Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.
The rich are rich because they are greedy and cheat
There’s a new study out there set to open some minds to reality:
Raul K. Piff et al., Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior. PNAS 2012. Pay per view (free in six months or already depending on global region).
They even justify their unethical behavior because for them greed is somehow ethical, something good (as Reagan would memorably state in his reign), justifying almost everything (while for the rest of us it is obviously not).
I wonder if there is a greedy gene and if we could inactivate it with genetic engineering. Of course I also wonder if such thing could be ethical… but sounds better than guillotine, right?
Other great discoveries of modern psychological science: conservatives are quite scared, and progressive and open minded people are generally smarter.