offers, sweetened the original offers, rejected the sweetened deals with greater aplomb. Doug heaved a great sigh. “We’re just gonna go around the board and around the board,” he said, “and collect our little money.”

“It’s gotta make sense for me,” said Trevis.

“This guy wants my left testicle,” Doug replied.

In what amounted to open conspiracy, Billy then told Eric that if they made a trade and each received a monopoly as a result, they’d share a “free ride”—no rent would be charged—when they landed on one another’s monopolies: a corrupt duopoly, in effect, targeting Doug and Trevis.

Doug shrugged as Eric pondered the deal, but Trevis was aghast. “You can’t do that—it’s against the rules.”

“Rules!” said Billy. “I’m gonna set my price.”

“Bullshit!”

“Ref!”

A referee, whistle around his neck, hurried over—the judge with the gavel had disappeared—to decide on the matter as the players barked at each other. “You can’t do that,” he said finally.

A few weeks before the tournament, I’d had a conversation with Richard Marinaccio, the 2009 U.S. national Monopoly champion. “Monopoly players around the kitchen table”—which is to say, most people—“think the game is all about accumulation,” he said. “You know, making a lot of money. But the real object is to bankrupt your opponents as quickly as possible. To have just enough so that everybody else has nothing.” In this view, Monopoly is not about unleashing creativity and innovation among many competing parties, nor is it about opening markets and expanding trade or creating wealth through hard work and enlightened self-interest, the virtues Adam Smith thought of as the invisible hands that would produce a dynamic and prosperous society. It’s about shutting down the marketplace. All the players have to do is sit on their land and wait for the suckers to roll the dice.

Smith described such monopolist rent-seekers, who in his day were typified by the landed gentry of England, as the great parasites in the capitalist order. They avoided productive labor, innovated nothing, created nothing—the land was already there—and made a great deal of money while bleeding those who had to pay rent. The initial phase of competition in Monopoly, the free-trade phase that happens to be the most exciting part of the game to watch, is really about ending free trade and nixing competition in order to replace it with rent-seeking.

Henry George was not formally trained in economics. At age sixteen, he shipped out of his native Philadelphia as a mast boy on the freighter Hindoo,bound for Australia and India, where he watched the crew threaten mutiny over their miserable working conditions. By the age of twenty, transplanted to California, he was working as a printer’s apprentice, a rice weigher, and a tramp farmworker. George was soon married and broke, caught up in a wave of unemployment on the West Coast, and by the winter of 1865 his pregnant wife was starving. “Don’t stop to wash the child,” the doctor told George upon the birth of a son that January. “Feed him.” Poverty turned his mind to economics, to the question of why poverty proliferated in a land of plentiful resources. Economics turned him to newspapers, where he imagined he might get paid for his ideas. Eventually, journalism brought him to live in New York City.

What puzzled George was that wherever he saw advanced means of production arise in the United States—wherever industry was built up and capital accumulated—more poor people could be found, and in more desperate conditions. It was for him a stunning paradox. “It is the riddle which the Sphinx of Fate puts to our civilization, and which not to answer is to be destroyed,” wrote George. “So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes . . . progress is not real and cannot be permanent.” In 1879, he published the book that made him famous, Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth—The Remedy, which provided a sweeping answer to the riddle: land monopoly was the reason progress brought greater poverty. As American civilization advanced, as populations grew and aggregated in and around cities, land became scarce, prices soared, and the majority who had to live and work on the land paid those prices to the minority who owned it. For the laboring classes, rent slavery was the result. “To see human beings in the most abject, the most helpless and hopeless condition,” George wrote, “you must go, not to the unfenced prairies and the log cabins of new clearings in the backwoods, where man singlehanded is commencing the struggle with nature, and land is yet worth nothing, but to the great cities where the ownership of a little patch of ground is a fortune.”

From those little patches, primarily in New York City, had arisen the dynasties of the American nouveau riche: the Astors, the Beekmans, the Phippses, the Stuyvesants, the Roosevelts, and, later, the Tishmans, the Rudins, the Roses, the Minskoffs, the Dursts, and the Fisher and Tisch brothers. According to George, the sequestering of valuable land assets in private hands was itself the product of a system of property “as artificial and as baseless as the divine right of kings.” “Historically, as ethically,” he wrote, “private property in land is robbery. . . . It has everywhere had its birth in war and conquest.” This was, in fact, the original sin of Western civilization:

In California our land titles go back to the Supreme Government of Mexico, who took from the Spanish King, who took from the Pope, when he by a stroke of the pen divided lands yet to be discovered between the Spanish or Portuguese—or if you please they rest upon conquest. In the eastern states they go back to treaties with Indians and grants from English kings; in Louisiana to the government of France; in Florida to the government of Spain; while in England they go back to the Norman conquerors. Everywhere, not to a right which obliges, but to a force which compels.

George noted that many premodern tribes recognized no right of land ownership; the tribesman’s property was the bow and arrow he built with his hands, not the land he hunted on. Nor was such a right recognized under the laws of the Old Testament, in which land was “treated as the gift of the Creator to his common creatures.” Moses had, after all, instituted the jubilee, under which land was redistributed every fifty years, and the debts incurred against land were canceled—a tradition ended by Roman rule. Everywhere George reviewed the annals of the precapitalist world, he saw the “struggle between this idea of equal rights to the soil and the tendency to monopolize it in individual possession.”

By the nineteenth century, however, the “superstition” of “absolute individual property in land,” represented by the complex array of state-sanctioned deeds and titles, had become fundamental to the American legal system. It could not be crushed—nor should it be, said George. Land seizure and nationalization, he believed, would lead to tyranny. “Let the individuals who now hold it still retain, if they want to, possession of what they are pleased to call their land.” George would not revoke the right to buy and sell property or to will land to one’s descendants. Instead he argued that society might leave landowners “the shell” of their holdings if it could “take the kernel.” As George wrote, “It is not necessary to confiscate land; it is only necessary to confiscate rent. . . . In this way the State may become the universal landlord without calling herself so.”

Rent was the key. In line with classical economics from the time of Adam Smith, George defined rent as the unearned income owners derived from the rising value of land, meaning it was distinct from the labor that went into property in the form of improvements, the construction of homes and offices and factories, and the cultivation of fields. A community’s productivity was the invisible hand that caused land values to increase. The cabin in the woods became a prize when a mine opened up across the field, a road linked the cabin to the mine, a country store opened to supply the miners, more homes were built, a railroad came in, a town was born. The land under the cabin derived its worth from what society built around it. Its increase in value therefore belonged to society, and George said this value was to be assessed and taxed at market rates. This “single tax” on land and natural resources offered a reform of capitalism—whose self-destruction George believed it was his task to prevent—that “open[ed] the way to a realization of the noble dreams of socialism.” [1]

Georgism, as it came to be known, was denounced by wealthy landowners as the most radically lunatic notion of its time, and the single tax as more insidious than all the writings of Karl Marx put together. The Catholic Church ruled George’s thought “worthy of condemnation.” Yet within five years of the publication of Progress and Poverty, hundreds of thousands of Americans would come to believe in the gospel of the single tax. In New York City, the populist priest Father Edward McGlynn referred to George simply as “this prophet . . . this messenger from God.” Mark Twain proselytized as a Georgist, as did the philosopher John Dewey. “It would require less than the fingers of the two hands,” wrote Dewey, “to enumerate those who, from Plato down, rank with Henry George among the world’s social philosophers.”

Leo Tolstoy proclaimed that George would “usher in an epoch.” “The method of solving the land problem has been elaborated by Henry George to such a degree of perfection that, under the existing State organization and compulsory taxation, it is impossible to invent any other better, more just, practical, and peaceful solution,” wrote Tolstoy. “The only thing that would pacify the people now is the introduction of the system of Henry George.”

In 1886, the United Labor Party, fresh from the battles and boycotts of the first May Day, nominated George as its candidate for mayor of New York. His campaign offered a radical vision for the time: wherever railroads, telegraphs, telephones, and gas, water, electric, and heating utilities could be operated more efficiently at scale, as “natural monopolies,” the public would own them; transit in New York would be made free for all; city government would be responsible for social services; he would end child labor and mandate an eight-hour workday. The land-value tax would pay for his programs.

Though not a single major newspaper endorsed him, clubs were founded in George’s name in twenty-four districts across the city. Members financed his campaign, each contributing twenty-five cents, and George, in between sixteen-hour days of speeches and rallies, sat at headquarters rolling coins for distribution to his workers. The coalition he built with the ULP was big-tent, crossing lines of class, ethnicity, and religion that had long divided New York. Three days before the election, his supporters—merchants, lawyers, doctors, tailors, plumbers, cigar makers, brassworkers, Germans, Irish, Russians, Poles, Italians, Jews—gathered by the tens of thousands in lower Manhattan. They carried banners reading HONEST LABOR AGAINST THIEVING LANDLORDS, and at Tompkins Square, in driving rain, they chanted, “Hi! Ho! The leeches must go!” But George was defeated, amid allegations that Tammany Hall had engineered massive voter fraud to ensure his loss.

