New Study Says; Upperclass People More Unethical Than Others.

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http://phys.org/news/2012-02-upper-class-people.html

"The increased unethical tendencies of upper-class individuals are driven, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed," said Paul Piff, a doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley and lead author of the paper published today (Monday, Feb. 27) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Piff's study is the latest in a series of UC Berkeley scholarly investigations into the relationship between socio-economic class and prosocial and antisocial emotions and behaviors, revealing new information about class differences during a time of rising economic tension.
"As these issues come to the fore, our research - and that by others - helps shed light on the role of inequality in shaping patterns of ethical conduct and selfish behavior, and points to certain ways in which these patterns might also be changed," Piff said.

To investigate how class relates to ethical conduct, the researchers surveyed the ethical tendencies of more than 1,000 individuals of lower-, middle- and upper-class backgrounds. Volunteers reported their social class using the MacArthur Scale of Subjective Socioeconomic Status and filled out surveys revealing their attitudes about unprincipled behaviors and greed. They also took part in tasks designed to measure their actual unethical behavior.

In two field studies on driving behavior, upper-class motorists were found to be four times more likely than the other drivers to cut off other vehicles at a busy four-way intersection and three times more likely to cut off a pedestrian waiting to enter a crosswalk.
Another study found that upper-class participants presented with scenarios of unscrupulous behavior were more likely than the individuals in the other socio-economic classes to report replicating this type of behavior themselves. Participants in the fourth study were assigned tasks in a laboratory where a jar of candy, reserved for visiting children, was on hand, and were invited to take a candy or two. Upper-class participants helped themselves to twice as much candy as did their counterparts in other classes. In the fifth study, participants each were assigned the role of an employer negotiating a salary with a job candidate seeking long-term employment. Among other things, they were told that the job would soon be eliminated, and that they were free to convey that information to the candidate.

Upper-class participants were more likely to deceive job candidates by withholding this information, the study found. In the sixth study, participants played a computerized dice game, with each player getting five rolls of the dice and then reporting his or her scores. The player with the highest score would receive a cash prize. The players did not know that the game was rigged so that each player would receive no more than 12 points for the five rolls. Upper-class participants were more likely to report higher scores than would be possible, indicating a higher rate of cheating, according to the study.

The last study found attitudes about greed to be the most significant predictor of unethical behavior. Participants were primed to think about the advantages of greed and then presented with bad behavior-in-the-workplace scenarios, such as stealing cash, accepting bribes and overcharging customers. It turned out that even those participants not in the upper class were just as likely to report a willingness to engage in unethical behavior as the upper-class cohort once they had been primed to see the benefits of greed, researchers said.

"These findings have very clear implications for how increased wealth and status in society shapes patterns of ethical behavior, and suggest that the different social values among the haves and the have-nots help drive these tendencies," Piff said of the cumulative findings.

I really want to take a deeper look at exactly how these studies were conducted, and how they picked who was 'upper class' and who was not (especially in the field-studies, how could they tell? Just by the car-model?), but the results are interesting none-the-less.
He also uses a sufficient amount of subjects for the tests (over 1000 people, compare that to the average 'videogames make you violent' which usually test around a hundred or less), though I don't know if he also has a control-group.

Anyway; Discuss.

This is retarded in at least one way:

They're not unethical because they're upper class, they're upper class because they're unethical.

I'll show this to the Social Science lot at Manchester and we'll pick it apart.

HERE, by the way, is the study.

Danny Ocean:
This is retarded in at least one way:

They're not unethical because they're upper class, they're upper class because they're unethical.

I'll show this to the Social Science lot at Manchester and we'll pick it apart.

HERE, by the way, is the study.

So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?
There aren't any upper-class that became so with ethical means and hard work?

Uhu...

