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Are Rich People Less Moral?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-begging-the-question-at-all dept.

The Almighty Buck 1040

sciencehabit writes "New research suggests that the upper classes are more likely to behave dishonorably than those lower on the economic spectrum. The rich are more likely to cheat, steal, and even disobey traffic laws than those with less money and power (abstract). Curiously, in one experiment, Prius drivers also behaved badly, regardless of their wealth."

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Yes (5, Funny)

Ranger (1783) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178577)

But only because they don't interact with peasants.

Re:Yes (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178711)

But only because they don't interact with peasants.

Spoken like a true Howell.

I think they're differently moral, they don't want to think about problems that are beneath them and therefore it's OK to trample a few hands every day.

Re:Yes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178903)

I think they're differently moral, they don't want to think about problems that are beneath them and therefore it's OK to trample a few hands every day.

Kind of like Obama spending an extra 30 minutes (and 30 minutes worth of environment damaging fossil fuel) to watch the Knicks game on TV?

Barack Obama is a stuttering clusterfuck of a miserable failure.

Re:Yes (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178919)

You keep saying that word.

Re:Yes (5, Informative)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178943)

Maybe it depends on context too. Ie, in the US if you're really rich a traffic ticket means nothing to you. There's no punitive value to it. So if you're rich and slightly immoral you don't worry about tickets (especially petty stuff like parking tickets), but if you're poor and slightly immoral you still don't want that ticket. However there are countries where traffic ticket fines are determined by your ability to pay. If you're rich you may get a very huge fine big enough to make you sit up and take notice and try not to repeat that mistake.

In other words, even if everyone has the same level of ethics and morality, it will appear that the rich are less moral just because they're less affected by the penalties.

Now with things with no financial benefit or penalty it may be more interesting. Ie, cheating at solitaire, cheating at a board game with your friends, fudging your D&D character sheet, etc. Are the rich more likely to do that type of cheating? (especially those who are wealthy but not so wealthy that they just buy new friends)

Re:Yes (3, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178869)

I really enjoy watching all those stupid criminal shows and youtube videos of all the rich people stealing cars, holding up banks and liquor stores.

Re:Yes (4, Interesting)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39179007)

But only because they don't interact with peasants.

Most of "the rich" interact with "the peasants" a great deal, because that's where the money is made. If there's any truth to this study... and I have doubts... it's probably more because wealth brings power, and power is what the real corrupting influence is. Steve Jobs was infamous for doing things like parking in handicapped spaces and daring cops to do anything about it. They never did, and not because of his money per se, but because with a phone call, he could have them fired, because Apple carries a lot of weight with politicians and the various government bureaucracies. Wealth isn't the problem at all. The problem is the unwillingness for the law and government to punish those that assert power that legally they don't have. Blame cowardice here.

inherent trolling? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178581)

i demand that this story be buried at once.

Re:inherent trolling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178927)

Shut up, Romney.

Selective evolution (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178583)

Those who lie, cheat, steal, and ignore any law they can get away with are more likely to strike it rich. Also, prius drivers are douchebags.

Re:Selective evolution (5, Interesting)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178719)

Is that really the cause?

Perhaps people who are rich perceive a smaller consequence for behaving badly. They "know" (possibly only at a subconscious level) that they can buy their way out of trouble so they feel the risk of being chastised is weaker.

Or maybe they feel that because they are rich they have contributed (again possibly only subconsciously) and so should be allowed to bend or ignore rules. I think this meshes with the Prius driver example -- maybe Prius drives feel that the good karma they've gained by driving a Prius entitles them to more leniency in road etiquette. (Again, this is most likely subconscious if this is the actual reason.)

I think it's just a knee-jerk us-vs.-them reaction to say that the amoral get rich and the nice guy loses, as if the rich deserve to be brought down a peg because they must be evil to be rich, rather than power and money corrupting them once they get there.

Re:Selective evolution (1, Insightful)

j35ter (895427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178843)

Let's hang em all, then! Which makes me think...hanging the 1% and redistributing their wealth to the other 99% would be quite democratic, wouldn't it? :)

Not really (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178887)

That would be more communistic. Also, be careful what you wish for. On a global scale, you may well discover that you are the 1%.

