The title of this post should actually have been “How to think like a billionaire (if you really want to sink that low)”, which would be a more accurate description of the tone of what is to follow. Be forewarned, if this is not what you were expecting…
It has been said that the “rich” are not like “the rest of us”. Life experience has generally confirmed that idea, but my spin on the notion would be stated as “Thank God most of us are NOT like the rich!” (Refer to the teachings of Jesus Christ if you want my primary source for this viewpoint.)
Unfortunately, throughout my lifetime, it seems as if more and more people are accepting the warped mindset that the very wealthy have promoted by their words, actions…and propaganda.
While many evangelical Christians in the USA seem to believe that this country was founded on Christian principles and that we are a “Christian nation”, history and reality do not seem to support this belief. Much of the immigration from Europe and elsewhere has routinely been economically motivated, almost from the earliest settlers and pioneers. If anything, the “god” of the good old US of A is Mammon, as has been the case for centuries. For much of our history, Christians have often been as eager as anyone to jump on the boat as it sails toward greater prosperity, and have revised their doctrines and theology to support such efforts. In fact, the notion that prosperity is a reward for “godliness” has been widely adopted by American religion, at least since the days of the Puritans. Of course, if we follow through with the logical conclusion of this belief, it would mean that the most wealthy are the most godly and the poorest among us are the least godly. Both common sense (or reading the news) and socio-economic studies would indicate otherwise. In fact, the reverse is more often true.
Let us examine the words, deeds and beliefs of the very wealthy to posit what worldview they are most likely to embrace. In other words, we will try to get inside the head of someone who sees extreme wealth as a noble pursuit and even a birthright. Beware – that may be a much darker place than you really want to go!
First, these are my conclusions about the mindset of the wealthy, based on observation and study:
- Worth – Wealthy “elites” think that they are absolutely better than the rest of us and have the right to dictate the terms of our lives for us.
- Entitlement – The wealthy typically think that they have somehow “earned” their money by their own actions and often discount the advantages they were born with or opportunities they happened into by chance.
- Selfish – They think that their wealth belongs solely to them (and perhaps their family), and fight against anyone they see as a threat to gaining and keeping as much as possible, including government, and all other humans in the “lower classes”.
- Uncharitable – They tend to be far stingier toward charity causes than middle and lower socio-economic classes (as a percentage of income or holdings).
- Emotionally Underdeveloped – They often seem to be emotionally childlike, throwing tantrums when they don’t get their own way. (Some would also say extremely insecure, since wealth can be used as a form of “protection” from the rest of the world.)
- Power-seekers – They may believe that anyone can be bought to do want they want, if the price is right, so wealth becomes a substitute for legitimate power and authority that is earned by merit, or the consent of the governed.
- Persecution Complex – They believe that they are unduly burdened by the federal tax system, even though many, if not most, game the system to see how little they can pay in taxes (and boast about it). They believe that others have an easier life than they do (since maintaining and growing wealth may take 60 – 80 hours per week of work).
So based on these traits, how should one think and act to be like a rich person? Read on…
Helpful Hints – How to Think and Act “Rich”
[Caution – satirical content to follow!]
- Always think of your own interests as more important than anyone else’s.
<Rich People Are Mean, But Does It Pay To Be Nice?>
- Buy influence (politicians, judges, media) as needed to get special favors and preferential treatment.
<At Koch Retreat, Top GOP Senate Candidates Credited Koch Network For Their Rise>
- Denigrate, mock or demonize anyone else who did not have your advantages (or luck) in life as “lazy”, “making poor decisions”, “leeches on society”, etc. Discuss this viewpoint in social events with your socio-economic peers to reinforce your belief that this is actually true. This helps you to not feel guilty about taking advantage of them and having no concern for their human worth. Besides, they were probably “destined” to their humble lot in life and they should just learn to deal with it.