I'm not going to outright call bullshit here, but I find this a bit hard to swallow. There is a general correlation between deviance and lower socio-economic status, and the tests seem specifically based around the parts of American culture where the norms contradict the laws (time is money etc., for the driving behaviors) and weaknesses of ethics particular to the upper-class. It certainly will make people of lower socio-economic status feel better about themselves, but I question the validity of the findings. Simply put, the lower classes have the world stacked against them when it comes to ethics and deviance in particular, while the wealthy are born into every advantage imaginable in these regards. When a study agrees with our Hollywood sensibilities, I get suspicious.

Realitycrash:

Danny Ocean:
This is retarded in at least one way:

They're not unethical because they're upper class, they're upper class because they're unethical.

I'll show this to the Social Science lot at Manchester and we'll pick it apart.

HERE, by the way, is the study.

So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?
There aren't any upper-class that became so with ethical means and hard work?

Uhu...

He's not saying that every upper class person is unethical, nobody's saying that. It's about the statistical likeliness of a person to be unethical based on their class.

It's an interesting thought though. For example, it's difficult to tell if someone has shit loads of money because they're willing to dick over anybody to get more money, or if they have heaps of money, which makes them view others as less important, and thus act unethically.

Personally, I think it would depend mostly on inherited wealth, ie if someone was born into a family fortune, they can't have become upper class because they acted unethically, simply because they haven't had the opportunity to (and may not act unethically, but we're just assuming they do here).

Realitycrash:

So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?
There aren't any upper-class that became so with ethical means and hard work?

Uhu...

Oh please, don't act like I don't have a point. It's the basic correlation/causation point you can pull on all studies like these. Didn't you do any of this on your uni course?

So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?

Direct me to where I said that. I'm sure your philosopher's mind will be infuriated by the vagueness of my language.

I'm saying that being prepared to be 'unethical' is an advantage that is likely to result in upper-class status. At the same time, people who are 'upper class' may view themselves as either better than everyone else or untouchable, and so would be more likely to engage in 'unethical' behavior.

CAMDAWG got it in his post too.

Well obviously. The term 'capitalist scum' exists for a reason.

Anyway, I doubt there's any one reason for this. On the one hand the willingness to lie and fuck over your employees would make you more like to succeed. It's also possible that people who are born into high-socio economic backgrounds are more entitled. If they want candy they just buy candy. They don't concern themselves about whether it's expensive and if they should wait until it's on special and so on. So they probably don't consider scoffing lollies in the waiting room to be a big deal because they don't comprehend the concept of scarcity unless they're using it to push up prices.

The above is from their discussion, fascinating assessment of the results and what they could mean, but depending on how you look at the discussion it might seem like they had an agenda. They mention Bill gates and Warren Buffett that made me think I'd really like to see them make a study on the Madoff's of the world and see how they would react to similar tests. Those are people proven to be cheats would still decide to cheat and cut corners.

American culture is one built around the individual and like they say our economics defines that, so maybe another study in a European culture would be necessary, they say they tightly monitored ethnic differences but I wonder if they had many people that spent majority of their life in a different country.

Revnak:
When a study agrees with our Hollywood sensibilities, I get suspicious.

Hollywood's not that kind to the lower class scum either, especially in the horror genre. I've lost count of how many horror/slasher/gore flicks feature psychotic low class trailer trash.

GunsmithKitten:

Revnak:
When a study agrees with our Hollywood sensibilities, I get suspicious.

Hollywood's not that kind to the lower class scum either, especially in the horror genre. I've lost count of how many horror/slasher/gore flicks feature psychotic low class trailer trash.

True, I suppose Hollywood is mostly obsessed with pointing out the superiority of the working or middle classes.

Realitycrash:

Danny Ocean:
This is retarded in at least one way:

They're not unethical because they're upper class, they're upper class because they're unethical.

I'll show this to the Social Science lot at Manchester and we'll pick it apart.

HERE, by the way, is the study.

So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?
There aren't any upper-class that became so with ethical means and hard work?

Uhu...

