Monday, October 31, 2011

Proof that CEOs are Evil Psychopaths

Eli Roth has been putting the fear of god into moviegoers since the debut of his 2002 hit, Cabin Fever. Now Roth takes a look at real-life human horrors in "How Evil Are You", a new installment in Discovery's Curiosity series.

Eli Roth and his team recreate the infamous Milgram Experiment from the 60s, which aimed to discover the correlation between authority and morals, in hopes of explaining the Nazi mentality. A shocking experiment in every sense of the word.

Originally, The Milgram Experiment studied obedience towards authority figures. The study began in July of 1961 as a series of notable experiments in social psychology conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, “which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience”.

At the heart of the Milgram Experiment is the study of human reaction to obedience. Without hesitation, seventy percent of individuals comply with orders given by authority. There are varying degrees of obedience that commonly exemplify this point.

Eli Roth discusses this in a recent interview:

"I've always been fascinated with the concept that evil doesn't actually exist -- that it's really all about your point of view. A suicide bomber, to one group, is the anti-Christ and to another group, they're a hero. Obviously certain acts are unquestionably evil, but most often when people commit these acts, they totally feel justified in doing them. And that is the most disturbing and terrifying thing. There's nothing scarier than when someone does something thinking they're on the side of right."

"We talk about the Milgram Experiment a lot in the show and recreating them was something I've always wanted to do, but wondered if you actually could. There's stricter rules now -- you can't just let someone shock another person to death, but you can certainly do the experiment. And, honestly, I've shot some disturbing scenes before, but there was nothing more disturbing than watching another person shock someone, hearing the person scream, 'Please stop, please stop, I have a heart condition.' And the scientist just says,'continue'. So they keep going."

"Growing up in a Jewish household with Holocaust education, you think about it a lot. How could these people who were educated do what they did? I've always wondered how that happens. What I've learned from doing this, what I really saw, was that people need authority in their lives. We need to feel like, if there's trouble, there's a policeman right there. And we like that there are fire trucks when there’s a fire. And when someone's sick, there's an ambulance right there. We need to believe that's all in place in order for us to function. But that authority can cross over into a dangerous area when people learn not to question it. And what's crazy is if people can displace guilt and responsibility on a third party, they're capable of anything."

"Look no further than Occupy Wall Street. I mean, those people down there truly believe that these [Wall Street] people are evil. And the [CEOs] are there are saying, 'We're not evil. We are educated, we worked hard, this is how the system is -- we're in a Capitalist society. Our goal is to make money. Why are we all pretending it's not?'"

"Look at what happened in the banking industry. It makes you absolutely sick, but to those bankers and those corporations and those CEOs, they see themselves as saviors. Ultimately they feel that what they do is for the good of the country because they've just hired thousands of employees. It very quickly gets into this grey area of who is evil? And everybody thinks that they're right and the other person is evil. So it’s very hard to qualify what evil is. It really depends on which side of the corner you're on."

“The same qualities that are in a psychopath or serial killer are the qualities we look for in a CEO. You want them to kill the competition and make tough decisions, to be a strong leader, a dictator, a president. They have similar brain functions to a psychopath -- or someone that can just turn off and kill another person.”

Richard Severin "Dick" Fuld, Jr. was the final Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers. He had held this position until 2008 when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection.

In October 2008, Fuld was among twelve Lehman Brothers executives who received grand jury subpoenas in connection to three criminal investigations led by the United States Attorney's offices.

Richard Fuld's face was the universal symbol of Wall Street greed. After Lehman Brothers had filed the largest bankruptcy in history, Fuld was before Henry A. Waxman, who chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Waxman has stared down plenty of CEOs over the years, yet this had to be one of the most intense confrontations of his career.

"Mr. Fuld will do fine," Waxman said. "He can walk away from Lehman a wealthy man who earned over $500 million. But taxpayers are left with a $700 billion bill to rescue Wall Street and an economy in crisis."

On November 10, 2008 Fuld transferred his Florida mansion to his wife Kathleen for one hundred dollars in order to protect the house from potential legal actions against him. They had bought it four years earlier for $13.56 million.

In late March 2009 Fuld had an email sent out stating that he joined Matrix Advisors, a New York-based hedge fund. In May 2010 Fuld was registered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority as employed by Legend Securities, a securities brokerage and investment banking firm in New York.

Richard Fuld (part of the top 1%) kept his money and house, never went to jail, and is working in the same business and in the same town doing what he did before the collapse of the financial markets. (At his age, and with all that money, why didn't he just retire? Insatiable?)

See my article on greed called Yes Dammit, Spread the Wealth Around! (Is greed good?)

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