Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why the Rich feel Superior to You

..and why many have such bloated egos.

Have you ever wondered why the ridiculously wealthy look down at you like an insignificant bug? Or why people such as Newt Gingrich speaks down to you condescendingly as though you were a small child, or someone who's only 3/5ths human? Or when someone like the CEO of a company walks by you on the factory floor and looks blankly at you as though you were a mere widget or robot?

Why are the wealthy and powerful so disconnected from the rest of humanity, and think of themselves far superior to the rest of the human race? And why are their egos sometimes 1,000 times taller than they are?

We all remember when Donald Trump was so proud of himself when he took credit for President Obama producing his birth certificate. And then again recently when he took credit for boosting Mitt Romney's votes after endorsing him in Las Vegas (which also proved to be wrong). I was surprised that Donald Trump didn't take all the credit for killing Osama Bin Laden. This, from a man who has his name TRUMP on everything he owns, from his helicopters and hotels, to the labels in his underwear.

We have wealthy people like Mitt Romney who aren't very concerned about the very poor, and Newt Gingrich who believes Americans prefer food stamps over jobs. These men are running to be the president of our country, but have absolutely no clue as to what the American people want, or how they feel. Wealthy people live in a much different world than the rest of us do.

As a Silicon Valley CEO, Eric Schmidt made $7 million in 1999 and once had a fairly humble view of the world. As he told Forbes back then: “I realize I don’t have my wealth because I’m so brilliant. Luck has a lot to do with it.”

Two years later, Schmidt became the CEO at Google and quickly ramped up his net worth to nearly $6 billion. Then last month Schmidt blamed high U.S. unemployment on American workers who don’t have "adequate skills".

People like Trump, Romney, Gingrich, and Schmidt feel as much empathy for American workers as did Steve Jobs when President Obama had once asked him, "What would it take to make iPhones in the United States? Why can’t that work come home?" Mr. Jobs’s reply was simply, “Those jobs aren’t coming back."

The wealthy in America seem more inclined to be more full of themselves than in other countries because the wealth inequality is so much greater in the United States. Too Much OnLine sent out a weekly newsletter with an article titled How to Squelch the Inner Blowhard in Us All, and explains this disconnect the wealthy have with ordinary people...and why their egos are so out of proportion to the rest of humanity.

People quite full of themselves populate every society, and, in fact, most all of us have at one time or another exaggerated our talents and character. Psychologists know this phenomenon well. They even have a term of art for it: “biased self-perception.” (I would call them narcissistic and evil psychopaths.)

Psychologists have also understood, for many years now, that levels of “biased self-perception” can vary substantially from one society to the next. Japan, for instance, sports much less “biased self-perception” than the United States.

Investigators have generally credited that difference to meta cultural differences. Cultures in the United States and the rest of the West, the argument goes, value “personal success and uniqueness.” In Japan and the East, culture places more value on “interpersonal harmony and belonging.”

But new research recently published in the journal Psychological Science (by a team of 19 psychologists from all around the world) directly challenges this meta cultural cast on “biased self-perception.”

Psychologist Steve Loughnan from Britain's University of Kent and his fellow researchers have studied survey responses from over 1,600 people in 15 different countries. They’ve concluded that culture doesn’t explain national differences in “biased self-perception.” But economic inequality does.

People in more unequal societies — like Singapore and the United States — “tend to view themselves as superior to others,” the psychologists found. On the other hand, people in societies with less income inequality — Japan and Germany, for instance — “tend to see themselves as more similar to their peers.”

Why does inequality have this impact? Loughnan and his colleagues do some speculating. In more unequal societies, the psychologists point out, the gaps — and rewards — that divide people run more extreme. Where you stand in the pecking order matters more. The pressure from that mattering may create some powerful motivation for people to want “to stand out as superior to others.”

In more equal societies, the researchers surmise, people may feel “a pressure to seem more similar to others.” This pressure encourages modesty and discourages people from spouting off about their superiority to others, be that superiority real or just perceived.

That might help explain Donald Trump's bloated ego.

Social scientists have postulated this dynamic in the past, most recently in a landmark 2010 book by epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett titled The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. Loughnan and his investigative team have now backed up those projections with compelling data. In the process, they've given us still another glimpse at how economic inequality is souring the daily lives we live.

And what do people like Mitt Romney, the leading GOP candidate for President, stand for? Even more income inequality by protecting preferential tax rates for the very wealthy, while at the same time, tearing down our social safety net for the poor that he claims: "If it needs a repair, I'll fix it". But the holes are already huge, and growing larger every day.

Mitt Romney truly believes that just by being very wealthy, and saving himself from having to pay higher taxes on his "carried interest" and "capital gains", that that in itself should qualify him to sit in the Oval Office of the White House; and that he has the supreme ability to put all the bugs back to work earning low-paying jobs without any job security at all - - - just so that he and his political campaign contributors* can become even more wealthy, powerful, and superior to the rest of us.

* Over the course of the 2012 election, President Obama's presidential campaign has received about one dollar in donations from the financial sector for every five dollars given to his top competitor, Mitt Romney...this is solid PROOF that Mitt represents the 1% while Obama represents the 99%.

A quarter of the money amassed by Romney's campaign and an allied super PAC has come from just 41 people, each of whom has given more than $100,000, according to a Washington Post analysis of disclosure data.

Some of Romney's biggest supporters include executives at Bain Capital, his former firm; bankers at Goldman Sachs; and a hedge fund mogul who made billions betting on the housing crash...the top 1%.

Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife (owners of the Las Vegas Sands) have already given Newt Gingrich $10 million.

“Of course these guys are going to give a million dollars,” as U.S. senator Al Franken from Minnesota noted last week. “What a bargain — what a bargain to give that to a candidate who they know will veto a bill that makes the carried interest subject to the top income tax rate."

1 comment:

  1. It's really simpler than any study. The fact is the rich can buy public opinion and twist it to suit their own selfish purposes, and the rest of us can't.