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Money-making and keeping, not adorned or rationalized by nobler explanations, actually constituted a powerful force in the lives of the very rich. As boys, [Mining magnate William Boyce] Thompson and [John D.] Rockefeller vowed to accumulate a fortune. Thompson.. ..and [Andrew] Carnegie promised themselves to retire after reaching a certain level of wealth, but kept pushing onward. Rogers, a Rockefeller disciple and associate, said that the Standard Oil partners made the profit motive a ‘religion, a faith ‘taught’ them by ‘Mr. Rockefeller.


To the extent that these quotations express the general truth about the motivations of the wealthy, the Capitalist Spirit model can be said to apply directly. However, the view that all wealthy people are motivated solely by a love of wealth for its own sake is surely extreme. A variety of other plausible, and apparently very different, motivations are commonly proposed, ranging from job satisfaction to status-seeking to philanthropic ambitions to power-lust. The remainder of this section argues that, from a modelling standpoint, these other common ideas-different though they maybe from a psychological perspective-are essentially indistinguishable from each other and from the basic Capitalist Spirit model in terms of their implications for individual behavior. The argument, therefore, is that if any of these several proposed motivations is correct, the Capitalist Spirit model constitutes an appropriate mathematical model of the behavior of the wealthy.

Perhaps the most obvious example of a psychologically very different model which would be behaviorally indistinguishable from the wealth-in-the-utility-function model is the idea that the wealthy enjoy doing their jobs well, and that they view the accumulation of wealth as the principal measure of job performance. This idea appears frequently both in the statements of the wealthy themselves and in commentary by others on the behavior of the wealthy.