Michel Pireu Columnist

University of California sociology professor Paul Piff , in his studies of inequality, rigs the game of Monopoly so that one player has no chance of winning – and what matters most is money.

One player is rich, and the other poor. The rich player starts with $2,000, gets two dice and gets $200 by passing go. The poor player starts with $1,000 has only one dice and gets $100 by passing go. A flip of a coin determines who will be the rich player. So it’s random who’s rich and who’s poor, but very soon the behaviours start to change. The rich players eat more, take up more room physically and move around the board more noisily. They talk about how well they’re doing; they laugh at the poor players’ misfortune.

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