An initial study investigating tolerance of group members who abuse a public good surprisingly showed that unselfish members (those who gave much toward the provision of the good but then used little of the good) were also targets for expulsion from the group. Two follow-up studies replicated this and ruled out explanations grounded in the target being seen as confused or unpredictable. A fourth study suggested that the target is seen by some as establishing an undesirable behavior standard and by others as a rule breaker. Individuals who formed either perception expressed a desire for the unselfish person to be removed from the group. …
Yes, but sadly it's still a possible interpretation if you fail to use per capita :(
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I like luzhin's explanation more. Maybe being the type of guy who will let co-workers treat you like dirt also gives you a good work ethic. We need a little more useful prediction before we can put this to rest as actual evidence of anything.
those most likely to become the most competent at explicit rule-based and/or procedural tasks are those least likely to internalize and observe the complex web of implicit social norms regulating interpersonal relationships.
this post displays the same sort of naive reasoning that leads clever Nerds to erroneously conclude that their peers dislike them because they're good at solving math problems.
The company was Lincoln Electric. The workers trusted the company due to past behaviour. I can't find the whole story on it in "managerial dilemmas" from google books or amazon search, but some of the things it did was:
-no layoffs in recessions-high level of worker input on governance-big bonus pool
Do you recall how they were able to send that signal? Direct contracts, union representation in managerial decisions...?
According to the book "Managerial Dilemmas", If the workers become more productive, the bosses will just reduce the piece rate making the workers worse off.
The bosses generally can not credibly signal that they won't lower the piece rate. The book mentioned one company that was able to signal that the piece rate would remain stable and the workers became very productive and paid more than most of the managers.
Though I myself am a rabid carnivore, I think this explains some of the animosity vegetarians (and environmentalists/hippies/Jesus-freaks) get.
James D. Miller, I think the literature on the subect commonly references the "social capital" tradeoff faced by Italian-American youths of the past.
daedalus2u, don't revolutions tend to result from disaffected intelligentsia? One common framing (admittedly on the internet, from marginal figures) I've heard of the Bolshevik revolution was that it was class warfare of the intelligentsia against the peasantry! Later on revolutions do tend to "eat their own" because those near the top are viewed as possible threats.
About U.S animosity: the IR theory of "balancing" is that rather than a "bandwagon effect", nations gang up on those seen as "too big for their britches". One's views on this may depend on whether you see 20th century Germany and 19th century France as threats to world peace or upstarts against the Vampire of the Continent.
daedalus2u, there was no shortage of poor people. Conservatives hate FDR because he was a very popular (four-term) liberal president who permanently changed the small-c constitution of the country. Some of them also respect him for WW2 and wish Democrats would go back to being like him, Truman & Kennedy (not that they've been antiwar since McGovern either), but I dissent from that view and dislike him for conniving the country into war.
People may respect you for being typically generous, i.e., as and similarly generous as many other generous people. Then they can accept you into their club, as an equal. If you are unusually generous, giving a larger fraction of your income than most do, they may well resent you for trying to make them look bad. They may retaliate by belittling you on other margins. if you give to unusual causes, and claim that your causes are much more effective than the usual causes, they may also resent you for trying to make them look bad. In this case they can belittle you by saying you are a fool for believing that your cause is that much more effective.
I think it is much more likely that FDR is disliked for increasing the duration of Great Depression and imprisoning Japanese people, than for "helping the poor".
Where could I look for evidence that would verify or falsify your hypothesis?
If you want to gain status by helping the poor, if there are no poor to help because someone else has beat you to it, then your quest for status will fail.
I wonder if that is why so many conservatives hate FDR? By helping the poor to be not so destitute, he has made the “cost” of buying status through philanthropy that much more expensive.
regarding charity vis-a-vis status.
there's a guy whose house me and my boss have been working on for the last few weeks. he's proper minted, and he's on the rotary committee. which is sort of a local philanthropic organisation, the members of which are all similarly rich people.
that's all good. i don't have a problem with the rich being rich, fair play to him. what i do have a problem with is a man who spend a great deal of time and energy getting his face in the paper to show everyone what a grand, great, big man he is, but when it comes time to pay the boys he stalls and mutters and moans.
this could indicate that he's not concerned with what people of my social class think about him. he can't imagine any positive impact i could have on him. but he is very concerned with appearing good and great to all the other local worthies, the people of his own social class, that he feels he could benefit from
being a workaholic isn't entrepeneurship. it's about trying to make yourself look good to managment. and it's the right approach, nobody respects a fawning poodle who jumps whenever he's told.
independent businessmen (shopkeepers, small builders, plumbers, etc) work a lot harder because the harder they work, the richer they are. and in my anecdotal and unresearched opinion they're respected for it.
employees in large firms exhibit this behaviour because if everyone works harder they gain no benefit. the profit just gets skimmed by those at the top. everyone's ruining their bodies and souls with frantic labour, but nobody's any richer.
I detected a possible inconsistency in my beliefs because all of the following things seemed plausible to me:
1.1) The reported result of this post: People don't like people who do more than they do and set too high a standard.
1.2) A lot of philanthropy is about chasing status.
1.3) People who work hard are doing it to gain status.
But why work hard and give to charity if this is what you get? Why feel threatened by someone charitable if this is what they get? Do philanthropists have inaccurate beliefs about philanthropy and other tribe members also have inaccurate beliefs about philanthropy, no one's emotions or plans taking into account the actual fruits of the endeavor? It's not that I feel there's an actual problem here, but that a few more details need to be specified in order for the theory not to contradict itself.
Some possibilities that occur to me:
2.1) Outperformers can and do gain social status when they manage to outperform in nonthreatening ways, or when they form coalitions that could potentially exclude the sort of people who feel threatened by outperformance.
2.2) Modern philanthropists do not give a high enough percentage of their income to charity that anyone feels threatened by their moral standard, only impressed by the display. Even so, rich people who give little to philanthropy can be expected to feel displeased with rich people who give more.
2.3) If Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are expecting their fellow rich folk to like them and be impressed with them for giving away most of their legacy, they are sorely mistaken. On the other hand, the average person who already thinks Gates and Buffett are higher status than them and who does not plan to become rich may like them and be impressed with them because they only imply that the rich should give more of their income, not average people.
2.4) Some outperformers with no other good reason for outperformance probably are to some extent just mistaken about what to expect.
2.5) Contrary to what one might initially expect, when you gather groups of highly altruistic and prosocial people, you will find that they are not those most driven to please other tribemembers and conform to tribal norms, but iconoclasts, and, as Michael Vassar is bound to point out, non-iconoclasts who actually believed that crap they were told about what social norms are supposed to be. The latter group will probably end up pretty bitter sooner or later.
An interesting post. I'm astonished at the complacency of the last para in this post. The idea of America 'shaming' the rest of the world into anything much is a laugh these days. But on greenhouse! China, with a fraction of the per capita income is doing far more than the US. India too. Who exactly were you planning on shaming? Tonga?
The richest country in the world is off in fantasy land while the planet begins to cook. This is all for about 1/20th of economic growth for the next few decades. Oh well it happened to the Romans.
Great post. I wonder if and how this phenomenon works with professional sports teams...