Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Research: Thinking about money increases selfishness

I didn't have to go far to find an intriguing post in this week's Carnival of Personal Finance, hosted by Money and Values. Just the second one listed, actually.

Laura Young, host of "The Dragon Slayer's Guide to Life" blog, highlights some interesting research featured in the November Science magazine on "The Psychological Consequences of Money." A study conducted by a team from the University of Minnesota shows that just the thought of money tends to make folks more self-centered, selfish, and less willing to help others.

I feel like I've known this fact for years, especially being a sports fan. As the contracts for professional athletes and televising events have gotten bigger, so have the egos and self-centeredness of the players and league executives, across all sports. It's nice to see some solid scientific data to back it up.


enoughwealth@yahoo.com said...

Don't tell Bill and Warren that! ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I buy that--I think it depends on a lot of factors- more money creates the " wealth effect" which can make people more generous- nor can you generalize about all sports figires

Anonymous said...

In evolutionary terms, money is a recent innovation to which we cannot be expected to have adapted. Anyone who has seen http://www.TheMoneyMasters.com will understand how it has evolved, piecemeal, into a system of domination of the many by an anonymous few.

Since individuals don’t issue money, every monetised interaction they have with others is a zero-sum interaction, meaning one winner and one loser. Moreover, the more one person wins, the more the other one loses. Such a dynamic cannot be expected to sit easily with the natural, altruistic tendencies which I believe are fundamental to human nature.

The money system shapes society by giving more influence to those who have more money. This study's connection between money-mindedness and selfishness is therefore a distressing one worthy of attention. Should we really be giving more respect to the financially wealthy?

There is more on the main problems of the money system at http://www.altruists.org/302.