How Much Do Billionaires Value a Stranger’s Life?

Between wealth and conscience

J.J. Pryor
6 min readJun 1, 2023


Choosing between 2 buttons
Original image by Jake Clark on Tumblr

You’re sitting on your couch, binge-watching the latest season of The Mandalorian (good choice) when suddenly, a mysterious box appears on your Ring cam.

Intrigued, you notice there’s a big, shiny button on top and a note that reads:

“Press the button, and you’ll receive a million dollars. However, someone you don’t know will die.”

What would you do?

Depending on your demographic, this story might sound a bit familiar.

If you’re youngish, it was the rough plot behind the 2009 psychological thriller called The Box.

If you’re a bit older, you might recognize it from one of the highest-rated episodes of the awesome sci-fi anthology rehashed series in 1986, The Twilight Zone.

If you’re even older — gasp — and hornier — double gasp — you might recognize it from Playboy, of all things, where they included a collection of short stories from author Richard Matheson.

In the original story, the main character Norma eventually decides to push the button, only to be devastated when her husband meets his demise in a train accident. She gets her…



J.J. Pryor

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