Re:Selective evolution (1)

Newander (255463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178939)

History shows that the situation will change at some point. If the masses aren't appeased by the powerful they may seek justice at the gallows.

Re:Selective evolution (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178847)

Or maybe they feel that because they are rich they have contributed (again possibly only subconsciously) and so should be allowed to bend or ignore rules. I think this meshes with the Prius driver example -- maybe Prius drives feel that the good karma they've gained by driving a Prius entitles them to more leniency in road etiquette. (Again, this is most likely subconscious if this is the actual reason.)

Or maybe the Prius drivers are just more interested in hypermiling than drivers of other vehicles.

(That's still somewhat in line with the hypothesis of the article: wealthy drivers are preoccupied with getting to where they're going to do whatever it is they're doing, and not the activities of lowly pedestrians.)

Re:Selective evolution (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178879)

+1 insightful if I could. Good point!

Re:Selective evolution (5, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178891)

Give someone a sense of 'empowerment' or 'better than you' and it's amazing what their conscience will let them get away with.

see also def. Anonymous Coward

Re:Selective evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178997)

Perhaps nearly 300 ft lbs of torque from a $20k car goes to their driving habits. Also, when the motor kicks off after "launch" you have a tendency to not want to engage the gas engine, gradually drifting down. This is called "pulse and glide" and is more efficient in hybrids.

Hybrids are not compatible with existing cars when trying to drive efficiently.

Personally, I think urban assault vehicle and land yacht drivers are douches. Who drives 35mph to merge? That screws the works. Also, a Prius can coast over 75mph without a mountain. You have to ride your brakes to keep from ramming the next car.

Unlike Al Gore's son, I keep mine below 93 at all times >:-)

Money doesn't make people immoral. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178591)

It's just easier to get rich if you're amoral to begin with.

Re:Money doesn't make people immoral. (4, Informative)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178695)

That was my assumption, but the study seems to be saying the opposite. Take a person that's poor and make them feel wealthier or more important, and they "begin to behave unethically".

Re:Money doesn't make people immoral. (2)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178969)

once again, the summary is crap. the experiment didn't make them rich; it raised their status, which is very different.

likewise, the driving observation was based on the car they were driving, a rather noisy and biased indicator of wealth (in particular, fancy cars are associated with being a douchebag as much as they are with having $).

Re:Money doesn't make people immoral. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178709)

It's just easier to get rich if you're amoral to begin with.

I guess at least one AC and 4 moderators didn't RTFA.

Re:Money doesn't make people immoral. (0)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178741)

Is that really the cause?

Perhaps people who are rich perceive a smaller consequence for behaving badly. They "know" (possibly only at a subconscious level) that they can buy their way out of trouble so they feel the risk of being chastised is weaker.

Or maybe they feel that because they are rich they have contributed (again possibly only subconsciously) and so should be allowed to bend or ignore rules. I think this meshes with the Prius driver example -- maybe Prius drives feel that the good karma they've gained by driving a Prius entitles them to more leniency in road etiquette. (Again, this is most likely subconscious if this is the actual reason.)

I think it's just a knee-jerk us-vs.-them reaction to say that the amoral get rich and the nice guy loses, as if the rich deserve to be brought down a peg because they must be evil to be rich, rather than power and money corrupting them once they get there.

Re:Money doesn't make people immoral. (4, Informative)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178789)

Except the research shows that it is precisely being in a higher position which makes you immoral.

And when you read all those excerpts of bankers whining that their boots are getting insufficiently licked by the rest of society, well, it's tempting to believe this is indeed true.

Presumably, if being rich was no regarded as saying something about you, but rather an accident of Fortune (which it always is: well off is something you achieve through hard work and ingenuity; rich takes luck) society would be more moral.

Re:Money doesn't make people immoral. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178801)

Precisely; amorality makes getting rich EASIER... though it does not guarantee it, nor does being moral prevent one from attaining wealth... just through unjust means of it.

