It’s nice to see science magazines writing about money
This time , it’s trying to find a link between wealth and (a lack of) ethics.
This is not a new notion, just check out Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and it’s offshoot – and my favorite cartoon character – Scrooge McDuck and you need look no further.
But, I think that these scientists – and authors and cartoonists – miss the point:
You do not have to be unethical to make money …
… and, I think that it actually harms your chances as people often can spot unethical tendencies and will take that (correctly) as a sign that they cannot trust you.
However, if the study is correct, I think one explanation may simply be that wealthy people have been exposed to more opportunities to make the “should I be ethical or unethical in this situation?” decision.
More exposure simply means more unethical behavior evidenced.
For example, working on a production line may not produce wealth …
… but, it also may not produce many opportunities to take unethical action during the 8 hours a day that you are at work.
[AJC: although, you may have plenty of opportunity to indulge in unethical behavior after hours if that is your bent]
However, being in business or running around making real-estate investments may give you plenty of extra opportunities to (a) become wealthy and (b) exhibit unethical behavior both during and after hours, thereby giving you twice the exposure to both potential outcomes.
So, I think it is a case of increased exposure rather than cause and effect …
What do you think? Do you need to be unethical to make money? If so, is that a ‘cost’ you are willing to carry?