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Cave Johnson
02-28-2012, 12:59 PM
Plutocracy FTMFW.

As an individual's wealth and status rise, so does their tendency to be unethical, concludes a new study of the relationship between socioeconomics and ethics.

The study included seven different experiments that spanned real-world and laboratory settings, from rude San Francisco drivers to test subjects given a chance to take candy from children.

"Occupying privileged positions in society has this natural psychological effect of insulating you from others," said psychologist Paul Piff of the University of California, Berkeley. "You're less likely to perceive the impact your behavior has on others. As a result, at least in this paper, you're more likely to break the rules."

The findings, announced Feb. 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, come at a moment when historical tensions over wealth and class have reached a fever pitch: Is greed good, and extreme wealth a sign of virtue? Does wealth corrupt, and should a society strive to be egalitarian in income as well as principles?

To these thorny social questions, Piff and colleagues apply the methodologies of science. In their first two experiments, they monitored traffic at a four-way intersection in San Francisco, noting the makes and models of automobiles - a reliable indicator of socioeconomic status, or SES - and whether their drivers cut off other vehicles or pedestrians. Rude behavior rose with status, and high-SES drivers were roughly twice as inconsiderate as low-SES drivers.

In the next experiment, the researchers tested 105 Berkeley undergraduates on realistic ethical scenarios, such as what they'd do when given change for $20 after paying with a $10 bill. Lower-SES participants tended to be more honest.

The fourth experiment probed the underlying dynamics. Test-takers were asked to imagine themselves being very rich or poor, then given an opportunity to take candy from a jar that would next be delivered to children in another lab. Students who'd pretended to be rich took more candy, suggesting that "the experience of higher social class has a causal relationship to unethical decision-making and behavior," wrote Piff's team.

If that test had a certain tongue-in-cheek humor, however, the next was more poignant: 108 adults recruited through Amazon's Mechanical Turk labor service were asked play the role of managers negotiating with a hypothetical job applicant. The applicant wanted security, they were told, and would take less money in exchange for a two-year contract - but, unbeknownst to applicants, the job would only last six months, and managers could get a bonus for negotiating a low salary.

On the X-axis, the vehicle status of cars from low (left) to high (right). On the Y-axis, the percentage of drivers who cut off pedestrians at a San Francisco crosswalk. Image: Piff et al./PNAS
The higher the manager's real-world income, and the more positively they described greed in a survey, the more likely they were to lie about the job's duration.

"Upper-SES people were way less likely to say they'd be honest, and that effect was driven by their more-favorable attitudes towards greed," said Piff. "We believe that competition, self-interest and prioritization of one's own welfare explains their tendencies to withhold."

In the next experiment, 195 adults were recruited via a Craigslist advertisement. After being quizzed on their backgrounds, they were presented with what appeared to be a game of chance in which a computer program randomly rolled five dice. The higher the score, the greater their chance of winning a $50 gift certificate. Test-takers reported the scores themselves, but didn't know the program was rigged to always generate a score of 12. High-SES people cheated the most, routinely claiming scores of 15 or higher.

The final study tested how participants would respond to ethically challenging scenarios - laying off employees while taking a higher personal bonus, or pulling a bait-and-switch on customers - after being "primed" by telling neutral stories about their day, or talking about the benefits of greed.

After the neutral prime, upper-SES people were more likely to behave unethically, but a greed prime reversed the roles. "Upper- and lower-class individuals do not necessarily differ in terms of their capacity for unethical behavior," wrote Piff's team, "but rather in terms of their default tendencies toward it."

"This work is important because it suggests that people often act unethically not because they are desperate and in the dumps, but because they feel entitled and want to get ahead," said evolutionary psychologist and consumer researcher Vladas Griskevicius of the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the work. <b>"I am especially impressed that the findings are consistent across seven different studies with varied methodologies. This work is not just good science, but it is shows deeper insight into the reasons why people lie, cheat, and steal."</b>

According to Piff, unethical behavior in the study was driven both by greed, which makes people less empathic, and the nature of wealth in a highly stratified society. It insulates people from the consequences of their actions, reduces their need for social connections and fuels feelings of entitlement, all of which become self-reinforcing cultural norms.

