I'm creating a monopoly style game that allows people to "win" in any of these 3 areas:

  • capitalism (traditional monopoly)
  • karma giving
  • Giving with no expectation of return

I'm having trouble coming up with an appropriate term for that last one... something appealing, and suitable for a persons private scorecard.

The idea that I want to convey is that there are 3 different ways to play the game... and you can switch from one mode to the other at any time. The last goal is similar to being an anonymous donor to a charity, or a giving to a homeless person without any fanfare.


I looked at the word Karma, and in doing so I found this critique of the word:

Karma alone is a dumb reason to do something for someone else

What is a better word for karma giving without expectation?

  • 16
    Karma Is already oblivious to the concept of reciprocity.
    – Mitch
    Dec 6, 2015 at 20:37
  • 4
    @Mitch, too bad people don't understand that. If you do a “good action” just because you want the karma, you actually lose it. Dec 7, 2015 at 0:33
  • 2
    I don't understand Karma giving. May I know what you mean with that? In my opinion, the third case's word is Philanthropy and you need a good word for your second case too. Dec 7, 2015 at 1:23
  • 3
    There are three ways to win in the game, "capitalism (traditional monopoly); karma giving; giving with no expectation of return". I'm not sure I understand the concept of this "karma giving" because "karma" isn't about reciprocity or any return as Mitch said. Any word or phrase that describes selfless acts would be a duplicate of the last option, more or less. Maybe your 2nd way to win your game is closer to what non-profit organizations do, i.e., they pursue their non-profit goals. Dec 7, 2015 at 7:53
  • 1
    Additionally, how can you win by giving without expecting return, if you actually strive to win by this route, don't you just do it to win the game, hence expecting a return for it (winning)? ;-)
    – F.P
    Dec 7, 2015 at 12:37

8 Answers 8


Philanthropy is giving for the sake of giving. Not for some reward in heaven or hope of a better reincarnation. It fits with the context of the tycoons you play in monopoly.


Perhaps altruism (or selflessness)

Definition: principle or practice of unselfish concern for; devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to egoism).

Example: Elephants are particularly altruistic. However, their altruism extends not only to other elephants, but to many other species in distress as well, including humans.

"Compassion" is another possibility, but it refers more to emotion than action. However, active compassion may fit.

Example: Merkel's active compassion for refugees.


In Vajrayana Buddhism, we refer to doing good deeds or giving something with no expectation of return as, "accumulating merit." We strive to purify karma and accumulate merit and wisdom. When a great Tibetan master in our lineage was asked why he was doing the seemingly lowly task of re-stringing a student's broken mala (similar to a Roman Catholic's rosary), he replied, "Because it makes her happy, and I receive the merit." He did not need the merit, of course, but used the example as a teaching point.

"Altruistic giving" might be another possibility. Also, please note that "Karma Giving" could have negative or positive connotations in Buddhism.

  • 1
    Ah, but if doing good deeds with no expectation of return is "gaining merit", isn't "gained merit" an expectation of the deeds?
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 6, 2015 at 22:38
  • @HotLicks- Yes, some practitioners needlessly struggle with that in concept. In practice, it doesn't matter; it's just a name, a phrase used to convey the quality, not to be taken literally as though we were making deposits to a merit savings account! Dec 6, 2015 at 23:26

Many answers seem to focus on what the giving is referred to as. I think you may be trying to find the word akin to "karma", but without all of "karma"s connotations. I suggest "mojo" (or "vibe"). When you give without expectation of anything in return, you promote good "mojo" in a situation. "Mojo" doesn't seem to carry the same connotations of "karma" as it doesn't always return to you.


If one can assume that most are familiar with the film, perhaps "Paying it Forward". It would require getting legal protection from any perceived copyright violations.

Unfortunately I do not live near LA (or New York?) to volunteer to meet with Mr. Spacey and navigate that issue.

  • "Pay it forward" was a known expression before the movie. And copyright would not apply to such a short phrase in any case.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 7, 2015 at 14:33

Giving with no expectation of return

That kind of action is normally referred to as selfless—as in selfless giving, acting selflessly etc.


You could have three incentive systems including material gain, spiritual gain, and gratuitous self-expression. The last might be called art.


You might also consider generosity

1. Liberality in giving or willingness to give: a philanthropist's generosity.1

1. willingness and liberality in giving away one's money, time, etc; magnanimity 2

1 American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
2 Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

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