Does money make you mean? In a talk at TEDxMarin, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.)
I have a theory about this, which is completely unsupported by data and might be totally wrong.
I think people like to believe that their choices matter. We don’t like to consider the role that luck and circumstance plays in human life, because it makes us feel powerless and ultimately like maybe we should not even bother to get out of bed in the morning. So we find ways to imagine that we can make our own destinies and that we are in control of our own lives.
To an extent, of course, we are. Our choices do matter. But so do chance and privilege.
But I think most people want a narrative of their lives that is about something other than dumb luck. So if you become powerful or wealthy, you start to think, "This happened because I worked hard," because you did work hard. You think, "This happened because I didn’t give up," because you didn’t give up.
But THEN there is this nagging feeling that haunts you, because you know that other people also work hard and that other people also don’t give up, and that they have not experienced the same success you have.
In short, deep down you know that the game of Monopoly, through chance or through systemic injustice, has been rigged in your favor. And that makes you feel like everything is random and meaningless and you are unworthy of your good fortune, and I think many people respond to that feeling defensively: They want you to know that they made a really amazing decision to buy Park Avenue, a bold and dangerous decision. And yes, they started the game with more money, but lots of people start the game with more money and DON’T make the bold and brilliant decision to buy Park Avenue.
And in the end, this desire to build a narrative of your success that gives you agency within your own life leads to a less compassionate life. It also often I think leads to echo chambers: Because any challenge to your “I earned it” worldview is a direct attack on your feeling that you are in control of your life, you have to surround yourself with people whose own life experiences do not contradict that worldview. This is the only reason I can think of that wealthy people are literally more likely to take candy from children.
The challenge—and this is a challenge for all of us—is to internalize the roles luck and systemic injustice play in our lives while still continuing to try to be good and useful creatures.
Glad to see that John is spending his vacation ruminating on human nature and inequality. All is right with the world.
Junk food is engineered to be addictive - The science behind making the food that’s so bad for us taste so good…VIDEO
9 Black butch lesbians share their stories in The Butch Mystique (2003)
not sure if you’ve seen this before, first I came across it. Found this in a post titled “The Working Poor at Walt Disney World” via Sociological Images.
“In the 22-minute short film below, titled MouseTrapped 2010, employees of Florida’s Walt Disney World plead with Disney to negotiate a fair contract with their Union. The film is interesting on two accounts. First, is a good example of the low wages in many service industries. Sociologists refer to the “working poor” to describe people who work full-time and yet still cannot make ends meet. Some of the employees in this video take second jobs, live with their parents or siblings, routinely take food from church food banks, or receive food stamps.”
(there is a part 2 you can view by clicking the above Soc. article link)
This video came out almost four years ago. I wonder if things have changed, but I sort of doubt they have much, considering that Disney just this past year tried to work their “magic” on the Florida Senate in getting the state to vote against paid sick days for employees (in the ENTIRE state. Because Disney wanted that badly, not to pay). It’s also worth noting that Disney paid almost $500,000 in back wages in 2010 for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (not, though, for issues relating to the above video).
“There’s times I have to make my month’s insulin last two to three months because I can’t afford to go out and buy it. It’s a choice. Get your medicine, or have food on the table. Naturally, I have a family, food comes first. my wife is making her medication last for months. We just can’t afford to keep going like this.” -speaker in video
As another speaker points out, many employees qualify for government assistance, which essentially means that Disney is relying on government money to make up for what they aren’t willing to pay to employees (and the families that rely on them).
My mom worked for Disney in the 70s and my best friend worked for them a couple years back. Like any other service job, you just can’t make living wages off of this work. My friend put in 60+ hours a week, and aside from the fact that she really didn’t even have time to do anything else, she pretty much had no extra income after necessary expenses. This corporation is just as shitty as any other to its employees.
I’m looking for shorter articles on problems within the educational system. I’d like articles that will be accessible for my college freshman and no more than 12 pages each. Op eds from reputable news sources or academic journals welcome. Any suggestions?
Seriously though Laverne Cox will be speaking at the University of Tennessee on February 11th and I am so excited
Rikki we HAVE TO GO!
Indigenous People’s Day Photo Project 2013
Photo Credit: Andrew Burlingham
South Puget Sound Community College’s Diversity & Equity Center
I’m working at a YMCA camp as the director of their girls camp for the summer. Bringing sociology to the YMCA by developing curriculum for educating the staff about race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Sporadic posting until I start teaching again in the fall!
This is a great example of how universal design can benefit all people with disabilities as well as those without disabilities. I would hope, also, that they include providing gender-neutral facilities as well into their universal design principles.
