(R)ich people are more likely to think about themselves. “They think that economic success and political outcomes, and personal outcomes, have to do with individual behavior, a good work ethic,” said Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Because the rich gloss over the ways family connections, money and education helped, they come to denigrate the role of government and vigorously oppose taxes to fund it.

“I will quote from the Tea Party hero Ayn Rand: “‘It is the morality of altruism that men have to reject,’” he said.  (source)

Are rich people heartless because they are rich or does being rich make them heartless. What do YOU think?

Tags: heartlessness, wealth

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I think that being heartless facilitates getting rich, though it isn't a firm requirement.  Although, 'heartlessness' is going to end up an awkward word for what I'm describing.  I am really just talking about that desire to weigh one's own material needs significantly higher than communal needs.  Perhaps 'unchecked opportunism' is the term I'd use.  This could be done as a matter of philosophical principle (I suppose); perhaps as an instinct of sorts to accumulate, hoard, and dominate; as the product of social conditioning; or maybe even just good old-fashioned sociopathy.  I think there is a need for a certain number of such people in society, though I disagree with the way they are hero-worshipped in certain cultures.  For instance the people who cling to the 'job creators' rhetoric often make me want to puke, but maybe that's just me.

My extended thoughts on the subject matter are too long.

Although, 'heartlessness' is going to end up an awkward word for what I'm describing.  I am really just talking about that desire to weigh one's own material needs significantly higher than communal needs.  Perhaps 'unchecked opportunism' is the term I'd use.  This could be done as a matter of philosophical principle (I suppose); perhaps as an instinct of sorts to accumulate, hoard, and dominate; as the product of social conditioning; or maybe even just good old-fashioned sociopathy.

Typically, when we speak of sociopathy, we talk about it as though it's a toggle switch. I.e., either someone is sociopathic or they are not. However, perhaps it's a matter of degree. Perhaps someone can have a sociopathic streak or have sociopathic tendencies. The researchers seem to indicate (perhaps not in these exact words) that a non-sociopath can do something a sociopath would do through rationalization. The sociopath would just do the same thing impulsively, no rationalization needed.

I always say that it's the buying public who create jobs. The entrepreneurs would fall flat on their face without demand from consumers. Take that, Republicans.

The researchers seem to indicate (perhaps not in these exact words) that a non-sociopath can do something a sociopath would do through rationalization. The sociopath would just do the same thing impulsively, no rationalization needed.

Yes.  This is a more succinct wording of what I was going for with my examples -- very similar behaviour with different underlying causes.  One of those causes happens to be considered a neurological disorder  (though I'm not sure if the term 'sociopathy' is now something antiquated, or something that falls under antisocial personality disorder).  I don't mean that in any diminutive way, despite what 'disorder' implies; that just seems to be how it is classified.

Everyone with ASPD aka Sociopathy have made it through Conduct Disorder by age 15, and gets it by 18.  It is developmental by nature.  So ASPD is a have it or don't thing.

But those tendencies you are talking about have merit too, they are called Conduct Disorder though.  But you have to develop conduct disorder as a child, so if that didn't occur, you can not be diagnosed with ASPD or CD.  So getting rich won't cause you to get CD.  But I would agree that a normal individual could do something that someone with CD or ASPD would do for different reasons.

But I would agree that a normal individual could do something that someone with CD or ASPD would do for different reasons.

That's what I meant when I wrote "a non-sociopath can do something a sociopath would do through rationalization. The sociopath would just do the same thing impulsively, no rationalization needed."

Yeah, I meant your point when I was saying I agreed. To be honest, although I really don't like your abrasiveness, you will find I agree with you on a lot of positions.  And I don't let that get in the way when I think you have a good point.

I think it depends on the lesson learned during the aqusition of wealth and what you bring to the table.

I went through a period of being rather well off, then very off my game. I never recovered, but the experience did seem to teach me something about self reliance, creativity, resilience, and a focus on practical concerns to hold everything in balance. Wealth does not need to be about 'money'. Money can be a short cut to getting what you need or want, but will you learn anything about the world if you rely upon it? Over time, it became clear that creativity can trump money in a rather serious way, but you need to pick your battles...

I think being rich makes one rich.  You present a false dichotomy when you ask which one causes the other.

I think being a tautology makes something a tautology.

I think Unseen is talking about the effect that something like wealth has on a person.  I think James has a good point about the lesson learned when getting it.

I think it has a lot to do with emotionally disconnecting from all of the other lower classes of social groups, and losing touch with their humanity due to having so little time with them.  I think they would still be pretty humane to those of the same class. 

Here is an example of the heartlessness of the rich.

.....and this.

....and all these.

But don't worry.  They will all die, cold and alone, or surrounded by people who can't wait for them to draw their last breath.  It's no more than they deserve.

:P

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