Absolutely correct. Being Upper Class means having a disproportionate amount of wealth, far more than you need to meet your everyday need.

While people are starving to death, losing their homes, suffering to make financial ends meet it's highly immoral to have large amounts of wealth that you keep purely to maintain a high standard of living for yourself.

I would say that the upper class, with their increased wealth and power, are more likely to be tempted/corrupted.

Power corrupts and all of that. It can happen to anyone with power/money. I mean, there are many horror stories of regular joe shmoe people who win millions at the lottery and have their life fall apart to the point where they wish they never won.

To be fair though, upperclass tend to perform more beneficial acts/charities to society percisely because they have so much money lying around, especially when they are bored.

Ryotknife:

To be fair though, upper class tend to perform more beneficial acts/charities to society percisely because they have so much money lying around, especially when they are bored.

That was actually in the report and this was surprising to me, upper class people as a percentage of household income give LESS to charity then their middle class counter parts. While I'm sure the dollar figure on the upper class is higher the percentage is lower. That interesting tidbit makes you wonder how much the rich would change their charitable practices if tax laws reduced the amount of deductions you could declare.

dmase:

Ryotknife:

To be fair though, upper class tend to perform more beneficial acts/charities to society percisely because they have so much money lying around, especially when they are bored.

That was actually in the report and this was surprising to me, upper class people as a percentage of household income give LESS to charity then their middle class counter parts. While I'm sure the dollar figure on the upper class is higher the percentage is lower. That interesting tidbit makes you wonder how much the rich would change their charitable practices if tax laws reduced the amount of deductions you could declare.

from a practical standpoint though, dollars is what matters to a charity, not what % you sacrificed. Sure, that poor person who donated...say...10% of his income to charity totalling...err...2000 dollars made a more significant sacrifice than that rich person who donated 1% of his income and gave 10,000, but in the end the 10000 has a larger affect.

I am very much a "results" person (which gets me in trouble all the time). Yea, it would be humorous to see some of the rich people squirm when the tax loophole regarding charities is closed (although they will just lobby to open another one), but in the end it serves a good cause.

go even further up the income scale to the top 1% and you find that world wide they have aproximately $30 trillion dollars hidden away in tax free off shore accounts that does nothing but earn interest

Ryotknife:

dmase:

Ryotknife:

To be fair though, upper class tend to perform more beneficial acts/charities to society percisely because they have so much money lying around, especially when they are bored.

That was actually in the report and this was surprising to me, upper class people as a percentage of household income give LESS to charity then their middle class counter parts. While I'm sure the dollar figure on the upper class is higher the percentage is lower. That interesting tidbit makes you wonder how much the rich would change their charitable practices if tax laws reduced the amount of deductions you could declare.

from a practical standpoint though, dollars is what matters to a charity, not what % you sacrificed. Sure, that poor person who donated...say...10% of his income to charity totalling...err...2000 dollars made a more significant sacrifice than that rich person who donated 1% of his income and gave 10,000, but in the end the 10000 has a larger affect.

I am very much a "results" person (which gets me in trouble all the time). Yea, it would be humorous to see some of the rich people squirm when the tax loophole regarding charities is closed (although they will just lobby to open another one), but in the end it serves a good cause.

You're correct but that finding has quite some important consequences for the whole "libertarian" dogma. Because it would actually show that welfare redistribution is also good for charities.

Danny Ocean:

Realitycrash:

So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?
There aren't any upper-class that became so with ethical means and hard work?

Uhu...

Oh please, don't act like I don't have a point. It's the basic correlation/causation point you can pull on all studies like these. Didn't you do any of this on your uni course?

So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?

Direct me to where I said that. I'm sure your philosopher's mind will be infuriated by the vagueness of my language.

I'm saying that being prepared to be 'unethical' is an advantage that is likely to result in upper-class status. At the same time, people who are 'upper class' may view themselves as either better than everyone else or untouchable, and so would be more likely to engage in 'unethical' behavior.

