When I was young, I was totally sucked into this concept.
“You too can become one of the nouveau riche elite! If you’re smart enough and work hard enough, you’ll be one of them someday.”
(Also, you might get struck by lightning three times on your way to picking up your winning mega-millions lottery ticket.)
It’s a carrot on the end of a stick, dangled in front of our noses. It’s one that takes advantage of the human propensity for loss aversion.
Loss aversion is a concept from psychology and behavioral economics. It refers to people’s tendency to prefer avoiding losses than acquiring equivalent gains. In simple terms, it’s like saying, “For most people, the pain of losing $10 is more intense than the pleasure of finding $10.”
Here’s an analogy: Imagine you’re playing a game where you could either win or lose a toy you really like. In Scenario 1, you get to choose a mystery box that may contain the toy. In Scenario 2, you begin with the toy, but there’s a chance it could be taken away. Even though the odds may be exactly the same in both situations, you’re likely to feel more upset at the possibility of losing the toy you already own. That’s loss aversion.
Imagine you’re in a world where billionaires are idolized and you’re constantly fed the message that you too can have what they have and be like them. Even though right now you’re barely making ends meet, you’re so convinced of this narrative that you’re willing to vote for people who do nothing for people such as yourself. You support politicians who are themselves rich and who become richer in exchange for their support and favorable votes.
But still you hang on to the lie that those people—those billionaires—are just like you. They were once poor kids (not true) who had no advantages (also not true) and who pulled themselves up by the bootstraps to become mega-successful (absolutely fucking not true).
Please consider watching this video with an open mind and considering its truth.
The video titled “The Myth of Self-Made Billionaires” by Second Thought explores the common misconception surrounding self-made billionaires and the problems associated with this myth.
The video challenges the popular notion of self-made billionaires by revealing the underlying factors that contribute to their wealth, including family privilege, labor exploitation, and government assistance. It argues that the myth of self-made success is not only misleading but also harmful to society, as it perpetuates inequality and undermines the collective well-being. By debunking this myth, the video invites viewers to envision a more equitable world where wealth is distributed more fairly.