Why Rich are Assholes

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http://nymag.com/news/features/money-brain-2012-7/

Is a psych study from Berkeley to NY observing the declining quality of empathy, care, or just plain humanity as their wealth increases.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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In a windowless room on the University of California, Berkeley, campus, two undergrads are playing a Monopoly game that one of them has no chance of winning. A team of psychologists has rigged it so that skill, brains, savvy, and luck—those ingredients that ineffably combine to create success in games as in life—have been made immaterial. Here, the only thing that matters is money.

One of the players, a brown-haired guy in a striped T-shirt, has been made “rich.” He got $2,000 from the Monopoly bank at the start of the game and receives $200 each time he passes Go. The second player, a chubby young man in glasses, is comparatively impoverished. He was given $1,000 at the start and collects $100 for passing Go. T-Shirt can roll two dice, but Glasses can only roll one, limiting how fast he can advance. The students play for fifteen minutes under the watchful eye of two video cameras, while down the hall in another windowless room, the researchers huddle around a computer screen, later recording in a giant spreadsheet the subjects’ every facial twitch and hand gesture.

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T-Shirt isn’t just winning; he’s crushing Glasses. Initially, he reacted to the inequality between him and his opponent with a series of smirks, an acknowledgment, perhaps, of the inherent awkwardness of the situation. “Hey,” his expression seemed to say, “this is weird and unfair, but whatever.” Soon, though, as he whizzes around the board, purchasing properties and collecting rent, whatever discomfort he feels seems to dissipate. He’s a skinny kid, but he balloons in size, spreading his limbs toward the far ends of the table. He smacks his playing piece (in the experiment, the wealthy player gets the Rolls-Royce) as he makes the circuit—smack, smack, smack—­ending his turns with a board-shuddering bang! Four minutes in, he picks up Glasses’s piece, the little elf shoe, and moves it for him. As the game nears its finish, T-Shirt moves his Rolls faster. The taunting is over now: He’s all efficiency. He refuses to meet Glasses’s gaze. His expression is stone cold as he takes the loser’s cash.

For a long time, primatologists have known that chimpanzees will act out ­social dominance with a special ferociousness, slapping hands, stamping feet, or “charging back and forth and dragging huge branches,” as Jane Goodall once wrote. And sociologists and anthropologists have explored the effects of hierarchy in tribes and groups. But psychology has only recently begun seriously investigating how having money, that major marker of status in the modern world, ­affects psychosocial behavior in the species Homo sapiens. By making real people temporarily very affluent, without regard to their actual economic circumstances and within the controlled environment of a psych lab, the Berkeley researchers aim to demonstrate the potency of that one variable. “Putting someone in a role where they’re more privileged and have more power in a game makes them behave like people who actually do have more power, more money, and more status,” says Paul Piff, the psychologist who designed the experiment. The Monopoly results, based on a year of watching inequitable games between pairs like Glasses and T-Shirt, have not yet been ­released. But Piff believes that they will support and amplify his previous provocative research.

Earlier this year, Piff, who is 30, published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that made him semi-famous. Titled “Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior,” it showed through quizzes, online games, questionnaires, in-lab manipulations, and field studies that living high on the socioeconomic ladder can, colloquially speaking, dehumanize people. It can make them less ethical, more selfish, more insular, and less compassionate than other people. It can make them more likely, as Piff demonstrated in one of his experiments, to take candy from a bowl of sweets designated for children. “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,” Piff says, “the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people. It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.”

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Assholes are also celebrated and elected. Limbaugh? asshole, Hannity? ashole, Romney? asshole

btw, I titled this thread before I had finished the article or pasted it, and surprised yet pleased that Piff, the scientist, agrees with me. Asshole behviour is globally recognized, except to other assholes.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

One of the players, a brown-haired guy in a striped T-shirt, has been made “rich.”

I'm struck by this line, and surmise the fault is this guy was MADE rich and follows that same line as those who win the lottery. Very few have the character and end up losing it all. All wealth does is enhance you character flaws.

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Capital.0
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May. 22, 2012 3:21 pm

When it's unlimited, there is not much concern for it's value to anyone else. You can spend 10,000 dollars everyday for the rest of your life and never go broke if you are a billionaire. Now the koch have 25 lifetimes of 10K daily expenditures each.

Mitt only has a quarter billion, but his lifespan is only maybe 20 years.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Why would you possible care how "rich" someone is? Admiration, envy, what?

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Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am
Quote douglaslee:

When it's unlimited, there is not much concern for it's value to anyone else. You can spend 10,000 dollars everyday for the rest of your life and never go broke if you are a billionaire. Now the koch have 25 lifetimes of 10K daily expenditures each.

Mitt only has a quarter billion, but his lifespan is only maybe 20 years.

Except there are things in this world that require significantly more than 10K/day. Both to buy and maintain. Both are beneficial to the economy.