CAMDAWG got it in his post too.

And I'm saying that you could have phrased yourself better to get that point across, especially in a public forum.
However, so could I have, because the study also mentions this;

The last study found attitudes about greed to be the most significant predictor of unethical behavior. Participants were primed to think about the advantages of greed and then presented with bad behavior-in-the-workplace scenarios, such as stealing cash, accepting bribes and overcharging customers. It turned out that even those participants not in the upper class were just as likely to report a willingness to engage in unethical behavior as the upper-class cohort once they had been primed to see the benefits of greed, researchers said.

Revnak:
I suppose Hollywood is mostly obsessed with pointing out the superiority of the working or middle classes.

It's not an obsession, it's a marketing strategy.
The working middle class makes up the vast majority of movie goers so of course the movie makers are pandering to them.

Realitycrash:
So, to be upper-class, you must be unethical?
There aren't any upper-class that became so with ethical means and hard work?

Uhu...

I think it's like this:
If you care about the well being of others, you won't do certain things, even if they would result in improving your life.
If you don't care about the well being of others, you are more likely to take an opportunity to improve your life, even at the cost of other people's lives.
If you exclude all the opportunities which may result in someone else getting fucked over, the likelihood of improving your life will diminish. Therefore, people who don't care about ethics are more likely to succeed at improving their own lives, which means they are more likely to rise to the upper class level.

Danny Ocean:
This is retarded in at least one way:

They're not unethical because they're upper class, they're upper class because they're unethical.

That doesn't really make sense. Most people that are upper class in the US (and probably most other places) are born into it. Certainly, unethical behavior would make climbing the class ladder much easier, but I think there's a stronger argument that unethical behavior is encouraged in the upper class seeing as how most of them probably didn't move from the lower or even middle to the upper class.

I'm not validating the study here, I didn't even read it. I just think the premise of "being unethical gets you into the upper class" is probably true, but not very common.

Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.

I like that they spend all of 12 lines to couple greed to "unethical behaviour", with absolutely no thought on what that then is. It seems to be related to an idea of "altruism = good", which isn't exactly uncontested, even among those who don't subscribe to Objectivism.

It's rather obvious that people who've made it far will not seldom be ambitious and willing to break some eggs to make their omelet, so some statistical correlation to an "evil" defined as that being wrong is likely. And that as they can stand on their own legs, they're less interested in a "mutual carrying/being carried" type of society. Conversely, the self interest of the poor lies in a society (civil and state) that'll carry them when they can't walk on their own, so that's obviously what they're trying to instate.

So if you randomly define that as the "moral" thing, of course the poor are going to be more "moral": It's unsurprisingly in the self interest of the poor to create/reinforce a society pervaded by a sense of obligation to help those in need. So the study can just as easily be interpreted as "people will do whatever's in their own interest... including trying to set up a norm of helping each others if that'll help themselves the most in the end".

I'd like to stress that these 'studies' which confirm activistic ideas often turn out to be fraudulent.

A good example is the Diederik Stapel affair in the Netherlands. He published a study that 'showed' that people who aren't vegetarians were a lot more likely to engage in anti-social behaviour. Another publication of his showed white people were more racist than others. Not two months later, it turned out his research data was made up. Stapel was sacked, stripped of all honours and pretty much all his publications turned out to be scams.

Another is a doctoral research at University of Utrecht which proved that Moroccans (largest and quite problematic minority group in the Netherlands) were less criminal than native Dutch people. This contradicted all other criminological research. If you delved into it, you would've seen in the added definitions list that for Moroccan inmates, they used a different definition of violent crime. The largest type of crime perpetrated by Moroccan inmates, robbery with the use of violence, was defined as as a minor, non-violent crime, while for the native group, and pretty much all other research, robbery with violence is classed as a more severe, violent crime. Thus they falsified their data to draw the conclusion they wished for political reasons.

