Earlier this year, Hasbro released a parody version of the classic board game “Monopoly.” The parody “Monopoly: Socialism” pokes fun at the flaws of command-and-control economies and also mocks health food and veganism. The game was released with little fanfare, but last week a college professor tweeted his displeasure at the game, creating a firestorm of controversy. Amid this controversy, “Monopoly: Socialism” disappeared from the Target website, and the company did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the game’s availability.
Target had clearly been selling the game online, and it had been available at this link. As late as August 22, “Monopoly: Socialism” was available for purchase.
Here’s what that web page looks like now.
Many Target stores carried the game, as one Twitter user reported finding it on the shelves at a Philadelphia location.
PJ Media reached out repeatedly to Target via email and phone during the day on Friday, asking whether the store decided to stop selling the game, and if so, why. The company did not respond.
Nick Kapur, an historian of Japan and East Asia who teaches at Rutgers University, first drew attention to the game on Twitter.
“I bought a copy of Hasbro’s mean-spirited and woefully ill-informed ‘MONOPOLY: SOCIALISM’ board game so you don’t have to – a thread,” he began.
I bought a copy of Hasbro's mean-spirited and woefully ill-informed "MONOPOLY: SOCIALISM" board game so you don't have to – a thread 1/ pic.twitter.com/YhZWDjkAnj
— Nick Kapur (@nick_kapur) August 21, 2019
Kapur illustrated one hilarious aspect of the game: it includes a community fund, which helps users pay the difference if they don’t have enough money to pay for something. The catch? The fund is constantly running out of money, so players have to contribute to it. Sound familiar?
But the community fund is gleefully and deliberately designed to be constantly running out of money. At this point, the only way to fill it back up and keep the game going is for players to donate money to it voluntarily. 10/
— Nick Kapur (@nick_kapur) August 21, 2019
Conservatives have rightly mocked the confused Kapur on this. “Wah, wah, wah. Maybe they’re making fun of socialism because it’s bad,” National Review‘s Kat Timpf — and my fellow Hillsdale College grad — said on Fox & Friends Friday morning. “We’ve seen [socialism] kind of not work in the past, so I feel like it might be fair game to make fun of it. … I also don’t understand how people are getting so upset about a game.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) illustrated the historic failures of socialism by suggesting different editions of “Monopoly: Socialism.”
“We could do the Venezuela edition: start out (in 1950) with the 4th highest GDP per capital in the world: end starving in the street with massive shortages of food & medicine,” he wrote. “We could do the Cuba edition: start (in the 1950s) as the world’s top sugar producer; end up earning $25 per month and risking your life to put your children in rafts seeking freedom.”
We could do the Cuba edition: start (in the 1950s) as the world’s top sugar producer; end up earning $25 per month and risking your life to put your children in rafts seeking freedom. 3/x
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 22, 2019
“We could do the Russia/USSR edition: the ‘old timey’ playing pieces are all the tech the common people are allowed. When Yeltzin toured a TX supermarket in 1989, he told his comrades that if their people—who faced breadlines—saw the choices in the US ‘there would be revolution,'” he added. “We could do the East Germany edition: you build a wall across your living room; put all the food, technology & prosperity on one side; erect machine guns on the wall; and shoot anybody who tries to get to the West.”
Yet it seems all the attention may have spooked Target, so Target shoppers can no longer purchase the game online.
Target became known for its liberal politics in 2016, when the company opened its restrooms and changing rooms to people of the opposite sex who claim to identify as transgender. Critics warned that this would make women vulnerable to voyeurs in bathrooms and changing rooms, and that fear was borne out many times. More than 1 million pledged to boycott Target, and both foot traffic and the company’s stock price took a dive.
Sadly, it appears Target may not be alone in pulling back from “Monopoly: Socialism.” The game is not available on Hasbro’s own website store.
Hasbro also released a “Monopoly” version mocking millennials in November, and both that and the socialism version have received tepid sales, according to The New York Post.
Yet it seems Target is trying to prevent customers from buying “Monopoly: Socialism,” which seems a bad move. With all this attention on the game, Target could make some good money by continuing to sell it. Instead, it seems the company has decided to protect socialism.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.