Does having money and status make you more likely to be a bad person?
Discover what Paul Piff’s fascinating research reveals about money and human behaviour.
Paul Piff, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, studies how wealth affects people’s behaviour. In this 16-minute long TED-talk Paul reveals some rather nasty findings.
In particular, his research indicates that the more wealth and status you have the more
self-focused and less ethical you’ll be.This is scary as we know that most people who make the big decisions in our world are both wealthy and have high social status.
Paul’s research also made me think of how important money is for living a happy life.
For sure, having enough money to provide for our basic needs such as food and shelter is crucial. But, if Mr. Piff’s research is right and having more money leads to less compassion and ethical behaviour, will rich people live less happier lives?
I think Abraham Lincoln answered this question wisely: “When I do good I feel good; when I do bad I feel bad, and that is my religion”. Said differently, if you’re amongst the people of wealth and status who lack compassion and morals you will suffer.
So what’s the take home message from all if this?
Interestingly, some people have criticised my post on the four most important things in life as it doesn’t include money. I think having enough money to meet your basic needs is critical, but I’m not convinced that money beyond that will lead to you living a happier life.
To me it seems that people who already have lots of money and status should take a look in the mirror and evaluate how nice they are being to others. And, perhaps people whose main goal in life is to make money should think twice before pursuing such a goal.
Now I want to hear what you think
Does being rich and having social status often lead to less compassionate and ethical behaviour?
How important is money is for living a happy life?
NB: I’ve borrowed the breaking bad photo from here. Thanks.