And I see that upper class people are supposedly causally linked to anti-social behaviour, then my first instinct is to classify it is just another fraudulent study.


But can't just suffice with that can we? Let's shoot some holes in that study:

This sentence in the intro of the text sent all alarm bells ringing: "Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods". What on earth are those? Why seven studies?

So you read on, and then you see two of the studies didn't even check class at all, they just stood at an intersection taking wild guesses about a driver's social class based on the aproximate cost of their car. So spending habits (some lower class people prefer a crappy house and an expensive car for instance) for one thing invalidate their conclusions.

Alright, only five 'researches' left of the seven.

The third study is a self-report if someone would engage in immoral behaviour after an actor showed it to them. This suggests it was done face to face. The lack of anonimity means that socially desired answers destroy any chance of drawing conclusions. At most you could take it as an indication that lower class people give more socially desired answers.

Three studies busted, four left.

Their 4th study let people take candy from a jar that's sitting on a desk labelled that it's only for kids. Two problems: In a lab, for their children? Doesn't compute. And many participants will have realised this, concluded that the candy would be there untill it's rotten because not many children frequent laboratories and took it as a result. Second concern is that the desire to eat candy affects the outcomes. You could have the biggest scumbag on planet earth there, but what if he doesn't like candy or has just eaten? Exactly. Another study turns out to be fatally flawed.

If the majority of the studies their claims are based on have clear fatal flaws in them, then I'm going to assume the conclusions and the rest of the studies are rubbish as well.

One last thing I realised right away is that the sample size will have been biased, because it's only in one country, likely even in the same region and city of that country, invalidating the outcome because the sample is not representative of the population. In fact, I couldn't even find any calculations at all on the odds of a non-representative outcome, meaning it's all just guesswork. Don't know about Berkeley's standards, but at Utrecht University you don't even get away with that for a bachelor thesis. If you don't discuss the representativeness of your sample group, they won't even bother to rate your thesis.


Short version: This study has only proven the researchers hold prejudices based on class, and need a repeat course in scientific methods.

Najos:

That doesn't really make sense. Most people that are upper class in the US (and probably most other places) are born into it. Certainly, unethical behavior would make climbing the class ladder much easier, but I think there's a stronger argument that unethical behavior is encouraged in the upper class seeing as how most of them probably didn't move from the lower or even middle to the upper class.

I'm not validating the study here, I didn't even read it. I just think the premise of "being unethical gets you into the upper class" is probably true, but not very common.

It does make sense. Speaking as someone who is basically upper-class... well, being unethical doesn't just help you get rich, it helps you stay rich too. Tax avoidance and inheritance tax avoidance are pretty much mandatory unless you've got a pretty moralistic family like mine.

It's not like rich people are actively encouraged to screw people over.

Najos:

Danny Ocean:
This is retarded in at least one way:

They're not unethical because they're upper class, they're upper class because they're unethical.

That doesn't really make sense. Most people that are upper class in the US (and probably most other places) are born into it. Certainly, unethical behavior would make climbing the class ladder much easier, but I think there's a stronger argument that unethical behavior is encouraged in the upper class seeing as how most of them probably didn't move from the lower or even middle to the upper class.

I'm not validating the study here, I didn't even read it. I just think the premise of "being unethical gets you into the upper class" is probably true, but not very common.

People who aren't upper class might not understand, but you have to fight really hard to stay wealthy, because basically everyone in the entire world is looking to screw you at every corner. Especially the government. For that reason, people who are wealthy tend not to spend extravagantly for the reason. The people with twenty vacation homes and fleet of fifty stretch limos manned by two servants each would be the super-rich, the billionare sorts of people.

It also takes a certain kind of person to manage the money well. My Uncle, who received 1.2 million in inheritance managed to blow it all in under a year on little nothings. Five years later, I actually have a lot more money than was inherited simply from investing it well and keeping the IRS off my case. I did that because when my grandfather explained how he got rich and how you stay rich, I listened and my Uncle stuck his fingers in his ears and said 'LALALA I KNOW BETTER."

