The Money-Empathy Gap

Author

Miller, Lisa

Genre

Article/Essay

Overview

"The Money-Empathy Gap" examines several physiological and sociological studies on the correlations and causations between money and interactions with others. The piece observes that many studies show that the more money a person has, the more independent, less empathetic, and less connected with others they often become. The article raises interesting points about economic background and identity, and provokes questions about socioeconomics, empathy, service, class, relationships, assumptions we make about others, and humanity.

Full Text*

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Source

The New York Times Jul 1, 2012

Type

Reading

Themes

Connection and RelationshipMoney and WealthMotives and Values

Big Questions

What causes division between people and groups?Why is connection important? What does it enable? What does it impede?What do those with more owe to those with less?What is the relationship between money and power?Where do our values come from? Why do we care about what we care about?

Sample Discussion Questions

  1. What happens in the Monopoly game described in the beginning of the article?
  2. How would you categorize or describe the player’s interactions?
  3. Do you agree with all of the conclusions made in the various studies? Why or why not?
  4. What does this article suggest about people’s changing attitudes about independence, community, and awareness of those around them as they gain or lose money?
  5. Do you agree that the American Dream is really two dreams? Why or why not?
  6. How much can we know about a person based on statistics and generalizations? When are these tools helpful and when are they not?
  7. What can we know about someone based on their socioeconomic, racial, gender, or other background?
  8. How do outside factors influence our identities and interactions with our communities?
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