Scientific research proves rich folk are more likely to steal sweeties aff weans. Or, as it is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the US: "Upper-class individuals are more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies."
Wealthy people are also more odds-on than the poor to "take valued goods from others, lie in a negotiation, cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize and endorse unethical behaviour at work".
Studies conducted by psychologists at the University of California Berkeley showed a four-fold greater incidence of drivers in expensive cars breaking traffic rules at road junctions. In a dice game where honesty was required, the better-off participants more often lied and cheated, even for a relatively insignificant $50 prize.
Another test involved a jar of sweets which, it was made clear, was intended for children helping in a nearby lab. The well-heeled were observed to help themselves to the goodies more extensively than lower-income subjects in the group.
How could people of high socio-economic status stoop so low? Dr Paul Piff of Berkeley said in interviews the richer folk showed "more favourable attitudes towards greed". They were less concerned with what others thought of their actions than poorer people.
I imagine some of those who have accrued wealth will lie and cheat just because they can. They have more chance of getting away with it because they can afford better lawyers. And clever accountants to avoid paying tax.
Many are able to help themselves because they make the laws. Like our members of Parliament did before the rules on expenses were changed (a wee bit).
The above tests were carried out on Californians. But the conclusions, says Dr Piff, will be relevant all over the world. The penchant for pauchling by high-earners will be more pronounced in societies where wealth is particularly ill-divided.
I should perhaps make my own position clear on the issue of stealing sweeties aff weans. I would never do such a thing. But I occasionally help young ones to consume their confectionery.
This teaches them to share and it's better for their wee teeth. Sadly, this assistance is often best given covertly when their attention to the sweetie packet is distracted.
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