Mon Feb 20, 2012, 07:46 AM
Ichingcarpenter (29,473 posts)
Why it matters that our politicians are rich- hint it an't good
This striking wealth among politicians goes beyond the GOP. One of these four men will face off against the now wealthy Barack Obama, whose book royalties alone ran to $2.5 million in 2008. Beyond the Oval Office, there’s Congress, whose members have a median net worth of $913,000, compared with $100,000 for the rest of us, according to a recent New York Times report. (Massachusetts’ own John Kerry is one leader of the pack, with a fortune that in 2009 was estimated at $167 million.)
Politicians would like us to believe that all this money doesn’t matter in a deeper sense—that what matters is ideas, skills, and leadership ability. Aside from a little extra business savvy, they’re regular people just like the rest of us: They just happen to have more money.
But is that true? In fact, a number of new studies suggest that, in certain key ways, people with that much money are not like the rest of us at all. As a mounting body of research is showing, wealth can actually change how we think and behave—and not for the better. Rich people have a harder time connecting with others, showing less empathy to the extent of dehumanizing those who are different from them. They are less charitable and generous. They are less likely to help someone in trouble. And they are more likely to defend an unfair status quo. If you think you’d behave differently in their place, meanwhile, you’re probably wrong: These aren’t just inherited traits, but developed ones. Money, in other words, changes who you are.
HERE IN THE home of the American dream, most people are convinced that gaining a lot of money or changing social status abruptly wouldn’t change who they are as people. Think about all the books, movies, and TV shows where a poor or middle-class person is suddenly elevated to a high position. Typically, his basic humility and decency shine through the trappings of power: “The Prince and the Pauper,” Matthew Crawley on “Downton Abbey,” John Goodman in “King Ralph.”
Psychology has now found ways to test that narrative, however, and basic decency is not coming out on top. There are two ways to gauge the difference between how wealthy and nonwealthy people think: You can make people temporarily feel rich (or prompt them to think about money) and see if that creates changes, or you can sample rich and nonrich people and see if they think differently to begin with. Both kinds of studies yield results that point in the same somewhat disturbing direction.
SNIP..... A GOOD READ WITH REFERENCES.\\
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Why it matters that our politicians are rich- hint it an't good (Original post)
Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)
Mon Feb 20, 2012, 10:49 AM
JoeyT (5,431 posts)
1. The vast majority of those that are rich were also raised that way.
While those few that get into the upper 1% from the lower ranks are the kind of people that would grind orphans into glue if it would make them a dime. That's how they get there. So "If you think you’d behave differently in their place, meanwhile, you’re probably wrong: These aren’t just inherited traits, but developed ones. Money, in other words, changes who you are." is confusing cause and effect. Being an amoral dick with no concern for other human beings makes you more likely to get rich, not the other way around.
“but what should we do when the highborn and wealthy take to crime? Indeed, if a poor man will spend a year in prison for stealing out of hunger, how high would the gallows need to be to hang the rich man who breaks the law out of greed?” Terry Pratchett, Snuff