Rich People Just Care LessBy Daniel Goleman
A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power. This has profound implications for societal behaviour and government policy. Tuning in to the needs and feelings of another person is a prerequisite to empathy, which in turn can lead to understanding, concern and, if the circumstances are right, compassionate action. In politics, readily dismissing inconvenient people can easily extend to dismissing inconvenient truths about them. As political scientists have noted, redistricting and gerrymandering have led to the creation of more and more safe districts, in which elected officials don’t even have to encounter many voters from the rival party, much less empathize with them. Social distance makes it all the easier to focus on small differences between groups and to put a negative spin on the ways of others and a positive spin on our own.
..[…]… even in areas where ethnic groups were in conflict and viewed one another through lenses of negative stereotypes, individuals who had close friends within the other group exhibited little or no such prejudice. Whether such friendly social contact would overcome the divide between those with more and less social and economic power was not studied, but I suspect it would help. Since the 1970s, the gap between the rich and everyone else has sky-rocketed. Reducing the economic gap may be impossible without also addressing the gap in empathy.
I wonder if this was a surprise to anyone?
- Rich Care Less (politicalstrategynyu.wordpress.com)
- ‘Rich People Just Care Less’ (economistsview.typepad.com)
- Why the Rich and Powerful Have Less Empathy (alternet.org)
- Inequality and the empathy gap (washingtonmonthly.com)
- The Apathy of the Wealthy (arjay.typepad.com)