George returned to journalism, went on the lecture circuit, wrote five more books, and dedicated himself to spreading the word of the single tax. He has been credited with inspiring a generation of progressive reformers. William Jennings Bryan said thatProgress and Poverty “ought to be read by every thinking man and woman.” Samuel Gompers, Jacob Riis, Upton Sinclair, and Ida Tarbell read him and sang his praises. But George showed little interest in reform beyond the single tax. A believer to the end in Adam Smith, he denounced the socialists and labor organizers who were his strongest supporters, and, as one critic wrote, came to lead single-tax supporters “of intolerably dogmatic and doctrinaire spirit.” He refused to accept that unearned income might be gleaned from investments other than land, and thus he was accused of failing to confront the rising power of finance capitalism, which made money off of the socially created value behind stocks and bonds. By the time of his death in 1897, when 100,000 New Yorkers lined up to view his body in state, George’s “great idea” was already, as Tolstoy would lament in 1908, on the long road to being forgotten.

About a month before the Pittsburgh tournament, an amateur Monopoly historian and game collector named Richard Biddle invited me to the village of Arden, Delaware, to have a look at the first Landlord’s Game ever fashioned. Arden had been founded as a Georgist experiment in 1900, four years after a failed attempt to implement the single-tax system across the state. It was envisioned as a self-sufficient utopia on 160 acres of woodland, and it soon attracted artists, poets, actors, anarchists, and freethinkers. Upton Sinclair had a cottage there, dubbed the Jungalow. Ardenites were barred from “owning” their plots, instead purchasing ninety-nine-year leases on cooperatively held land. It didn’t matter whether the residents built mansions or shacks: they were taxed only on the underlying value of the land, often at very high rates. This revenue paid for roads, parks, a commons, playgrounds, and utilities.

Lizzie Magie visited the village not long after its founding, and brought with her an oilcloth mock-up of her Landlord’s Game, which soon became a pastime among residents. While at Arden, she built a board for the game with the help of a resident carpenter. Biddle spoke solemnly of this alpha board; he estimated that it could be worth a million dollars.

We met at the village green and walked a few blocks, where we found the owner of the board, an eighty-year-old retired autoworker named Ronald Jarrell, standing outside his cottage looking nervous. Apprised of our visit, Jarrell had earlier in the day gone to his safe-deposit box at the local bank to retrieve the board. We entered his living room, where, amid a collection of antique china, jade statues, and old dolls, he laid out the prized artifact on his coffee table. Jarrell’s three yapping poodles made it difficult to talk.

“It was the summer of 1903,” he said. “A woman was down visiting here—”

“Lizzie Magie,” said Biddle.

“I don’t remember the name,” said Jarrell, “but she had an idea for a game.” He told us his stepgrandfather, a Georgist carpenter named Robert Woolery, had grown tired of playing checkers at the general store and needed new entertainment. Woolery looked over the plans drawn up by Magie on the oilcloth and immediately set about making the board.

Arden Board, 1904

Biddle held it up and nodded his head approvingly. It was hand-painted and hand-carved out of the backside of a reclaimed pressed-wood crokinole board, and it smelled like an old shoe.

I had earlier looked up Magie’s 1904 rule set, which she produced several months before she and Woolery completed the original board. Oddly, it contained no rule about forming monopolies out of the property groups, nor did it mention charging players higher fees after they’d built houses or hotels (constructions that also didn’t exist in Magie’s original rules). Nor was there anything about Henry George, land-value taxation, or the evil of rent. If the game was designed to teach Georgism, it seemed Magie hadn’t quite thought out the lesson. Two years later, when the game was officially published,the rules had evolved: the business principle of monopoly was fully established, as was the Georgist alternative of cooperation. Theories abound as to how the changes arose; one holds that someone in Arden had pushed The Landlord’s Game in the direction of Henry George, and also in the direction of the Monopoly we know today.

I asked Biddle about the discrepancy. “Ask the Monopoly monopolist,” he said.

“Excuse me?”

“Patrice McFarland. The Monopoly monopolist. She’d have all the answers because she is now the possessor of Lizzie Magie’s diaries. And a lot of other key stuff. But she isn’t talking.”

McFarland, I later learned, was a former exhibit specialist at the New York State Museum who in 1992 had received $25,000 from a Georgist organization, the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, to produce a biography of Magie. In the ensuing years, Biddle said, she had acquired, along with Magie’s diaries, a trove of early Landlord’s Game prototypes handcrafted by players in Arden and elsewhere. But she had never produced her book, nor, according to Biddle, had she been willing to share the information or documents she’d amassed. “She’s a tough player,” he said. “I once bid against her on eBay for my 1939 Landlord’s Game. Bid almost $10,000.” (I called and emailed McFarland several times to ask about her alleged Monopoly monopolism, but she never responded.)

With us in Jarrell’s cottage was Mike Curtis, an Ardenite who twenty years earlier had played a round of Magie’s original 1906 Landlord’s Game (one of his opponents, as it happened, was Patrice McFarland). The Georgist rules by which Curtis had played were known as the Single Tax set, and they went beyond having players simply pay rent into Magie’s “Public Treasury.” They also aimed to teach the shared ownership of public goods. Under Single Tax rules, when the amount in the treasury reached fifty dollars, the player who owned the lighting utility was forced to sell it, and thereafter the utility cost no money to land on, as it was now publicly owned. This process repeated itself with the Slambang Trolley, then with the railroads, then with the Go to Jail space, which became a public college that, instead of sending players to jail, provided extra wages at the end of the game. After that, each fifty-dollar deposit in the treasury raised players’ wages by ten dollars. A “win” in Single Tax, which Magie later dubbed Prosperity Game, occurred when the player with the least amount of money had doubled his original capital. “The Landlord’s Game,” said Magie, “shows why our national housekeeping has gone wrong and Prosperity Game shows how to start it right and keep it going right.” Curtis admitted that he didn’t think much of the game, pronouncing it “kind of boring after a while.” [2]

In the summer of 1971, Ralph Anspach, a game inventor and retired economics professor who lives in San Francisco, emerged from a crushing Monopoly defeat in his living room—his eight-year-old son had bankrupted him—and found himself considering the salability of a board game that was explicitly antimonopolistic. “My game would have to start,” he wrote in a self-published memoir, The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle, “where Monopoly ends, when the board is full of monopolies.” The goal of play would be to break them up, with monopolists fighting off trustbusters. The game Anspach created, Anti-Monopoly, sold 200,000 copies in 1973, its first year of production, and was on pace to top 1 million sales by Christmas of 1974. Parker Brothers, at that time a subsidiary of General Mills, was not pleased. The company threatened to sue Anspach for trademark infringement. Instead, he preemptively sued Parker Brothers—“a sort of buckshot maneuver,” his lawyer called it—on the theory that he could show the company’s Monopoly trademark was invalid.

One of Anspach’s first discoveries as he built his case was the existence of The Landlord’s Game. But he could not explain how Magie’s invention, with its promotion of socialized land and shared wealth, had been transformed into the proprietary commodity that made billions of dollars for Parker Brothers. The key to the mystery, he learned, was a radical socialist professor of economics named Scott Nearing, who taught at the Wharton School of Finance from 1906 to 1915. Anspach spoke to Nearing in 1974, when Nearing was ninety-one years old. The professor said he had learned to play the game around 1910, while living in Arden, then taught it to his students at Wharton in order that they might learn, in his words, “the antisocial nature of monopoly,” and in particular “the wickedness of land monopoly.” The students apparently taught it to their friends. It was around this time that the game became known as “monopoly”—denoted in lowercase, like checkers, chess, or dominoes. The game spread widely over the next several years, to the hometowns of Nearing’s students and to other universities. It would slowly lose its antimonopolistic message, however, as players came to the conclusion that Magie’s vision of Georgist redistribution was not nearly as entertaining as ruining one another.

By 1913, monopoly had made its way to Altoona, Pennsylvania, and four years later it arrived in Philadelphia. The economist Rexford Tugwell, a future member of FDR’s “kitchen cabinet,” remembered having played it in 1915. By the 1920s, camp counselors in the Poconos were playing it, as were students at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Harvard, Haverford, Princeton, and Swarthmore. During the early stages of the Depression, the game reached Indianapolis, where a Quaker schoolteacher-in-training named Ruth Hoskins played it. Hoskins soon traveled to Atlantic City and taught the game to two fellow Quakers, Jesse and Eugene Raiford.

The brothers were so taken with the game that they worked to improve it. Along with other members of the Quaker community, they changed the pawns to household objects: tie clips, hairpins, keys, thimbles. They changed the names and property values to reflect those of Atlantic City. Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, slums in the Raifords’ hometown, became slums on the board; Boardwalk and Park Place, the carrefour of chic, became the most expensive deeds to purchase. The rules related by Ruth Hoskins stipulated that properties were to be auctioned when players landed on them; Jesse Raiford instead set the prices on the board. (This change later made the game marketable to children, who had difficulty understanding how auctions worked.)

The Raifords taught the game to a friend of theirs, Charles Todd, who taught it to its putative inventor, Charles Darrow. Sometime in 1932, Darrow copied the layout of the board, the rules of play, the property names, the deed values, and the Chance cards, and made his own version of the game. His only innovation seems to have been to claim the mantle of sole inventor. He would soon be assumed into the pantheon of American heroes of commerce.

The irony was not lost on Anspach. Before being monopolized by a single person working in tandem with a corporation, Monopoly had in fact been “invented” by many people—not just Magie and the Raifords but also the unknown player who gave the game its moniker and the unsung Ardenite who had perhaps aided Magie in advancing its rules. The game that today stresses the ruthlessness of the individual and defines victory as the impoverishment of others was the product of communal labor.

