Matthew Hutson writes: “Humans have a natural tendency to break the rules to achieve their own ends (we cheat more when our sense of self-control is depleted, which psychologists take as evidence that this is a deep-seated inclination), and those with power generally have the means to do so. They’re given more leeway in their daily lives, and they can better deal with the consequences of getting caught. They’re also generally less dependent on others, making them more self-focused. So they behave more unethically, but only when it benefits them. People with less money (and therefore less power), however, are more communal. They need to rely on each other to get by, and as a result, research shows, they’re more compassionate and empathically accurate. Breaking rules is always risky, but social cohesion is paramount — so you do what it takes to help those around you.”

Advertisements