Does Being Rich Make You a Self-Centered Law-Breaker?

Posted on Mar 18, 2015

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Work by social psychologist Professor Paul Piff suggests that the more money a person has, the more likely that person is to cheat or put his or her needs before those of others.

BBC News:

In the past, public perception has tended towards the notion that the very poor are more likely to break the rules because they are under financial pressure and face more difficult circumstances.

But Piff’s work suggests the opposite – that having more money makes you care about others less and feel entitled to put your own interests first…After nearly a decade researching this field, Piff has come to the controversial conclusion that being wealthy, rather than transforming you into a benevolent benefactor, can actually be rather bad for your moral fibre…“It isolates you in certain ways from other people psychologically and materially. You prioritise your own needs and your own goals and become less attuned to those around you.

When we feel wealthy, Piff concludes, we need other people less. In the real world, when people have less money, they rely more heavily on their social relationships to get by. Therefore interpersonal relations are prioritised. The rich, by contrast, can buy themselves peace, quiet and space – plus a solution to most problems. There’s nothing like a fat wallet to cheer you up in a crisis. But that tends to isolate them from others’ experiences.

Read more.

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