I recently came across this video that some talented person made of a study I conducted on wealth inequality a few years back with Mike Norton. It does a great job covering the main findings regarding the differences between what Americans think the distribution of wealth is (somewhat even), what they would prefer (more even than socialist Sweden), and how wealth is actually distributed (the bottom 40% of Americans possessing less than 0.3% of total wealth, the top 20% possessing 84%). The graphs, and a longer explanation, are also available here.
The only thing I wish he emphasized a little more is how similar the results were for Democrats and Republicans, which I found very hopeful. Even with all the ideological polarization in Washington, the moment we ask the question of ideal wealth distribution in a general and less self-interested way, we seem to be a country that cares a lot about each other.
The Upside of Irrationality has been released today in paperback! To celebrate this occasion, I will be releasing videos over the next few months — each discussing one of the chapters.
Here is a look into the introduction:
p.s I just learned that the world is going to end on May 21, so if you want to get the book, do it quickly (and pay with a credit card).
This is a short video from a talk I gave on June 7th at the Booksmith in SF.
The question here, is who cheats more and who cheats less….
Before you watch the video, think about a country that you have family or social links to (not the US) and ask yourself if people in that country cheat more or less than Americans.
A) People in that other country cheat more than Americans
B) Americans cheat more than the people in that other country
Next, try to predict if you think that bankers cheat more than politicians or if politicians cheat more than bankers.
C) Bankers cheat more than politicians
D) Politicians cheat more than bankers
Now if you don’t mind post your 2 answers to Twitter together with the name of the country that you have selected. Please use my username (@danariely), and I will collect the responses from Twitter.
Now, you can watch the video and get the answers
I got this suggestion from Thomas Aedy in Eton College in the UK:
The final for Britain’s Got Talent was on Saturday June 30th and this final was very interesting because it involved 3 choices, 2 of which were very similar, and 1 of which was different. In our show, viewers have to vote in by telephone on the night of the show for a winner to be decided, and there was some shock when the favorite (Susan Boyle – a singer) didn’t win, and lost out to one of two dance groups (Diversity were the winners, Flawless were the other dance group) – whilst the dance group were very good, most people thought that the singer would edge win.
I think this is a case of relativism:
Option A – Singer – Susan Boyle who was generally regarded (before the final) as the favorite contender for the win
Option B – Dance group – Diverstiy
* Probably the better of the two dance groups – more creativity and flair, and possibly more entertaining
* That is largely my view, although their victory in the competition would suggest that they were the better of the two dance groups
Option B’ – Dance group – Flawless
* Also a very talented dance group, but more straightforward dancing – not very many surprises from them
* We could view them as the ‘dud’ choice of the two (although this is somewhat harsh)
* Frankly impossible to judge who were the best of all three – all of them were very talented, but it is impossible for most viewers to try and think whether Option B was better than Option A (comparing singing and dancing)
* However, on the night, it is fair to say that Option B was better than Option B’
* Thus whilst most found it impossible to establish who was better of A and B – it was clear that B was better than B’, and this made it easier to select an overall winner (which would be Option B)
In my mind this could be seen as an example of relativism
Very best wishes,
PS: YouTube videos of the 3 acts if you’re interested.
I did not watch this show — but I find the idea plausible and interesting.