Rich people are more narcissistic and less ethical.

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Time Magazine published several articles citing studies showing that the wealthy are more narcissistic and less ethical than average folks.

Wealthy Selfies:  How Being Rich Increases Narcissism

Why The Rich Are Less Ethical:  They See Greed as Good

The Rich are Different: More Money, Less Empathy

Contrary to popular belief, the rich give less of their income to charity than even poor people, by percentage of income.   The poor are more, not less, likely to be grateful and less, not more, likely to feel entitled than the rich.

I think these articles explain a lot about our current government, which is full of narcissistic, unethical, even criminal billionaires, their wealthy donors (The Koch Brothers, the Mercers, Russian oligarchs, and others) and the apparently unlimited power they wield.   Great wealth, insatiable greed and a sense of entitlement is what has allowed these people to take control of all three branches of government and gerrymander state elections.  Sure, both parties are corrupt and there are rich donors on the left too (the alt-right loves to scream about George Soros), but they haven’t had nearly the influence the donors on the GOP side have had, and at least their donations are transparent — they don’t hide behind front organizations the way the Kochs or the Mercers do.   We must get the money out of politics now.

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Rich people see the world differently.

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I’ve long noticed that middle, working class and lower middle class families seem to care more about each other and show more empathy and generosity to each other than upper middle class and wealthy families, who often seem cold and unsupportive, even to their own. Many upper middle class families, including my own, seem to take the “sink or swim” attitude even to their own children. They refuse to offer either emotional or financial support when you fall on hard times. Their attitude is, each man or woman is an island and no one is responsible for you but yourself. They don’t seem to believe in lending a helping hand when one of their members falls down or is having difficulty. In fact, too many seem likely to kick that person when they’re down and blame the victim for their troubles. “Well, if she had only done this or that,” or “she never listened and this is what she gets,” or “well, she always made such poor choices.” If you’re not doing well, they seem embarrassed or ashamed of you and may even exclude or shun you.

In middle to lower-class families, there just seems to be more empathy and understanding and emotional support shown to other family members who are having difficulties. They seem more likely to listen without judging or shaming, and will even try to help financially when they can, even though they might not be able to afford to.

Of course, this isn’t an ironclad rule. There are many well to do families who are very emotionally supportive and empathic to one another, and may also give generously to charity. There are also many dysfunctional lower class families who treat other family members horribly. But the class differences in empathy is a pattern I’ve noticed, especially as someone who came from one of these cold as ice upper middle class families. I think narcissism runs rampant in the upper middle class even more than the truly wealthy, who are more secure in their status. In my own family (we were far from rich, but I suppose we were solidly upper middle class), I might as well have been an orphan, for all the “love and support” I got from them over the years. Now I’m a source of shame for most of them. Oh well, too bad. I feel like I’m a better person than they are because I don’t judge people based on their physical appearance, financial status, or job title.  I look at what’s inside, or at least I try to.

I thought it was just me, but apparently there is empirical evidence that supports the idea that rich people are less empathic and care more about themselves while the less wealthy feel more like “we’re all in this together.”   This article from NYMag.com  explains the research behind this finding.

Rich People Literally See The World Differently

By Drake Baer, for NYmag.com

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/02/how-rich-people-see-the-world-differently.html

The way you view the world depends on the culture you come from — in a granular, second-by-second sense. If you present a Westerner and an East Asian with the same visual scene, for instance, the former is more likely to focus on individual objects, and the latter will likely take in more of the scene as a whole. East Asians are more holistic in their thinking, the research indicates; Westerners are more analytic.

The same thing is happening with people who are from the same country, but belong to different social classes. With America’s top one percent of earners earning 81 times the average of the bottom 50 percent, the research shows how the wealthy and the working classes really do live in different cultures, and thus see the world in different ways.

One of the most powerful examples come from Michael Varnum, a neuroscientist at Arizona State University. In a 2015 paper on empathy, he and his colleagues recruited 58 participants for a brain-imaging study: First, the participants filled out a self-report on their social class (level of parents’ education, family income, and the like) before sitting down for an EEG session. In the brain-imaging task, participants were shown neutral and pained faces while they were told to look for something else (the faces were a “distractor,” in the psych argot, so hopefully the participants wouldn’t know they were being tested for empathy).

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Read the rest of this article here.

 

The rich? They really are different. . .

Something I’ve suspected for a very long time has been confirmed.

The study cited in this article could explain why wealthier (mostly upper middle class, who are still trying to achieve “upper class” status) are more likely than others to be narcissistic and have scapegoat and golden child children.   I have found that many upper middle class families are extremely competitive and value material and financial success over familial compassion, a sense of “we are in this together,” and unconditional love.   Of course not all of them are like this, but many are.   Middle- to working-class and poor families are much more likely to stick together and try to help each other out, even when funds are lacking.    This article will explain why it might bode better for your future to be the loved child of a poor family than the scapegoated or rejected child of a wealthier one.   Less wealthy people tend to be more emotionally intelligent.

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Here are two related articles from the same blog.

https://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/the-upper-class-pays-less-attention-to-others/

https://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/in-a-throwaway-culture-people-are-discarded/

eats shoots 'n leaves

“The rich are different from you and me,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in “The Rich Boy,” [Thanks, Postman]  and now science is proving he was right.

Keri Chiodo of the Association for Psychological Science explains:

Upper-class people have more educational opportunities, greater financial security, and better job prospects than people from lower social classes, but that doesn’t mean they’re more skilled at everything. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds surprisingly, that lower-class people are better at reading the emotions of others.

The researchers were inspired by observing that, for lower-class people, success depends more on how much they can rely on other individuals. For example, if you can’t afford to buy support services, such as daycare service for your children, you have to rely on your neighbors or relatives to watch the kids while you attend classes or run…

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