Does wealth always make people less ethical?

People have always upheld the notion that the less privileged people in the society are likely to develop behaviours that are socially unacceptable like stealing or deceitfulness, while the well-to-do in the society seems to be highly respected, with high degrees of decency and ethics. However, money is generally blamed for being the root of the cause of all evil. Current research has shown that as an individual’s income increases so is the increase in the likelihood of unethical conduct. This shifts the stereotyping of the poor as being prone to unethical behaviour to the wealthy in the society. 


Poverty is NEVER Attractive

No individual would ever want to lack anything in life. Poverty is never attractive. Being poor is hard in that your life is full of struggles, making tough financial decisions, and trying, by all means, to look for ways to make ends meet. At times you may have to do without some necessities. Even with all the challenges, the poor in the society have been found more ethical that than the super-rich. Buchheit (2014) reports that an analysis of seven distinct psychological studies showed that the wealthy people in the society behave more unethically that individuals at the lower class. Through some series of experiments conducted the rich people are more likely to break traffic laws, unlawfully take people’s valuable properties, cheat in negotiations, and lie to win prizes. Some more obvious examples are cases of theft in banks and corporate tax avoidance which is always done by the upper-class individuals.

The rich mainly focus on self. Psychological studies have shown that the rich focus more on self than on other people. Lopatto (2012) observes that self-interest causes the upper-class individuals to cheat. It may not be that these individuals are generally bad but as one rises through the ranks, one automatically becomes self-focused. Research has demonstrated that as the social class rises there is an increase of selfishness to the point of frequently admiring themselves in a mirror. The rich feel that they deserve every good thing, and attribute their prosperity to their ‘superior’ qualities. On the other hand, the poor have been found to care more about other human beings through generous fiving and other help. The poor are good at interpersonal relations because they know that they need people in their lives. The upper class has almost everything and do not depend on other people hence they may not comprehend the needs and feelings of the underprivileged.

 Does wealth always make people less ethical?

Poverty is never attractive

The wealthy do not invest their money but spend luxuriously. Moran (1901) emphasizes that individuals have moral obligations to utilize his/her ability for the general good of the nation. He believes that it is ethical for any individual to make use of their wealth in whole or in part for the general good of the public. He observes that the wealthy indulge in luxurious lifestyle without remembering the poor. Moran asks whether it can be possible for a nation to declare that no citizen shall indulge in luxuries until all the underprivileged are fed and housed (p. 824). In the society that we are in the middle class are the main entrepreneurs. The upper-class do not risk their money in the name of creating jobs. Other than investing their money, the middle class give a higher percentage of their income to charitable organizations. In this respect, the rich are seen to give less, whereby approximately two-thirds of their donations are directed to their foundations and culture palaces such as theatres, museums and operas.

In conclusion, the low-income individuals play a big role in our society. They care for our sick, serve us food, and perform house chores for us with insignificant pay. They are the ones who struggle the more in society. These individuals deserve merit and appreciation for their hard work and perseverance in a world where the fortunate few are grabbing almost everything.