I'm beginning to suspect our D&D experiences don't even remotely resemble each others', which might explain why we have such different opinions about this.
First edition encouraged--in some places even assumed--a competition among PCs for the most treasure, the best magic, etc. It actually had suggested rules for how PCs got to claim magic items.
I never played that way, never played with anyone who played that way, and to this day think the whole idea was one of the single worst things ever put in print for D&D. But obviously, my view on this isn't universal.