Monopoly Justice

Day two hundred fifty-four/365. I'm not into board games. But, when I was a kid, I used to play Monopoly with my cousins when we were all on vacation.


Back then, I couldn't appreciate the message conveyed by the layout of a Monopoly board. Now, it jumps right out!


The neighborhoods are divided by affluence. You can put up a house in the slums, or on some pretty exclusive property. As you hop around the board, you may have to pay income tax -- only if you're in one of the poorest neighborhoods. Folks in the more privileged section pay no income tax. There is a luxury tax among the wealthy, but it's nominal compared to the income tax paid by the poor.


On one corner is a police officer. If he catches you, you go to jail -- back in a poor neighborhood! The cop is there to protect a wealthy neighborhood against dogs, shoes, cannons, or other pieces moving through.


Was Monopoly invented by a very cynical person? Or, was it designed to convey a subtle message about economic justice?

  • Jennifer Kogut 7y

    Yes, great shot. I never thought this out consciously, but the cynicism is one reason I never liked playing this game.
  • Weird_Aunt_Martha 7y

    Very interesting. Here I thought I was observant. Well, with my eyes I am, maybe not so much with my mind.

    Seen on your photo stream. (?)
  • Russell Bride 7y

    I never realised that. Thankyou!
  • MTSOfan 7y

    I assume that means you have the game of Monopoly in Germany? That's interesting!
  • Russell Bride 7y

    Yes, you can get several localised versions of it, although I grew up in Australia and it's played there too.

    lol i want 2 play
  • Caitlyn Nehr 7y

    thats awesome !
  • MTSOfan 7y

    Once someone points out the layout, it's pretty clear that someone designed it that way, isn't it?
  • CLIConline 6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called CLIC money, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • Michael Ashby 6y

    Thank you for releasing this photo under creative commons. As a CC site ourselves, we've included it in the following blog entry:

    Great photo and again, thank you for sharing.
  • MTSOfan 6y

    Thanks for letting me know! Glad it could be of use.
  • protrombina 6y

    Don't you just loooooove this game??? I do!
  • Ethan  6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a starting group called Classic Games, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • Elaine 6y

    Great commentary on an American classic!
    I'll have to remember that the next time 'I go directly to Jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200"
  • australianpolicyonline 5y

    Hi John, Thanks again from Australian Policy Online. I'm using another pic of yours this week (found randomly) for our feature image for APO's Economics section for a week or so from 17 January 2010. See (illustrating a report called ‘Permanent income inequality: Australia, Britain, Germany, and the United States compared'). Thanks again for listing your image with a Creative Commons license.
  • MTSOfan 5y

    Once again, I'm honored! This is one of my most popular postings; it's viewed almost every day. I'll be sure to check out the web site.
  • Nancy Sims 5y

    Thanks for making this CC-licensed. I'm using it as an illustration on a presentation slide while I talk about monopolies. There are not a whole lot of illustrations of the _concept_ that work to illustrate, but this is such a good photo of the game that it'll work fine.
  • davender 5y

    Love the colors, framing and depth of field. Thanks for making this CC-licensed. I've used it to illustrate a blog post here with attribution at the bottom of the post.:
  • MTSOfan 5y

    davender Just checked out your blog. Thanks for letting me know; I'm glad one of my photos can be useful for something good!
  • Noreen 5y

    Never considered that viewpoint before... and it doesn't seem so fun now somehow.

    Great shot. Nice composition and color.
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Uploaded on April 28, 2008
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