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SigmaDarkTriad

Are the vast majority of successful people crooks?

43 posts in this topic

Its I guess dependend on what you consider crook. There are say loan sharks. There are people who are on the edge of law and sometimes cross the line without people even noticing. Or they give few dollars here and there to make people turn the blind eye. There are people who make lot of money honestly, but there also those who are both hard working and intelligent and yet crooked in some ways. Sometimes its even hard to say whether there are people who dont find ways to be dishonest. Being rich is with opportunity seeking and many people jump at any opportunity even if it is unehtical or wrong to be rich in certain way.

Then again some people always have the same narrative that the rich are really just crooks so they dont feel bad about being poor. Jumping on the moral high horse makes them feel more valuable.

Edited by Cacao

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I was watching a talk the other day where the speaker made the point that he felt that a fundamental thinking error people make, is associating success with badness. He examples where this can come from - family messaging, explanations for success we have heard or been given by others, social messaging, like movies where typically the wealthy or successful people are also the evil ones who have the hired helpers to ensure they can take anyone out in their way, to maintain their power base and get what they want. Think of the JR's and typical soap opera villains, high school Jocks or cheerleader beauty queens who are arrogant son's and daughters of wealthy powerful families, etc etc. The poor, ordinary, less attractive and less powerful person is the hero that takes them down. That there are a lot of value based messages through this kind of imagery that attach the value of badness to success  and goodness to lack of power and material or social success - this results in people perceiving those who have become successful as having got there through ill means, and/or finding it hard to achieve success themselves as there is a subconscious fear that arises when they start to work towards success and can result in self-sabotaging -  by achieving success it would 'turn them into' a bad person - if they have taken on board the idea that more often or not, successful people are self-serving, shallow, corrupt, immoral, uncaring of others etc. If this is contrary to their own values, then they do not want to arrive at the destination. 

I guess we have to make the bad guy/woman have the things that people envy or want as they need to have the power to wield to be a villain - and the stuff of our world that holds power is wealth, position, acquisitions, and followers etc. - to make it a story worth telling that the little guy can take him down.

Unless the success you are aiming for is to be the Pope one day then being a good Catholic is your boot camp towards that type of goal achievement :-)

It is good to challenge our thoughts about success and work out where they come from and the impact they are having, we may be inadvertently passing them on to the next generation / they are limiting our ability to achieve our own potential or enabling some unhelpful and untrue ideas to hang around in the social milieu. 

There are a lot of sayings that also support negative views - "Like Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely" - compared to the research link above that said in reality:

Quote

"Power frees us from the chains of conformity. As a team of psychologists led by Adam Galinsky finds, “power psychologically protects people from influence.” Because powerful people have plenty of resources, they don’t need to worry as much about the negative consequences of expressing their values. For givers, power is associated with responsibility to others. This means that power often grants givers the latitude to help others without worrying about exploitation by takers or sheer exhaustion. For takers, on the other hand, power is a license to advance their own interests."

 
 
 
2

Power only magnifies what is already there. 

It makes more sense to me that the majority of successful people are not crooks, even if some are, and are highlighted by the media to keep reinforcing these ideas. Yet I do think that those people who have a good measure of good values and success are often very careful about how their power is used and watch out for the pitfalls of power, fame, fortune. It must be hard as the one at the top to really know how all the people in the layers below are operating and it can be those people who are behaving in corrupt ways, however, the person at the top gets the blame for it as it is occurring within their brand.

Edited by Bluesea

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17 hours ago, zonsop said:

After posting that reply, your quote above is the part that I couldn't come to a conclusion on, though perhaps I should. I still don't know frankly. 

On the one hand, as you've correctly pointed out, it can be wrong, insensitive and counterproductive to scrutinize (I wouldn't say judge personally) an entire category of people. 

On the other hand, to inject some lightheartedness but also since it's concise,' with great power comes great responsibility'. The moderately wealthy (so millionaires to me, are just moderately wealthy simply because of the price of property in most cities anyway) aren't the ones that could cause issues, but the very top 1% in the world with their conglomerates? Maybe the pit bull bias isn't all bad then? 