None of the information Anspach uncovered helped his case when it went to trial in 1976. The widows of Eugene and Jesse Raiford testified, as did seven other witnesses who claimed to have played monopoly as many as twenty years before Darrow marketed his game. Anspach even put Robert Barton, the former president of Parker Brothers, on the stand. Barton, who was pivotal in helping Darrow secure a patent for his “invention,” admitted under oath that he was fully aware of the game’s history and that he knew Darrow had not in fact invented it. The judge was unmoved. He dismissed Anspach’s complaint, ordering all unsold copies of Anti-Monopoly to be “deliver[ed] up for destruction.” Seven thousand of the games were bulldozed into a garbage dump in rural Minnesota, where officials from Parker Brothers oversaw the interment. [3]

After forty minutes of play, the game at Table 25 had stalled—or, depending on your view, was going along just fine, because no one had a monopoly and no one could raise rents. So Billy paid rent to Eric, who paid about the same rent to Doug, who paid to Billy, who paid to Trevis, who paid to Eric, who made a bad roll and briefly went to jail. Then Doug Herold landed on his third lucrative green property, allowing him to form a monopoly. He had enough cash on hand to build several houses, and one after another the players fell afoul of his outrageous rent hikes. Billy and Trevis handed over several properties in lieu of cash, giving Doug three monopolies. “You see,” he said, turning to me, “I don’t have to deal with these knuckleheads anymore.” There was no further need for trading, no need for the dynamism of the marketplace. He had done the work, built the houses, invested in the properties. Now he did no work, took no risks, made no investments. And yet wealth moved inexorably in his direction. When after ninety minutes time was called, Doug oversaw five monopolies and a wad of $10,293 in cash, more than half the money in the Monopoly bank. He was declared not only the victor at Table 25, but the all-around winner of the U.S. Steel tournament for the second year in a row.

I’d invited Richard Biddle to the tournament, and as Doug had started his run Biddle wandered off to watch the other tables. Every so often I could see him peering over the shoulders of the players, a pinched look on his face. He did not like what had become of Lizzie Magie’s invention. “My brother taught me how to play Monopoly when I was five,” he had told me. “It was pivotal in helping me understand the importance of lying, cheating, and stealing.” I’d asked him to bring along his reproduction of The Landlord’s Game, which he carried in a backpack. Earlier in the evening he had gingerly taken it out to share with whomever he could waylay. “This is the real Monopoly,” Biddle would tell the players, before attempting a sort of CliffsNotes explanation of what Lizzie Magie had in mind. The players nodded politely, their smiles freezing into nervous masks. “That’s very nice, thank you so much,” they said, and then they walked away.


[1] University of Missouri–Kansas City economics professor Michael Hudson has noted that property tax today functions in exactly the opposite fashion from George’s proposed single tax. The Federal Reserve Board is responsible for assessing the total market value of real estate in the United States, Hudson says, yet it routinely produces “nonsensical undervaluations of land.” In fact, the FRB mostly ignores land itself; instead, it considers buildings and capital improvements as the chief markers of value, basing its calculations on the historical cost of original construction and the replacement cost of structures. Land value is an afterthought. The amateur in the real estate marketplace need not read Henry George to know this flies in the face of common sense, the mantra being “location, location, location,” not “replacement cost, replacement cost, replacement cost.” Hudson has conducted some of the few authoritative analyses of the FRB’s sleight of hand, the tax losses that result, and how it benefits the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors, which together have lobbied the FRB to maintain its approach.   [2] Curtis also didn’t think much of Arden’s Georgist experiment, saying it had degenerated into something of a failure. The leaseholders, he told me, had learned to game the system by electing land assessors who based their assessments on the town’s budget needs rather than the land’s real market value, and so they avoided paying taxes at appropriate rates. “To be frank,” he said, “the people in Arden today don’t give a damn about Henry George.”   [3] Anspach twice appealed the decision, and in 1982 a California appellate court ruled in his favor, concluding that Parker Brothers had in fact committed fraud in the Darrow patent, and was thus under threat of losing its trademark. General Mills Fun Group appealed to the Supreme Court in 1982, backed by amicus briefs from nearly every major American industry group, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Trademark Association, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and the Committee on Trademarks of the Bar of the City of New York. The Court declined to hear the appeal. Anspach was nearly bankrupted, his house thrice mortgaged, his game business on the edge of ruin, his distributors unwilling to work with him because of a ten-year legal cloud. He was free, however, to continue selling Anti-Monopoly. In the past four years, he has sold 454,000 copies in European markets. Domestic sales, he says, have been comparatively small because Hasbro has used “its monopoly power to monopolize the Monopoly market” in the United State

Burqas Under the Bed – Fabricated Fear for the New Millennium

auntyutaUncategorized  September 23, 2014 

I think Jenni’s blog is well written with good links. Well worth reading to get a picture where we are at in Australia.

Unload and Unwind

reds-under-the-beds-omg-commies-mommy-politics-1354105987

Well it seems as if the new boogeyman of the 21st century is fully established.  Instead of drumming up fear and paranoia at the idea of Reds Under the Bed as was done in the past our governments have now determined that all our fear focused hate should be turned in the direction of those who follow the Muslim faith.  In short we should all fear the ‘Burqa Under the Bed‘ [courtesy of Yvette Scholtmeyer].

Regardless of the political tap dancing our world leaders use to present the idea that they are only interested in those who are extremist in their faith to the point of violence against others the facts are that they have stirred up a mighty brew of xenophobic fear and hatred.  How easy it is to cast stones at those whose beliefs differ to ours especially when we do little…

View original post 740 more words

Related

Monika’s BirthdayDecember 5, 2013In “Diary”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LUCASJuly 21, 2013In “Diary”

Blue Lotus Water GardenJanuary 2, 2015In “Diary”Edit”Burqas Under the Bed – Fabricated Fear for the New Millennium”

Previous Post On Sunday I turned 80Next PostWednesday, 24th of September 2014

15 thoughts on “Burqas Under the Bed – Fabricated Fear for the New Millennium”

auntyutaUncategorized  September 23, 2014 

I think Jenni’s blog is well written with good links. Well worth reading to get a picture where we are at in Australia.

Unload and Unwind

reds-under-the-beds-omg-commies-mommy-politics-1354105987

Well it seems as if the new boogeyman of the 21st century is fully established.  Instead of drumming up fear and paranoia at the idea of Reds Under the Bed as was done in the past our governments have now determined that all our fear focused hate should be turned in the direction of those who follow the Muslim faith.  In short we should all fear the ‘Burqa Under the Bed‘ [courtesy of Yvette Scholtmeyer].

Regardless of the political tap dancing our world leaders use to present the idea that they are only interested in those who are extremist in their faith to the point of violence against others the facts are that they have stirred up a mighty brew of xenophobic fear and hatred.  How easy it is to cast stones at those whose beliefs differ to ours especially when we do little…

View original post 740 more words

Previous Post On Sunday I turned 80 Wednesday, 24th of September 2014

15 thoughts on “Burqas Under the Bed – Fabricated Fear for the New Millennium”

  1. Jenni Thanks for the re-blog – it’s good to see that people understand how badly we are being manipulated.Reply
    1. auntyuta Since I just turned 80. Jenni, I can remember what it was like in Germany under the Nazi regime. How relieved we were when there was peace and freedom after World War Two!Reply
      1. Jenni EditIt’s too easy to forget just how much things can go wrong when people don’t speak out and just let things go until it reaches a point when it is no longer possible to speak out. History paints a very clear picture of what such actions bring but humanity just can’t seem to learn from the past. Frustrating is too mild a word for it but fortunately due to the internet those who want to speak out have a voice those in the past didn’t have access to. Although I’m pretty sure the Abbott government is taking steps to tighten control over social media.
      2. auntyuta EditMy goodness, Jenni, you seem to think on much the same wave length. – Yes, luckily the internet can be used to make our views known – Well, so far it is possible. Thanks for that. 
  2. likeitiz EditThis is very sad to read about, Aunty Uta.By the way, my nephew, who went to live in Sydney for a year of training for his company, is back here on vacation. He says he’s enjoying his life in Sydney.Reply
    1. auntyuta EditSydney has become very expensive but we love to go there for a visit. You can find some very enjoyable places in Sydney. 
      Thanks for commenting, dear Mary-Ann. Who knows where we are going in future?Reply
      1. likeitiz EditBTW, my daughter just got engaged. Her boyfriend of 7 years has proposed. I feel that they are still young, but what the heck! It’s not my life. Guess what! He was born in Washington D.C. but when he was barely 2 years old, his parents moved to Sydney. He came back to study at Stanford University for college and that’s where he met my daughter! Small world, Aunty!And yes, he has an Australian accent.
      2. auntyuta EditAmazing, Mary-Ann. Such a small world! 
  3. gerard oosterman Australia would be better of looking at our rate of youth unemployment which is almost 15%. They are spending 500.000.000.- a year on exercising their pyrotechnical toys bombing far away sandy countries.
    On top of that billions on keeping a few boat people away by the Australian defence Force and keeping them locked up in detention/jails.
    With that money they could have kept our manufacturing motor industry and other large employers of people.
    It is no wonder the young are disillusioned and seek adventure and excitement elsewhere.Reply
    1. auntyuta I totally agree, Gerard, the money is not spent the way it should be spent. I say, this is very sad state of affairs. It shows that our so called democracy is not working very well. So far it does not effect me personally. I have a good life and nothing to complain about. Still, this does not make me happy go lucky. It is so terrible to think about how more and more people in our own society have no prospects, absolutely none. What causes are the young ones going to fight for? I don’t like it.I am officially old now for I am 80; but all this makes me frightened for future generations. Even for well off people there is eventually going to be less and less security in this kind of a world. As Jenni says: ” . . . . humanity just can’t seem to learn from the past.”The years when government did not seem to do too much wrong, are long gone. Now they are making more and more mistakes, the same mistakes that had been done by other generations in other countries. Do they learn from the mistakes of the past? Of course not. All their actions are being rationalised to make people believe they do the right thing. And so it goes. . . . .Reply
  4. stuartbramhall  Great find. Thanks for sharing. I see Abbott is copying Obama’s and Bush’s old trick of scaring people to death to keep them from seeing how incompetent he is.Reply
  5. Team OyeniyiThank you for the introduction to Jenni! Love her work!Reply
    1. auntyuta EditI love it too, Robyn. Yes, she does good work.I am glad that you love it.

