People born into money more sensitive to the plight of the poor than those from humble beginnings
People born with money are more sensitive to the plight of the poor than those who went from ‘rags to riches’, study claims
- People who have risen from poverty to wealth have less sympathy for the poor
- This could be because they see social mobility as easier, researchers suggest
- Study contradicts the popular belief that coming from a privileged background makes you more indifferent to the economic situation of others
People who have risen from poverty to wealth often boast of humble beginnings, and one might assume that they would be more sensitive to the plight of the poor than those who were born rich.
But a new study suggests that people who have gone from “rags to riches” are less likely to sympathize with the struggles of poverty than those who have always had money.
Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 people in the US and found that those who had climbed the economic ladder tended to view social mobility as easier than those who were born rich.
As a result, they had less sympathy for those who could not follow them.
This goes against the popular view that coming from a privileged background makes you more indifferent to the economic situation of others.
The news comes after Prince William was photographed earlier this month selling copies of the Big Issue to promote homelessness.
Prince William (pictured with Big Issue salesman Dave Martin) recently went ‘undercover’ as a Big Issue salesman to shed light on the issue of homelessness
Rich people are rather mean
Rich people are more mean, similar to Ebenezer Scrooge’s character in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, according to a new study that found that people from poorer backgrounds are more likely to be nice, like Tiny Tim and his family.
Analyzing data from 46,000 people in 67 countries, including information on wealth and levels of morality and conduct, helped a team from the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway, make their discovery.
This research suggests that the Disney movies, as well as figures of speech in classical literature, stand up to criticism, with a lack of wealth coupled with higher moral standards.
Though the link was relatively weak, it was an important discovery, according to the researchers, who said poorer people were more likely to donate to charities and aid.
“There are all kinds of stories and cultural stories about the rich, how they are and how they behave,” said lead author of the study Hyunjin Koo, of the University of California.
Our findings suggest that not all rich people can be the same. What seems to make a difference is how they got rich.”
The team conducted five different studies as part of their investigation.
The first surveyed 736 people in the US and found that people viewed the ‘Became Rich’ more positively than the ‘Born Rich’ and expected them to give more support to the poor and to Social Security.
This was true despite being told how hardworking people were in the two wealthy groups, the second study found.
Researchers conducted two more studies of 1,032 wealthy individuals, with annual incomes of $80,000 in one study and $142,501 in the other.
Here they found that those who became wealthy viewed social mobility as easier and therefore had less sympathy with those who were unable to change their predicament.
In a final study, the researchers asked 492 people to imagine themselves in a hypothetical company.
They were randomly divided into two groups, one where members rose through the ranks and one where people took top positions from the start.
The results showed that participants in the upwardly mobile group thought it was easier to get ahead and therefore had less sympathy with those who were still struggling.
“Just because someone has been in your shoes doesn’t mean they care,” said Mr. Koo.
“Overcoming a particular difficulty can naturally make people less sympathetic to those who experience the same difficulty because they have overcome it.”
People who were born rich are more sympathetic to the plight of the struggle of poverty than those who were once poor themselves, study finds
Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 people in the US and found that those who had climbed the economic ladder viewed social mobility as easier than those who were born rich.
The researchers said it’s too early to draw any firm conclusions about how upward mobility affects how people think, and say more research is needed.
“There are probably a lot of rich people who don’t fit the patterns we document and who are sympathetic to the poor and social security,” Koo said.
“We show basic trends, but there are probably many exceptions to the patterns we document.”
He added that the research suggests that people should consider the cultural narratives surrounding the two wealthy groups, and that social mobility can have unexpected social disadvantages — leaving those who have achieved success less sympathetic to others who are struggling.
He also said he would like to do more research on how race and gender might influence this perception and do similar studies outside the US.
The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science†
PRINCE WILLIAM ‘GOES UNDERCOVER’ AS BIG ISSUE SELLER TO SHINE A LIGHT ON HOMELESSNESS
The Duke of Cambridge left passersby stunned earlier this month when he went undercover to sell the special edition of the weekly to mark its 40th birthday.
He sold 32 copies of the Big Issue in less than an hour as he spent the day on the streets of Victoria, London.
Prince William also wrote for the magazine, explaining that he wanted to shed light on the issue of homelessness, recalling visiting a homeless shelter for the first time with his mother, the Princess of Wales. He added that Diana, “in her own inimitable style, was determined to shine a light on an overlooked, misunderstood problem.”
He even said he plans to take his children Prince George, eight, Princess Charlotte, seven, and Prince Louis, four, to the work of “fantastic” organizations he works with “just like my mother did for me.”
On Twitter, he said: “I have always believed in using my platform to bring attention and action to those who are struggling and I commit to doing what I can to put the spotlight on this solvable problem, not only today, but in the months and years to come.’