Monday, May 14, 2012

What does the Monopoly game and JP Morgan Chase have in common?

Written by Biloxi

Remember the Monopoly game created by Parker Brothers? I remember playing Monopoly as a child, teenager, and even as an adult. And I do remember the old man with the top hat pictured on the game board  but never knew who derived the old man with the top hat aka Rich Uncle Pennybags. In an interview, former Parker Brothers Vice President Phil Orbanes explained that financier J.P. Morgan was modeled after the American version of the board game:

Here’s something I’ve always wondered: Mr. Monopoly. Mr. Moneybags. Rich Uncle Pennybags. What’s his official name?

When the character was first created in 1936—and by the way, the artist who created him modeled his appearance on the iconic appearance of the nation’s most famous financier of the early 20th century, J.P. Morgan—he originally had no name. In 1946, he became Rich Uncle Pennybags. And that name stuck until the 1990’s when Hasbro did some research and determined that most people referred to him as “the Monopoly Man,” and at that point they changed his name to Mr. Monopoly.

Who would have ever thought how the most popular game globally would model a character after a famous financier whose banking institution has a tarnished image and has been one of the causes of the financial crisis globally. More importantly, Monopoly game was named after the economic concept of monopoly, the domination of a market by a single entity. Ironically, now JP Morgan Chase is one of five major financial institutions that dominate the US market today, 56% of the US economy.

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