Anyway, the moral of the story is that even if you're born into wealth, generally they're taught how to keep the money they have and how to make more of it in the easiest way possible. People might consider what it takes to be upper class to be unethical, but as ethics are based on morals, and morals are completely subjective and arbitrary because of their fluidity...calling someone unethical isn't really an insult. It's kind of a meaningless distinction.

All I'll say it that I've had the misfortune of meeting several people who seemed to be downright convinced that being "better off" than the next guy somehow makes you "better" than the next guy.

And this is all I have to say on this.

Blablahb:
And I see that upper class people are supposedly causally linked to anti-social behaviour, then my first instinct is to classify it is just another fraudulent study.

No, they're not. The title of the subject is "Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior".

It doesn't get into anti-social behaviour at all, which is something else completely. It also suggests possible causes for unethical behaviour.

It also doesn't specify upper class being causally linked with unethical beahviour, but offers suggestions as to what might might causally linked, eg:

"independence from others and increased privacy in their
professions (3) may provide fewer structural constraints and decreased perceptions of risk associated with committing unethical
acts (8). The availability of resources to deal with the downstream
costs of unethical behavior may increase the likelihood of such
acts among the upper class. In addition, independent self-construals among the upper class (22) may shape feelings of entitlement and inattention to the consequences of one's actions on
others (23). A reduced concern for others' evaluations (24) and
increased goal-focus (25) could further instigate unethical tendencies among upper-class individuals. Together, these factors
may give rise to a set of culturally shared norms among upperclass individuals that facilitates unethical behavior."

Their theory isn't that merely being upperclass makes you greedy, but a set of conditions common to upper class life may be causally linked with unethical behaviour.

So you read on, and then you see two of the studies didn't even check class at all, they just stood at an intersection taking wild guesses about a driver's social class based on the aproximate cost of their car. So spending habits (some lower class people prefer a crappy house and an expensive car for instance) for one thing invalidate their conclusions.

They didn't make wild guesses. They used pre-existing research which determined that cars are "reliable indicators of
a person's social rank and wealth (Frank RJ (1999) Luxury Fever: Why Money Fails to Satisfy in an Era of Excess (Free
Press, New York, NY)" and then based a test around this.

The third study is a self-report if someone would engage in immoral behaviour after an actor showed it to them. This suggests it was done face to face. The lack of anonimity means that socially desired answers destroy any chance of drawing conclusions. At most you could take it as an indication that lower class people give more socially desired answers.

No they didn't.

"Procedure. Participants accessed the study via a private computer terminal and
completed filler measures and the measure of unethical decision-making
tendencies (16)."

It specifically says they did study three privately and via a computer, not with an actor where bias could influence it.

Their 4th study let people take candy from a jar that's sitting on a desk labelled that it's only for kids. Two problems: In a lab, for their children? Doesn't compute. And many participants will have realised this, concluded that the candy would be there untill it's rotten because not many children frequent laboratories and took it as a result.

"The jar contained ∼40 pieces of candy and was labeled with a note stating that it was to be taken to a specific child-research laboratory."

Child-research laboratories aren't especially rare. I can easily provide you with a dozen or so links if you can't be bothered to google it and see for yourself.

Second concern is that the desire to eat candy affects the outcomes. You could have the biggest scumbag on planet earth there, but what if he doesn't like candy or has just eaten? Exactly. Another study turns out to be fatally flawed.

That's not how statistics and measurements work. It's not a binary working class will never take chocolate, upper class people will always take chocolate situation. Different people will take it and some won't regardless of class. You make sure that you're looking at a big enough sample that any variables will by the very nature of statistical analysis either be accounted due to the amount of people you're looking at or related to the controlled variable.

