(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?

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I get what you're saying - and completely agree. When you said 'relative to expendable income,' I interpreted that as a percentage of income. But your description clarifies.

I made friends with a woman I worked with. She told me she married a very wealthy man and she thought she was better than everybody that did not have as much money as she. She didn't even want to talk to you unless you had expensive rings on your fingers.

She said her nose was permanently stuck up in the air. But then she got older and got divorced and got screwed in the divorce and ended up poor and homeless. She changed. She's a very nice person. I can't imagine her being as she described. She said losing all the money changed her to be a better person.

I realize everybody's story is different. Just thought I'd share this. Most of the wealthy people I have known had no idea what it is like to be poor and this made them annoying to me.

I think that is a really cool story Mabel.  We just aren't emotionally connected to those who aren't close enough to our circle. I think it is similar to how it is hard to be distraught over the death of a person you don't know.  But if you had have known the same person, it would have been a terrible tragedy.  It isn't that we are unfeeling though that we don't feel it for people we don't know.  It is just a limitation we have as people.  I think the same thing is in play here with wealth and being out of touch.

Years ago, about 30 years, I meet a older man at a stock holders meeting. He wore this huge gold watch, white shoes, a nice suit and a white hat. The meeting was concerning a new waste processing technolgy that used pressurized steam for pyrolosis.

Over drinks he asked me 'Well putts, what do want to be when you grow up, you want to be a garbage man?' I was about 27 at the time, and in my first professional job. I said 'reasonably well off'.

The fellow had gold mines in the Hudson's Bay area and had, by his reconing $16 million in assets. He was also a High Shriner that dressed up as a clown to entertain kids at their hospital.

I still feel slitely hurt by the term 'putts', but in some circles it can be a term of endearment..;p).

30 years latter, it is rather obvious that 'reasonably' well off is not quite happening...    


James - RE: "'reasonably' well off is not quite happening"

I'd suppose that would depend on the scale you use for calculating. I am loved, and that's enough for me.

@James Cox

Are you sure you didn't hear him call you a "putz"?

This word means "A putz is a numbnuts who hasn't a clue that s/he is so so so very dumb or clueless. A true putz is not only stupid or completely 'out of it', but s/he is also aggressive or combative about his/her totally inept decision-making." (source)

Of COURSE it was "putz," but I didn't feel any need to point that out to him - interesting that you did. I'm sure he feels much better about the incident, now that you've enlightened him --

I mentioned the story as a way to offer a minor insight into wealth. The term 'putts', or 'putz', I remembered as a funny part of that old conversation. I was rather young then and just getting started, the fellow was in his 70's as far as I know. To him I was just a young kid with 'balls' to show up at a meeting where everyone else owned pieces of a continent, and I just a small rental with a young man's dreams.

Things don't always work out, and my values have deeply changed since then.     

The point I'm trying to make is that it is unfair to stereotype people.

Have you ever been around poor people?  I mean, lots of poor people.  I have.  I was poor as a child.  Food, clean clothing, hot water, and electricity were very often struggles for my family then.  And many of the poor people I witnessed then (and now) had money for cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs, but their kids wore tattered clothes and only got balanced meals through the meal program at school, or through the local churches.

Would it be fair for me to ask, "Why are all poor people addicted to drugs and abusive to their kids?"

Oh, list all the wonderful poor people who don't fall into this scheme if you like.  Of course there are exceptions and counter examples.

Are you really surprised that abundance of resources, or lack of resources, can warp people's perception of reality, or damage their ability to prioritize?  Does that make them "evil"?  "Heartless"?  Or, would it be more productive to study this behavior, and the effects of wealth/poverty, and come up with solutions....and I would bet that demonizing them wouldn't be one of these solutions.

Oh, yeah, like anyone (name one) here thinks it's "fair to stereotype people." On the other hand, if you're going to brand drawing general conclusions as unfair stereotyping, nobody can draw a conclusion. Ever.

One person's generalization is another person's stereotype, and if anyone is stereotyping, it would appear to be you. Stereotyping us as stereotypers.

I have no real problem with generalizations.  I use them myself.  But I acknowledge that I am using a generalization, and that it may not reflect reality.

Which of these are seemingly a better reflection of reality:

"The top 10% of the world's most wealthy are 90% responsible for ______, _______, and _______."


"Rich people are heartless."

Define rich.  Define heartless.  You know to these guys (thousands of whom die each and every day), YOU are the rich and heartless one.  You with your clean water, and your "need" for a juicy 10 ounce steak and a beer.

How is that worldview less twisted than that of the more wealthy person who sees first-class seats as a "need"?

Okay, HOW do YOU acknowledge you are generaliziing? Do you, before using a generalization, say "What follows is just a generalization, but..."

I don't think so...


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