Monday, September 03, 2012

The Rich Are Less Likely to Reach Out to Others During Times of Trouble

According to a study by UC Berkeley affluent people (read: rich) people are less likely to reach out to others during times of trouble. Now we suspected this a long time ago, well, um, in a clich├ęd and melodramatic way, modelled upon the quintessential Hindi movie plot. In the said plot - quintessential or otherwise - the father of the poor hero who wants to marry the rich girlfriend often says, "Woh log bade log hai; unke sath hamara kya vasta." Something to that effect, considering how poor our Hindi is.  

Another phenomenon (if we can call it that) which the article in Science Daily points out is that while the poor value their families, communities, and colleagues; the rich do not hesitate to relocate if the salary offered is higher. Briefly put, as is our wont, it means that for the rich money is everything and they hang on to it as if the rest of the world didn't matter. This is all the more evident in our own poor country where there is not much by way of philanthropic work by the rich. Our affluent people open schools and hospitals if they think it could be profitable. Money, the filthy lucre even we crave for, is everything for them. (We must state, even among us there are the pretenders who say money is unimportant, but would scramble to grab a few greenbacks if the opportunity presents itself.)

We have noticed this time and again in our personal peregrinations here and there. The poor would give alms and would tip a cabbie a fiver while a rich man would fight for every rupee. Poor people opened the doors of their homes  for the poor in the deluge Bombay witnessed while the rich bolted their doors and saw television. Hm. 

A story we heard about the world's richest man of those days - Paul Getty - is that he installed a pay phone inside his sumptuous mansion so that employees in his house could make calls at their expense. No wonder he died such a miserable death with not one of his relatives by his bedside.

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

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