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Capital.0
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May. 22, 2012 3:21 pm

I don't give shit how much money anyone has, I do give shit if they are buying my country, my politicians, my judges, my armed forces...well all the things that do cost more than 10k a day, but can be had on credit. If you can't survive on 10k a day I would say you're high maintenance. I guess that class showed this weekend they think everyone below them shouldn't have the right to vote, that's an asswhole.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I think you need spellcheck and your mouth washed out with soap.

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Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am

Just to be fair, I know plenty of poor assholes. At least they have a bit of an excuse.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am
Quote douglaslee:I don't give shit how much money anyone has, I do give shit if they are buying my country,.

Ahhh don't you live in Europe somewhere? Europe has way worst problems than the US.

my politicians, my judges

that isn't a money/Rich issue. It's an intrigty problem.

Capital.0's picture
Capital.0
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May. 22, 2012 3:21 pm

I am always skeptical of physiological studies, reading how they reached their conclusions only reinforced my skepticism.....

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 12:22 pm

OK, our funding has dried up. This blogosphere will be gone tomorow.

It was all just a psychological study, to see how you would react to each other, before we all took to the streets to fight these stupid arguments out.

It became apparent that we had created a bunch of monsters willing to kill for any reason, or no reason.

We are sorry we did this to you, but as of tomorrow, you're all free to think for yourself and don't need to back up your favorite, team, party, politician, or Messiah.

Relax and take some time to reflect on what a stupid exercise it's all been.

anonymous green
Joined:
Jan. 5, 2012 11:47 am

http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2011/results/ corruption index shows where the US ranks. No, don't look in the top 10, don't look in the top 20 either, go to the third and score of 71 out of 100, or C minus.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Assholes fall in love, too

July 10, 2012
My Finances
An Explanation from Mitt Romney

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney today released this letter to the American people:

Dear American Person:

As many of you know, in recent days my opponent has spread the rumors that 1.) I have refused to make my tax returns public and 2.) I have hidden my money in bank accounts in Switzerland and the Caymans. These two rumors, while true, have made me look very bad. So I thought I would take this opportunity to explain my finances in terms even a poor person could understand.

Let’s say you met the love of your life, and you wrote her a series of passionate love letters. In these letters, you told her how you intended to protect her, cherish her, and always keep her safe. And then let’s say somebody went and told you that you had to make those love letters available for the world to see. If you’re even half the man I am, you’d say, “Heck no.”

Well, in my case, the love of my life is my money. (If you don't believe me, ask Ann.) And my tax returns are like my love letters to my money, detailing the lengths to which I’ll go to keep my precious money from being taken away from me. If you think I should make those love letters public, then I’m sorry, my friend, but you don’t believe in love.

Now, let’s say you asked the love of your life to marry you, and you’re fortunate enough that she said “yes.” Should someone be able to force you to spend your honeymoon in a ratty room at some Motel 6, where God knows what crackheads and whores slept before you? Or should you be allowed to take your bride to a five-star Swiss chateau, perhaps, or an exclusive beach on Grand Cayman? I think you can see where I’m going with this.

In conclusion: if refusing to release my tax returns and having foreign bank accounts is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I did it all for love. And as your President, I promise I will never, ever come between you and the thing you love. Unless you’re gay. (Laughing Out Loud.)

Vote for Me,

Mitt Romney

Get a free subscription to the Borowitz Report here.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Are you calling,

Micheal Moore

Barbara Striesand

George Soros

Bill Maher

Al Gore

Alec Baldwin

Nancy Pelosi

Harry Reid

George Clooney

Bono

Jesse Jackson

Al Sharpton

Tom Hanks

Warren and Jimmy Buffet

Diane Sawyer

Steven Spielberg

Rahm Emmanuel

Barney Frank

Tom Brady

Giselle

Oprah

Woopie Goldberg (and anyone else named Goldberg)

assholes? Why? What did they ever do to you?

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rigel1
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Jan. 31, 2011 7:49 am

You, my friend Rigel1, are Jew-baiting bigot.

anonymous green
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Jan. 5, 2012 11:47 am
Quote anonymous green:

You, my friend Rigel1, are Jew-baiting bigot.

Of course! you are so incredibly predictable! if you disagree with a statement it is character assasination time! Pathetic!

I'm a bigot? Nobody who knows me believes this. Go back and read some of my posts on Israel. It appears that you may be the true bigot. I need you to prove that you are not.

Oh BTW, Jessie Jackson was on my list. He must have coverted. I had know idea!

You are in no position to judge what is in my heart. Get over yourself. You pompous windbag.

rigel1's picture
rigel1
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Jan. 31, 2011 7:49 am
Quote rigel1:

Oh BTW, Jessie Jackson was on my list. He must have coverted. I had know idea!

[/quote]

Jessie (sic) is a covert Jew?

Wow you got the inside scoop!

Who did Oswald really kill?

The Mustang?

anonymous green
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Jan. 5, 2012 11:47 am

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