This is a Reblog! I did turn 80 on Sunday, 21 September 2014

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This picture is from yesterday (Tuesday) morning. Marion, one of my neighbours, came along to ask for our gardener’s phone number. Peter gave her the number. I showed Marion in the computer the photos that we had taken on Monday morning at the lake.

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Here is another photo that I tried to shoot with my camera from the computer screen. It shows part of that beautiful playground near the lake.

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Marion asked me whether I still felt to be in a celebratory mood. “Very much so,” was my reply. Tuesday morning was a lovely morning: Wonderful sunshine, the air felt balmy. When Marion arrived we had already finished our morning tea outside in front of the house.

A little bit of Sunday's ice-ream cake was still left. Peter and I  enjoyed this before we had our cup of tea.
A little bit of  ice-ream cake had still been left from Sunday. Peter and I enjoyed this before we had our cup of morning tea.
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Sitting outside in the sun I decided I would wear this hat.
 I wore this hat sitting outside in the sun.
I had tried the hat on in the bathroom to see what it looked like.
I had tried the hat on in the bathroom to see what it looked like.
Before I got dressed I had taken another picture in the bathroom. My aim was to take a picture of the flowers when I noticed I could also be seen in the mirror!
Before I got dressed I had taken another picture in the bathroom. My aim was to take a picture of the flowers when I noticed I could also be seen in the mirror!
So I stepped back - but surprise, surprise: the mirror did still catch me!
Later I took a picture stepping back a bit – but surprise, surprise: the mirror did still catch me!
Looking through my birthday cards again I felt like I wanted to take a picture of them.
Looking through my birthday cards again and again I felt I wanted to take a picture of them.
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These are the names of the ladies who gave me these beautiful flowers. Joan came a bit later after work. Her name is missing on the card. Anyhow these are the flowers I received from the ladies on Monday. Aren’t they beautiful?

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So Tuesday morning I went around enjoying all the flowers. I kept shifting them to different places and took  pictures of them from different angles. I just love taking pictures of beautiful things!

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Here you can see Peter in the kitchen busily fixing the curtain rod.

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Breakfast Time
Breakfast Time
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Sparkling Apple Juice for Lunch
Sparkling Apple Juice for Lunch
Salad for Lunch
Salad for Lunch
This in Lunch
This in Lunch
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Here is this week’s TIME magazine. On page 14 it says:

ON A HUMID MID-SEPTEMBER NIGHT,
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY
ARRIVED AT THE ROYAL PALACE ON SAUDI
ARABIA’S RED SEA COAST TO BEG
THE FAVOR OF A KING

The writer of this article says that Abdula bin Abdulazis is perhaps the most powerful man in the Middle East.

It is said in this article that the U.S. has built a fragile web of alliances to fight ISIS.
The question is being asked: WILL THIS SHAKY GROUP OF PARTNERS HOLD?

I, Uta, ask myself, how can we as ordinary citizens possibly grasp all the complications? It’s of no use working myself up, right? But I still want to know as much as possible where we are at at present.

Back to my flowers. Here is another glance at them:

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Under the above picture it says: Diplomatic dance Kerry leaves a photo op with leaders of the Gulf Cooperaton Council in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, on Sept. 11
Under the above picture it says: Diplomatic dance
Kerry leaves a photo op with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, on Sept.11 

  1. berlioz1935 EditYou have been busy Aunty Uta.Reply
    1. auntyuta EditYea, busily taking pictures, Berlioz. As you know, I love doing this! Reply
  2. giselzitrone EditEinen glücklichen Mittwoch liebe Ute so schöne Bilder und viele Blumen meinen Glückwunsch noch nachträglich und viel Gesundheit und Glück war sicher viel Arbeit für dich.Ja vom Fernsehen hatte ich auch mal versucht Bilder zu machen wahren aber nicht so schön.Ich wünsche dir noch einen glücklichen schönen Tag und alles liebe und Glück von mir.Gruß und Freundschaft.GislindeReply
    1. auntyuta EditNein, Gislinde, war nicht viel Arbeit für mich. Die Gäste kamen nur zum Nachmittags Kaffee. Caroline und Peter sahen nach der Küche und besorgten das Einschenken während ich wie die Königing mit meinen Gästen am Tisch sass! Wie du siehst, bin ich ordentlich verwöhnt worden und die vielen Blumengeschenke machten mich sehr glücklich. Es war ein ganz besonderer Geburtstag der sich über mehrere Tage erstreckte. Nun bin ich offiziel im fortgeschrittenen Alter. Hat aber auch seine guten Seiten, finde ich. Hab vielen Dank für deine lieben Glückwünsche, liebe Gislinde. Herzliche Grüsse, Uta. Reply
  3. catterel EditLovely pictures of what sounds like a lovely birthday. Btw only vampires don’t have a reflection in the mirror Reply
    1. auntyuta Well, Cat, now there is proof that I am not a vampire! He, he Reply
  4. rangewriter EditHappy belated birthday. You are as lovely as your flowers.Reply
    1. auntyuta Oh, thanks for this, Linda, thank you very much! 

The Great Depression & my parents, a Blog by Kate Kresse

https://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2021/08/05/the-great-depression-my-parents/

This is a blog by Kate Kresse that I reblogged here with this comment:

I am sure, some of my followers have experienced war shortages. I am thinking about older people that remember World War Two and the years after the end of the war. I was ten years old when the war in Germany ended. My grandmother was especially good at using every little bit of food, nothing would be thrown out. It stuck with me. I tend to be very careful in not wasting any food if at all possible. 🙂 Both my husband and I had learned to be very careful with money and to avoid of going into debt. Don’t most people in our effluent Western society, that never experienced shortages, behave in a very different way?

Believe Anyway

Did your parents grow up during the Great Depression? My parents grew up during that time. It affected how they lived their lives. It made them very careful with their money. It made them wise. They knew the importance of saving for the future, gardening for some of their food, and canning or freezing what they could. They stocked up on things when they were marked way down. They did all of this because of wisdom that only comes from experiencing hardship, poverty, and simple necessities being unavailable. As mom told me many times, “your generation takes sufficiency of products or even affluence for granted. My generation never can.” Of course, she was right. Dad spent his career in logistics. I spent part of mine in logistics, inventory control, and production scheduling. Dad and I often discussed trends and the impact of shipping and factory problems on supplies at the…

View original post 172 more words

Remembering Gaby and the Birth of Lucas

https://auntyuta.com/2012/08/09/diary-of-a-bereavement/

Diary of a Bereavement

auntyutaDiary  August 9, 2012 5 Minutes

Following Gaby’s passing on Sunday, 15th July 2012, there was a viewing on Monday, 23rd July, for family and friends. We were able to take photos at the viewing.

The funeral service took place on Tuesday, 24th July, 12,30 pm, at

ROOKWOOD GARDENS CREMATORIUM, SOUTH CHAPEL.

The officiating celebrant was Michael Bourke. Michael lives in our area and came to visit us on Saturday, 21st July, to discuss with us the order of service.

Bernie, our funeral director in Sydney, organized the viewing at the funeral parlor. Daughter Caroline and Matthew had made first contacts with Bernie. Caroline took time off work that week, Matthew went back to work and also filled in for Caroline a bit. Son Martin took time off work too. He arrived from Melbourne in a hired car late on Wednesday, 18th July.

Martin drove daughters Caroline and Monika as well as Peter and myself to the funeral directors in Sydney on Thursday, 19th July, to make arrangements for the funeral. (Monika had taken time off work too.) Peter had that same day an appointment with an officer at Merrylands police station. After the consultation with Bernie for all the funeral arrangements we were on our way to Merrylands. The traffic turned out to be extremely slow moving because of an incident. So we were late getting to Merrylands. The police were very understanding. The interview with the police took about two hours. They wanted to know a lot about Gaby’s life.

By the way, on the day of Gaby’s departure Caroline and Matthew had driven us first to Merrylands West to Gaby’s house where we had a chance to talk to all the distressed carers including David. Later in the day Matthew drove us to Glebe. He had arranged that we could view Gaby’s body there at the morgue. The visit was very good for us. It gave us a chance to say properly good-bye to Gaby. A very understanding woman greeted us very respectfully. She made arrangements with Caroline to talk to her on the phone on our behalf whenever we had any questions. Caroline stayed with us at our place and was constantly doing all the necessary phone-calls for us. It was such a relief for us that she could do this. She was great in handling all the calls.

On Sunday, the 15th, when we were at Gaby’s house for an hour or so, we took some of Gaby’s photo albums along and also her computer, her digital camera and her mobile phone. The following day the police asked Peter to bring all these electronic items of Gaby’s to the next police station. At present these items are still in the hands of the police for further checking and investigation.

