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Thu Mar 15, 2012, 07:30 AM

Why are rich people such jerks? [View all]

More money can mean more character flaws, according to research indicating that wealthy people are more likely to lack ethics, generosity and compassion.

3/14/2012 3:34 PM ET.|By Liz Weston, MSN Money

My husband and I were waiting for a dinner reservation on the front porch of a Colonial Williamsburg restaurant when another guest, after finding out where we were from, launched into a diatribe about how awful California and Californians were.

The woman, who was from Spokane, Wash., went on and on about her dislike. My husband, a fourth-generation Californian, was genuinely baffled by her vehemence. I grew up in Washington state but had encountered this before. So, I asked in seeming innocence, where in California did you visit? The answer: Anaheim. She was basing her opinion of 37 million people and the nation's third-largest state on a single visit to a theme park.

In much the same way, many of us have opinions about the very rich, and the very poor, even though we may have personally encountered few of either. We may form our views mostly based on what our parents told us, what we see in the news media and the opinions of people we like or admire.

Research sometimes upholds our stereotypes and sometimes contradicts them:

•If you believe that the poor are lazy, for example, you might be surprised by Census Bureau statistics showing that the majority of people under the poverty line are too young, too old or too disabled to work.
•If you believe the poor are less educated, though, research seems to back you up. Households where the adults have lower levels of education tend to be in lower income brackets, and more likely to move down economically, than households where adults have higher levels of education, Census Bureau statistics show.


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Reply Why are rich people such jerks? [View all]
liberal N proud Mar 2012 OP
ChairmanAgnostic Mar 2012 #1
Booby Mar 2012 #15
Ian David Mar 2012 #16
Mopar151 Mar 2012 #2
Diclotican Mar 2012 #3
liberal N proud Mar 2012 #4
Diclotican Mar 2012 #6
Odin2005 Mar 2012 #14
JayhawkSD Mar 2012 #5
Diclotican Mar 2012 #7
Doctor_J Mar 2012 #9
TBF Apr 2012 #19
Dark n Stormy Knight Mar 2014 #21
Doctor_J Mar 2012 #8
Kablooie Mar 2012 #10
Ishoutandscream2 Mar 2012 #11
varelse Mar 2012 #12
Odin2005 Mar 2012 #13
winton37 Mar 2012 #18
TBF Apr 2012 #20
DiverDave Mar 2012 #17