A few days ago Tyler blogged a study dissing elites: Upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies, take valued goods from others, lie in a negotiation, [and] cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize. (
Robin means "rich people" when he says "elite", as do most people. That's not necessarily a sign of respect or approval, just a word that accurately describes the privileged status of rich people.
I could be aware that I am not really an elite, but try to fool others into thinking I am anyway.
Yes, if you do not think of yourself as an elite, then you cannot be a poser.
Robin seems the term "elite" to refer to high-status people. I don't know what definition you are using.
"If you can’t tell who is a poser and who is a real elite, then you are a poser too"If I explicitly deny being an elite, then I cannot be a poser, but I could still be unable to distinguish them.
I think that Robin's major premise, that elites exhibit hypocrisy is wrong. It is not elites who exhibit hypocrisy, it is people who are not elite trying to pose as elites that exhibit hypocrisy. If you are really an elite, you don't need hypocrisy to be successful. If you are an elite poser, you do.
If you can't tell who is a poser and who is a real elite, then you are a poser too. Tolerating hypocrisy is poser behavior.
In the Emperor's new clothes, the Emperor was a poser and not a true elite. The sycophants who sucked up to him were posers too. Not because some of his elitism would rub off, but to get money and improve their poser status.
Some things hurt you in the long run. Other things you can get away with. The point here seems to be that elites are better at telling the difference, and thus can cheat at stuff with lower risk. Since homework is something where cheating will hurt you in the long run, they won't cheat at it.
That's also contrary to what studies have found. The phenomenon you describe must have been specific to your restaurant, because wealthy people overall give smaller tips.
I think this is the difference between discretionary (drivers, valets) and standard (restaurant 15-20%) tips.
While there were plenty of exceptions, when I was a valet, I noticed that the less-pricey cars usually gave better tips, and the more-affluent customers forgot to tip at all more often. My guess was that the farther you are from a tipping job (either through connections or personal history), the less aware of the valet you are as a person as opposed to a service.
This is in direct contrast to driving limo: the richer they are the cheaper they are.
Can you link me to this data?
Elite parents usually do not endorse their kids cheating on an exam: neither vocally nor silently. In general it pays to be honest on exams, so in this case, most of the time, elites profess what they practice.
But you would also notice that if an exam is particularly important, then they would be more willing to selectively ignore so called "unethical" behaviors.
But, there is a 2nd element I wonder if you’re neglecting. In High School, I remember encountering kids who cheated on HW/Tests. I steered clear of this because I realized, “If I don’t actually learn these skills, eventually I might need them and cheating will be counter-productive.” So to this day, I don’t lie on my CV or fake competence. In the long-run – it pays to be honest. I think we see this in a lot of elite people: short-cuts and cheating are poor strategies.
Think again: just look at politicians if you want prove of how far incompetence can get you. You really don't have to be a genius to finish law school or business school, it's not rocket science. But guess who makes more money, the Harvard lawyer/executive/politician or the state university aeronautical engineer... we all know the answer.
One more data point. I managed restaurants for a long tie and the servers preferred affluent parties because although they tended to complained more they gave bigger tips.
Ethics is about restricting people’s actions in a way that benefits the group.Either that or it's about restricting peoples actions in a way that benefits those doing the restricting.
A shallow analysis, I fear, reifying moral norms as if they were laws of physics.
Consider society as if it were an 80s-era timesharing system. Most users are bound by the permissions and read/write restraints of the filesystem. But the sysadmins must needs have a superuser mode where they can not only read and change files at will, but set up the structure of permissions and change it to meet changing needs.
The elites' "hypocrisy" is their way of memetically enforcing their notion of proper behavior on the rest of society. No human society can function without it, just as no one has figured how to make a computer system work without sysadmins.
Was the "divine right of kings" more honest about this aspect than our current pretense-driven upper class? Well, no, they had this whole religious metaphysics you had to believe...
Ethics is about restricting people's actions in a way that benefits the group. The rules for the king obviously have to be different from those for the commoners to achieve this goal.
I have never gotten over the shock of realizing just how much deception (both of oneself and of others) is required in order to thrive in human society.