The Luxury Prime
January 5, 2011 12:23 PM   Subscribe

"The rich are different than you and me." A new study out of the Harvard Business School suggests that frequent use of luxury goods and services may encourage a narrower, more self-interested view of the world. Here's a link to the report itself. (Achtung! it's a PDF.)
posted by saulgoodman (72 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Relevant Atlantic article.
posted by nasreddin at 12:24 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


"The rich are different than you and me."

Yes, they have more money.
posted by fixedgear at 12:26 PM on January 5, 2011


no, really?
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 12:26 PM on January 5, 2011


My summary: Duh.
posted by davebush at 12:27 PM on January 5, 2011


I am, in a word, shocked.
posted by nevercalm at 12:27 PM on January 5, 2011


As an only tangentially related added bonus, here's a candid pic of Florida's new billionaire Governor/Oligarch, Rick Scott, squealing with glee over his newly purchased state just before announcing his ambitious plans to cut taxes on business and the wealthy even more, and to change the role of the state government away from regulating business and growth to "bending over backwards" to promote state business interests above all else.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:28 PM on January 5, 2011


Irony is truly, officially dead.
posted by dbiedny at 12:28 PM on January 5, 2011


Are people who travel in town cars and on corporate jets different—on a psychological level—from you and me?

Um... yes?
posted by steambadger at 12:31 PM on January 5, 2011


This smells of Onion, no?
posted by davebush at 12:33 PM on January 5, 2011


I SAY!
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:34 PM on January 5, 2011


I'd like to think that if I ever became rich to the point where money actually wasn't any longer a concern for me during my lifetime, I'd continue living pretty much as I have all my life thus far. Sure, I might not be driving a car that's nearly on its last legs, and I might have a few more gadgets around the house and maybe some clothes which aren't all 5 years old... but otherwise, I'd really want to just continue as I do. I like my rather unpretentious life, and can't imagine what I would do with a bigger house full of rooms I don't use, or a garage full of cars, or a bunch of new friends who didn't "know me when" and wouldn't care to know me if I didn't have the money.

More than anything else, I'd be throwing some pretty fucking hot parties. And all of you would be invited, all the time!
posted by hippybear at 12:34 PM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


yeah maybe you're gonna need to change your name to yuppybear.
posted by spicynuts at 12:37 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is this something I would need to own a TV, mansion, yacht and football team to understand?
posted by PlusDistance at 12:41 PM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd like to think that if I ever became rich to the point where money actually wasn't any longer a concern for me during my lifetime, I'd continue living pretty much as I have all my life thus far.

I am under no illusions. I'd be traveling by private jet while doing coke off my wife's ass and there would be no damn shame.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:45 PM on January 5, 2011 [11 favorites]


Ain't no yuppy that would throw the kind of party I'd put on. trust me. I have a good couple of decades of throwing pretty good-sized parties of the hippie sort, and I'm not about to trade that in for a BMW and Rolex and white picket fence any time soon.
posted by hippybear at 12:46 PM on January 5, 2011


shit, outside voice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:46 PM on January 5, 2011


frequent use of luxury goods and services may encourage a narrower, more self-interested view of the world.

Nonsense. I haven't noticed any difference at all since I paid an extra $100 for membership in MetaFilter Premium (aside from the sparkly gold background and complimentary hot towels, of course).
posted by The World Famous at 12:49 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am under no illusions. I'd be traveling by private jet while doing coke off my wife's ass and there would be no damn shame.

Dude. You don't do coke off your wife's ass. That'd disrespectful as hell. That's why you have girlfriends.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:49 PM on January 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


Well obviously it's not my fault I'm a greedy asshole; I blame Louis Vuitton.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:52 PM on January 5, 2011


I'm not about to trade that in for a BMW and Rolex and white picket fence any time soon.

Right there I know you'd fail at being rich. BMW and Rolex? Please, that's like middle management shit.
posted by spicynuts at 12:53 PM on January 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


This is not what it looks like. The abstract:
This paper demonstrates that mere exposure to luxury goods increases individuals’ propensity to prioritize self-interests over others’ interests, influencing the decisions they make. Experiment 1 found that participants primed with luxury goods were more likely than those primed with non-luxury goods to endorse business decisions that benefit themselves but could potentially harm others. Using a word recognition task, Experiment 2 further demonstrates that exposure to luxury is likely to activate self-interest but not necessarily the tendency to harm others. Implications of these findings were discussed.
So they didn't actually find what Rich Bastards actually think, they found out how people who saw pictures of "luxury goods" reacted differently to those that hadn't.

