Extreme Wealth Inequality Is Bad for Everyone—Especially the Souls of the Super-Rich
Extremely concentrated wealth is bad for the people who possess it, sapping them of nobility, dignity, and charity.
The social reasons typically given for opposing large wealth inequalities—concentrated money buys elections, distorts democracy, deprives government of income, promotes a dominant and selfish ideology, etc.—do not statistically bear out. The more we search for the ability of wealth to skew society toward a few dark interests, the more we see the limits of wealth in achieving real social change, good or bad.
What does seem clear, however, is that extremely concentrated wealth is bad for the people who possess it, sapping them of nobility, dignity, and charity. In one experiment, observers clearly found that drivers of luxury cars were more likely to ignore traffic laws, putting pedestrians and fellow drivers at an increased risk. The author of that study and the leader of several similar ones is UC Berkeley's Dacher Keltner, who said:
"As you move up the class ladder, you are more likely to violate the rules of the road, to lie, to cheat, to take candy from kids, to shoplift, and to be tightfisted in giving to others. Straightforward economic analyses have trouble making sense of this pattern of results."
Rather than demand politicians take from the rich to give to the poor, it may be more effective to give the wealthy constant and visible reminders of how extreme wealth makes them worse off as people who have a meaningful role to play in the life of their community.
As Richard Branson puts it, with great wealth and power come great responsibility. This is why Branson encourages public scrutiny of how the wealthiest members of society spend their money:
Read more at the New Republic
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Alternative treatments are often better for noncancer pain, the study found.
- The study examined more than 26,000 people experiencing chronic pain.
- Opioids were only marginally better than placebos at treating pain and improving physical functioning.
- It's estimated that at least 2 million Americans have opioid use problems.
A new study from Nvidia researchers show just how far artificial image-generation technology has come in recent years.
- In 2014, researchers introduced a novel approach to generating artificial images through something called a generative adversarial network.
- Nvidia researchers combined that approach with something called style transfer to create AI-generated images of human faces.
- This year, the Department of Defense said it had been developing tools designed to detect so-called 'deepfake' videos.
Moving from HOT to HAT, a dazzling new acoustic technology.
- Scientists announce the ability to simultaneously manipulate individual levitated objects.
- Using high-frequency sound waves may provide a safer alternative to laser microsurgery.
- Video of the research looks like a cartoon, but it's all real.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.