Re:Money doesn't make people immoral. (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178883)

That's true.

It's also easier to be amoral if you're rich to begin with.

Congress? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178597)

It would explain Congress.

no, obviously (1, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178603)

well, maybe if your money comes from tax payer funds. but if you make your money by giving people what they want, you are by definition more moral than those who don't give as many people as much of what they want.

Re:no, obviously (1)

beowolfschaefer (2451564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178669)

Are you suggesting that selling a popular product makes you a moral person? I'm pretty sure it just makes you successful, you could still be a murderer in your spare time.

Re:no, obviously (1)

jamesjw (213986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178829)

Are you suggesting that selling a popular product makes you a moral person? I'm pretty sure it just makes you successful, you could still be a murderer in your spare time.

Tobacco industry sells a popular product and they have been very successful but their success by many is deems somewhat immoral, your statement is eerily true in this case :)

Re:no, obviously (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178777)

You have a very interesting definition of morality. Are you rich?

Re:no, obviously (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178833)

Only if you genuinely giving people what they want.

Let's see how many con artists are merely professing to give you what you want. Let's see how many corporations have lobbyists protecting their control over giving you what they want. Let's see how many salesmen lie to you to get you to pay them for what you want.

The fact is, representative government is about giving people what they want too. That is why it's based on consent.

If it doesn't reach its ideal, neither does yours.

Re:no, obviously (0)

j35ter (895427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178901)

So, pimps' and drug dealers' contributions to society are finally being recognized? :)

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178605)

How do you think they got rich in the first place? With honesty and self-sacrifice?

Re:Of course (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178757)

How do you think they got rich in the first place? With honesty and self-sacrifice?

Usually, with using Steve Jobs as an extreme example, willing to do what it takes to succeed, even if doing those things hurts others

I'm rather certain that's the way nature works, the big lion didn't get that way by excusing himself from eating a hundred zebras to eat nuts and berries instead.

Re:Of course (5, Interesting)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178805)

A little bit. Just my own $0.02.... I used to own an engineering company. We were mostly based on repeat business and word of mouth, and had a steady clientele. We did OK. Our typical hours were four 9s and a 4 and most of us would be gone by Friday afternoon. We had a reputation for being fair to our clients and charging a fair price. I would not accept shady clients or do anything that was unethical.

One of my major competitors was a workaholic with the instincts of a jackal; you were a disappointment if you worked less than 60 hours a week, for which he paid you your base salary. He worked probably 80 to 100 hours a week and took his laptop on vacations. He spent 3 hours a week with his kids; one hour per child. He had a reputation for being voraciously money hungry and would skirt the law on almost everything as long as there was profit in it. He had no problem cheating clients, employees, or the government.

He consistently made far more money than I did. He didn't care what his reputation was or how much damage he did to his family or the lives of his employees or the community. He had no friends that I know of.

I on the other hand still keep in touch with my former employees, sleep well at night, and live a modestly successful life.

So yes, from my own limited experience, you get richer than me by being morally corrupt.

Sorta (1, Interesting)

Aerorae (1941752) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178611)

Up to a point, then they become moral again because it no longer means as much. I think it occurs once you get past the billionaire mark: Examples: Warren Buffet, Bill Gates...

Re:Sorta (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178699)

The number of data points is staggering.

Re:Sorta (0, Flamebait)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178717)

Warren Buffet has gotten much less ethical in his old age. He used to enable businesses and growth. Now he is advocating destructive social trends in the hopes of getting away with the largest tax evasion scheme in history.

Re:Sorta (2)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178915)

Warren Buffet has gotten much less ethical in his old age. He used to enable businesses and growth. Now he is advocating destructive social trends in the hopes of getting away with the largest tax evasion scheme in history.

Citation please?

Re:Sorta (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178953)

Warren Buffet has gotten much less ethical in his old age. He used to enable businesses and growth. Now he is advocating destructive social trends in the hopes of getting away with the largest tax evasion scheme in history.

Citation please?

Don't you listen to talk radio every day and night? How do you stay informed?

