Why rich parents are more likely to be unethical
William ‘Rick’ Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network, has pleaded guilty to charges of bribing a national college bribe. AP Photo / Steven Senne Federal lawyers in 2019 arrested 50 people in a fraud for admission to college, which allowed wealthy parents to buy admission to their children in elite universities. Prosecutors found that the parents together paid up to $ 5 million to send their children to college. The list included parents of celebrities such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loflin. Some may ask why these parents did not consider the moral consequences of their actions? My 20 years of research in the field of moral psychology suggests many reasons why people behave unethically. As for the rich, research shows that they will go to great lengths to maintain their higher status. A sense of justice plays a role. How People Rationalize Let̵
7;s first look at what allows people to act unethically and still feel no guilt or remorse. Research shows that people are able to rationalize unethical actions that serve their self-interest. The success or failure of one’s children often affects the way parents view themselves and others. They are more likely to enjoy the reflected glory of their children. They seem to gain respect based on their relationship with successful children. This means that parents can be motivated by self-interest to ensure their children’s achievements. In the case of deception for their children, parents can justify the behavior through comparisons that help them morally give up action. For example, they might say that other parents are doing much worse things or minimize the consequences of their actions with words like “My behavior didn’t do much harm.” Considering unethical outcomes as serving others, including one’s children, can help parents create a psychological distance to rationalize misconduct. Several studies show that people are more likely to be unethical when their actions help someone else. For example, it is easier for employees to accept bribes when they plan to share income with colleagues. Sense of law When it comes to the rich and privileged, a sense of law or the belief that someone deserves privileges over others can play an important role in unethical behavior. Being rich and privileged can lead to a sense of right. Brian Fernandez / Flickr.com, CC BY-NC-ND Privileged individuals are also less likely to follow rules and instructions because they feel the rules are unfair. Because they feel they deserve more than their fair share, they are willing to break the rules of appropriate and socially consistent behavior. A sense of justice also makes people more competitive, selfish and aggressive when they feel threatened. For example, white men are less likely to support positive action even on the playing field because it threatens their privileged status. Research shows that the right to use can come in part from being rich. Wealthy people who consider themselves “upper class” based on their income have been found to lie, steal and cheat more in order to get what they want. They have also been found to be less generous. They are more likely to break the law when driving, to give less help to strangers in need, and generally to pay less attention to others. In addition, growing up with wealth is associated with more narcissistic behavior, which leads to selfishness, expressing the need for admiration and lack of empathy. Consequences of losing status People who think they deserve an unfair advantage are more likely to take action to raise their status, such as ensuring that their children attend high-status universities. The loss of status seems particularly threatening to those with high status. Wealthy parents may fear losing their status if their children do not attend top colleges. michaeljung / Shutterstock.com A recent review of the status survey shows that losing status or even fear of losing status is associated with an increase in suicide attempts. People have been reported to show physiological changes such as higher blood pressure and heart rate. Such individuals also make greater efforts to avoid losing status by being willing to pay money and allocate resources for themselves. In their book, The Mockery of the American Mind, First Amendment expert Greg Lukianov and social psychologist Jonathan Heidt say parents, especially in the upper class, are increasingly worried about their children attending top universities. These authors argue that given economic prospects are less secure due to wage stagnation, automation, and globalization, wealthier parents tend to be particularly concerned about future economic opportunities for their children. The feeling of invulnerability People who experience a sense of power, which often comes with wealth and fame, are less likely to believe that they are vulnerable to the harmful effects of unethical behavior. Experiencing a psychological sense of power leads to a false sense of control. This can also lead to increased risk and reduced concern for others. It is possible that some of these reasons for moral psychology are behind these wealthy parents who cheat on behalf of their children. The desire to try to help the child is admirable. However, when these lengths cross ethical boundaries, it is too far. This article was republished by The Conversation, a non-profit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. Read more: Colleges confront their ties to slavery and struggle to atone for past sins Why elite colleges should use the lottery to admit students The college admission scandal has grown out of a system that is ripe for corruption David M Mayer does not work, consult, own shares or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article and has not disclosed relevant affiliations outside of their academic assignment.