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  1. #1
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    Wealthy people more likely to cheat, lie and break the law...?

    I thought this was pretty interesting. I'm not sure of the sample size, though; it's just stated to be more than 1,000.


    In results from seven separate studies, they found a consistent tendency among those they termed “upper-class” to be more likely to break the law while driving, take valued goods from others, lie in negotiations, cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize and endorse unethical behaviour at work.

    The reason for the ethical difference was simple, according to the paper being published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a leading U.S. science journal. Wealthier people are more likely to have an attitude that greed is good.
    At first glance, it might seem more likely that poorer people would be more tempted to cheat or break the law, in order to improve their lot in life. But a growing body of research is coming to the opposite conclusion – that it’s people at the top of the income scale for whom honesty, integrity, and generosity seem to be a challenge.

    In the United States, for instance, despite the perception that the rich are great philanthropists, data show that upper-class households donate a smaller proportion of their incomes to charity than do lower-class families. Other research has found that those who are well off have a reduced concern for others.

    mv

  2. #2
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    Haha...first thing through my mind when I read thread title: Of course...how do you think they became wealthy to start with ?

  3. #3
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    Though, I'm curious, is this US-only?

  4. #4
    GWOnline.Net Member Kael Valeran's Avatar
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    “upper-class” to be more likely to break the law while driving, take valued goods from others, lie in negotiations, cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize and endorse unethical behaviour at work.
    Biased.

    1) Rich people have car insurance, and most people who don't pay car insurance and drive illegally are poor people. Bet this was neglected in the studies
    2) Take valued goods from others... uh... not really a valid point unless you are accusing them of theft, otherwise its just capitalism. Who are the ones who abuse free healthcare systems and go to hospital drunk? Who are the ones who burden the healthcare cost of society and the people around them by smoking cigarettes?
    3) Lie in negotiations? Everything is only valid in business when printed in black and white with a valid signature. This is common rule.
    4) Cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize... same as getting a better tutor for your kid. Think out of the box. Only if the T&Cs covers it will the action be considered cheating.
    5) Endorse unethical behaviour at work: -.- Really? Who are the ones who go to work drunk? Who are the people who secretly smoke in the toilet. Last I check, the demographics for smokers were poor people of lower socioeconomic status.

    And no, I am not rich(yet).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kael Valeran View Post
    Biased.

    1) Rich people have car insurance, and most people who don't pay car insurance and drive illegally are poor people. Bet this was neglected in the studies
    2) Take valued goods from others... uh... not really a valid point unless you are accusing them of theft, otherwise its just capitalism. Who are the ones who abuse free healthcare systems and go to hospital drunk? Who are the ones who burden the healthcare cost of society and the people around them by smoking cigarettes?
    3) Lie in negotiations? Everything is only valid in business when printed in black and white with a valid signature. This is common rule.
    4) Cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize... same as getting a better tutor for your kid. Think out of the box. Only if the T&Cs covers it will the action be considered cheating.
    5) Endorse unethical behaviour at work: -.- Really? Who are the ones who go to work drunk? Who are the people who secretly smoke in the toilet. Last I check, the demographics for smokers were poor people of lower socioeconomic status.

    And no, I am not rich(yet).
    Wow.

    Kael. Wow.

    I don't know about in your country, but alcoholism, drugs at work, etc. are all very much white collar crimes where I'm from.

    Wow, man.

  6. #6
    GWOnline.Net Member Kael Valeran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDarken View Post
    Wow.

    Kael. Wow.

    I don't know about in your country, but alcoholism, drugs at work, etc. are all very much white collar crimes where I'm from.

    Wow, man.
    Drugs, maybe affect the rich, but alcohol hit both sides. Smoking(which I am definitely sure) affects mostly people of lower socio-economic status. I cannot stand street pubs and clubs because idiots decide to smoke in the toilets despite the new smoking ban. Indoor smoke is bad. Why can't they be more considerate?

    I'm talking about the UK, especially the abuse-the-healthcare part. Idiots come in drunk, get treated and come in drunk again. The A&E department is better off treating people with real problems and drunkards should head to their GP if they need help.

    In Singapore, its death sentence for drug-trafficking, most people who get caught are poor(and retarded). Tax for alcohol is about twice of that of UK and much less sources of low quality cheap beer and spirits. Abusing alcohol would very likely make you poor very quickly.

    When I shop in the UK, I flinch when I see people buy Tesco Value gin. The drop in quality is not worth it. Really, and who needs to drink that much alcohol!?

    Maybe the ultra rich people also act like idiots but they exist in much smaller numbers. I feel the middle class would be the most rational.

    Edit: Did a bit of research, turns out you are wrong.

    Alcohol and drug dependence fit in with the general pattern, with high rates found among those in social class V. Among men and women, alcohol and drug dependence are both much higher among the unemployed group. Social class is a risk factor for alcohol-related mortality, which is also linked to social structural factors such as poverty, disadvantage and social class (Harrison & Gardiner, 1999).

    http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/10/3/216.full
    Last edited by Kael Valeran; 28-02-2012 at 03:50.

  7. #7
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    There's a lot of automatic reaction against that study still Kael. Some good questions, but not enough to out-of-hand dismiss the study.
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  8. #8
    I don't know, I find myself siding with Kael here, even if his argumentation might be a bit poor (no pun intended). This "research" seems incredibly biased. Frankly, I'm not sure if you could do research on this that wouldn't be biased. The whole concept of the research leans towards finding an answer that leans either way, because the last thing you want is for it to be inconclusive. So some crimes are favoured above others in the research, and that really isn't a fair approach. Why for example specifically break the law while driving?

  9. #9
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    That journal has a fairly good reputation. By that I specifically mean it has high impact factor. (and yes, sometimes a somewhat lower impact factor is associated with longer more throughout articles) But it's hard to get published in PNAS and I would think that if the study had glaring flaws, it would have been rejected. Ok, some bad studies make it through the reviewing process, but it's not very likely.

    Bias is a fair concern, but you have to be careful not to throw that around just to dismiss what you disagree with. After all, that would be bias too. Asking for more controls and more measures is fine, but the assumption is that if anything, the results shouldn't change.
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  10. #10
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    Depending on who they call "rich" I would not be surprised if the findings were true. And not because "rich" people are less ethical, but because they have the means to get away with more; can afford better lawyers, can shrug off bigger fines etc. Basically, I think that if every group had the same chance of getting away with something, they would also commit at the same rate. The base human condition being pretty much universal.

    For instance, the most common person the police catch for speeding is a middle-aged white man in a suit, on a road he drives every day to/from work. (at least in Sweden, according to police statistics). For someone like that, a speeding ticket is nothing, he just pays and get on with his day. Whereas for someone with less means a speeding ticket can be a disaster. So who are more likely to take that chance? (Fun fact; in Finland speeding tickets are proportional to your income. Would be interesting to see if the proportions changed.)

    Also, substance dependence is common in all social groups (even though there are pattern differences on what kind of substances are abused), the biggest difference is that rich people can afford the habit to a much higher degree and can compensate with better health care and diet, and thus are not looked at as "addicts" in the same way.
    Last edited by Lensor; 28-02-2012 at 10:31.
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