One last thing I realised right away is that the sample size will have been biased, because it's only in one country, likely even in the same region and city of that country, invalidating the outcome because the sample is not representative of the population. In fact, I couldn't even find any calculations at all on the odds of a non-representative outcome, meaning it's all just guesswork. Don't know about Berkeley's standards, but at Utrecht University you don't even get away with that for a bachelor thesis. If you don't discuss the representativeness of your sample group, they won't even bother to rate your thesis.

This isn't a valid criticism. A localised study like this is pretty typical. This is a completely untested theory. Why on earth would they conduct a massive world-wide study into something that might have been absolutely pointless? In an idealised world where time, effort and money weren't factors, sure, every single piece of research would be the most massive and comprehensive piece of international research possible.

In the real world, this is what happens and it happens for numerous reasons.

Human psychological and social behaviour does vary according to nation, geography and local customs. For instance perhaps rural rich people stick to a old-fashioned code of ethics which stops this behaviour. Perhaps this type of thinking is limited to California. Maybe it only applies to rich Capitalist countries!

The chance of it not being confined to one particular city though is incredible and if further research did show that this is the case, that by itself would be a notable reason for further analysis to find out why this city is just so unique.

So that's where further research comes in. Because once someone has done research which seems to show something notable, you try and replicate it and find out what the variables are. Do the results change by nationality and if so by how much? What else makes the results vary? It is essentially the scientific process in action, but at an early stage before follow up research can take place.

But the flip side of this is that this study didn't come from nowhere. It is based on prior research, as shown by it's references.

A good example of this in action is the famous Milgram experiment. When it originally took place it was just a small sample of people taken from around New Haven. When people looked at the extraordinary results, which were confined to a small sample size in a particular geographic region with other potential biases, it was then repeated again and again across the world with consistent results.

This is neither strange or unusual. It's the scientific method.

That's not to say that it doesn't have it's flaws. For one, I'm not keen on the sources used. A fair few of their resources for key points seemed to come from the researcher's own past work. For two of the studies undergraduates were also used, which means that these two questions focus on a very specific age group. While like with geography the points of view of young adults will hardly be completely divorced from the rest of humanity, I'd have preferred it done with local townspeople to get concise analysis of the people of California rather than Californian University Students as it would have been far more applicable. Larger sample sizes would also have been nice.

Basically a lot of your analysis doesn't apply for reasons directly given in the text and your criticisms which do apply are overblown.

Of course it's worth pointing out that one study, even if it was completely correct, doesn't make an indisputable causal link.

Although it is then worth mentioning that the rich being immoral and greedy is self-evident and research into the topic is needless.

Najos:

That doesn't really make sense. Most people that are upper class in the US (and probably most other places) are born into it.

It's difficult to find anything to verify this, but this says otherwise.

Recently, PNC Wealth Management conducted a survey of people with more than $500,000 free to invest as they like, a fair definition of "wealthy," and possibly "millionaire" once you begin including home equity and other assets. Only 6% of those surveyed earned their money from inheritance alone. 69% earned their wealth mostly by trading time and effort for money, or by "working."

I'm trying to track down the actual study used, but no luck thus far.

Kopikatsu:
I did that because when my grandfather explained how he got rich and how you stay rich, I listened and my Uncle stuck his fingers in his ears and said 'LALALA I KNOW BETTER."

Invest in cosmetics? That's what my dad kept telling me, saying it was recession-proof. He isn't a rich man, though.

(sorry for the double post)

LetalisK:

Najos:

That doesn't really make sense. Most people that are upper class in the US (and probably most other places) are born into it.

It's difficult to find anything to verify this, but this says otherwise.

Recently, PNC Wealth Management conducted a survey of people with more than $500,000 free to invest as they like, a fair definition of "wealthy," and possibly "millionaire" once you begin including home equity and other assets. Only 6% of those surveyed earned their money from inheritance alone. 69% earned their wealth mostly by trading time and effort for money, or by "working."

