Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

The rich get richer–and stingier

There’s a great article in this month’s Scientific American™ which talks about how less compassionate people become the more money they have.

But why would wealth and status decrease our feelings of compassion for others? After all, it seems more likely that having few resources would lead to selfishness. Piff and his colleagues suspect that the answer may have something to do with how wealth and abundance give us a sense of freedom and independence from others. The less we have to rely on others, the less we may care about their feelings. This leads us towards being more self-focused. Another reason has to do with our attitudes towards greed. Like Gordon Gekko, upper-class people may be more likely to endorse the idea that “greed is good.” Piff and his colleagues found that wealthier people are more likely to agree with statements that greed is justified, beneficial, and morally defensible. These attitudes ended up predicting participants’ likelihood of engaging in unethical behavior.

Read the rest of the article here.

I’ve been saying this for years. It explains a lot; like how when I was delivering newspapers back in Oglesby,  Illinois, the rich folks on my block were the lousiest tippers.

1 Comment

  1. Don Twardowski

    April 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Good article, I agreed with the results it came up with in the study. I also agree with you about the paper route. The better off customers were always late with their payments and I would have to pay out of my pocket.

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