Re:Sorta (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178965)

Now he is advocating destructive social trends in the hopes of getting away with the largest tax evasion scheme in history.

Can you explain what you mean? The only tax policy I heard him recommend recently were upward adjustments to capital gains.

Re:Sorta (1)

xevioso (598654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178991)

You mean advocating for the greater taxation of the rich? How is this destructive socially when he will pay more than his secretary?

Re:Sorta (1, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178759)

The Koch Brothers, Michael Bloomberg and Sheldon Adelson are all billionaires too.

Maybe it's the $35 billion mark?...

Re:Sorta (4, Insightful)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178817)

Counter-example: the Koch bros., Murdoch.

When money stops meaning something, either you decide to do good, or the hunger is still here, and you need to fill it with power.

Re:Sorta (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178851)

Considering you've named 2 people, out of a group of (perhaps up to) a few thousand, who can be considered fairly moral by societal standards, I postulate they qualify as anomalies and thus are not representative of the sample.

The rich are not without the need for morals (5, Informative)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178623)

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

Re:The rich are not without the need for morals (0)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178691)

People were "poor" during Napolean's age because the world didn't produce enough food to feed everyone. When that's the case, some have to be poor -- there is no alternative. That's not the case today. And when there is enough resources to provide for everyone, the sentiment that one has to take from someone else by force, or else or go without, is much less prevalent.

Re:The rich are not without the need for morals (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178909)

Of course, it also means a society has less excuse than ever before for not solving poverty.

Re:The rich are not without the need for morals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178923)

There is a massive difference between "My family has no food, I'm going to kill you and take yours" and "My family can't afford a new big-screen TV, I'm going to kill you and take yours". Learn it, and then realize how fucked-up society actually is nowadays.

Sense of Entitlement (5, Insightful)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178641)

It's the sense of entitlement (perhaps appropriate for some rich people...not even remotely appropriate for the Prius drivers) that does it. When someone sees their job/life/goal as being "important", they figure that they should be "allowed" a bit more leeway. I doubt it's a conscious decision on their parts (at least for most), but I've noticed the same thing: The higher up on the totem pole you get, you notice an increase in the undeserved entitlements that are claimed.

Re:Sense of Entitlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178713)

Agree. Ever seen a white, middle-class executive argue with a Cop? You Just Don't Do It.

Beat cops get the Con Job from criminals on a regular basis. Just because you wear Armani or Prada and drive a BMW because you're some account exec doesn't mean you can bullshit your way out of a DUI or Reckless Driving with most Police.

Re:Sense of Entitlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178835)

It's the sense of entitlement (perhaps appropriate for some rich people...not even remotely appropriate for the Prius drivers) that does it.

Prius drivers?!? You mean BMW, Audi and Mercedes drivers. Mostly BMW and Audi;biggest assholes ever.

Prius drivers are ex-hippies. GOD forbid you get in the way of some asshole driving a BMW, Audi or Mercedes.

Not so much for Lexus, Accord, and Infinity drivers - I guess among the folks who waste money on luxury cars, the folks who waste it on Japanese Luxury cars aren't such assholes.

Just my observation.

BMW drivers drivers are THE worst.

I think Audi drivers are a little less asshole-ish because they realize in the back of their heads that they really have a Volkswagen that they paid way too much for.

Not less moral, just calculated risk (3, Insightful)

jerpyro (926071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178643)

It's not that they're less moral, it's that they have the resources to deal with the consequences, and take a calculated risk.
A speeding ticket is a lot more of a penalty to a pizza delivery guy than it is to Mitt Romney.

Re:Not less moral, just calculated risk (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178727)

FTFA:

For example, upper-class subjects were more likely to cheat. After five apparently random rolls of a computerized die for a chance to win an online gift certificate, three times as many upper-class players reported totals higher than 12â"even though, unbeknownst to them, the game was rigged so that 12 was the highest possible score.

How is the size of your bank account going to affect your behavior if you don't know you can get caught cheating?

Re:Not less moral, just calculated risk (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178753)

It's not just being better able to afford the consequences, it's having the resources and connections to avoid a lot of those consequences in the first place.