The people who have to worry about this are people like y'all commenting, because now you've thought about luxury you're gonna have a narrower, more self-interested view of the world. Suckers.
posted by squishles at 12:53 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Girlfriends? Escorts!
posted by Ad hominem at 12:55 PM on January 5, 2011


A literary take:

Hemingway is responsible for a famous misquotation of Fitzgerald's. According to Hemingway, a conversation between him and Fitzgerald went:

Fitzgerald: The rich are different than you and me.
Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

This never actually happened; it is a retelling of an actual encounter between Hemingway and Mary Colum, which went as follows:

Hemingway: I am getting to know the rich.
Colum: I think you’ll find the only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money.

The full quotation is found in Fitzgerald's words in his short story "The Rich Boy" (1926), paragraph 3: "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand."

posted by bearwife at 12:56 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd like to think that if I ever became rich to the point where money actually wasn't any longer a concern for me during my lifetime, I'd continue living pretty much as I have all my life thus far.

When I think about this question, my mind usually hits a blank. Like, what if I had won the $300 million lottery yesterday? I'd probably stop renting and buy a small house. Maybe a small workshop space for projects. And yeah, an airplane, but something I'm capable of flying myself (got my eyes on a Grumman Tiger but at $60k it's a bit much too afford right now...). And that's probably it. I might quit my job so I could go to school or learn some more skills.

And that's about when I realize that I am boring as hell.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:57 PM on January 5, 2011


From the Atlantic article:

But today’s super-rich are also different from yesterday’s: more hardworking and meritocratic

More hardworking? How?

As a consequence of this disconnect, when business titans talk about the economy and their role in it, the notes they strike are often discordant: for example, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein waving away public outrage in 2009 by saying he was “doing God’s work”; or the insistence by several top bankers after the immediate threat of the financial crisis receded that their institutions could have survived without TARP funding and that they had accepted it only because they had been strong-armed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

And:

It is perhaps telling that Blankfein is the son of a Brooklyn postal worker and that Hayward—despite his U.S. caricature as an upper-class English twit—got his start at BP as a rig geologist in the North Sea. They are both, in other words, working-class boys made good. And while you might imagine that such backgrounds would make plutocrats especially sympathetic to those who are struggling, the opposite is often true. For the super-elite, a sense of meritocratic achievement can inspire high self-regard, and that self-regard—especially when compounded by their isolation among like-minded peers—can lead to obliviousness and indifference to the suffering of others.

That last paragraph really explains what I've been wondering. They lforgot to put in that these people look at the rest of us in disgust. Assholes.
posted by anniecat at 1:01 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I am wrong but I had always assumed the alleged quote meant:
More money=yes. Hemingway a realist and that is what makes the rich different.

No: for Fitzgerald, the rich had an entire way of life, of expectations, etc, the sort of thing Fitzgerald understood and suggested about the carelessness and indifference of the rich in Gatsby.
posted by Postroad at 1:03 PM on January 5, 2011


I'd like to think that if I ever became rich to the point where money actually wasn't any longer a concern for me during my lifetime, I'd continue living pretty much as I have all my life thus far. Sure, I might not be driving a car that's nearly on its last legs, and I might have a few more gadgets around the house and maybe some clothes which aren't all 5 years old... but otherwise, I'd really want to just continue as I do.

Lots of people say this, but the thing about being rich is that all the little conveniences add up. Everybody says "well, I wouldn't need a larger home," but then you're rich and it turns out that walk-in closets are genuinely useful and totally better than having a boring old cramped small closet you can't walk into, and the only reason poor people don't have walk-in closets is because walk-in closets take up a lot of space.

Ditto your own exercise room. (Why go to the gym if you don't have to go to the gym?) A better home entertainment centre than what you've got. (Come on, watching those Pixar films in 3D on a huge screen with awesome surround sound? You'd love to do that.) A larger, better-designed kitchen. (Now you AND your partner can cook at the same time without getting in each others' way - and when you have friends over for a party you can all prep at the same time!) A bigger bathroom with a fancy bathtub - the type that has jets! - and a bidet and all the other fancy bathroom stuff that you like but don't want to spend money on because you're poor. A larger garage with space to store your tools. A hobby room. A gaming room. A swimming pool.

