❝Wealth can be bad for your soul. That’s not just a hoary piece of folk wisdom; it’s a conclusion from serious social science, confirmed by statistical analysis and experiment. The affluent are, on average, less likely to exhibit empathy, less likely to respect norms and even laws, more likely to cheat, than those occupying lower rungs on the economic ladder…
So what happens to a nation that gives ever-growing political power to the superrich?
❝Modern America is a society in which a growing share of income and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small number of people, and these people have huge political influence — in the early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign, around half the contributions came from fewer than 200 wealthy families. The usual concern about this march toward oligarchy is that the interests and policy preferences of the very rich are quite different from those of the population at large, and that is surely the biggest problem.
But it’s also true that those empowered by money-driven politics include a disproportionate number of spoiled egomaniacs. Which brings me to the current election cycle.
❝The most obvious illustration of the point I’ve been making is the man now leading the Republican field. Donald Trump would probably have been a blowhard and a bully whatever his social station. But his billions have insulated him from the external checks that limit most people’s ability to act out their narcissistic tendencies; nobody has ever been in a position to tell him, “You’re fired!” And the result is the face you keep seeing on your TV.
But Mr. Trump isn’t the only awesomely self-centered billionaire playing an outsized role in the 2016 campaign…
❝…It’s not trivial. Oligarchy, rule by the few, also tends to become rule by the monstrously self-centered. Narcisstocracy? Jerkigarchy? Anyway, it’s an ugly spectacle, and it’s probably going to get even uglier over the course of the year ahead.
RTFA. Krugman expands the number of blivets on the target range – or, rather, the Republican Party has. From Sheldon Adelson to Paul Singer, billionaires who buy newspapers and instruct reporters to snoop on judges investigating their own criminal links, billionaires who want tax laws changed on million dollar art purchases.
Paul Krugman is always entertaining reading – even if the subjects are otherwise as exempt from oversight as a Super-Pac donors list.