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  1. #1
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Default Are the Rich Evil?

    From the Why Poverty? Season


    Paul Piff, interviewed at the start of this film, published a paper earlier this year which claims that Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior.

    The research suggests that anyone can be made unethical, simply by being made rich.

    Thoughts?
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    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    From the Why Poverty? Season


    Paul Piff, interviewed at the start of this film, published a paper earlier this year which claims that Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior.

    The research suggests that anyone can be made unethical, simply by being made rich.

    Thoughts?
    That's an interesting show. It doesn't seem to me to be so much about rich people being unethical though. It strikes me as being more about inequality and that the self interest of those on the top of the economic ladder causes them to behave in a way to further their own self interest (i.e., that helps them to get more money personally) and because of this, the people on the lower end of the ladder have no chance to climb up the ladder. The cards are stacked against them.

    I would say some of the messaging is distorted though. The top 1% as they are so called are not all living at 740 Park Avenue and the vast majority of them are most certainly not super rich. Most simply worked hard and saved their money over a number of years. Also, the fact that rich people (or any of us for that matter) operate out of self interest is not new.

    The American Dream is still alive. You can start with nothing and make something of yourself. You can raise a family that is economically more advantaged than you were. That's the way the country has always been and it's still that way. It's why people want to come to the United States - because there is opportunity.

    With respect to the poor people who aren't making enough money to support themselves and are living with the support of food stamps, I think this is less about a bunch of rich people holding them down and more about a global economy and increased competitiveness. Goods are manufactured where people will work for less money. Unless the cost of transporting the goods increases to a point where it is more feasible to manufacture them locally, work will continue to be sent offshore.

    If education is the key to social mobility, one thing that concerns me more than anything is the cost of a college education which has gone up enormously over the past 30 years. What has happened over the last 30 years is that the amount of tax dollars going to public universities has declined substantially. So, to go to a state school where I live, it's $30K a year. If your parents are on the lower end of the economic spectrum, you can get scholarships. If you are closer to middle income, it is hard to get much and the student or parents end up taking out massive loans. Who wants to graduate from college with the equivalent of $100K - $200K mortgage? Yet, the influx of foreign students in American colleges continues to rise. It is supply and demand.

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    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    There's that word evil. It makes me hesitant to affirm. Putting aside the word choice, I do find the concept of the study completely believable. It is something I would have assumed without seeing research.

    Everyone has heard that power corrupts. Well, wealth is the fundamental source of power in our current age, and being powerful corrupts because it means you don't have to be as concerned about how others relate to you. You can afford to wrong more people because they have less ability to hurt you. As human beings most of us have moral concepts which influence our behavior, but the influence is far from absolute. In the absence of a practical cost for behaving immorally, people are more likely to do so. This all seems like a no-brainer to me, but probably someone will post their disbelief and offense in this thread.

    However, there's another factor. There is still room for an explanation that comes from a pre-existing condition. That is to say, wealth does not just make people less ethical, but that less ethical people are also more likely to get wealthy. We can probably assume that a person who places higher value on getting rich is more likely to get rich, and that in of itself translates to greed, which we don't think of as ethical. The other thing is that you're going to achieve a task more easily the few limits you put on yourself in pursuing. In this case, those limits might include things like honesty, fairness, and compassion. Shed those and you'll have a more expedient path to wealth.
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    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    However, there's another factor. There is still room for an explanation that comes from a pre-existing condition. That is to say, wealth does not just make people less ethical, but that less ethical people are also more likely to get wealthy. We can probably assume that a person who places higher value on getting rich is more likely to get rich, and that in of itself translates to greed, which we don't think of as ethical. The other thing is that you're going to achieve a task more easily the few limits you put on yourself in pursuing. In this case, those limits might include things like honesty, fairness, and compassion. Shed those and you'll have a more expedient path to wealth.
    What is rich?

    Are doctors rich? Many people would say so. They're in that top 1%. Are they unethical and is that why they make a lot of money? Or is it they are economically advantaged because they busted their ass going to school and in their residency until they were 30 years old? Maybe it's the lawyers - those evil people.

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    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    What is rich?

    Are doctors rich? Many people would say so. They're in that top 1%. Are they unethical and is that why they make a lot of money? Or is it they are economically advantaged because they busted their ass going to school and in their residency until they were 30 years old? Maybe it's the lawyers - those evil people.
    We don't live in a just economy where people become rich just based off of busting their ass. Rather we live in a competitive economy where everything is based on supply and demand. A large part of why doctors can make so much money is because the AMA has limited the amount of new med schools over the past few decades despite the aging baby boomers creating a boom in health care needs. Thus they create increased demand and increased income.
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    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    It's these evil bastards





    No wait - I know - it's this guy. Even at a young age, you can see he's headed for trouble.


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    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    There's that word evil. It makes me hesitant to affirm. Putting aside the word choice, I do find the concept of the study completely believable. It is something I would have assumed without seeing research.

    Everyone has heard that power corrupts. Well, wealth is the fundamental source of power in our current age, and being powerful corrupts because it means you don't have to be as concerned about how others relate to you. You can afford to wrong more people because they have less ability to hurt you. As human beings most of us have moral concepts which influence our behavior, but the influence is far from absolute. In the absence of a practical cost for behaving immorally, people are more likely to do so. This all seems like a no-brainer to me, but probably someone will post their disbelief and offense in this thread.

    However, there's another factor. There is still room for an explanation that comes from a pre-existing condition. That is to say, wealth does not just make people less ethical, but that less ethical people are also more likely to get wealthy. We can probably assume that a person who places higher value on getting rich is more likely to get rich, and that in of itself translates to greed, which we don't think of as ethical. The other thing is that you're going to achieve a task more easily the few limits you put on yourself in pursuing. In this case, those limits might include things like honesty, fairness, and compassion. Shed those and you'll have a more expedient path to wealth.
    I think that covers it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    We don't live in a just economy where people become rich just based off of busting their ass. Rather we live in a competitive economy where everything is based on supply and demand. A large part of why doctors can make so much money is because the AMA has limited the amount of new med schools over the past few decades despite the aging baby boomers creating a boom in health care needs. Thus they create increased demand and increased income.
    Not only that, the physicians who make the least amount of money are those who have the greatest breadth of knowledge (primary care, internal medicine, etc). Primary care physicians do not make as much as the general public realizes once you factor in student loan and malpractice insurance costs. Specialties are where the money is at, and they make their money by doing as many procedures as possible.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  9. #9
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    not so much evil as human... most people who have money react to it by not wanting to lose it... didn't anyone here watch Trading Places? (if not it's on cable pretty frequently, usually back to back with Coming to America!)

    I remember some exchange I read in something years ago that went something like "do the rich worry about money?"... "all the time, they worry about losing their money"

    a lot of people worry about losing what they have, no matter how much they DO have- nobody really wants to be poor

    I can't be sure whether money corrupts, whether corruption gains money or whether there's just as much of a chance to be corrupt at any economic level but those with more can do it on a bigger scale... I CAN say that near the beginning of any month I can easily be approached by 10 different people in my local grocery store trying to sell me food stamps, which leads me to the idea that the ability to bend or break the law to get what you want is HUMAN, not related to any group in particular

    not saying by any means that I wouldn't prefer a more equitable distribution of wealth in the manner of equal opportunities- as mentioned above, higher education is WAY too expensive for the average american to attain without going into some significant debt, and in order to get a lot of the higher paying jobs anymore one needs a higher education... and health care is rather atrocious here too... a lot of bankruptcies have started with an illness...

    I AM saying, however, that both money and lack thereof can both corrupt...
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  10. #10

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    Aye. Also the poor.

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