The Meritocracy is Made Up of Poor People

Photo credit DEA

Photo credit DEA

Paul Buchheit writes at Common Dreams:

Many wealthy Americans believe that dysfunctional behavior causes poverty. Their own success, they would insist, derives from good character and a strict work ethic. But they would be missing some of the facts. Ample evidence exists to show a correlation between wealth and unethical behavior, and between wealth and a lack of empathy for others, and between wealth and unproductiveness.

The poor, along with a middle class that is sinking toward them, make up the American meritocracy. Here is some of the evidence.

1. The Poor Don’t Cheat As Much

An analysis of seven different psychological studies found that “upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals.” A series of experiments showed that upper-class individuals were more likely to break traffic laws, take valued goods from others, lie in a negotiation, and cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize.

And this doesn’t even begin to examine the many, many significant cases of fraudulent behavior in the banking industry. Or private equity firms that cheat their investors over 50 percent of the time. Or the many unscrupulous corporate tax avoidance strategies.

2. The Poor Care More About Other People

Numerous reputable sources have concluded that lower class individuals tend to be more generous and trusting and helpful, compared to the upper class. As people gain in wealth, they depend less on others, and thus they have less reason to understand the feelings and needs of the less fortunate. The poor are better at interpersonal relationships because they need other people.

In addition, careful studies have determined that money pushes people further to the right, making them less egalitarian, and less willing, as a practical consequence, to provide broad educational opportunities to all members of society.

One neuro-imaging analysis even suggested that the super-wealthy view photos of impoverished people as things rather than as human beings. They react to the poor not with sympathy, but with contempt.

Read more here.

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  • Anarchy Pony

    Those things aren’t meritorious to rich people.

  • BuzzCoastin

    what is being discussed is the effect of money
    it is the money technology itself that causes inhuman behavior
    butt
    these effects affect every one, rich or poor
    the affect of the effect being more pronounced in the moneyed rich

  • Oginikwe

    #3 is no surprise:

    3. The Rich Focus on Me, Me, Me

    The authors of a recent psychological study argue that rich people are different because they have the freedom to focus on self. In support of this, a number of studies have demonstrated that higher social class is associated with increased narcissism, even to the point of looking at themselves more frequently in a mirror. The rich feel entitled. They attribute
    success to their ‘superior’ traits, while people from lower economic
    backgrounds attribute success to societal values, such as educational
    opportunities.

  • Mr B

    ‘… lower class individuals tend to be more generous and trusting and helpful, …’

    Yeah, spendthrift, gullible & servile; hence their masters’ perpetuation.

  • Ted Heistman

    This is true. The worst are rich nerds. They just indulge their fetishes to the extreme. Being poor evens you out, makes you more social. But if you are rich you can stay home and bang your harem of $20,000 sex dolls.

    • aaron

      Being poor also humbles people. Rich people think they are superior to other people or they have this feeling of entitlement. They fail to realize no matter how much tangible shit or natural resources or fiat money that they accumulate that a 50 cent bullet to the head will take them out of this world just as fast as a poor person and sorry but none of the tangible shit goes with you when you die.

      • kowalityjesus

        This is true, one does not take anything with one into the next world. And this riches and pleasures of this world are a husk or a shadow compared with the next. But one must still appreciate that rich people can be classy as shit and sophisticated, and plenty of poor people can be hopelessly proud and selfish butt-wipes just as easily. I would be careful to make sure, when I apply such a judgement against the bourgeoisie, that I have left behind all traces of envy and am not speaking from ignorance of personal experience with these people. Not that I am silver-spooned…just of that phenotype.

        • aaron

          Yea I edited it and added most* into it. I thought I had put that in there before but aapparently didn’t. I agree these behaviors are not mutually exclusive to rich people but they generally are more common in that class. I agree with what BuzzCoastin said about the effects of money on people.

    • kowalityjesus

      Imagine this person in the throes of death. “Misery” cannot begin to describe. Is that in and of itself retribution? or just a taste of what’s to come?

  • InfvoCuernos

    I think the worst of the rich are the children. They grow into their entitlement and have not worked at all to gain the wealth they enjoy so they have no concept of what it took to get there-you know, all the lying and cheating and fucking all the little people. I believe that the children of people that make over, say, $500,000 a year should be obligated to one year compulsory service in a minimum wage job. I’m not sure if it would be better or worse if they had to do it anonymously-I’m sure if Paris Hilton had been dropped into a McDonald’s, one of the first things she would have done would be to buy off the manager so she wouldn’t have to work, unless she got her face pushed into the fryer for making everyone elses job a little harder.

    • aaron

      Oh yes the trust fund babies that never have to work a day in their lives. Gotta love um. Must be nice.

    • Number1Framer

      I’d like to just add that they’re also loads of fun to work for once they inherit the companies they know jack shit about.

      • Mr Grim

        Oh ghods, I’ve been there… :-/

    • kowalityjesus

      I also think it should be mandatory for all judges capable of sentencing a person to jail to spend 1 year in jail, or at least 90 days.

      • InfvoCuernos

        That would change a lot of things, they’d never allow that. Too much like walking a mile in another man’s shoes. We like our judges judgmental here in the US.

        • kowalityjesus

          I once walked 5 miles in another man’s shoes. They were stretched and he couldn’t comfortably wear them after that. I then stopped doing that and started dancing. Then I stopped and become a disinfonaut.

          • InfvoCuernos

            Did you do the Moonwalk?

  • godozo

    For me, #4 makes the most sense:

    4. The Poor Give a Greater Percentage of Their Money to Others

    Not only that, but the rich make an effort to make sure none of the money they donate goes to the poor. This from personal observation.

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