“Look both ways before crossing”

Posted: 31 October 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,


You have to look both ways before crossing—because, if the driver is rich, they’re more likely to run you over.

That’s one of the results of the research project directed by Dacher Keltner, which I wrote about back in 2011. The video above [ht: ke] presents other results of their project on the behavioral effects of inequality.

The key, it seems to me, is not that rich people per se display behavioral pathologies—or, for that matter, that poor people are noble. It’s that, within the context of the grotesque inequalities created by current economic arrangements, the rich person is “just as enslaved. . .as is his opposite pole,” the poor person, “albeit in a quite different manner.”*


*The full quotation, one of my favorites from volume 1 of Capital, in the section on the “Results of the Immediate Process of Production” (p. 990), is as follows:

The self-valorization of capital—the creation of surplus-value—is therefore the determining, dominating, and overriding purpose of the capitalist; it is the absolute motive and content of his activity. And in fact it is no more than the rationalized motive and aim of the hoarder—a highly impoverished and abstract content which makes it plain that the capitalist is just as enslaved by the relationships of capitalism as is his opposite pole, the worker, albeit in a quite different manner.

  1. […] of the world. As it turns out, Dacher Keltner (whose research I have discussed before, here and here) has (with coauthor Michael W. Kraus) done just that. And the results are […]

  2. […] literature on the behavioral effects of inequality, about which I’ve written before (here and here). The latest contribution to this literature was just published in the Journal of […]

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