The wealthy are more likely to lie, cheat, steal, and break the law, seven separate studies designed to weigh ethics concluded, according to Bloomberg’s Elizabeth Lopatto.The results, which were presented today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that the rich were more likely to steal candy from children, lie while negotiating, and cheat when trying to win a price because they “perceive greed as positive and beneficial.”
Participants were found online through sites such as Craiglist and Amazon Inc, to partake in experiments that ranged from self-reporting the outcome of rolling a dice to win a prize to traffic experiments which showed if the participant would illegally cut someone off.
Overall, the experiments measured the likelihood of partaking in bad behaviour. The experiments did not measure the relationship between socioeconomic status and violent crimes.
One of the study’s authors, Paul Piff, told Bloomberg that the poor might be less likely to cheat because they rely more on the community for support and therefore want to behave within community standards and not exile themselves.
But “upper-class individuals are more self-focused, they privilege themselves over others, and they engage in self-interested patterns of behaviour,” Piff told Lopatto.
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