Early on Wednesday morning, 18th July, Ryan and Ebony had a baby boy. They called him Lucas. Ryan is one of Monika’s twins. So Monika is now a grandma. And Peter and I are great grandparents again! Our son Martin has already two grandchildren. So the family is growing. Caroline drove Peter and me to Wollongong hospital to see the new born baby boy. He was surrounded by his Mum and Dad and a number of aunties. We were all allowed to hold him. The baby was most of the time asleep and didn’t mind at all being passed from one to the other. It was a very joyous experience for all of us.

From 11,30 on people arrived at Rookwood Memorial Gardens on the day of the funeral service. The Pall Bearers were our son Martin, Monika’s partner Mark, Monika’s twins, Troy and Ryan, Carolines’s partner Matthew and Gaby’s friend Steve. Welcome by Michael Bourke, Celebrant: Tributes by Peter, Soloist Elice Craig, and a choir of carers and friends singing Amazing Grace. Next a Photographic tribute with images of Gaby: Her life, her family, her friends.
Prayers: One Hail Mary. Verse: Michael Bourke and Committal.

The South Chapel of Roodwood Gardens Crematorium
Four of the Pall Bearers
Caroline and Michael Bourke
Steve had brought Dave to the service. Dave decided he didn’t want to go inside. He preferred to stay in the car.

After the service the celebrations of Gaby’s life were to continue at Parramatta Leagues Club. We stayed there for a while for drinks and to talk to people. Some nice pizza was available too.

Entrance to Parramatta Leagues Club
Miriam with an ‘Eels’ Shawl. Miriam used to be Gaby’s cook.
Still want to include this picture of Gaby’s coffin inside the South Chapel
Monika looked after ‘Honey’ and took her inside the chapel for the service.
This is when the funeral car arrived at the Crematorium

Caroline, with some input from Matthew, did a tremendous amount of work in assembling the photos for the photographic tribute. She also organized the printing of the cards for the funeral service. Caroline stayed with Peter and me from the 15th of July until the day of the funeral. Martin stayed with us for one whole week too, and for part of the time Matthew stayed also with us. Recently Caroline stayed with us once more for a few days to sort out things and to give us some support. We’ve been driving with Caroline to some beautiful places here in our area. A lot of these places remind us of Gaby, of course. In our home we constantly find things that remind us of Gaby. Gaby had been a very demanding person, but also very loving and caring. She made sure that we’ll never forget her.

Diary

I have just been reading this blog:

Memento Mori – The reason I started this page

I wanted to reblog it, but unfortunately this did not work. This is what it said:

ZANFERS.COM ISN’T WORKING! OH NO!

Zanfers” is not available at the domain zanfers.com right now. There’s a problem with the mapping for this domain. If you are the site owner, please log into your WordPress.com account for more information.”

Here is some of what “Zanfers” says in his blog:

“. . . . For example I am an avid gamer. Coming home from work, playing a few hours before sleep was my way of relaxing and I saw nothing wrong with it. Same with binging YouTube or some series. But then again, when it becomes your only way of entertainment or activity, you start to see its flaws. I realized that it lacks any productivity. This was obvious to many even before, but apparently I was one of the slow learners and I needed this pandemic to make me wonder if I am doing the right thing for myself and for the people around me. I started to wonder, if I vanish tomorrow, what will remain after me? What will be my legacy? As for now, it would be nothing but some Facebook messages and my games library. Which was a pretty depressing thought. . . .”

I just reblogged another post WRITTEN BY TENPORATH on how the Coronavirus may have affected us. The title of that post: ‘LESSON LEARNED.’

Pipe laying for Waterboard in 1960

Peter and Eberhard were laying sewerage pipes in Wollongong for Waterboard in 1960. Some time ago Peter wrote a story about ‘Billy Boy’. In the story he says: Billy had befriended us at work, where he was our ‘Billy Boy’ providing us with hot water for tea and for washing ourselves. He also helped us with our English. Bill told us to call in at his place when we were in Picton. The story goes under the title:

The ‘Billy Boy’ and His Girls

https://berlioz1935.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/the-billy-boy-and-his-girls/

“Come on in, boys,” said Bill with a big smile as he opened the door. We, my friend from work and me, did not consider ourselves boys, but he was close to fifty years older than we were. From his point of view we were just some youngsters blown in by the trade winds from another continent.

“Did you have any trouble finding the place?” he asked. His face had a reddish, weather beaten complexion. Large furrows and wrinkles criss crossed his face like the legendary canals on Mars, bearing witness to a long outdoor life. He had seen much of Australia as a train driver during the war years. Supplies were taken up to Darwin by train and from there by ship to the troops fighting in the Pacific.

He had befriended us at work, where he was our ‘Billy Boy’ providing us with hot water for tea and for washing ourselves. He also helped us with our English. Bill told us to call in at his place when we were in Picton.

“Saturday would be fine,” said Bill .

“And you will get to meet the girls,” he added with a friendly smile.

We heard ‘girls’ and thought it was about time we got acquainted with some females in Australia. We had not been in Australia for long and all was pretty new to us. I had bought an old Austin A 40. My  friend and I took the car for the half an hour’s drive to see Bill and the girls; probably his granddaughters as he was already past seventy.

We accepted his invitation and went inside his house, a large double story stone building at the edge of town. It was dark inside. He lead us into the dining room.

“The girls will be coming down soon to say ‘Hello’ “, Bill said.

The dining room was dark too. Thick, heavy curtains blocked out any daylight. We could just make out some furniture. As Bill started to draw back the curtains, revealing a beautiful table and eight chairs all made from red cedar, we saw a large cabinet with glass doors and behind them some Royal Dalton and Wedgwood tableware. On the wall was a painting of a stern looking couple. We felt transported into the nineteenth century.

“You know, we haven’t used the dining room since 1935,” Bill said.

“That’s over twenty five years ago, Bill,” I said to him.

“There you are, it shows you how time flies,” he answered.

He went to the door from time to time to look up the stairs where he expected the girls to come down from.

“Have a seat while I’ll put the kettle on. The girls should be down very shortly. You know how it is? They want to look their best,” Bill said with a wink. ‘They have never met Germans in their lives.”

Bill wasn’t gone long when he came back and announced, “Here they come!” and motioned us to the door.

“Aren’t they beautiful?’ Bill whispered, so the girls would not be embarrassed.

There was an electric light on now in the hallway and what we saw, were three women, of advanced years ― of very advanced years, I thought. They were dressed in dark frocks, which nearly touched the floor, white blouses and short black jackets. On their heads they wore small, round hats. They were holding on to the beautiful carved bannister as they carefully stepped from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. They gave me the impression they had been found in a tomb. Their faces looked old and wrinkly too, as the heat and the harsh wind in Australia had not been kind to them.

After we exchanged a few “Pleased to meet you” and “How are you?” we all took seats at the table. I noticed now that they wore long sleeved gloves. Bill, his face beaming, arrived with a pot of tea from the kitchen and took out the tea cups from the cabinet. He did all the work, if one could call it work, and served us and the ‘girls’. He explained that they were his sisters and much older than him. They reminded me of Daisy Bates, of whom I had seen some pictures.

“I was the baby of the family,” Bill said with a wink, “and now I have to look after them.”

Bill had such a great personality and he was full of life and always had a sparkle in his eyes. He seemed so proud that he was able to introduce his new friends and his sisters to each other. At the time we did not know that Australians called women of any age ‘girls’. We still had to learn a lot as newcomers to this great country

The “Landlord’s Game” versus “Monopoly

The antimonopolist history of the world’s most popular board game

I published this article in 2015 here:

https://auntyuta.com/2015/06/30/this-was-published-in-harpers-magazine-in-october-2012-about-the-landlords-game-versus-monopoly/

By Christopher Ketcham

The players at Table 25 fought first over the choice of pawns. Doug Herold, a forty-four-year-old real estate appraiser, settled on the car. The player across from him, a shark-eyed IT recruiter named Billy, opted for the ship and took a pull from a can of Coors. The shoe was taken by a goateed toxic-tort litigator named Eric, who periodically distracted himself from the game on a BlackBerry so that he “could get billable hours out of this.” The dog was taken by a doughy computer technician named Trevis, who had driven from Canton, Ohio, as a “good deed” to help the National Kidney Foundation, sponsor of the 25th Annual Corporate Monopoly Tournament, which is held each year in the lobby of the U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh. On hand for the event, which had attracted 112 players, divided into twenty-eight tables of four, were the Pittsburgh Steelers’ mascot, Steely McBeam, who hopped around the lobby grunting and huzzahing with a giant foam I beam under his arm; three referees dressed in stripes, with whistles around their necks; and a sleepy-looking man, attired in a long judges’ robe and carrying a two-foot-long oaken gavel, who was in fact a civil-court judge for Allegheny County donating his time “to make sure these people follow the rules.”

I had spoken the night before with Doug, who won the previous year’s tournament, about his strategy for victory. “Well, last year I managed to get Boardwalk and Park Place, and then everybody landed on them,” he explained, chalking his success up to dumb luck. “What you have to do,” he said, “is get a monopoly, any monopoly, as quickly as you can.” I asked him if he knew the secret history of the game. He confessed that he did not.

