The Washington Post

From chimps to chumps

Yesterday I blogged about a study that showed cooperating humans win, and uncooperative chimps lose in problem solving.

Today let’s look at a study that indicates that, SURPRISE, too much money can turn you into a not-nice person. I considered a lot of words I could have used instead of “not-nice”, but I figured you’d be just as good as me in coming up with your own descriptor. There is a growing (and presumably well-funded) industry that is trying to rewrite the American ideal (dating back to Tocqueville) of equality, and telling us that no, ultra-rich people are the price you have to pay for having any job at all, you essentially worthless worker-bee you. You do not need to be cooperated with, because they are the champs, and you are the chumps.

Be careful before you buy that. Equality is the indispensable ingredient in democracy. If you doubt it, just open your eyes a little wider. How does too much wealth harm a democracy, you ask? Back to the study: “It insulates people from the consequences of their actions, reduces their need for social connections and fuels feelings of entitlement, all of which become self-reinforcing cultural norms”. Throw in the ever-growing power to buy elections. Sound like the place where you want to live?

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog. See all of his cartoons here.


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