The Monopoly Experiment: Wealthy People Are More Selfish

Does having more money make a person more inclined to share their wealth with others and acknowledge their good fortune? No. Research suggests precisely the opposite.

One experiment by psychologists at the University of California, Irvine, invited pairs of strangers to play a rigged Monopoly game where a coin flip designated one player rich and one poor. The rich players received twice as much money as their opponent to begin with; as they played the game, they got to roll two dice instead of one and move around the board twice as fast as their opponent; when they passed “Go,” they collected $200 to their opponent’s $100.

Now did the inevitable winners ascribe their winning to good luck—to their head start in the game? No. Instead, they believed they deserved their money and the others deserved their fate. The winners had no empathy for the losers.

I must say I don’t find this surprising. Consider, for example, how we have a word for when we fail at something perhaps because of bad luck—excuse. Failing to arrive on time may really have been because of an accident on the freeway or an inordinate amount of traffic. Perhaps the dog really did eat my homework. Why don’t I play professional basketball? My excuse is that I wasn’t born with the genes that in large part would have allowed me to.

Notice though we don’t have a word to eliminate credit. We might use that word for situations where we achieved something because we were, in large part, lucky. Instead, we usually say that we achieved because we were smart, perseverant, amiable, or we were just winners. We tend to take credit for our successes but not for our failures.

If interested here is the TED Talk b the social psychologist Paul Piff sharing his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy.


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4 thoughts on “The Monopoly Experiment: Wealthy People Are More Selfish

  1. I asked two people about this, and the first one—who isn’t rich—said wealthy people don’t like to lose because they don’t want to be taken advantage of.
    That is to say pride rather than greed.
    The second person, who is rich, said “rich people don’t know what to do, anymore than anyone else.”
    In other words, since they’re as clueless as others, they cannot be expected to be wiser than others, or behave more wisely.

    At any rate, rich people can always buy people out, so there’s little hope for the near future. An organized crime organization simply purchases capos and soldiers with large sums, and favors. The legal world isn’t that much different than the world of secret societies, is it? The overall principle is the same: give loyal retainers funds and swag.

    But it isn’t so much about the rich themselves—it is their descendants who matter to them. Oligarch leaders such as Trump, Putin, and Xi will be gone someday, however they know that their descendants will take over their legacies, insuring their genetic continuation.

    So we can see three factors above:
    the rich not wanting to be taken advantage of.
    Their cluelessness.
    Their dynastic continuation.

    And finally, it goes without saying they strongly believe that if it wasn’t they themselves dominating, it would be usurpers taking their place.
    Survey rightwing magazines, and you’ll see many an article beginning with “When Stalin took over the the Soviet Union in 1928…”
    A shiver runs up the spine of the subscriber as they read the main body of a piece concerning Chuck Schumer, Ocasio-Cortez, or Biden.
    “We were right! These leftists are totalitarian usurpers and always have been.”
    Then the slippery-slope is invoked: you start out with Schumer, Ocasio-Cortez, and Biden—and the outcome is the Holodomor, cattle cars, and GULAG.
    “We must nip these usurpers in the bud,
    so please donate to the Gipper Memorial Barbecue Fund, so we don’t all end up in the GULAG, eating bread made of sawdust!”

  2. When you have never had money, money isn’t your obsession, you aren’t greedy you share with others who also haven’t much surplus, and then,,,you get some money and it becomes very important to have your money because you are your money, your money opens doors for you, people who wouldn’t even ever notice you are now asking for your advice and doing things because you’ve told them to!
    Modern man’s God is money, as such, a person who has Money exhibits the favor of God because, how could a man be rich except that the God has given it to him!
    ( That is why we believe in Bill Gates the Philanthropist ) He has Money and he gets good press!
    Money is the Talisman most sought after by modern people, the true talisman with power, standing between the man who has it and the World, he perceives, of Hunger and chaos that those who don’t have it live in.
    The more Money you have the greater burden you bear, the more money you have the greater your fear of losing it! “Money is the drug you can’t stop chasing”

    Since the future hasn’t happened yet no one ‘Really’ knows what the future will bring, but the World of Men, that World that lives in the minds of all men around the World,, is becoming heavily laden with anxiety of the free floating kind, since it can’t really be objectively dealt with, like Covid in the fully vaxxed, it appears where we think it couldn’t or certainly shouldn’t, or at least where we were told it wouldn’t, yet there it is!

    @ Al Brooks, I’ve read everything you have posted here for the last two years, you are unfailingly polite, always of a good nature and always hopeful for a good out come, I also hope for a good outcome Al, please be assured of that, we are both singing from the same page, But, you maybe more prophetic that was your original intention. See you at the Barbecue!

  3. If you use the “model of the mind” by C.H. Rathbun a model designed by advanced hypnotherapy, age regression, this makes perfect sense. The position of the ego, not Freud or Jung, as the critical mind between the conscious mind and the subconscious associated memory files chooses the ego belief system (cognitive bias) over a true self of applied critical thought. This may not lead to full blow narcissistic personality disorder or other variations of psychopathy, but the individual should lean in this direction because of narcissistic supply from domination of the other.
    It is natural that the mind chooses the ego thought system, the problem is that critical thought appears to come from the mind when in fact it comes from stored emotional associations that are already programed this way.

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