The official history of Monopoly, as told by Hasbro, which owns the brand, states that the board game was invented in 1933 by an unemployed steam-radiator repairman and part-time dog walker from Philadelphia named Charles Darrow. Darrow had dreamed up what he described as a real estate trading game whose property names were taken from Atlantic City, the resort town where he’d summered as a child. Patented in 1935 by Darrow and the corporate game maker Parker Brothers, Monopoly sold just over 2 million copies in its first two years of production, making Darrow a rich man and likely saving Parker Brothers from bankruptcy. It would go on to become the world’s best-selling proprietary board game. At least 1 billion people in 111 countries speaking forty-three languages have played it, with an estimated 6 billion little green houses manufactured to date. Monopoly boards have been created using the streets of almost every major American city; they’ve been branded around financiers (Berkshire Hathaway Monopoly), sports teams (Chicago Bears Monopoly), television shows (The Simpsons Monopoly), automobiles (Corvette Monopoly), and farm equipment (John Deere Monopoly).

The game’s true origins, however, go unmentioned in the official literature. Three decades before Darrow’s patent, in 1903, a Maryland actress named Lizzie Magie created a proto-Monopoly as a tool for teaching the philosophy of Henry George, a nineteenth-century writer who had popularized the notion that no single person could claim to “own” land. In his book Progress and Poverty (1879), George called private land ownership an “erroneous and destructive principle” and argued that land should be held in common, with members of society acting collectively as “the general landlord.”

The Landlord's Game, 1906

Magie called her invention The Landlord’s Game, and when it was released in 1906 it looked remarkably similar to what we know today as Monopoly. It featured a continuous track along each side of a square board; the track was divided into blocks, each marked with the name of a property, its purchase price, and its rental value. The game was played with dice and scrip cash, and players moved pawns around the track. It had railroads and public utilities—the Soakum Lighting System, the Slambang Trolley—and a “luxury tax” of $75. It also had Chance cards with quotes attributed to Thomas Jefferson (“The earth belongs in usufruct to the living”), John Ruskin (“It begins to be asked on many sides how the possessors of the land became possessed of it”), and Andrew Carnegie (“The greatest astonishment of my life was the discovery that the man who does the work is not the man who gets rich”). The game’s most expensive properties to buy, and those most remunerative to own, were New York City’s Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Wall Street. In place of Monopoly’s “Go!” was a box marked “Labor Upon Mother Earth Produces Wages.” The Landlord Game’s chief entertainment was the same as in Monopoly: competitors were to be saddled with debt and ultimately reduced to financial ruin, and only one person, the supermonopolist, would stand tall in the end. The players could, however, vote to do something not officially allowed in Monopoly: cooperate. Under this alternative rule set, they would pay land rent not to a property’s title holder but into a common pot—the rent effectively socialized so that, as Magie later wrote, “Prosperity is achieved.”

For close to thirty years after Magie fashioned her first board on an old piece of pressed wood, The Landlord’s Game was played in various forms and under different names—“Monopoly,” “Finance,” “Auction.” It was especially popular among Quaker communities in Atlantic City and Philadelphia, as well as among economics professors and university students who’d taken an interest in socialism. Shared freely as an invention in the public domain, as much a part of the cultural commons as chess or checkers, The Landlord’s Game was, in effect, the property of anyone who learned how to play it.

Thousands of Monopoly tournaments are held in the United States each year: county tournaments, school tournaments, church tournaments, corporate tournaments, tournaments in basements, in boardrooms, in lunchrooms, in public libraries, and online. Every four or five years there are the big officiated tournaments—the U.S. Championship and the World Championship—sponsored by Hasbro, which hands out $20,580 pots to the winners of each. I missed the big tournaments—both were last held in 2009—and instead ended up in the lobby of U.S. Steel. I thought the venue fitting, as the corporation was the brainchild of supermonopolists Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan, the latter being the inspiration for Monopoly’s top-hatted, monocled, tails-wearing mascot, Rich Uncle Pennybags.

The emcee called the lobby to order, shouting into his microphone, “You have ninety minutes. Let’s play Monopoly!” Immediately, the men at Table 25 began rolling dice and frantically buying property as they rounded the board. Doug snagged Pacific Avenue (an expensive investment at $300), two yellow parcels, and several slummier properties. Trevis’s portfolio included two railroads and Marvin Gardens, the most expensive property in the yellow group. Billy held the ultrachic Boardwalk ($400). Eric got Tennessee Avenue and St. James Place ($180 each). These last are among the properties most coveted by competitors, because they are relatively cheap and frequently landed on, along with the other properties that sit directly downboard of the jail, where odds are the players will spend a lot of time.

Sixteen minutes into the game Doug offered Billy a trade. (“The propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another,” writes Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, “is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.”) Land was already growing scarce, and as land becomes scarce in Monopoly—as in the real world—its market value rises, often beyond its nominal value. “This,” said Doug, holding up one of his yellow deeds, “for that,” pointing at one of Billy’s slum deeds, “plus three hundred bucks.”

Billy was unimpressed. “No, you give me three hundred bucks.”

“Give you three hundred bucks?”

“Cash is king!”

This in turn inspired Trevis and Eric to start haggling, with Billy and Doug interjecting to gum up the talks when their own interests were threatened. The table got loud. The parties offered, counteroffered, rejected all offers, sweetened the original offers, rejected the sweetened deals with greater aplomb. Doug heaved a great sigh. “We’re just gonna go around the board and around the board,” he said, “and collect our little money.”

“It’s gotta make sense for me,” said Trevis.

“This guy wants my left testicle,” Doug replied.

In what amounted to open conspiracy, Billy then told Eric that if they made a trade and each received a monopoly as a result, they’d share a “free ride”—no rent would be charged—when they landed on one another’s monopolies: a corrupt duopoly, in effect, targeting Doug and Trevis.

Doug shrugged as Eric pondered the deal, but Trevis was aghast. “You can’t do that—it’s against the rules.”

“Rules!” said Billy. “I’m gonna set my price.”

“Bullshit!”

“Ref!”

A referee, whistle around his neck, hurried over—the judge with the gavel had disappeared—to decide on the matter as the players barked at each other. “You can’t do that,” he said finally.

A few weeks before the tournament, I’d had a conversation with Richard Marinaccio, the 2009 U.S. national Monopoly champion. “Monopoly players around the kitchen table”—which is to say, most people—“think the game is all about accumulation,” he said. “You know, making a lot of money. But the real object is to bankrupt your opponents as quickly as possible. To have just enough so that everybody else has nothing.” In this view, Monopoly is not about unleashing creativity and innovation among many competing parties, nor is it about opening markets and expanding trade or creating wealth through hard work and enlightened self-interest, the virtues Adam Smith thought of as the invisible hands that would produce a dynamic and prosperous society. It’s about shutting down the marketplace. All the players have to do is sit on their land and wait for the suckers to roll the dice.

Smith described such monopolist rent-seekers, who in his day were typified by the landed gentry of England, as the great parasites in the capitalist order. They avoided productive labor, innovated nothing, created nothing—the land was already there—and made a great deal of money while bleeding those who had to pay rent. The initial phase of competition in Monopoly, the free-trade phase that happens to be the most exciting part of the game to watch, is really about ending free trade and nixing competition in order to replace it with rent-seeking.

Henry George was not formally trained in economics. At age sixteen, he shipped out of his native Philadelphia as a mast boy on the freighter Hindoo,bound for Australia and India, where he watched the crew threaten mutiny over their miserable working conditions. By the age of twenty, transplanted to California, he was working as a printer’s apprentice, a rice weigher, and a tramp farmworker. George was soon married and broke, caught up in a wave of unemployment on the West Coast, and by the winter of 1865 his pregnant wife was starving. “Don’t stop to wash the child,” the doctor told George upon the birth of a son that January. “Feed him.” Poverty turned his mind to economics, to the question of why poverty proliferated in a land of plentiful resources. Economics turned him to newspapers, where he imagined he might get paid for his ideas. Eventually, journalism brought him to live in New York City.

What puzzled George was that wherever he saw advanced means of production arise in the United States—wherever industry was built up and capital accumulated—more poor people could be found, and in more desperate conditions. It was for him a stunning paradox. “It is the riddle which the Sphinx of Fate puts to our civilization, and which not to answer is to be destroyed,” wrote George. “So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes . . . progress is not real and cannot be permanent.” In 1879, he published the book that made him famous, Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth—The Remedy, which provided a sweeping answer to the riddle: land monopoly was the reason progress brought greater poverty. As American civilization advanced, as populations grew and aggregated in and around cities, land became scarce, prices soared, and the majority who had to live and work on the land paid those prices to the minority who owned it. For the laboring classes, rent slavery was the result. “To see human beings in the most abject, the most helpless and hopeless condition,” George wrote, “you must go, not to the unfenced prairies and the log cabins of new clearings in the backwoods, where man singlehanded is commencing the struggle with nature, and land is yet worth nothing, but to the great cities where the ownership of a little patch of ground is a fortune.”

From those little patches, primarily in New York City, had arisen the dynasties of the American nouveau riche: the Astors, the Beekmans, the Phippses, the Stuyvesants, the Roosevelts, and, later, the Tishmans, the Rudins, the Roses, the Minskoffs, the Dursts, and the Fisher and Tisch brothers. According to George, the sequestering of valuable land assets in private hands was itself the product of a system of property “as artificial and as baseless as the divine right of kings.” “Historically, as ethically,” he wrote, “private property in land is robbery. . . . It has everywhere had its birth in war and conquest.” This was, in fact, the original sin of Western civilization:

In California our land titles go back to the Supreme Government of Mexico, who took from the Spanish King, who took from the Pope, when he by a stroke of the pen divided lands yet to be discovered between the Spanish or Portuguese—or if you please they rest upon conquest. In the eastern states they go back to treaties with Indians and grants from English kings; in Louisiana to the government of France; in Florida to the government of Spain; while in England they go back to the Norman conquerors. Everywhere, not to a right which obliges, but to a force which compels.