"When pursuit of self-interest is allowed to run unchecked, it can lead to socially pernicious outcomes," said Piff, who noted that the findings are not politically partisan. "The same rules apply to liberals and conservatives. We always control for political persuasion," he said.

http://gizmodo.com/5888899/greed-isnt-good-wealth-can-make-people-unethical

vailpass
02-28-2012, 01:01 PM
My Research Stat prof said something like "we can craft an experiment in two ways; one is to design it with specific variables in mind then examine whatever results we get, the second is to do it the other way around."

loochy
02-28-2012, 01:03 PM
lower socioeconomic status correlates with violent crime

saphojunkie
02-28-2012, 01:03 PM
Bullshit! This is America! Getting rich is a sign that you are doing the right things. Anyone who challenges our American ideals of screwing everyone and anyone in your path to riches is a socialist.

Cave Johnson
02-28-2012, 01:06 PM
My Research Stat prof said something like "we can craft an experiment in two ways; one is to design it with specific variables in mind then examine whatever results we get, the second is to do it the other way around."

Highlighted the 7 different studies part for ya.

loochy
02-28-2012, 01:08 PM
Bullshit! This is America! Getting rich is a sign that you are doing the right things. Anyone who challenges our American ideals of screwing everyone and anyone in your path to riches is a socialist.

Somebody did something better than me so it obviously means that they are evil greedy predators.

mlyonsd
02-28-2012, 01:15 PM
In their first two experiments, they monitored traffic at a four-way intersection in San Francisco, noting the makes and models of automobiles - a reliable indicator of socioeconomic status, or SES

Now there's some awesome research work.

Chief Roundup
02-28-2012, 01:17 PM
this is no news flash. It has always been that way.

Pasta Giant Meatball
02-28-2012, 01:23 PM
Greed is good.

saphojunkie
02-28-2012, 02:34 PM
Somebody did something better than me so it obviously means that they are evil greedy predators.

Protection of the public by regulating private business that functions with concern only for profit and not for the collective makes you a communist. Or it gives us seatbelts. One of the two.

Amnorix
02-28-2012, 02:42 PM
That study seems to have some, err, really weird quirks in it.

I have friends across the socio-economic spectrum and I must say that I haven't found a great distinction in ethics by economic status. It's fair to say that wealthy/powerful people may be in a position to steal MORE, based on their wealth and position, but ethics isn't judged by degrees, it's rather more "you have them or you don't".

Donger
02-28-2012, 02:44 PM
Excellent. I now have scientific justification for fucking the little people.

tooge
02-28-2012, 03:16 PM
Now there's some awesome research work.

no shit. I mean, everyone knows if a black person is driving a nice car, either he is an athlete or its stolen. If a mexican is driving a nice car, there is obviously a rich white person in the back seat. Pfft, duh. This study is totally skewed.

listopencil
02-28-2012, 04:22 PM
The study would have to go much, much deeper to have any validity.

Cave Johnson
03-02-2012, 09:46 AM
Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. ;)

A wealthy New York woman is facing criminal charges after being accused of keeping an illegal immigrant as an indentured servant and forcing her to live in a closet for nearly six years.

Documents posted on the Smoking Gun allege that Annie George, 39, and her now-deceased husband, Mathai Kolath George, hired an illegal immigrant from the Indian state of Kerala. The immigrant, identified only as "V.M.," was promised about $1,000 a month in wages to live in the family's 34-room, 30,000-square-foot home, known as Llenroc mansion, which houses a helicopter pad, 15 fireplaces, marble flooring, 24-karat gold gilded ceilings and a glass elevator. V.M. was tasked with taking care of the Georges' four young children, along with performing household duties in the mansion located about 20 miles north of Albany.

