Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Eric Dolan discusses Paul Piff's research showing that wealth tends to lead to antisocial behaviour - and that even the beneficiaries of a rigged Monopoly game are quick to take on an air of entitlement:
Across multiple studies, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have found that being in the upper-class predisposes individuals to acting unethically.

Studies conducted by psychology professor Paul Piff found those who drive luxury cars were less likely to stop for pedestrians, those with more money were more likely take candy from children, and the wealthiest among us were more likely to cheat in a game with a $50 cash prize. Researchers at UC Berkeley have also found lower-class individuals are more physiologically attuned to the suffering of others than their middle- and upper-class counterparts.
Though some might assume the wealthy gained their riches due to their unethical behavior, the effect appears to work in the opposite direction. Being wealthy is what drives the unethical behavior.

Piff manipulated the rules of a Monopoly game to show even lower class people began to take on the traits of the wealthy when provided with unfairly favorable circumstances. Those given an unfair advantage surprisingly believed they deserved to win the game. They attributed their successes to their own individual skills and talents, rather than their highly favorable circumstances. A higher class person put in an unfavorable position, on the other hand, began to take on the traits of the poor.
- And we're not lacking for examples of the treatment of those who dare to question their social betters. For one, Brian Haas reports an attempt to shut down discussion about water quality by labelling any concerns as "acts of terrorism". And Save Our Connaught discusses the refusal of most of Regina's public school board to so much as allow a citizen's group to test the accuracy of its assumptions in deciding to replace Connaught School.

- But it seems fairly clear that an informed public becomes duly skeptical of any claims to elite entitlements - with both Michael den Tandt and Tim Harper noting that the Clusterduff has broken the seal on serious questions about the Ottawa culture of secrecy cultivated by the Harper Cons. 

- Finally, Jim Stanford makes the case for a greater public role in shaping economic development. And Don Weisbeck criticizes the deception involved in hiding public debt through P3 schemes.

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