And that's just your house. If you're rich, you eat out more often, even if you enjoy cooking. (Just because you like cooking doesn't mean there aren't people who are better at it. Besides, this way you can try out all sorts of cuisines you wouldn't normally try. And the time they spend cooking the food for you is time you get to spend relaxing or doing other stuff. Don't you never have enough time for other stuff?) If you're rich, you shop more often, because everybody likes shopping - no, really, we're genetically hardwired to enjoy the rush we get from buying stuff - and you don't have that little voice saying in the back of your head "do you really need to buy this?" because you can afford it. And you'll go on vacations, because you can afford to see the world. Because you're rich.

Pretending that you would be just the same person if you're rich is the poor person's exercise in vanity. It's the assumption of virtue you haven't earned - "oh, I'm not going to be like THOSE wasteful rich slobs if I ever strike it big" - because you've never had to deny yourself those pleasures, because life has happily done the job of denying you those pleasures all by itself.
posted by mightygodking at 1:07 PM on January 5, 2011 [49 favorites]


The thinking (implicitly) seems to go like this: "Since my vast sums of personal wealth couldn't possibly be more well-deserved and fundamentally right, the obvious corollary is that those people's relative lack of wealth must likewise in some sense be deserved and fundamentally right."

Holding such beliefs when extraordinarily wealthy may be a necessary psychological coping mechanism--a sort of rationalizing away of the nascent psychological impulses that might otherwise develop into full-blown "Capitalism Survivor's Guilt" (which I assume would be normal, just as ordinary survivor's guilt is).
posted by saulgoodman at 1:10 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Right there I know you'd fail at being rich. BMW and Rolex? Please, that's like middle management shit.

Sorry... When someone decided that this hippie needed to become a yuppie, I of course immediately thought of The Yuppie Handbook, which came out 25 years ago and has eternally defined the term in my mind. Obviously I'm living in the past, but then, I'm a hippie.
posted by hippybear at 1:11 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


mightygodking: You may be correct, of course, because I haven't had unlimited money to toss at anything I want, ever in my life.

But I did say "I'd like to think..." So maybe it's vanity. But I've lived in some pretty post circumstances now and again in my life (specifically as an exchange student in Germany a couple of decades ago), and while the houses were loaded to the gills (indoor heated swimming pool AND a sauna?), I didn't really find the quality of daily life any better in those surrounds than I do in my current not-actually-hurting-but-certainly-not-rich circumstances.

Mostly, however, I know my own mind and habits and what I like and don't like. My worldview doesn't really hold much stock in much of what you just outlined above as being where I'd go with my money if I had it, so maybe your comment reflects more on what you feel is important than anything I would do. Just a thought.
posted by hippybear at 1:17 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've worked for people that come from a humble background and then became wealthy, or at least beyond the daily concerns most of us face regarding food, shelter and incipient boredom. People change, I think that's an absolute, but the interesting thing is at what rate? How many years does it take to loose track of what food costs? At what point do youthful friendships become strained due to the differences?

When you become very rich do you always pick up the check with your old friends? Do you begin to feel used? Isn't it easier just to hang around other rich people where this is never an issue? And then you've cut yourself off from ties to the more mundane and ordinary aspects of life.

It happens to most and it's weird. I'd like to think it would never happen to me because I think there must be people that don't change. I haven't seen it in my experience but they must be out there, right?
posted by readery at 1:19 PM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I read yesterday about a right-wingnut radio host interviewing Donald Trump and going all ga-ga about his hinting at running for President (well, if Bloomberg won't...) and recalled that The Donald once attacked Rosie (O'Dear)O'Donnell for incorrectly stating he had been through personal bankruptcy - he had always remained personally very solvent while his CORPORATIONS went through bankruptcy three times. Too big to fail or just another way the Rich are different? (It must also be noted that currently, more of his personal income is from hosting TV shows than Rosie's)
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:19 PM on January 5, 2011