Re:Not less moral, just calculated risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178785)

That is why I think speeding tickets should be a percentage value of the vehicle you drive when caught.

The love of money.... (1)

jimpop (27817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178645)

....is the root of all evil (or so the most moral book says)

Re:The love of money.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178971)

Then why does most religions covet it?

s/Rich People/Politicians/g (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178651)

Nope, Politicians are: [nytimes.com]

Jake Tapper, the White House correspondent for ABC News, pointed out that the administration had lauded brave reporting in distant lands more than once and then asked, “How does that square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistle-blowers to court?”

GOD DAMN YOU BOOOSH!

Oh, wait...

Worse than Beamers? (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178657)

I'm betting that Prius drivers behave better than BMW drivers. Just guessing, though. Time to apply for a federal research grant to be sure. I'll be sure to fake the prior literature review.

Re:Worse than Beamers? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178787)

I'm betting that Prius drivers behave better than BMW drivers. Just guessing, though. Time to apply for a federal research grant to be sure. I'll be sure to fake the prior literature review.

Wondering where they conducted this study. Usually the bad driver on the road is driving a white or light grey sedan -- those are the ones I remember anyway.

Re:Worse than Beamers? (5, Interesting)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178945)

There is this fascinating experiment. It occurred in Israel. The setting is this: there is a day-care centre at which people come to pick their kids at a fixed hour. Now some people are late, and there are no other consequences than the reprobation of the staff.

Comes in the economists. And they say "incentives matter!". And lo, a small fine is introduced for being late.

And now many more people are late, for the fine was too low: social pressure had kept people in line, but the small fine told them being late was no big deal. And so the fine is removed.

And people are still late, because now, the value of being late has been set, and it is low.

Moral of the story: if someone is a dick, don't let them get away with it. Politely voice your disapproval. Social pressure keeps people in line. And I would bet, even bankers: whatever they think, they cannot buy the respect of people around them. No-one can. An nice person is a nice person, and a dick a dick. Treat people accordingly to their behaviour, and ignore their social status.

At the end of the day, we are all dead. When you die, having been fair with the people you met means you leave a slightly better Earth.

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178659)

How do you think they got to be rich?

How do you think they got rich? (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178661)

You don't think rich people work hard, do you?

Re:How do you think they got rich? (2)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178831)

Having gone to school with the rich, I admit that they wank hard.

Makes sense. (2)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178673)

Of course they do. This should surprise nobody.

Generally speaking, a person whose actions are bound by respect for moral and legal institutions is going to have trouble succeeding against a person whose actions are not bound to such considerations (or only loosely bound.) Run this model several million times, and you end up with a small, powerful group of people who are, comparatively speaking, less moral than the large, less powerful group of people they were willing to step on to get to the top.

The only place where cheaters never win is fiction. Everywhere else, they tend to run the show.

Prius Drivers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178685)

It's no secret to anyone who drives where there are a lot of Prius drivers that they are of particular note for being assholes. Usually by going slow in the left lanes instead of remaining in the right lanes.

Chicken or the egg? (2)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178715)

Which is it? Wealthy people are more likely to become dicks, or the kind of people who would openly behave this poorly tend to become wealthy? I'm curious as to whether or not having large amounts of money corrupts an otherwise mild-mannered person, or if the personality type/living environment/etc that leads to the accumulation of wealth also tends to be those that would already cause someone act like a douche, regardless of financial status.

Everyone is immoral. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178729)

It just sticks out more when you have so much and it's not enough.

Cultural bias (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178735)

It seems to be a meaningless cultural bias to define "cheat, steal, and even disobey traffic laws" as a weird mixture of morality and honor.

Also if you read the article the cheat/steal testing was done based not on "rich/poor" but social class. Higher class students vs lower class not necessarily rich..

I thought the funniest one was the folks who would take more candy if they were convinced they were more wealthy. Well, duh, the more money I have the more likely I'll buy/take/use something more expensive. Oldest marketing scam in the book, convince the victim they're richer than they are "you qualify for a $750K loan!" etc.

