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Happy 110th Birthday, Monopoly

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Pass go, collect 110 years: happy birthday to the Monopoly board.

On Jan. 5, 1904, the U.S. awarded a patent to Elizabeth J. Magie, who registered a game board for The Landlord's Game, meant to illustrate the harm of land monopolies. (Magie was a fan of American political economist Henry George, who championed progressive property taxes.) The game, which Magie released herself, became popular by word of mouth around the country, and Magie patented a new version when the initial patent ran out.

As the game spread, got tweaked by Charles Darrow, and was eventually widely released by Parker Brothers in 1935, the original meaning may have gotten lost a bit - because capitalism is awesome, and getting ridiculously rich by gouging others is tantamount to victory. Right?

So America, here's to another 110 years of wasting four hours at family gatherings fantasizing about raising other people's rents to unconscionable levels.

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