February 28, 2012

Learning economics, being rich, makes you greedy

It should be no surprise that, on average, the richer you are, the more likely you are to lie and cheat. Here's an interesting sidebar to that:
In the research reported yesterday, the experiments suggest at least some wealthier people “perceive greed as positive and beneficial,” probably as a result of education, personal independence and the resources they have to deal with potentially negative consequences, the authors wrote....

Previous research has shown that students who take economics classes are more likely to describe greed as good.  
Were Shakespeare alive today, he'd say: "The first thing we do is kill all the economists." You know, those folks who justified everything leading up to 2008.

Back to the main thread. The story notes that the rich were ready to cheat for relatively minor sums, too. Sums that would, in real life, benefit them almost nothing.

Were Lord Acton around today, he'd say, "Too much money corrupts, and the more you're over the 'too much line,' the more likely you are to be more corrupt."

Arthur Caplan notes how this is the baseline problem with capitalism:
“Support for free-market capitalism will collapse if those who do well don’t do good. Rapacious, intolerant, nonempathetic capitalism that says lie, cheat, steal, it’s only the bottom line that matters -- aside from being morally repugnant, it’s got a dim future.” 
Well, actually, with social Darwinism and the "success gospel" propping it up, it may not have a dim future at all, unless "What's the Matter with Kansas" sheeple get a clue.

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