What wealth does to your soul

January 20, 2015

One thing that has struck me and so many others as a very deadly thing to our country is the growing disparity between the rich and the poor. Another is how many in the rich category seem to be uncaring and even callous to those who don’t have the luxury that they have.

That fact struck me at a personal level when we were recently on a visit with some relatives. I know the age old mantra to not discuss religion or politics at family get-togethers but sometimes we foolishly ignore that advice. During some discussions with a niece the rich/poor gap came up. She basically started railing about all “those” people who are milking the welfare system. She seemed to totally reject the idea that not everyone who needs help are freeloaders.  My niece has a pretty good job that supports her husband and child with many luxuries in life. She is by no means rich but she also doesn’t have to worry much about day-to-day expenses. So when recently I came across this article it got my immediate attention. Here are some snippets:

2015-01-02_09-01-08WHAT IS CLEAR about rich people and their money — and becoming ever clearer — is how it changes them. A body of quirky but persuasive research has sought to understand the effects of wealth and privilege on human behavior — and any future book about the nature of billionaires would do well to consult it…

The people driving expensive cars were four times more likely to cut in front of other drivers than drivers of cheap cars. The researchers then followed the drivers to the city’s crosswalks and positioned themselves as pedestrians, waiting to cross the street. The drivers in the cheap cars all respected the pedestrians’ right of way. The drivers in the expensive cars ignored the pedestrians 46.2 percent of the time — a finding that was replicated in spirit by another team of researchers in Manhattan, who found drivers of expensive cars were far more likely to double-park…

There is plenty more like this to be found, if you look for it. A team of researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 43,000 Americans and found that, by some wide margin, the rich were more likely to shoplift than the poor. Another study, by a coalition of nonprofits called the Independent Sector, revealed that people with incomes below 25 grand give away, on average, 4.2 percent of their income, while those earning more than 150 grand a year give away only 2.7 percent. 

SOURCE:What wealth does to your soul – The Week.

The behavior exhibited by my niece is what I call “I’ve Got Mine So Screw You”. There are many people who just don’t seem to care about those who are much worse off than they are. I guess it didn’t surprise me too much that those same people are more likely to treat others in a subservient manner. They are also likely to keep more for themselves than to give to others.  They are simply the Takers instead of the Givers…

On the next post we will delve into some of the surprising findings of just why this trait is applicable to so many of the “better offs” among us. I want to close here by narrowing my brush and say that not all who are wealthy are greedy, careless people. Many give very much of themselves and their money…

Advertisements

5 responses to What wealth does to your soul

  1. 

    “The people driving expensive cars were four times more likely to cut in front of other drivers than drivers of cheap cars.” That author has never driven around some of these hilljack’s in this part of the country!

    Like

  2. 

    This comment doesn’t exactly discuss the behavior of the wealthy, but I think it is fascinating.
    The local news has been full of these statistics this week….I lifted this excerpt from Forbes.com to share….

    Oxfam International has released a new report called, “Working for the Few,” that contains some startling statistics on what it calls the “growing tide of inequality.”
    The report states:

    Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
    The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
    The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
    Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
    The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
    In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.

    I was particularly shocked that 85 people have the same wealth as half the “world’s” population.

    Like

    • 

      I saw the same article Jane. I am currently studying the history of the British aristocracy and thinking how we are again approaching the idea of a few of wealth “lording” it over the rest of us. I am currently putting together a series of posts on this topic. All of this inequality is happening too drastically and too quickly. Sadly, I can’t see anything but a major turmoil down the road..

      Like