(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 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...

Just stumbled across this little calculator:


In raw dollars, pretty much everyone here on TA is likely in the top 10% worldwide. Interesting how our perception of how wealthy we are is heavily influenced by the relative wealth of our friends and neighbors.

Karen - having done the calculations, for a moment there, I was feeling so rich I entertained fantasies of moving out of the cardboard box, until I realized that the cost of living ratio wasn't factored into the equation.

But for one glorious moment, I actually had delusions of grandeur, instead of my usual ones. Thank you for that!:x lovestruck

Kim I understand you are trying to look out for the right thing.  This is my take.  It is unfair to sterotype, but it isn't unfair to note trends and identify cause and effect.  Understanding these things actually help with doing less stereotyping.

I think the point of the article is that when someone becomes financially successful, they tend to attribute their success to their intelligence, insightfulness, and adeptness at business strategy and tactics, while forgetting or minimizing the role nepotism, cheating, betrayal, and plain old luck may have played in their success, all of that leading to believe that they are better and more deserving than people who are less wealthy.

"they tend to attribute their success to their intelligence, insightfulness, and adeptness at business strategy and tactics"

Uh, isn't that just human nature?

I have met more heartless poor people, than rich people. So ipso facto should I be saying "does being poor make you heartless?"

I could make a logical argument towards that, that has as much credibility as saying wealth makes one heartless. No, don't shake your head, just look at crime rates and who commits what. Not talking about poor people doing desperate things, but poor people doing dastardly things. You don't have to be rich or poor to be an ass.

First, I'm guessing you've met more poor people than rich. Second, desperation breeds heartlessness (the article never claimed that poor people were never heartless). Third, the ways heartlessness manifests itself in the poor tends to be criminalized (purse snatching, picking pockets, petty theft, etc.). The heartlessness of rich people is expressed in legal ways.


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