George noted that many premodern tribes recognized no right of land ownership; the tribesman’s property was the bow and arrow he built with his hands, not the land he hunted on. Nor was such a right recognized under the laws of the Old Testament, in which land was “treated as the gift of the Creator to his common creatures.” Moses had, after all, instituted the jubilee, under which land was redistributed every fifty years, and the debts incurred against land were canceled—a tradition ended by Roman rule. Everywhere George reviewed the annals of the precapitalist world, he saw the “struggle between this idea of equal rights to the soil and the tendency to monopolize it in individual possession.”

By the nineteenth century, however, the “superstition” of “absolute individual property in land,” represented by the complex array of state-sanctioned deeds and titles, had become fundamental to the American legal system. It could not be crushed—nor should it be, said George. Land seizure and nationalization, he believed, would lead to tyranny. “Let the individuals who now hold it still retain, if they want to, possession of what they are pleased to call their land.” George would not revoke the right to buy and sell property or to will land to one’s descendants. Instead he argued that society might leave landowners “the shell” of their holdings if it could “take the kernel.” As George wrote, “It is not necessary to confiscate land; it is only necessary to confiscate rent. . . . In this way the State may become the universal landlord without calling herself so.”

Rent was the key. In line with classical economics from the time of Adam Smith, George defined rent as the unearned income owners derived from the rising value of land, meaning it was distinct from the labor that went into property in the form of improvements, the construction of homes and offices and factories, and the cultivation of fields. A community’s productivity was the invisible hand that caused land values to increase. The cabin in the woods became a prize when a mine opened up across the field, a road linked the cabin to the mine, a country store opened to supply the miners, more homes were built, a railroad came in, a town was born. The land under the cabin derived its worth from what society built around it. Its increase in value therefore belonged to society, and George said this value was to be assessed and taxed at market rates. This “single tax” on land and natural resources offered a reform of capitalism—whose self-destruction George believed it was his task to prevent—that “open[ed] the way to a realization of the noble dreams of socialism.” [1]

Georgism, as it came to be known, was denounced by wealthy landowners as the most radically lunatic notion of its time, and the single tax as more insidious than all the writings of Karl Marx put together. The Catholic Church ruled George’s thought “worthy of condemnation.” Yet within five years of the publication of Progress and Poverty, hundreds of thousands of Americans would come to believe in the gospel of the single tax. In New York City, the populist priest Father Edward McGlynn referred to George simply as “this prophet . . . this messenger from God.” Mark Twain proselytized as a Georgist, as did the philosopher John Dewey. “It would require less than the fingers of the two hands,” wrote Dewey, “to enumerate those who, from Plato down, rank with Henry George among the world’s social philosophers.”

Leo Tolstoy proclaimed that George would “usher in an epoch.” “The method of solving the land problem has been elaborated by Henry George to such a degree of perfection that, under the existing State organization and compulsory taxation, it is impossible to invent any other better, more just, practical, and peaceful solution,” wrote Tolstoy. “The only thing that would pacify the people now is the introduction of the system of Henry George.”

In 1886, the United Labor Party, fresh from the battles and boycotts of the first May Day, nominated George as its candidate for mayor of New York. His campaign offered a radical vision for the time: wherever railroads, telegraphs, telephones, and gas, water, electric, and heating utilities could be operated more efficiently at scale, as “natural monopolies,” the public would own them; transit in New York would be made free for all; city government would be responsible for social services; he would end child labor and mandate an eight-hour workday. The land-value tax would pay for his programs.

Though not a single major newspaper endorsed him, clubs were founded in George’s name in twenty-four districts across the city. Members financed his campaign, each contributing twenty-five cents, and George, in between sixteen-hour days of speeches and rallies, sat at headquarters rolling coins for distribution to his workers. The coalition he built with the ULP was big-tent, crossing lines of class, ethnicity, and religion that had long divided New York. Three days before the election, his supporters—merchants, lawyers, doctors, tailors, plumbers, cigar makers, brassworkers, Germans, Irish, Russians, Poles, Italians, Jews—gathered by the tens of thousands in lower Manhattan. They carried banners reading HONEST LABOR AGAINST THIEVING LANDLORDS, and at Tompkins Square, in driving rain, they chanted, “Hi! Ho! The leeches must go!” But George was defeated, amid allegations that Tammany Hall had engineered massive voter fraud to ensure his loss.

George returned to journalism, went on the lecture circuit, wrote five more books, and dedicated himself to spreading the word of the single tax. He has been credited with inspiring a generation of progressive reformers. William Jennings Bryan said thatProgress and Poverty “ought to be read by every thinking man and woman.” Samuel Gompers, Jacob Riis, Upton Sinclair, and Ida Tarbell read him and sang his praises. But George showed little interest in reform beyond the single tax. A believer to the end in Adam Smith, he denounced the socialists and labor organizers who were his strongest supporters, and, as one critic wrote, came to lead single-tax supporters “of intolerably dogmatic and doctrinaire spirit.” He refused to accept that unearned income might be gleaned from investments other than land, and thus he was accused of failing to confront the rising power of finance capitalism, which made money off of the socially created value behind stocks and bonds. By the time of his death in 1897, when 100,000 New Yorkers lined up to view his body in state, George’s “great idea” was already, as Tolstoy would lament in 1908, on the long road to being forgotten.

About a month before the Pittsburgh tournament, an amateur Monopoly historian and game collector named Richard Biddle invited me to the village of Arden, Delaware, to have a look at the first Landlord’s Game ever fashioned. Arden had been founded as a Georgist experiment in 1900, four years after a failed attempt to implement the single-tax system across the state. It was envisioned as a self-sufficient utopia on 160 acres of woodland, and it soon attracted artists, poets, actors, anarchists, and freethinkers. Upton Sinclair had a cottage there, dubbed the Jungalow. Ardenites were barred from “owning” their plots, instead purchasing ninety-nine-year leases on cooperatively held land. It didn’t matter whether the residents built mansions or shacks: they were taxed only on the underlying value of the land, often at very high rates. This revenue paid for roads, parks, a commons, playgrounds, and utilities.

Lizzie Magie visited the village not long after its founding, and brought with her an oilcloth mock-up of her Landlord’s Game, which soon became a pastime among residents. While at Arden, she built a board for the game with the help of a resident carpenter. Biddle spoke solemnly of this alpha board; he estimated that it could be worth a million dollars.

We met at the village green and walked a few blocks, where we found the owner of the board, an eighty-year-old retired autoworker named Ronald Jarrell, standing outside his cottage looking nervous. Apprised of our visit, Jarrell had earlier in the day gone to his safe-deposit box at the local bank to retrieve the board. We entered his living room, where, amid a collection of antique china, jade statues, and old dolls, he laid out the prized artifact on his coffee table. Jarrell’s three yapping poodles made it difficult to talk.

“It was the summer of 1903,” he said. “A woman was down visiting here—”

“Lizzie Magie,” said Biddle.

“I don’t remember the name,” said Jarrell, “but she had an idea for a game.” He told us his stepgrandfather, a Georgist carpenter named Robert Woolery, had grown tired of playing checkers at the general store and needed new entertainment. Woolery looked over the plans drawn up by Magie on the oilcloth and immediately set about making the board.

Arden Board, 1904

Biddle held it up and nodded his head approvingly. It was hand-painted and hand-carved out of the backside of a reclaimed pressed-wood crokinole board, and it smelled like an old shoe.

I had earlier looked up Magie’s 1904 rule set, which she produced several months before she and Woolery completed the original board. Oddly, it contained no rule about forming monopolies out of the property groups, nor did it mention charging players higher fees after they’d built houses or hotels (constructions that also didn’t exist in Magie’s original rules). Nor was there anything about Henry George, land-value taxation, or the evil of rent. If the game was designed to teach Georgism, it seemed Magie hadn’t quite thought out the lesson. Two years later, when the game was officially published,the rules had evolved: the business principle of monopoly was fully established, as was the Georgist alternative of cooperation. Theories abound as to how the changes arose; one holds that someone in Arden had pushed The Landlord’s Game in the direction of Henry George, and also in the direction of the Monopoly we know today.

I asked Biddle about the discrepancy. “Ask the Monopoly monopolist,” he said.

“Excuse me?”

“Patrice McFarland. The Monopoly monopolist. She’d have all the answers because she is now the possessor of Lizzie Magie’s diaries. And a lot of other key stuff. But she isn’t talking.”

McFarland, I later learned, was a former exhibit specialist at the New York State Museum who in 1992 had received $25,000 from a Georgist organization, the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, to produce a biography of Magie. In the ensuing years, Biddle said, she had acquired, along with Magie’s diaries, a trove of early Landlord’s Game prototypes handcrafted by players in Arden and elsewhere. But she had never produced her book, nor, according to Biddle, had she been willing to share the information or documents she’d amassed. “She’s a tough player,” he said. “I once bid against her on eBay for my 1939 Landlord’s Game. Bid almost $10,000.” (I called and emailed McFarland several times to ask about her alleged Monopoly monopolism, but she never responded.)