I'd like to think that if I ever became rich to the point where money actually wasn't any longer a concern for me during my lifetime, I'd continue living pretty much as I have all my life thus far. Sure, I might not be driving a car that's nearly on its last legs, and I might have a few more gadgets around the house and maybe some clothes which aren't all 5 years old... but otherwise, I'd really want to just continue as I do. I like my rather unpretentious life, and can't imagine what I would do with a bigger house full of rooms I don't use, or a garage full of cars, or a bunch of new friends who didn't "know me when" and wouldn't care to know me if I didn't have the money.
It's not "enough money that money isn't a conern". That could be just a few million dollars. But lets say, tomorrow, someone writes you a check for $500 million. You might not want to change, but really. Lets say you want to visit relatives in Boise. Do you really want to schlep through the airport and deal with the TSA? Wouldn't it be easier just to buy your own jet? And those nice suits, I mean it really makes no material difference if you buy them or not, so why not?
After a while, you would get used to it.
Girlfriends? Escorts!
I think you mean Concubines.
Maybe a small workshop space for projects.
If I were a billionare I would have a boss workshop it wouldn't be funny. Metalworking equipment, industrial robots. The whole deal. Aaaaand I would probably end up using like once or twice.
posted by delmoi at 1:24 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Girlfriends? Escorts!

Escorts? Hangers-on! No one that rich has to pay for that shit.
posted by nevercalm at 1:25 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't think you can trust anything that comes out of the very left-wing HBS. They clearly are in the tank for radical socialists and Communists.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:25 PM on January 5, 2011


I like my rather unpretentious life, and can't imagine what I would do with a bigger house full of rooms I don't use, or a garage full of cars, or a bunch of new friends who didn't "know me when" and wouldn't care to know me if I didn't have the money.

So, you would give away all the money you didn't need?
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:27 PM on January 5, 2011


At what point do youthful friendships become strained due to the differences?

When you become very rich do you always pick up the check with your old friends? Do you begin to feel used?
Those people become your crew.
posted by delmoi at 1:28 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have been assured that the rich folks would happily trade places with me in a second, since I enjoy simpler pleasures they can never understand. I am open to offers.
posted by Legomancer at 1:31 PM on January 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


When I get ultra-rich, I will have a gigantic megayacht. On it, I will have a beach made of only the finest grains of sand, which will be sifted daily by my crew. I will also have a goblet cut from a single, gigantic diamond. But other than that, I will be just like I am now.
posted by snofoam at 1:36 PM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, you would give away all the money you didn't need?

Sure thing. The local NPR and PBS stations are always talking about including them in estate planning, and I'm sure the local AIDS support network would also enjoy having a healthy endowment when I've passed.

Oh, you mean while I'm alive? Charitable giving has been part of my life as long as I've made money. And I already have a bit of a reputation with my friends for purchasing concert tickets and meals when the outing is my idea...

Or are you suggesting that I'd strip my life of money out of some altruistic urge? I doubt anyone would do that.
posted by hippybear at 1:45 PM on January 5, 2011


what if I had won the $300 million lottery yesterday?

Pay off my house, pay off parent's house, rent a nice work-space for making stuff. Buy some good tools, and finally start building the kinds of mad scientist shit I've always dreamed of.

They say that a good percentage of people who win the lottery end up losing a lot of the money to greedy relatives, friends, and hangers-on, poor spending choices, scams, etc. Basically your suddenly in a position you've never been in before with resources at your disposal that you didn't even know existed. You know exactly how to live on $50,000 a year, how much to stuff that buys. But $50 million? You have no real frame of reference on how fast you can go through that kind of money, and a lot of people are surprised when it all ends up gone.

Which is why I think that if I became unexpectedly, fabulously wealthy, I'd pay off the debts I have, buy a few nice things, and find a way to lock the money up so I got a generous but limited payout each year that I'd have to figure out a way to live off of.
posted by quin at 1:58 PM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Girlfriends? Escorts!

Escorts? Pssshaw.

Sex Apes.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:59 PM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Different from.

Similar to.

Other than.

My Lord, you American chaps have a strange approach to the English language. It's almost like y you don't respect the motherland any more.
posted by Decani at 2:31 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pay off my house, pay off parent's house, rent a nice work-space for making stuff. Buy some good tools, and finally start building the kinds of mad scientist shit I've always dreamed of.

And after that you hire a bunch of fetish models to spank you while you wear a bonnet and adult diaper. (I've learned a lot on the internet, mostly because of Metafilter.)
posted by anniecat at 2:40 PM on January 5, 2011


It would be hard not to go crazy if the big box of money dropped from the sky, but I think I might be held back by the fact that I have enough trouble as it is making new friends and I don't want to lose my old ones.

