Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Kindle Fire HD reading device in two sizes during a press conference on September 6, 2012.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Kindle Fire HD reading device in two sizes during a press conference on September 6, 2012.

Affluenza. The “painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste, resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.”

Whether or not you believe it’s a real affliction, one thing’s for sure: wealth informs the human condition.

From HuffPost:

[M]oney really does change everything, as the song goes — and those of high social class do tend to see themselves much differently than others. Wealth (and the pursuit of it) has been linked with immoral behavior — and not just in movies like The Wolf of Wall Street.

Psychologists who study the impact of wealth and inequality on human behavior have found that money can powerfully influence our thoughts and actions in ways that we’re often not aware of, no matter our economic circumstances. Although wealth is certainly subjective, most of the current research measures wealth on scales of income, job status or measures of socioeconomic circumstances, like educational attainment and intergenerational wealth.

In the midst of the college admissions scandal, the rise of billionaire families like the Mercers and presidential candidates who are bringing awareness to wealth inequality in America, we want to know: what’s going on in the minds of the one percent of the one percent? And what does it mean for everyone else?

Show produced by Gabrielle Healy. Text by Kathryn Fink.

Guests

  • Michael Kraus Psychologist, assistant professor, Yale University School Of Management; @mwkraus
  • Anand Giridharadas Author, "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World"; editor-at-large, *Time*; @AnandWrites
  • Nick Hanauer Co-founder and partner in Seattle-based venture capital firm, Second Avenue Partners; host of Pitchfork Economics; @NickHanauer

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