Do you mean top 1%ers like Elon Musk and Warren Buffett? Oh wait, Musk's mission in life is to improve life for humanity through tech means and Buffett's a modest man who fights for the little guy, relative to how little tax billionaires pay in comparison to Joe Average. Buffett also donates billions annually towards charitable causes (almost $2.9B in 2016). What about Bill and Melinda Gates who've invested $1 billion towards educational grants for underprivileged children in Washington state alone, never mind the billions donated around the world to help the poverty stricken?

Now to flip this around, look at Trump (in the tune of a less than a couple of million) and the Waltons who give dick towards philanthropic efforts.

It's pretty safe to generalise that when people enact unethical business practices, that this type of behaviour is very likely to span their personal lives.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-boasts-of-his-philanthropy-but-his-giving-falls-short-of-his-words/2016/10/29/b3c03106-9ac7-11e6-a0ed-ab0774c1eaa5_story.html?utm_term=.2a4a03b4a760

Quote

It is impossible to know for certain what Trump has given to charity, because he has declined to release his tax returns. In all, The Post was able to identify $7.8 million in charitable giving from Trump’s own pocket since the early 1980s.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/06/03/report-walmarts-billionaire-waltons-give-almost-none-of-own-cash-to-family-foundation/#134567c17d52

Quote

 

The combined lifetime contributions of the second generation Walmart heirs and their family holding company to the Walton Family Foundation come to $58.49 million, or:

■■ About .04% of the Waltons’ net worth of $139.9 billion;
■■ About .34% of the estimated $17.1 Billion in Walmart dividends that Rob, Jim, Alice and Christy received during the years we analyzed;
■■ Less than one week’s worth of the Walmart dividends the Waltons will receive this year;
■■ Less than the estimated value of Rob Walton’s collection of vintage sports cars.

The report goes on to detail how the Foundation has been funded over the years, namely by tax-avoiding trusts established with assets provided by the late Sam, Helen and John Walton or their estates. The study found that 99% of the Foundation's contributions since 2008 have been channeled through 21 Charitable Lead Annuity Trusts. These CLATs, as they're known, are specifically designed to help ultra-wealthy families avoid estate and gift taxes.

 

Quote

And in the case of the female population, females who consistently and solely park themselves around rich males may come under scrutiny?

What if these women are also wealthy and how would you know? Not all wealthy people brag about their money.

Edited by Distance

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What really blows my mind is how many people consider the people helping the poor to be the bad ones, or the ones solving the problems. But treat the crooks like they treat the good guys, and suddenly its a step too far. 

Its idiotic. 

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On 20/04/2017 at 7:10 AM, SigmaDarkTriad said:

Are the vast majority of successful people crooks?

Apparently the vast majority of people of any sort are crooks.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/3044794/How-we-all-break-the-law-every-day.html

http://metro.co.uk/2015/07/07/the-10-laws-brits-admit-to-breaking-the-most-5285362/

Those are British links because Google is excessively parochial, but it seems unlikely that other countries are a lot more law-abiding.

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I agree with @Distance. Acting in one's own interest confers survival advantages. Thus, over the past several million years, humans who acted in their own interests survived to reproduce. Acting in our own interest is ingrained biologically.

Defining success as wealth accumulation is dangerous. Bill Gates' greatest success was bringing the power of computing to the masses. Warren Buffet's greatest success may be ensuring that sustained good and ethical business practices result in sustainable and competitive insurance companies.

 

Edited by byhisello99

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Crooks and Castles is kind of a trashy, cheap brand so I wouldn't use its mission statement as the premise for the life philosophy of the rich or anything.

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25 minutes ago, byhisello99 said:

I agree with @Distance. Acting in one's own interest confers survival advantages. Thus, over the past several million years, humans who acted in their own interests survived to reproduce. Acting in our own interest is ingrained biologically..

It is more complicated than that since all individuals are part of a group/tribe/community and the coherence of that group depends on adherence to its rules. If everyone acts in their own self interest, then their group bonding is weak and it loses out to more coherent groups. Thinking of evolution in terms of individual fitness is a mistake. History shows us that it was more about one group taking over another and enslaving or killing them, even the fittest members of the deposed group are taken down because they are alone.

