Wealth & Deception Go Hand in Hand?

The upper class is more likely to believe that greed is good?  Well that is what Futurity.org is reporting.

A UC Berkeley study, published in the journal The Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, has revealed that wealthier people were more likely to lie and cheat when gambling or negotiating.  They were also found to have a greater propensity to endorse unethical behavior in the work place.

“As these issues come to the fore, our research—and that by others—helps shed light on the role of inequality in shaping patterns of ethical conduct and selfish behavior, and points to certain ways in which these patterns might also be changed,” Paul Piff, a doctoral student in Psychology at UC Berkeley and lead author of the study purports.

He goes on to state, “These findings have very clear implications for how increased wealth and status in society shapes patterns of ethical behavior, and suggest that the different social values among the haves and the have-nots help drive these tendencies.”

What are your thoughts on wealth and greed?  Do you think that the wealthier You become the greedier you are?

6 responses to “Wealth & Deception Go Hand in Hand?”

  1. John says:

    Correlation does not mean causation. I’m more likely to believe that people who are more deceitful have a propensity to become wealthier than others.

  2. John – Humintell greatly appreciates your feedback. You make a very insightful and noteworthy comment between correlation and causation.

  3. Jason says:

    The more you have the more you have to lose and consequently the more you will do to prevent this happening. Those born into wealth view those without it as inferior and have less regard for their well being financially or generally whereas those who have achieved wealth tend to protect their status at all costs. Not all but there is a definite trend here.

  4. Jason – Your comment about having more and more to lose is great. It is clear the need to hang on to what you have, but the prevailing question is why is this a so-called trend. Why are wealthier people less empathic (if you will)? It is very intriguing to see that the study finds that even those who were judged and treated according to their circumstances (not wealthy) also tend to change as they perceive their status as changing.

  5. Ed says:

    There are two ways to get to the top. One way is to be the cream, the other is to be the scum. The book Evil Genes discusses that deceptive, Machiavellian personality types do tend to perform better in certain areas of competition and business, so the causation runs that way in some cases, as to why low ethics can yield high account balances. I would also raise the possibility that the rich are socialized with an ‘us vs. them’ elitism (I went to private school) and that this socialization negatively impacts empathy and compassion. Self-made wealthy often blame the poor for their poverty; while Old Money is almost like an acquired situational narcissism, especially if they take their status for granted. Such egocentrism would explain the symptoms discussed in the article. The limited breadth of life experiences also robs the rich of first-hand knowledge of the plight of the masses, so empathy is almost an abstraction, because they have never been challenged by many of the circumstances that trouble the middle and lower classes.

  6. Ed – Nicely stated comments. Thank you for the book recommendation for further reading on this topic.

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