OH MY GOSH THE DIFFERENT TEXTURED CONCRETE INSTEAD OF THE STUPID YELLOW BUMPY THINGS.
THE STUPID YELLOW BUMPY THINGS ARE FROM HELL AND WHOEVER THOUGHT THEY HELPED PEOPLE IN WHEELCHAIRS WAS WRONG.
Those yellow bumps - tactile paving - are guides for people who are blind and/or have vision impairments. They weren’t intended as aids for wheelchair-users (unless those wheelchair users are also blind). That said, they really suck for wheelchair users, and it’s nice that designers are finding ways to meet both blind people’s and wheelchair users’ (and blind wheelchair users’) needs!
this is the coolest thing I’ve seen all year
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of prisoners at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, describing the for-profit prison as a filthy, dangerous facility “operating in a perpetual state of crisis” where prisoners are at “grave risk of death and loss of limbs” and often resort to setting fires to receive medical attention.
The class-action lawsuit describes how prison officials have known of these conditions for years but failed to protect the health and safety of prisoners. The facility in Meridian, Miss., is supposed to provide intensive treatment to the state’s seriously mentally ill prisoners, many of whom are locked down in long-term solitary confinement.
The lawsuit describes a facility where prisoners are often locked in filthy cells and ignored even when they are suffering from serious medical issues. Many cells lack light and working toilets, forcing prisoners to use trays or plastic bags that are tossed through slots in their cell doors. Rats often climb over prisoners’ beds. Some prisoners even capture the rats, put them on makeshift leashes and sell them as pets to other prisoners.
Although designated as a facility to care for prisoners with special needs and serious mental illness, the East Mississippi Correctional Facility denies prisoners even the most rudimentary mental health care services. One prisoner is now blind after the facility failed to provide his glaucoma medications and take him to a specialist. Another prisoner had part of his finger amputated after he was stabbed and developed gangrene.
Prisoners also are underfed. According to the lawsuit, a correctional health expert notified the Mississippi Department of Corrections of this problem after reviewing prisoner records that showed a pattern of prisoners losing significant amounts of weight at the prison – some more than 20 or 30 pounds.
Despite evidence demonstrating the adverse effect of long-term solitary confinement on prisoners’ mental health, the prison continues to place prisoners in isolation for weeks, months or years at a time with little stimulation or access to showers and medical care. Prisoners in solitary confinement frequently set fires or flood their cells to get attention for medical treatment.
This is not just this jail, btw.
This is most jails.
fuck america. may god curse all the fuckers in power.
Yes but, gawd bless our “freedoms”.
When will people understand (and care) that all jails in this country are for-profit?
If you think this is a special case?
If you think “prison is supposed to be bad”?
If you think these people are no one you know?
WHO are they?
WHY is this happening?
WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Janette Simon has four chicken legs and five kids to feed. Her freezer is bare.
And her latest trip to the food pantry yielded little else for dinner this night: a bag of day-old croissants, a box of Corn Flakes, and some canned goods.
She slathers barbecue sauce on the chicken, slides the pan in the oven, and begins her nightly ritual of distracting her five children from hunger. The 44-year-old single mother often skips dinner herself. She hides Ramen noodle packets in her closet to ration food.
She tells her two youngest kids to play outside “so they ain’t thinking about eating.” “That’s what I have to worry about,” she says. “I gotta look at these kids with their sad faces and no food.”
On the 13th of every month, she has counted on seeing a $600 payment on her food-stamp debit card. But now, that payment is a month late. Simon and thousands like her in North Carolina had enough to worry about before a computer glitch began to fray this basic part of the social safety net. Last July, government computers across the state repeatedly crashed, preventing caseworkers from processing food stamp applications and recertifications for weeks.
Eight months later, North Carolina officials are still scrambling to clear the resulting backlog.
so messed up.
The glitches often take months or even years to fix because technology for poor people is not considered a high priority, according to David Super, aGeorgetown University law professor who studies government technology projects.
After hiring dozens of engineers and programmers from tech industry giants like Google and Oracle, the federal government largely fixed problems with the health-care website in about two months. But many states have taken much longer to fix computer errors with welfare programs. Colorado’s troubled system for food stamps and Medicaid has been plagued by glitches and delays for the past decade.
“Almost everyone using the Obamacare website was not poor,” Super said in an interview. “In contrast, technology that serves the poor has gotten less and less attention and has been working badly for many, many years.”
Can we talk about this part of the article? lets talk about this part of the article.
Thanks for this important commentary!