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1 hour ago, thod said:

It is more complicated than that since all individuals are part of a group/tribe/community and the coherence of that group depends on adherence to its rules. If everyone acts in their own self interest, then their group bonding is weak and it loses out to more coherent groups. Thinking of evolution in terms of individual fitness is a mistake. History shows us that it was more about one group taking over another and enslaving or killing them, even the fittest members of the deposed group are taken down because they are alone.

Yep much like in war we have platoons where different guys take different risks. If every guy was doing his own thing always looking out for his own ass the unit would be killed of lot sooner. Sometimes the nobel guy took a bullet for a commrad. Sometimes they had to take out a machine gun nest where one guy would advance with a granade while others covered him. EIther way social structure always revolved around the principal of compromising between individual value and group value. In the end group has lesser value if it provides little to no individual value.

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6 hours ago, Distance said:

Do you mean top 1%ers like Elon Musk and Warren Buffett? Oh wait, Musk's mission in life is to improve life for humanity through tech means and Buffett's a modest man who fights for the little guy, relative to how little tax billionaires pay in comparison to Joe Average. Buffett also donates billions annually towards charitable causes (almost $2.9B in 2016). What about Bill and Melinda Gates who've invested $1 billion towards educational grants for underprivileged children in Washington state alone, never mind the billions donated around the world to help the poverty stricken?

Excellent examples here Distance. 

6 hours ago, Distance said:

What if these women are also wealthy and how would you know? Not all wealthy people brag about their money.

Personally, I'd skip the analogy to women altogether, because the rhetoric that emerges, at least to me, isn't quite comparable to the OP. 

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Just now, zonsop said:

Personally, I'd skip the analogy to women altogether, because the rhetoric that emerges, at least to me, isn't quite comparable to the OP. 

You don't like being negatively judged as part of a group but feel it's fair to judge 1%ers with bias? Let's look at what bias has done to blacks, creating a cradle to prison pipeline. Or Muslims because a small fraction has engaged in terrorism. Or mental health sufferers because of the small percentage who mass murdered innocents? And last, to Godwin we must must go, the holocaust.

I've used the term 1%er in a negative manner too but it was to solely describe the unethical/criminal portion of their socio-economic strata. I don't judge people for their wealth or not, only judging them as individuals. Often, I find people wanting, regardless of wealth or not.

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Just now, Distance said:

You don't like being negatively judged as part of a group but feel it's fair to judge 1%ers with bias?

Distance, I have no problem going through subtle checks of whether I'm a gold-digger by rich dudes. I do actually respect them a little more than those who just throw expensive gifts at me.

I just don't think that women have power that includes influencing market prices of commodities or selling of weapons to rebels or running of conglomerates that own 100 other companies just because of their gender. 

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1 minute ago, zonsop said:

Distance, I have no problem going through subtle checks of whether I'm a gold-digger by rich dudes. I do actually respect them a little more than those who just throw expensive gifts at me.

I just don't think that women have power that includes influencing market prices of commodities or selling of weapons to rebels or running of conglomerates that own 100 other companies just because of their gender. 

Now I'm losing patience since you keep isolating a fraction of my posts, disregarding the most important elements of them, that of how prejudice is seriously fucked up and anyone with half a brain should be able to figure out how destructive it can be.

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37 minutes ago, zonsop said:

Excellent examples here Distance. 

Distance, with regards to the OP and how there are numerous examples of successful and rich people giving back heaps to the community? I've already agreed with you. 

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Wealthy people are held to a higher standard in most people's eyes because almost everyone believes that wealth is a virtue. This is why wealthy people's behavior is put under a microscope and judged so harshly - when really the ethics and morals in the rich are as diverse as the rest of the population.

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11 hours ago, GhenghisKhan said:

Pablo Escobar also gave a lot to charity I heard!

perhaps but would deeply suspect this was an effort toward manipulation much more so than altruism.

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In my continent, yes. Crooks have been in power since forever, and modelled the system so only crooks can be in power.

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