View Full Version : Being Rich Makes You Mean, Here's Proof

09-27-2016, 06:56 PM
:bism: (In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful)

Being rich makes you mean: here's proof
The real problem isn't inequality of wealth, it's inequality of behaviour
Mary Wakefield

It’s all the rage these days to worry about the growing gap between rich and poor. Our fretting was fuelled by Capital in the 21st Century, by the French economist Thomas Piketty, which claims to show that over time this gap will grow inexorably. But we’ve been agonising about equality for aeons, and for aeons arriving at the same stand-off between rich and (relatively) poor.

Here’s how the argument goes: those who don’t feel rich begin by saying that it’s disgusting how much of the world’s total wealth is owned by a small minority. Globally, the richest 10 per cent hold close to 90 per cent of the world’s assets. It’s just wrong, they say.

To which the rich, aggrieved, reply: ‘Why? What’s wrong per se with being wealthy? Look how much tax we pay! We pay for public hospitals and schools we don’t even use, so let’s have some gratitude, please, or we’ll up-sticks for the UAE.’ The rich have a point. In the UK the richest 5 per cent may own 40 per cent of the total wealth, but they pay 48 per cent of total tax. Even so, say the fretters, something is amiss. It’s not healthy, this gap — and here’s where the debate ends, in a disgruntled stalemate. Everybody’s right and everybody’s unhappy, as they say in Russia.

But what if the problem isn’t so much a financial one as a sociological or moral one? What if the unease people feel isn’t about inequality of wealth so much as in-equality of behaviour? We don’t pay them much heed these days, but Christianity, literature, folklore, myth and history all warn us repeatedly: money and power corrupt. Perhaps that’s what we’re really antsy about, and if so, science is on our side. Paul K. Piff, a sociologist at the University of California, studies the rich in the way Dian Fossey once did gorillas. Over the last few years he has set up a number of tests to examine the effects of money and status on behaviour, and the results are pretty terrifying: they read like an experimental proof of the New Testament.

In one of Piff’s scenarios, his researchers posed as pedestrians and waited at a crossroads to see what sort of cars would let them pass. Cars are required to give way to pedestrians in California, but what Piff discovered was that only people driving the cheapest cars, the old bangers, actually obeyed the law consistently. The more expensive the car, the more likely it was to zoom by, and the worst offenders were BMW owners. Pleasingly, Prius drivers were almost as bad; Piff ascribes this to a phenomenon he calls ‘moral licensing’. Because drivers had done a ‘good deed’ in choosing an eco car, they gave themselves licence to run over passers-by.

In test after test, Piff found that those who saw themselves as richer or more powerful than the average man (meaning, at times, you and me) behaved in a way we’d all agree was worse. For one thing, they were more miserly. When given ten bucks and told they could keep it or share it with a stranger, participants who earned under $25,000 a year gave nearly away nearly 50 per cent more than those who made over $200,000. Blessed are the poor.

More surprising than the tightfistedness of the rich was their relative lack of compassion. In one experiment, volunteers were left waiting beside a bowl of sweets, which they were told explicitly was reserved for children participating in a trial nearby. Poorer volunteers left the bowl alone, but at least half of the rich tucked in. Did they consciously realise they were taking candy from kids? I’m sure not. There’s evidence to suggest that those who feel powerful become past masters at inventing excuses for themselves which they quickly accept as true. Think of that bowl of sweets as a pot of taxpayers’ money, and the rich volunteer as an MP, and you begin to see why politicians, light-headed with self-regard, get into hot water over expenses.

But using Piff’s research to sneer at the rich or at politicians would be to miss the point. The wealthy aren’t a separate breed: power and money will corrupt us all. Piff’s most telling experiment involves 200 strangers, randomly selected and then paired up in the lab to play Monopoly. Before beginning, each pair flips a coin which selects one of them as the ‘rich’ player. Play then continues as normal, except that the ‘rich’ player is showered with unfair advantage. He begins with twice as much money, receives twice as much after passing ‘Go’, and is allowed to roll two dice where his opponent only rolls one. It doesn’t take long for the ‘rich’ player to start winning, and as he hauls in money and property, so his behaviour begins to change. He talks louder, say more aggressive things. He’s ruder and keener to flash his cash in front of the losing chap. A film of the Monopoly game shows ‘winning’ players bragging uncontrollably: ‘I have so much money. You’re going to lose all your money. I’m going to buy out this whole board’, all the while stuffing great handfuls of pretzels into their faces. When asked to explain why they won, players were all noticeably reluctant to ascribe their success to anything but skill. Instead of mentioning the rigged game, they discussed their brilliant strategies and said that they deserved to win.

