Saturday, April 07, 2007

Disinhibited/Oblivious Behavior in the Rich and Powerful

Research findings cited by Conniff indicate are that rich or powerful people lose inhibitions, sometime in ways that get them in trouble. The particularly interesting aspect of this that the effect seems to be almost instantaneous--even in contrived situations, where an arbitrary person is given nominal power, the effect manifests.

The whole topic is interesting enough, and really doesn't seem so surprising when you think about it. The aspect I would like to see discussed more is the moral/ethical counter-balance that perhaps was sometimes more present pre-modernity. I am thinking of concepts such noblesse oblige, or Christian humility, which, when operative, could give rise to a strong, deeply felt internal check on such overprivileged behavior.

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