Most of them are broke-ass poor even compared to me, but they're basically my family. After I take care of my immediate families' debts and needs, they'd be next, and then....? Travel, build a modest off-the-grid house somewhere nice, travel some more, give to charities and causes, travel some more. Invest the bulk as smartly as possible.

Try not to be an asshole. Try to give a shit about others. Same as I want to do now.

While gold-plated Lamborghini's are nice, I suppose, what really makes me happy is the idea of giving my lovely in-laws a comfortable old age, paying for all the medical and dental care that people I love currently go without, and never having to sit in a cubicle again. Giant TVs are nothing compared to that.
posted by emjaybee at 2:57 PM on January 5, 2011


But there's no proof in the study that any actual gazillionaires were studied.

Experiment One

Eight-seven participants (47% male, average age 24) at a large East-coast university were randomly assigned into two experimental conditions– the “luxury goods” condition and the “non-luxury goods” condition. In each condition, participants first viewed pictures of either luxury or non-luxury consumer products (shoes and watches) and then completed a marketing
questionnaire regarding these products (see Appendix 1 for sample pictures).


and Experiment Two
"A total of 114 participants (57% male,
average age 22) from the same university participated in this study"


They looked at pictures. No one was fondling a Hermes bag. The random business decisions of 22 and 24 year old after looking at photos of expensive stuff is what was studied.

In scenario 1, participants were asked to imagine that they were the CEO of an auto-motor company that had just created a new model of cars that can bring tremendous profit for the company; however, production of this new car could also potentially pollute the environment2. In scenario 2, participants were asked to imagine they were the CEO of an software firm that had created a highly profitable new software but the software still contained some bugs. Finally in the third scenario, participants imagined themselves to be head of an
advertising firm asked to help market a new video game; doing so would bring the firm large profits but the video game could potentially induce violence in young boys.

Seems to prove not much. Asking college kids what they might do if they were CEOs is pointless, no matter what photos they studied. Were any of the participants actual CEOs or millionaires or possessors of luxury goods?

Violent video games? Software with bugs? Oh, the humanity.....
posted by Ideefixe at 3:12 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or are you suggesting that I'd strip my life of money out of some altruistic urge? I doubt anyone would do that.

Those are great answers to questions I didn't intend to ask. You seemed to be saying that you would keep your current lifestyle, with a few small modifications, if you came into a lot of money. I was trying to understand what you would do with the remainder that weaker humans would spend on overpriced houses and cars and jets and boats.

To be specific, if you were given $100M and you calculated you could pay for everything you want with only $20M, including a worst-case back-up fund, would you donate the remainder to charities of your own choosing?
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:38 PM on January 5, 2011


To be specific, if you were given $100M and you calculated you could pay for everything you want with only $20M, including a worst-case back-up fund, would you donate the remainder to charities of your own choosing?

I'd like to think I would.

Why don't you give me $100M and we'll both find out?
posted by hippybear at 3:41 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, all ya'll have it wrong . It goes:

"The rich are different from you and me."

"Yes. They have tails."


(shamelessly stolen from an early-70's NatLamp column, the particulars of which I can't remember at all)
posted by hap_hazard at 4:07 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Irony Alert!

Even if we could level the domestic playing field, we won’t solve our wage stagnation and inequality problems. Redistribution of income appears to be the only answer.

The 2nd most read article at thefiscaltimes.com (at the moment) is Income Redistribution: The Key to Economic Growth?
posted by doublesix at 4:11 PM on January 5, 2011


"The Rich"
posted by Token Meme at 5:09 PM on January 5, 2011


www.people.hbs.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely%20in%20press.pdf

"Disagreements about the optimal level of wealth inequality underlie policy debates
ranging from taxation to welfare. We attempt to insert the desires of “regular” Americans into these debates, by asking a nationally representative online panel to estimate the current distribution of wealth in the United States and to “build a better America” by constructing distributions with their ideal level of inequality. First, respondents dramatically underestimated the current level of wealth inequality. Second, respondents constructed ideal wealth distributions that were far more equitable than even their erroneously low estimates of the actual distribution. Most important from a policy perspective, we observed a surprising level of consensus: All demographic groups – even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy – desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo."
posted by hank at 5:37 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


At what point do youthful friendships become strained due to the differences?

You never stay friends with your childhood playmates, unless you live in a small town and don't leave for the big city lights.

