Saturday, February 22, 2014

Does money make you mean?

See this TED talk below. It starts with an experiment of a rigged Monopoly game where one  player is automatically rich, the other poor. And rigged to advantage the rich player at every turn. It showed that the rich players end up believing that they somehow earned their privilege and treated the poor player terribly. It goes on to show that they've studied this in real-life society and it also holds true there. As income goes up, compassion and empathy go down. Whereas feelings of entitlement and self-interest increase. The richer one gets, the more likely to rationalize that greed is good. Rich people give less to others and are more likely to cheat to obtain a result. They are far more likely to feel above the law and break it, lie and engage in unethical behavior. They will even steal candy from children, literally.

Where the talk fails is near the end, where he says the rich can be nudged into being more compassionate and giving, and provides examples of some who do. Where this fails is in the valid critique of a rigged capitalist system by its very nature that creates the kind of increasingly self-interested, greedy, lying, cheating and stealing way of life from the beginning. His rich success stories of compassion and sharing might have more to do with those few rich who didn't lie, cheat and steal their way to the top to begin with. And the rest are beyond salvation is an economic system that creates and supports their bad behavior.

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