I'm trying to track down the actual study used, but no luck thus far.

huh...does that exclude people who inherit a business or who use their wealthy connections to land a cushy job?

Exactly how is this "new study"? It's like the best known secret. To become rich you practically must have a tendency to be unethical or greedy. This is not new and we don't need a 'study' to prove it, it's very obvious. But this article is the kind of crap typical of middle/lower class people who just want something to bitch about. Corruption and dishonest practice penetrates all layers of society.

Like someone said before, wealthy people are not unethical because they're upper class, but more the opposite. I can almost guarantee you that, if given the chance, the majority of lower class citizens will readily become unethical to achieve some form of wealth. So I think that you'll find that a lot of unethical upper class citizens are former unethical lower class citizens with a lot more drive than other unethical lower class citizens, who were either too lazy or too stupid.

I'm not saying wealth cannot be attained ethically and honestly, but it's sure as hell a lot harder.

The term 'unethical' drills a hole in my brain. Different is not bad, selfish is not bad, it is different.
If social science wants to be respected they will start using propper terms when refering to people's differing moralities.

What exactly is wealthy?

is a household income of 150,000 wealthy, how about 200,000 or 300,000. I know many people with household incomes in those ranges and they all consider themselves middle class.

Funny thing about the middle class, almost everyone thinks they're part of it.

Champthrax:
What exactly is wealthy?

is a household income of 150,000 wealthy, how about 200,000 or 300,000. I know many people with household incomes in those ranges and they all consider themselves middle class.

Funny thing about the middle class, almost everyone thinks they're part of it.

http://www.macses.ucsf.edu/research/socialenviron/sociodemographic.php

It's not entirely subjective but I believe it helped the researchers with their final assessment. Just like they bring up some people's past economic courses or social courses taken when trying to describe the results.

Arakasi:
The term 'unethical' drills a hole in my brain. Different is not bad, selfish is not bad, it is different.
If social science wants to be respected they will start using propper terms when refering to people's differing moralities.

This is basically Solipsism light. Because someone somewhere might have a different opinion, people can't be accountable to any kind of social, legal or ethical framework!

Champthrax:
What exactly is wealthy?

is a household income of 150,000 wealthy, how about 200,000 or 300,000. I know many people with household incomes in those ranges and they all consider themselves middle class.

Funny thing about the middle class, almost everyone thinks they're part of it.

In this case upper class is defined on things like the MacArthur Scale of subjective social status, as it says in the research itself.

Overhead:
This is basically Solipsism light. Because someone somewhere might have a different opinion, people can't be accountable to any kind of social, legal or ethical framework

It is if 'being unethical' is defined by which type of car you drive.

Because like I outlined, that's just rubbish. It's way too farfetched, even if they're stacking assumptions which may seem reasonable at first.

Overhead:
Their theory isn't that merely being upperclass makes you greedy, but a set of conditions common to upper class life may be causally linked with unethical behaviour.

And I wish them good luck proving it, because this collection of little flawed tests didn't.

Overhead:
They didn't make wild guesses. They used pre-existing research which determined that cars are "reliable indicators of
a person's social rank and wealth (Frank RJ (1999) Luxury Fever: Why Money Fails to Satisfy in an Era of Excess (Free
Press, New York, NY)" and then based a test around this.

That book doesn't seem to go into that. Also it can't control for personal choices or other's acces to the car. You'd need a rock-solid connection before you can base another assumption on that, and they haven't.

Overhead:
This isn't a valid criticism. A localised study like this is pretty typical. This is a completely untested theory. Why on earth would they conduct a massive world-wide study into something that might have been absolutely pointless?

Because their extremely generalising and specific conclusion demands this. Otherwise they shouldn't have drawn that conclusion, or make it limited in geographical scope and time.

I had a pretty solid base to say something about a regional identity in my thesis, but if I had started speaking about "regional identity" as a whole instead of just that one, it would've gone in the trash can without a second though. So should this research because of its bias and lack of control over their methods.

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