Paul Piff is enemy number one for those who hoard their money. He’s a researcher at the prestigious University of California, Berkeley. What he’s found is that social class predicts “unethical behavior,” and he can show you over a game of Monopoly.
Piff hypothesized that Monopoly could be a powerful proxy for real life — modelling wealth generation and headstarts. Essentially, some people are born into wealthy families, while others aren’t. In a lab setting, Piff gave one participant more money to start, with some wealth generation benefits. The other participant was forced to play with one die — mimicking the many constraints and disabilities that a person may suffer through life.
Despite these artificial constraints, wealthier participants tended to hoard their money and would often refuse to share in their winnings. They tended to enjoy and laugh at others’ troubles. Being poor was seen as a bummer that the wealthier individual needn’t change.
This all centers on a fundamental question about generosity. When you have more, you actually tend to give less as a percentage of your income. That can be shocking to find out, when people see tremendous dollar amounts being given from select individuals.
Nothing captures this phenomenon better than the preceding video. In it, Sam Pepper — a YouTube personality — attempts to get a piece of pizza from paying customers. After being told “no” multiple times, he decides to ask a homeless person. Despite having very little, that individual willingly obliges.
We need to fundamentally change our understanding of what it means to be generous and wealthy. Too frequently, we aim for wealth generation without thinking about the responsibility we simultaneously have to give back. People universally deserve equal opportunity for a better life if we are all considered equal as humans.
Making money cannot be the end goal, but what should be? What’s driving you to succeed? What motivates you?