Traffic law violation is another "duh" moment. Who's more likely to afford a lawyer, insurance? Who's more likely to be illegally carrying a weapon, drugs, be intoxicated, have a warrant? It also assumes traffic laws are based on "morality" and "honor" when they're based mostly on enhancing revenue.

This Just In (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178739)

Poor people think rich people are assholes.

More at 11.

PS: Oh please, look me in the eyes and tell me with a straight face that inner-city thug youth don't lie, cheat and steal as much as the wealthy.

I can only use my Father as an example (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178743)

When I was a teenager my dad would get sometimes in excess of $1000 in traffic and parking tickets a month (this was before the state instituted a point system). Why not just follow the rules or park where he was supposed to? 1. He owned the local tow company and they wouldn't pull his car unless they wanted to lose his job 2. He could afford not to.

Donated his money when he died to a mormon temple to keep myself and my sisters from it. (If I can't take it with me I won't let anybody else enjoy it.) So the local temple got a nice $5,000,000 (1979 dollars) extension and rennovation and my sisters and I received lawn furniture sets worth about $300.

Fuck him

Re:I can only use my Father as an example (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178827)

It sounds like some of his over entitlement may have rubbed off on to you as well.

Re:I can only use my Father as an example (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178911)

Ahahaha I love your dad.

cheat, steal, and even disobey traffic laws (1)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178745)

The rich are more likely to cheat, steal, and even disobey traffic laws than those with less money and power

Disobeying traffic laws is a no brainer. They can better afford the ticket and insurance rate hikes.

Cheating & stealing? They can afford better legal representation so are less likely to be punished if they do get caught.

Honor in following traffic laws? (1)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178755)

This premise is endearingly psychotic.

Echoes tale from Freakonomics (5, Interesting)

rbrander (73222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178769)

In the book "Freakonomics", about how the statistical tools economists use can bring some light to other areas of social study, the tale is told of a guy who ran a business model of dropping off bagels at office coffee rooms around town, with a voluntary-contribution box, and kept meticulous records for many years of his repayment rate. Turns out the upper floors (as in, upper management) and near corner offices and so on, had the lowest rate.

The authors were careful about drawing conclusions, though they entertained by speculating - was it "have to run to my important meeting, that's more important than digging around for change, my time is worth $900/hour", or was it just a "sense of entitlement"?

This may tip the needle towards "self-entitled bastards", though it remains speculation, of course, not conclusion.

The Prius thing may indicate another reason for being a "self-entitled jerk", of course: environmental smugness. Now I'm just TOTALLY speculating, obviously, but I'd add a data point: my rotten self, and all the rotten cyclists like me. We disobey traffic laws with wild abandon, we're notorious for it. And bikes are vastly more environmental (and, better yet, non-road-space consuming) than Priuses. I am shamelessly anti-authoritarian on a bike the way I am not in a car.

I claim, in my own head (never had to try it on a cop, and don't plan to) that I coast through stop signs and so forth because of the vast importance of Conserving Momentum. And the roadway just "owes" me a little slack because I take up so little of it. And I'm only risking my own damfool neck, I can at most cause others a dent. Or something. If you can get self-entitled by contributing to the common weal that little, imagine how much you get from doing work others value at $900 per hour...

Re:Echoes tale from Freakonomics (1)

Two99Point80 (542678) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178865)

I claim, in my own head (never had to try it on a cop, and don't plan to) that I coast through stop signs and so forth because of the vast importance of Conserving Momentum..

I'd speculate that the Prius drivers were after Maximum MPG Bragging Rights, pedestrians be damned...

Re:Echoes tale from Freakonomics (5, Insightful)

xero314 (722674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178957)

I'm only risking my own damfool neck, I can at most cause others a dent.

Not sure if you truly believe this or if it was just an illustration, but cyclists that disobey traffic laws are putting others lives at serious risk. If people lacked in morality they would just run you over for being where you should not have legally been. As a matter of fact in many places it would be illegal for them to not at least attempt to avoid a collision with you. In the act of avoiding you, while you break the law, there is a high potential of causing a far more serious accident. So please, if you do justify breaking the law, make sure you realise your just making excuses and don't have any legitimate grounds for that justification.

