“Are Wealthy People Less Ethical?”
That was the headline of an article on ABC News on May 18. It argued that drivers of luxury vehicles in general are less observant of traffic laws and perhaps a little on the nasty side compared to drivers of less expensive vehicles. Their evidence seems to support this assertion. Wow, can there be truth to this?
While I am not a fan of oversimplification or generalization, this phenomenon made me think. Reflecting upon struggles of local churches and other social groups trying to seek financial support in areas of known for their wealth I must say that there just may be something to this observation. I am not sure that it has a connection to being unethical – that part is still quite a stretch for me, but wealth may turn folks blind to certain issues such as giving money to worthy causes.
Just today I was speaking with a phenomenal person in the music industry working in and around a local area with folks where money should not be an issue. Yet, trying to obtain funding for her endeavor is a really tough undertaking – more so than I would have expected. I hear this complaint in church as well. There seems to be less participation in community help and also church funding. I have recently heard that around churches in lower income places the participation in community projects, but even more so church funding is much greater.
What possibly could lead to such a phenomenon? There are a few points that come to mind here:
- Lack of awareness: Most of our interactions are very brief and there is usually a not a low of time for us to be in the moment. We do not listen well in the first place and sometimes we just would like moving on to the next point rather than getting involved in yet another thing that needs our attention. We are not aware and we choose to keep it that way. The only antidote is explaining early and often where you stand and what needs to be done by others. Asking for help is not a bad thing.
- Assuming someone will take care of it (whatever it may be): This is likely the worst culprit of people choosing not getting involved. “There has got to be another person who surely has done something about this”, right? Wrong, most of the time. Ignorance is bliss and unfortunately it is an ugly stepchild of assuming that someone will pick up where you may leave off.
- Who is rich anyway? One important thing to realize is that the vast majority of the folks we are talking about are folks who have no or very little of an idea how wealthy they really are. There is no point of comparison.
I do not know much and there are whole libraries that can be filled with books about things I know nothing about. This I do know though, whoever is attempting to entice wealthy prospects giving money for a worthy cause will find that this is easier said than done. For the one who asks it will be imperative asking in the first place, but most of all provide a background why you are asking and what you are asking for. Ask in person wherever you can. E-mail has a place, but here it is not a great start. It helps raise awareness, but nothing beats establishing a personal connection and meeting a need.
For all of us who are fortunate in being gainfully employed, let’s make sure we give. If it’s not money, let’s at least give our time.
PS: Meanwhile be careful walking out in traffic minding Benz’s and Porsches etc. Just in case the article mentioned above is on to something.