Poor people take a lot of heat for being “responsible” for their plight. Although there will always be folks unwilling to do anything to improve their condition, many poor people are employed and working long hours and still unable to provide the quality of life for their families that they deserve. Why do some politicians and pundits continually depict the poor as somehow “deserving” of their status, and the wealthy as having “earned” or been “rightfully selected” for their good fortune? This TED Talk gives us a glimpse at how “having it all” literally affects the minds, and therefore actions, of the rich. Which in turn, affects the attitudes we hold about the less fortunate among us
How does being rich affect the way we behave? In today’s talk, social psychologist Paul Piff provides a convincing case for the answer: not well.
[ted_talkteaser id=1897]“As a person’s levels of wealth increase, their feelings of compassion and empathy go down, and their feelings of entitlement, of deservingness, and their ideology of self-interest increases,” he says in his talk from TEDxMarin. Through surveys and studies, Piff and his colleagues have found that wealthier individuals are more likely to moralize greed and self-interest as favorable, less likely to be prosocial, and more likely to cheat and break laws if it behooves them.
The swath of evidence Piff has accumulated isn’t meant to incriminate wealthy people. “We all, in our day-to-day, minute-by-minute lives, struggle with these competing motivations of when or if to put our own interests above the interests of other people,” he says. That’s understandable—in fact, it’s a logical…
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