Re:Echoes tale from Freakonomics (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178979)

I have read the original article. It is called "What the Bagle Man Saw." You can read it from the author's site. http://stephenjdubner.com/journalism/bagelman.html

Wealth isn't the issue (4, Insightful)

mithran8 (186371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178783)

It's about perceived superiority. There's an inherent tendency to be dismissive of others we perceive to be 'inferior' in some way - whether the differentiator is wealth, intelligence, physical prowess, popularity, or even moral righteousness (which is likely to be higher among Prius owners). It takes a fair amount of empathy and moral awareness to overcome this inclination, and the common perception is that these 'softer' skills are much less common among the highly wealthy - so they become the standard-bearers for this dynamic.

So...It was obvious more than 200 years ago... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178795)

... we need More Regulation of Government! Checks and balances and a restoration of constitutional law.

THEY CAN'T HELP THEMSELVES. And it doesn't matter who they are. You, me, us, them? It's a human condition and needs to be compensated for. There is no cure and no "right people."

I ain't sayin' it's always this way, but... (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178853)

Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu'il a été proprement fait (The secret of grand fortunes without apparent cause is a crime forgotten, for it was properly done.)~Honoré de Balzac, Le Père Goriot (1835)

I, of course, immorally stole that from somewhere on the interwebs.

Its about power not wealth... (1)

Amtrak (2430376) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178859)

Scientist prove power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely news at 11.

I'd imagine it has to do with intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178861)

Morals are social fabrications determined by the prosperity and hate towards each other, always changing through voices of opinions and nurture. What was immoral in the past is now moral today. What is immoral today, have been moral in the past. To allow oneself to be dictated by societal standards is to become controlled, a good leader does not follow, but rule. We only study the 'elite' because of jealousy, but in reality your friends and family are no better than them and more often than not, have bold opinions which are deemed "immoral" my many. We don't think of it because we don't look up at them. At least that's what I think of it.

Prius drivers, you say? (1)

hotfireball (948064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178867)

Well, that's because Toyota has a little correlation to the Pringles's motto: "Once you pop, you can't stop"... :-)

Too true! (1)

jaca44 (2557600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178873)

Personal experience in or with private schools both here and in the UK would tend to confirm the findings. Even such things as "athletic supports" were "borrowed" at my old school; although I assume they were clean ones!

Money doesn't spoil character, ... (5, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178875)

Money doesn't spoil character, money reveals character.

Most people haven't fully gauged their inert moral capabilities, I'd suspect. Most of it is adapted and constructed, and once people get rich and have access to power and independace from others, it's these flaky concepts of morality that disintegrate.

Someone with real character and moral concepts that one does not neccesarly derive from the need to be nice to other people due to scarce resources is more likely to maintain his values, wether he is rich or not.

It's for this reason that I'm very curious about what would happen with my behaviour if I, for whatever reason, should someday turn rich. I like to believe that only little of my character and my behaviour towards other people would change, but never the less I'd be curious to know if that actually is the case.

However I do believe that most people reveal an underdeveloped character when exposed to certain amounts of wealth over longer periods of time. Today education througout the world rarely focuses on values independant of economic wealth - which shows how poor humanity actually is.

My 2 cents.

Prius drivers suck (2)

xevioso (598654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178877)

I certainly have noticed this. I live in San Francisco, and I count on average 1 prius parked on the street for each city block I drive. They are everywhere. I am continually frustrated with these drivers because they a) Drive overly defensively, to the point where you cannot make normal predictions about driving behavior. b) The cars have poor acceleration, so the cars always appear to go very slowly for no good reason. c) I have seen more Prius drivers fail to use their turn signals. I do not know why this is.

why should (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178885)

they care? they're 'rich' - whatever that means... steve jobs was 'rich,' but guess what? he's dead, and so too all the rich, just like the poor

I am not surprised about Prius drivers....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178889)

It's understandable. Because Prius drivers are more than likely Mac users as well. Therefore, they are a bunch of smug elitist yuppie douche bags.