See how the weasel mind turns luck into a well-earned triumph? It’s pretty depressing. Civilisation gives us the freedom to strive for success; but if we end up on top, we whip round and attack the things civilisation holds dear: compassion, empathy, humility. You have to be a saint to survive great riches.

But I can see an upside to the Monopoly experiment. If an average Joe can become sociopathic so quickly, then presumably the rich and powerful can, if nudged, undo their lack of concern. The hedge-fund manager Jonathan Ruffer wrote a moving piece for this magazine two years ago in which he proposed a solution to the stand-off. If the poor attack the rich, said Jonathan, the rich will believe (probably rightly) that it’s down to envy. It has to be the rich leading the rich — by giving money away. ‘This sounds as much fun as a Methodist sermon,’ he wrote, ‘but believe me, it’s the most wonderfully releasing thing — life as a colour film after black and white. If this sounds strange, remember that wealth has the character of a bully: whack it away and it turns out to be a very insipid adversary.’

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09-27-2016, 07:42 PM
everything is god given although it is a test..

i dont mean to boast :| ...

but once i got a well paying job and also promoted at the job within six months!

unfortunately im a bit thick.. and pledged loyalty to the department manager.

who promptly terminated my contract and sent me packing.

...note to self, wait until probationary period is over next time..

sometimes you just cant make it up.

so i dont..

maybe somewhere on another planet somebody handed in there resignation or decided the job wasnt for them..

although they probably should have let me know first!

**sorry boss i got promoted while you were away, i know i have a lot to learn..and am willing to stay if you think i need to* *boss: you can stay for the rest of the day but you have to be packed to leave at the end of the day..calls security to escort me out the building **

its like wanting an aston martin.. and knowing you would have nowhere to drive it too.

sometimes you just have to find peace..

these days i aspire to have a lambourgini..

and yet i only buy clothes twice a year?

i have no idea what those cost.. and i dont want to either..

the other side of the coin?

my neighbour has one.. a lambourgini..

and for whatever he is.. or does or has done..

his shop is one of the cheapest in town.

so i dont judge.

the end

09-28-2016, 04:15 AM
Originally Posted by Search
In one of Piff’s scenarios, his researchers posed as pedestrians and waited at a crossroads to see what sort of cars would let them pass. Cars are required to give way to pedestrians in California, but what Piff discovered was that only people driving the cheapest cars, the old bangers, actually obeyed the law consistently. The more expensive the car, the more likely it was to zoom by, and the worst offenders were BMW owners. Pleasingly, Prius drivers were almost as bad.
This problem would be trivially easy to solve. Indeed, You wait at the crossroads and your helper waits 20 yards further. If the car does not let you pass, your helper throws a stone into his windshield. All respect is ultimately based on the fear for reprisals. That is why there is only one solution to the problem of lack of respect: inflicting respect-instilling reprisals. If the car driver has the temerity to stop and come out of his car, he will quickly understand mistake 1B from The Art of War. It is you who chose the time and the place, and not him. That is why you brought along a heavy axe, and he didn't. Anybody who truly believes that he has the right to not let pass pedestrians, must also be prepared to risk his life and die for what he believes in. Of course, that will lead to the State to claim that they should intervene, and reinstate the original problem: car drivers will not suffer reprisals for their misbehaviour and will also not give way to pedestrians. That is what the State will seek to enforce, because in the end, the State is not there to bring justice or to solve problems, but to justify injustices. Therefore, no matter what problem you are trying to solve, it will generally not be possible without orchestrating extensive reprisals against State employees. Bringing justice always pre-requires doing two things: [1] thoroughly retaliating against anybody who advocates against the solution. [2] thoroughly retaliating against State's employees. You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs, and you cannot bring justice without first targeting and eliminating the very people whose job consists in obstructing justice and justifying injustices. There is no problem about wealth or the inequality between poor and rich. All problems in the world are caused by false, pagan beliefs, and especially by the false, pagan belief that the State has any legitimacy in or of itself. All legitimacy emanates from Divine Law. No legitimacy whatsoever emanates from the State. People suffer, not because they are poor, but because they are State-worshipping pagans.

09-29-2016, 09:12 PM
The fallacy of the article is that it is written by a non-Muslim thinking on a materialist worldview. It is not the wealth that makes you mean, evil , cause problems, corruption, etc. rather it is the disposition of the person given such a tool. Wealth is nothing more than a tool, like any other tool, what you do with it determines what kind of a person you are and what you will do with it is based on not how much you have but rather what is already in your heart. Wealth is a trial for us, just as poverty is.

Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, every nation has a trial and the trial of my nation is wealth.

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