With us in Jarrell’s cottage was Mike Curtis, an Ardenite who twenty years earlier had played a round of Magie’s original 1906 Landlord’s Game (one of his opponents, as it happened, was Patrice McFarland). The Georgist rules by which Curtis had played were known as the Single Tax set, and they went beyond having players simply pay rent into Magie’s “Public Treasury.” They also aimed to teach the shared ownership of public goods. Under Single Tax rules, when the amount in the treasury reached fifty dollars, the player who owned the lighting utility was forced to sell it, and thereafter the utility cost no money to land on, as it was now publicly owned. This process repeated itself with the Slambang Trolley, then with the railroads, then with the Go to Jail space, which became a public college that, instead of sending players to jail, provided extra wages at the end of the game. After that, each fifty-dollar deposit in the treasury raised players’ wages by ten dollars. A “win” in Single Tax, which Magie later dubbed Prosperity Game, occurred when the player with the least amount of money had doubled his original capital. “The Landlord’s Game,” said Magie, “shows why our national housekeeping has gone wrong and Prosperity Game shows how to start it right and keep it going right.” Curtis admitted that he didn’t think much of the game, pronouncing it “kind of boring after a while.” [2]

In the summer of 1971, Ralph Anspach, a game inventor and retired economics professor who lives in San Francisco, emerged from a crushing Monopoly defeat in his living room—his eight-year-old son had bankrupted him—and found himself considering the salability of a board game that was explicitly antimonopolistic. “My game would have to start,” he wrote in a self-published memoir, The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle, “where Monopoly ends, when the board is full of monopolies.” The goal of play would be to break them up, with monopolists fighting off trustbusters. The game Anspach created, Anti-Monopoly, sold 200,000 copies in 1973, its first year of production, and was on pace to top 1 million sales by Christmas of 1974. Parker Brothers, at that time a subsidiary of General Mills, was not pleased. The company threatened to sue Anspach for trademark infringement. Instead, he preemptively sued Parker Brothers—“a sort of buckshot maneuver,” his lawyer called it—on the theory that he could show the company’s Monopoly trademark was invalid.

One of Anspach’s first discoveries as he built his case was the existence of The Landlord’s Game. But he could not explain how Magie’s invention, with its promotion of socialized land and shared wealth, had been transformed into the proprietary commodity that made billions of dollars for Parker Brothers. The key to the mystery, he learned, was a radical socialist professor of economics named Scott Nearing, who taught at the Wharton School of Finance from 1906 to 1915. Anspach spoke to Nearing in 1974, when Nearing was ninety-one years old. The professor said he had learned to play the game around 1910, while living in Arden, then taught it to his students at Wharton in order that they might learn, in his words, “the antisocial nature of monopoly,” and in particular “the wickedness of land monopoly.” The students apparently taught it to their friends. It was around this time that the game became known as “monopoly”—denoted in lowercase, like checkers, chess, or dominoes. The game spread widely over the next several years, to the hometowns of Nearing’s students and to other universities. It would slowly lose its antimonopolistic message, however, as players came to the conclusion that Magie’s vision of Georgist redistribution was not nearly as entertaining as ruining one another.

By 1913, monopoly had made its way to Altoona, Pennsylvania, and four years later it arrived in Philadelphia. The economist Rexford Tugwell, a future member of FDR’s “kitchen cabinet,” remembered having played it in 1915. By the 1920s, camp counselors in the Poconos were playing it, as were students at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Harvard, Haverford, Princeton, and Swarthmore. During the early stages of the Depression, the game reached Indianapolis, where a Quaker schoolteacher-in-training named Ruth Hoskins played it. Hoskins soon traveled to Atlantic City and taught the game to two fellow Quakers, Jesse and Eugene Raiford.

The brothers were so taken with the game that they worked to improve it. Along with other members of the Quaker community, they changed the pawns to household objects: tie clips, hairpins, keys, thimbles. They changed the names and property values to reflect those of Atlantic City. Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, slums in the Raifords’ hometown, became slums on the board; Boardwalk and Park Place, the carrefour of chic, became the most expensive deeds to purchase. The rules related by Ruth Hoskins stipulated that properties were to be auctioned when players landed on them; Jesse Raiford instead set the prices on the board. (This change later made the game marketable to children, who had difficulty understanding how auctions worked.)

The Raifords taught the game to a friend of theirs, Charles Todd, who taught it to its putative inventor, Charles Darrow. Sometime in 1932, Darrow copied the layout of the board, the rules of play, the property names, the deed values, and the Chance cards, and made his own version of the game. His only innovation seems to have been to claim the mantle of sole inventor. He would soon be assumed into the pantheon of American heroes of commerce.

The irony was not lost on Anspach. Before being monopolized by a single person working in tandem with a corporation, Monopoly had in fact been “invented” by many people—not just Magie and the Raifords but also the unknown player who gave the game its moniker and the unsung Ardenite who had perhaps aided Magie in advancing its rules. The game that today stresses the ruthlessness of the individual and defines victory as the impoverishment of others was the product of communal labor.

None of the information Anspach uncovered helped his case when it went to trial in 1976. The widows of Eugene and Jesse Raiford testified, as did seven other witnesses who claimed to have played monopoly as many as twenty years before Darrow marketed his game. Anspach even put Robert Barton, the former president of Parker Brothers, on the stand. Barton, who was pivotal in helping Darrow secure a patent for his “invention,” admitted under oath that he was fully aware of the game’s history and that he knew Darrow had not in fact invented it. The judge was unmoved. He dismissed Anspach’s complaint, ordering all unsold copies of Anti-Monopoly to be “deliver[ed] up for destruction.” Seven thousand of the games were bulldozed into a garbage dump in rural Minnesota, where officials from Parker Brothers oversaw the interment. [3]

After forty minutes of play, the game at Table 25 had stalled—or, depending on your view, was going along just fine, because no one had a monopoly and no one could raise rents. So Billy paid rent to Eric, who paid about the same rent to Doug, who paid to Billy, who paid to Trevis, who paid to Eric, who made a bad roll and briefly went to jail. Then Doug Herold landed on his third lucrative green property, allowing him to form a monopoly. He had enough cash on hand to build several houses, and one after another the players fell afoul of his outrageous rent hikes. Billy and Trevis handed over several properties in lieu of cash, giving Doug three monopolies. “You see,” he said, turning to me, “I don’t have to deal with these knuckleheads anymore.” There was no further need for trading, no need for the dynamism of the marketplace. He had done the work, built the houses, invested in the properties. Now he did no work, took no risks, made no investments. And yet wealth moved inexorably in his direction. When after ninety minutes time was called, Doug oversaw five monopolies and a wad of $10,293 in cash, more than half the money in the Monopoly bank. He was declared not only the victor at Table 25, but the all-around winner of the U.S. Steel tournament for the second year in a row.

I’d invited Richard Biddle to the tournament, and as Doug had started his run Biddle wandered off to watch the other tables. Every so often I could see him peering over the shoulders of the players, a pinched look on his face. He did not like what had become of Lizzie Magie’s invention. “My brother taught me how to play Monopoly when I was five,” he had told me. “It was pivotal in helping me understand the importance of lying, cheating, and stealing.” I’d asked him to bring along his reproduction of The Landlord’s Game, which he carried in a backpack. Earlier in the evening he had gingerly taken it out to share with whomever he could waylay. “This is the real Monopoly,” Biddle would tell the players, before attempting a sort of CliffsNotes explanation of what Lizzie Magie had in mind. The players nodded politely, their smiles freezing into nervous masks. “That’s very nice, thank you so much,” they said, and then they walked away.


[1] University of Missouri–Kansas City economics professor Michael Hudson has noted that property tax today functions in exactly the opposite fashion from George’s proposed single tax. The Federal Reserve Board is responsible for assessing the total market value of real estate in the United States, Hudson says, yet it routinely produces “nonsensical undervaluations of land.” In fact, the FRB mostly ignores land itself; instead, it considers buildings and capital improvements as the chief markers of value, basing its calculations on the historical cost of original construction and the replacement cost of structures. Land value is an afterthought. The amateur in the real estate marketplace need not read Henry George to know this flies in the face of common sense, the mantra being “location, location, location,” not “replacement cost, replacement cost, replacement cost.” Hudson has conducted some of the few authoritative analyses of the FRB’s sleight of hand, the tax losses that result, and how it benefits the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors, which together have lobbied the FRB to maintain its approach.   [2] Curtis also didn’t think much of Arden’s Georgist experiment, saying it had degenerated into something of a failure. The leaseholders, he told me, had learned to game the system by electing land assessors who based their assessments on the town’s budget needs rather than the land’s real market value, and so they avoided paying taxes at appropriate rates. “To be frank,” he said, “the people in Arden today don’t give a damn about Henry George.”   [3] Anspach twice appealed the decision, and in 1982 a California appellate court ruled in his favor, concluding that Parker Brothers had in fact committed fraud in the Darrow patent, and was thus under threat of losing its trademark. General Mills Fun Group appealed to the Supreme Court in 1982, backed by amicus briefs from nearly every major American industry group, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Trademark Association, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and the Committee on Trademarks of the Bar of the City of New York. The Court declined to hear the appeal. Anspach was nearly bankrupted, his house thrice mortgaged, his game business on the edge of ruin, his distributors unwilling to work with him because of a ten-year legal cloud. He was free, however, to continue selling Anti-Monopoly. In the past four years, he has sold 454,000 copies in European markets. Domestic sales, he says, have been comparatively small because Hasbro has used “its monopoly power to monopolize the Monopoly market” in the United States.

One thought on “This was published in HARPERS Magazine in October 2012 about the “Landlord’s Game” versus “Monopoly”:

stuartbramhallEdit

I loved playing Monopoly as a child. And the article is right. Learning to play monopoly educated me at an early age to the evils of monopoly capitalism.