Prosperity theology (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178897)

Maybe it's related to partially to Prosperity Theology [wikipedia.org] . "If I'm blessed by God with all this prosperity then what I want to do must be morally right."

Bad science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178935)

They didn't test "rich" people. They tested college students with rich parents.

In other words, all they did was confirm the stereotypes that John Hughes loved writing movies about in the 80s.

Higher percentage of CEOs are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178947)

Bipolar. Estimates that about 50% of the CEOs are bipolar. This gives them a sense of entitlement, don't care about others, can't understand others. etc. They can get more manifestations of this disorder due to stress climbing to the top. It also depends on the degree of this disorder. Some may also just be sociopaths.

BS! (-1, Troll)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178961)

More class warfare from the left.

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise.... (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39178977)

To quote the ever smug Leona Helmesly, "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes..." (And why is it that the most nauseating psychopaths like Helmesly, Milken, Fleiss, et. al always sport that stupid grin that just cries for a fist.)

Surely anyone who's had contact with wealthy people have noticed their underlying assumption of "I am above all rules. Those are for the little people."

Question is written backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39178983)

Should be "Are Less Moral People Rich?"

Crap Study, Crap Methodology (4, Insightful)

LordNicholas (2174126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39179011)

This is nothing but an attempt by a few self-interested college professors to apply the "It's Science (tm) so it must be True!" concept to the current zeitgeist of class warfare nonsense.

"psychologist Paul Piff of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues devised a series of tests, working with groups of 100 to 200 Berkeley undergraduates or adults recruited online. Subjects completed a standard gauge of their social status, placing an X on one of 10 rungs of a ladder representing their income, education, and how much respect their jobs might command compared with other Americans."

And we honestly expect this to be a representative sample of "rich people"? How many CEOs and entrepaneurs have the time to fill out online surveys and then report to UC Berkeley to roll dice and steal candies from a jar? The survey is essentially attracting the same sort of people who click on "WORK FROM HOME AND EARN $10,000 A DAY!!!1!!" banner ads, not Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. That these people are self-identifying their wealth and social status further introduces significant bias into the experiment.

"The team's findings suggest that privilege promotes dishonesty. For example, upper-class subjects were more likely to cheat. After five apparently random rolls of a computerized die for a chance to win an online gift certificate, three times as many upper-class players reported totals higher than 12—even though, unbeknownst to them, the game was rigged so that 12 was the highest possible score."

We've just established that the selection criteria for identifying "rich people" was flawed. It's not surprising to me that the people who would lie in an online survey and say that they're "rich" would then lie again to try to win a prize.

"Piff says the study may shed light on the hotly debated topic of income inequality. "Our findings suggest that if the pursuit of self-interest goes unchecked, it may result in a vicious cycle: self-interest leads people to behave unethically, which raises their status, which leads to more unethical behavior and inequality.""

Self-interest leading to unethical behavior? Like, perhaps, a college professor with an agenda perverting the scientific method by creating a horribly flawed, biased study and trying to pass it off as fact?

BERKELEY UNDERGRADS (4, Interesting)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 2 years ago | (#39179013)

FTFA:

>working with groups of 100 to 200 Berkeley undergraduates or adults recruited online.

Ya gotta be kidding me.

There is, of course, the recent research that points out that US-American psychology is, largely, a profile of the US-American undergrad population (ie, the population that are easily available to find, to study).

That said, if you choose Berkeley undergrads, then you're going to get results that match them. Berkeley is a large anonymous state institution, where an undergrad has every incentive to cheat, and where only the third incident of plagarism has any chance of repercussions. (In pactice, GSIs and many professors are unlikely to report plagarism, no only because of the paperwork, but because it's likely to have negative repercussions for them).

Change this context to Stanford or the East Coast Ivies, etc, and you've got a very different system. Getting caught cheating or plagarizing-- once-- at a small college or many of the Ivies, is a death sentence-- immediate explusion, and if you do choose to come back in a year, you're going to be a paraih among your peers and under very close scrutiny.

My guess is this study, like so much social science, isn't speciifc and precise enough to say anything.

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