(before the era of Face-Book).
posted by ovvl at 5:57 PM on January 5, 2011


Witness the behavior of Nicholas Cage. The man appears to be a compulsive collector and hoarder; he just has access to a lot more money (or credit) than most hoarders.

Personally, I prefer this to super-wealthy politicians assuring us that they, too, practice austerity in their personal lives, so should we perforce.
posted by bad grammar at 6:04 PM on January 5, 2011


"The rich are different than you and me."

Someone said this to me, in all earnestness. This guy was worth, maybe, $100M. But the rich, they live differently than him.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:43 PM on January 5, 2011


Personally, I prefer this to super-wealthy politicians assuring us that they, too, practice austerity in their personal lives, so should we perforce.

I can almost certainly assure you that the trolleys full of filet mignon and salmon that I saw being wheeled over to the House side of the capitol today were not for the Democrats.

And, argh. I followed them, thinking they were leftovers. WHO STARTS TO EAT LUNCH AT 3?
posted by schmod at 7:54 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe a small workshop space for projects.

Or maybe a small workshop for space projects.
posted by Anything at 9:32 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


With even just $1bn you literally change the course of human history and all you guys can think to do is buy a private jet? GOD you lot are boring.

How about:
- Mail a photo of yourself flipping the bird to every single person in Australia
- Finance a private mission to the moon, landing a massive fleet of low-cost robotic rovers that will carve a portrait of you into the surface, big enough to be visible from earth.
- Two words: Money. Bin.
- Start a religion revolving around Polish Olympic fencer Jerzy Strzałka
- Bring back Mr. Pibb
- Troll future (alien?) archeologists by inserting PAC-MAN into the fossil record
- Make out with... YOUR OWN CLONE!
- Hunt the most dangerous game of all
posted by danny the boy at 10:09 PM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'd buy me a pony...just about this big.
posted by Trochanter at 10:10 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think I'm pretty rich. I'm definitely in the top 20%. I even own a table saw and a router and stuff.
posted by fartknocker at 10:12 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I were rich I would get the most sweet-ass health insurance plan ever and have dental cleanings every six months for life. And I'd start an IRA!
posted by schroedinger at 10:39 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
posted by emeiji at 11:20 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Laser, helicopter, jar w/ head.
posted by ryanrs at 12:13 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I were rich I'd be pretty much exactly like Alfred Molina in Boogie Nights: strutting around the house in a robe and a speedo making mixtapes while my sketchy friends sit petrified on the sofa.

Also, I would hire somebody to de-string bananas for me to eat, because I hate doing that.
posted by Ritchie at 6:21 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


But there's no proof in the study that any actual gazillionaires were studied.

None seemed tempted by the offer of a $10 coupon at the student bookstore as payment for participation.
posted by Legomancer at 6:22 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a reason the joke ends with "...the Aristocrats!" you know.
posted by gern at 6:44 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why don't you give me $100M and we'll both find out?

Here you go!
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:02 AM on January 6, 2011


Hey, what about me?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:34 AM on January 6, 2011


Well, I'm supposed to give most of this way, Brandon, so here. You can have half!
posted by hippybear at 10:51 AM on January 6, 2011


Sorry, being rich changed me, so I'm just going to take all of it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:56 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Always hated the "If I was rich I'd be the same person".

It's a non-starter. You are you now, and you aren't rich - therefore you'd have to be a different person to be rich.

Everyone jumps to the scenario where you magically get zillions of dollars - but a lot of rich people are rich not just because of connections but because they view money differently and act accordingly.
posted by TravellingDen at 4:31 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


but a lot of rich people are rich not just because of connections but because they view money differently and act accordingly

I disagree. I think the causality is reversed here: the wealthy view money differently because they have a different relationship to it. Its common for the wealthy to attribute these differences to their own virtue, when in fact, they are only circumstantial.

The statistics over the last couple of decades bear one thing out: there is very little economic mobility in the US anymore. Most of the extremely wealthy people are born wealthy, not cultivated into it. There are exceptions, of course, but not enough to change the overall picture. Take Bill Gates, for example. He may have made his own fortune, but he was born into a wealthy family to start with--Gates, Sr. being a wealthy entrepreneur himself--so from day one, he stood in a different relationship to money than the average person does. The US, according to all the latest research, has less economic mobility than Europe, for Chrissake. This is not about the wealthy being more financially savvy than the rest of us. That belief might be make a nice salve for the conscience, but it's complete hogwash.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:41 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


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