- Consider those working for “you” as merely economic units that must be optimized by reducing expenses (pay and benefits) and maximizing output (money or value created for the organization). Use deception, threat, and bribery as needed to keep these economic units “motivated”. Don’t feel obligated to honor any past promises or commitments to these units of human capital, since they are really just tools to help you “win” and have no inherent worth.
- Study the beliefs and actions of “successful” sociopaths and psychopaths, since these will be your best role models.
- If you ever have pangs of conscience about the ethics, morality or legality of what you are doing, repeat to yourself self-justifying phrases, such as: “If I don’t do this someone else will”, “This is just how the game is played – I didn’t make the rules” or “Everyone I know is doing the same thing – if they can get away with it, so can I”.
- Keep repeating to yourself “there is no hereafter, so I have to get all I can in this life, any way that I can”. This helps keep things in proper perspective as you “exploit”, or rather, “utilize” those around you who are constrained by limiting beliefs, such as hope of eternal rewards or justice on this earth.
- To help maintain a deadened conscience, avoid hanging around with people of high morals, and mock them as naïve do-gooders. If you find anyone of high moral standards or strong character within your organization, get rid of them immediately, lest their example encourages others to become the same way. These types are harder to control, since their silence, conformity and compliance might not be bought off by giving them more money (like most of the personnel in your organization).
- Always try to hang out socially with positive and upbeat people with a good outlook on life. (Ignore the obvious fact that it is much easier to stay positive when all your basic human needs are already met.) Blame anyone with a “negative” outlook (regardless of how difficult their life circumstances might be) as responsible for their own difficulties in life. By the way, if anyone within your socio-economic peer class falls on hard times, avoid them at all costs and pretend you don’t know them if you ever see them again. You don’t want their “bad luck” or “negative energy” to rub off on you. If you actually listen to the events that led to their downfall, you might come to realize that the same thing might happen to you someday. Perish that thought!
- If anyone around you seems to be getting more “charitable” or “humane”, avoid that person like the plague. This softening of the heart may tend to occur in later years when people start to have grandchildren and begin thinking about the consequences of their past actions on future generations. When “one of us” goes down that path, you never know how generous they might become in trying to help others with their wealth.
- Use “spokespersons” in politics and media to try to convince others that “greed is good”. This keeps the public from noticing that your viewpoints reflect your interests, not theirs.
- If necessary, appeal to noble concepts like “fairness, justice, hard work, family values, and patriotism” in public statements while actually ignoring these principles in practice. You know that morals, ethics and laws are intended to control the rest of society, not the privileged class, such as yourself.
- If you must pretend to be “religious” as accommodation for the local popular culture, be sure not to take it too seriously. If the preaching gets too close to revealing your true self, buy off the local church leaders with a large donation, then keep reminding them how much you have given. Repeat as needed, if they step on your toes by talking about sentimental nonsense such as “love, kindness, forgiveness, generosity and self-sacrifice”. These are well and good for others, but of course, do not actually apply to you. In fact, when the majority of society believes this stuff, it becomes even easier to exploit them and get away with it. Talk about a win-win situation!
- If anyone in the government class dares to try to impose or enforce any environmental, health or safety regulations, send your lobbyists to Washington to warn the uncooperative politicians that having to obey the law is an undue economic hardship that will cost “jobs”. (These are of course “jobs” that do not exist and are not intended to be created – this is just a blanket scare tactic that works well on the political types.)
- Always remember, life is a game, so play to win – always! (First rule of the game: whoever dies with the most “‘toys” wins!)
[P.S. – This portrayal is a caricature of the stereotypical “wealthy elite”, and certainly does not reflect all of those in the upper 1% of household income. But presenting such a broad-brushed indictment is not really all that different from the stereotypical view about those in the lower quartile of income (poor) who are portrayed as lazy, unmotivated, and irresponsible persons living on public assistance rather than contributing (economically) to society. Each stereotype has some element of truth, but reality is much more complex than these simplistic broad generalizations.]