New York's minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Even if V.M. had been allowed to leave the residence at the end of a regular 40-hour workweek, she would have been entitled to a minimum, pretax income of $290 per week, or $1,160 per month.

Instead, the "forced labor situation" (as described in the court papers) was even worse than the already-below minimum wage offer of $1,000 month. V.M. received 85 cents an hour, working 17-hour days, seven days a week, over the 67 months she was kept inside the George residence.

All told, V.M. received only about $29,000 over the five and a half years she was forced to work for the George family.

The Smoking Gun reports that immigration agents received a tip from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center last year and removed V.M. from the George's property. The U.S. Department of Labor conducted its own investigation and says V.M. is entitled to $206,000 in back wages. She was also allegedly denied health benefits, sick days or any personal time off from her labors.

Annie George, whose husband died in a plane crash in 2009, reportedly called V.M.'s son three times, suggesting he "tell his mother to tell authorities that she was a relative of George's family and was only staying at George's house as a guest." However, V.M.'s son recorded the calls, which included a plea from Annie George, "If she says anything about working, it would become a big crime. They'll start adding up all the taxes and everything, for all the time."

According to the Smoking Gun documents, the George estate had been put up for sale for a reported $30 million.

Annie George appeared in court on Wednesday before a federal magistrate, facing charges of encouraging and inducing an illegal alien to reside in the U.S.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/mansion-servant-enslaved-uber-rich-york-family-six-201707220.html

AndChiefs
03-02-2012, 09:48 AM
Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. ;)



http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/mansion-servant-enslaved-uber-rich-york-family-six-201707220.html

Free room and board!

mikeyis4dcats.
03-02-2012, 09:59 AM
which came first?

I'd argue unethicality begets wealth, not the other way around necessarily.

Inspector
03-02-2012, 10:17 AM
The car thing is sort of silly I think.

I know a few people who have very expensive cars and had to go in debt to buy them. They were unable to come up with the cash to pay for them so they rented money from the bank. In each case they are very concerned about "appearance".

In my family I have 2 close members that are multi-millionaires. One has an ordinary SUV (a standard model Range Rover) and the other (the richer of the two) drives a 1998 Ford pickup truck. Neither would give the appearance of being wealthy and while neither is "super rich", they both could comfortably afford to buy a fleet of Bently's if they chose to.

Not sure about the other studies noted in this article but using the kind of cars someone drives doesn't really seem to coorelate to wealth from my experience.

IMHO of course.

Cave Johnson
03-02-2012, 10:18 AM
Free room and board!

She's lucky just to be out of India.

vailpass
03-02-2012, 10:23 AM
Bullshit! This is America! Getting rich is a sign that you are doing the right things. Anyone who challenges our American ideals of screwing everyone and anyone in your path to riches is a socialist.

Protection of the public by regulating private business that functions with concern only for profit and not for the collective makes you a communist. Or it gives us seatbelts. One of the two.


Know how I know you favor the welfare state?

vailpass
03-02-2012, 10:28 AM
Highlighted the 7 different studies part for ya.

You are smarter than this, aren't you?

gblowfish
03-02-2012, 10:35 AM
My surprised face...

Discuss Thrower
03-02-2012, 10:39 AM
Excellent. I now have scientific justification for fucking the little people.

What is it like to be Daniel Plainview?

WhiteWhale
03-02-2012, 10:42 AM
It's not so much that being successful makes you unethical, it's more that being unethical helps you be successful.

Sadly honestly and compassion are not virtues, but weights that prevent you from rising to your true heights. It's not a criticism of American culture either... that's just how people are. When you feel you're socially superior to someone, you don't really care as much about them, while people tend to 'kiss ass' to those they view as superior to them socially.

That said, the perception one has of his social importance is not always reality.