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“Science shows”: Wealth could make people unethical

In “Greed Isn’t Good: Wealth Could Make People Unethical” (Wired, February 27, 2012), Brandon Keim tells us something we all thought we knew:

… 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.

It’s all quite interesting, but there must be better uses for the methodologies of science.

What Grandma could have told you, from life experience: Some people are rich because they will compromise on ethics. Some people are poor because they won’t. It shows up in the stats.

Usually, the compromisers eat better and the non-compromisers sleep better. So life isn’t completely, totally unfair after all.

And this is yer religious jaw fer the week.

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One Response to “Science shows”: Wealth could make people unethical

  1. Then the obvious answer is to make everyone wealthy, therefor unethical, and no one will notice- it will be the new morality.

    It is what it is. And Atlas shrugged…

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