(Apologies for strange table formatting, but after many attempts, have not been able to retain table column width when pasting in from another application.)
|If I Were A Rich Man||“Psychologists show how pursuit of material wealth and pursuit of happiness are not the same.”||http://www.apa.org/research/action/rich.aspx|
|6 studies on how money affects the mind||“How does being rich affect the way we behave? In today’s talk, social psychologist Paul Piff provides a convincing case for the answer: not well.”||http://blog.ted.com/2013/12/20/6-studies-of-money-and-the-mind/|
|The rich are different — and not in a good way, studies suggest||“Psychologist and social scientist Dacher Keltner says the rich really are different, and not in a good way: Their life experience makes them less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish.”||http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44084236/ns/health-behavior/t/rich-are-different-not-good-way-studies-sugg#.VMEX8XLwuM8|
|The shared characteristics of the really rich||According to Forbes survey, the ability and propensity to achieve wealth is most influenced by genetics, education (sometimes), and economic opportunities. Confirming popular opinion, USA does not have a level playing field that gives equal opportunities to all!||http://www.nbcnews.com/id/33110048/ns/business-forbes_com/t/shared-characteristics-really-rich/|
|Rich People Are Mean, But Does It Pay To Be Nice?||“The evidence is fairly convincing that people of higher socioeconomic status can be somewhat lacking in the kindness department.”||http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/07/03/money-may-make-you-mean-but-can-you-buy-a-heart/|
|7 traits the rich have in common||There are some elements of becoming rich that are a matter of individual choice, but many factors are inborn, such as temperament and personality.||http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/01/luxury/rich-personality-traits/|
|Five stereotypes about poor families and education||“A long history of psycho-social research details the human tendency to imagine our own social and cultural groups as diverse while we imagine “the other,” people belonging to a social or cultural group with which we are less familiar, as being, for all intents and purposes, all the same (e.g., Meiser & Hewstone, 2004).”||http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/28/five-stereotypes-about-poor-families…|
|“Poor people in the U.S. are stereotyped in innumerable ways (Williams, 2009). A vast majority of these stereotypes are just plain inaccurate. In fact, some are truer of wealthy people than poor people.”|
|Give Back? Yes, It’s Time For The 99% To Give Back To The 1%||From a Randian viewpoint: “For their enormous contributions to our standard of living, the high-earners should be thanked and publicly honored. We are in their debt.”||http://onforb.es/16AKOgA|
Political influence – bought and paid for by the billionaires who bought/brought the Tea Party
- Tea Party Funding Koch Brothers Emerge From Anonymity – Journalists have tracked down the trail of money leading from the Koch brothers to the Tea Party candidates they endorse.
- Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. – This article explains that much of the mud-slinging toward President Obama and the Democrats was part of a predetermined intentional campaign to discredit anyone in a political office who does not support the interests of the very wealthy.
- 9 Signs the Kochs Have Created Their Own National Political Party – Further explanation of the extent of political influence exerted by narrow financial interest groups.
Power, wealth, and greed are no respecters of national borders…
- Robert Reich: The Largest, Most Disastrous Trade Deal You’ve Never Heard Of – Explanation by a well-known economist about the effects of a secretive trade deal to allow major corporations to bypass the scrutiny of international governments into their business dealings. This is clearly not in the best interests of most of the world, but benefits only a small group of powerful international corporations.
Do you really think your opinions are your own? Think again…
- The Angry Right’s Secret Playbook – Explanation by a former right-wing conservative about the manipulation and dirty tricks used by political conservative to manipulate their “constituents”.
If you have a backup plan, who cares what happens to the rest of the world!
- Inside the Underground Bunker Condos Where 1 Percenters Plan to Ride Out the Apocalypse – Example of the “back up plans” of the wealthy who advocate the destruction of our natural world for economic gain. They plan to ride out any natural or man-made holocausts away from the rest of the population, safely sheltered in underground bunkers.
Note: Additional references will continue to be added to this post as time permits. There was simply too much information to create all the links to source materials.