86. The Negative Effects of Wealth & Success, and How to Exploit Them

8 important takeaways from this video:

00:00:50 In modern society, some people have access to a lot of wealth, status and valued resources, and a lot of people don’t.

How can being a privileged person in a rigged game change the way you think about yourself and treat other, less-advantaged, people?

Even in situations where the priviledged person was randomly awarded their priviledged position and knows he or she has the advantage, the priviledged person is more likely to:

  • Display more dominant and aggressive displays of power
  • Consume up to two-times more
  • Be proud of their material possessions and success
  • Become more rude towards the lesser-advantaged person
  • Feel less empathy and compassion towards others, while feellings of self-entitlement and self-interest tend to increase.
  • Become more self-serving and less likely to consider and cede to others
  • Be more likely to justify the positive aspects of greed, and (in everyday situations) less likely to offer assistance to lesser-advantaged people
  • Feel more entitled to their wealth and prioritize themselves above others
  • Lie, cheat, bribe, endorse unethical behavior and break the law in order to further reinforce their priviledged position to the detriment of others around them
  • Attribute their successes not to their initially priviledged position which had been randomly awarded to them, but rather to their own ingenuity, cunning and strategery

00:05:00 In modern society, some people have access to a lot of wealth, status and valued resources, and a lot of people don’t.

00:05:20 As a person becomes more and more wealthy, their ability to feel empathy and compassion tend to diminish, while feellings of self-entitlement and self-interest tend to increase.

00:06:00 Prosocial behavior are altruistic actions and deeds intended to benefit other people or society as a whole.

00:10:00 Placing yourself above others and antisocial behavior aren’t strictly limited to wealthier and more priviledged people; these behaviors are innate and everyone copes with these impulses in their own way.

The American dream is an idea in which we all have an equal opportunity to succeed and prosper, as long as you apply yourselves and work hard. This inevitably means that sometimes you need to put your own interests above the interests and well-being of other people around you.

00:11:20 Wealth is not only becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a select group of individuals, but the American dream is becoming increasingly unattainable for an increasing majority of us.

00:12:00 Economic ineqality is something to be concerned about because societies where there is a great disparateness of wealth tend to undermine advancement and quality of living for everyone.

00:13:40 Fortunately, people’s values are maleable, and small psychological interventions, nudges, and changes can re-balance equality and empathy and create a more homogeneous society.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In my interview, Rory Sutherland, Executive Creative Director and Vice-Chairman of Ogilvy speaks about nudge theory’s impact on advertising and branding.

Lastly, for more on personality, watch my lecture Managing Age, Culture & Personality Differences, Jerks & Assholes at Sup de Pub.]