(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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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.

No actually, you cannot make that assumption.
I sit firmly in the middle, have been with both rich and poor, from one extreme to the other, back to the middle again.

Can money mean you get away with more? Yes of course. But that is all. Just like virtually every human has the ability to kill another human under a certain certain of circumstances, so a person can be right or wrong, cruel or kind. Using a cultural bias such as wealth really proves nothing.

Have I found the stupidly rich to be worse people than the stupidly poor? No, not really, if anything the worst rich people I have met are the ones that come from the ranks of the poor.

I have been involved with situations where a rich woman plucked a baby from a bushfire with no thought to her own safety, while the poor mother was hiding in a safe place crying for her baby and not willing to do anything about it.

A person's wealth has no relationship to the biochemistry of a person's brain, other than its health.

The article was about wealthy people and was not intended as a comparison of bad rich people vs. good poor people.

No matter what one writes and no matter how true, one can always count on someone to do the "Well, they're not ALL like that" or "I know someone (or some people) who are different from that."

Do you claim the article is wrong? That's what this thread is about, after all.

It seems to be a literature review, so we might need to look at the studies that it is referencing.

I believe that being wealthy makes one more independent, and consequently less dependent on the good will of others, and that, on average, with that, comes a general estrangement from the greater part of society, which in turn can lead to less empathy for the hardships of others.

But since the heart is merely a blood pump, without which no mammal could survive, then I suspect that no living person, rich or otherwise, is actually heartless.


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