April 12, 2013

The Guardian

Green Army: Communications


Noblesse Oblige


Paul Piff: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Social Behaviour, University of California, Irvine

{Wealthier individuals [are] less likely to see the kinds of risks that are associated with acting unethically.}
[They're also better able to] afford lawyers [and] to pay for the downstream consequences of [their] behaviour.
[The upper echelons of society are] are more likely to think that the pursuit of self-interest and greed is a moral and positive thing.
[As] a result of those more favourable attitudes towards greed [they are] more inclined to behave unethically.

(Wealth linked to lying, cheating and crime, PM, ABC Radio National, 28 February 2012.)


What we have been finding in dozens of studies … is that as a person's levels of wealth increase, their feelings of compassion and empathy go down.
And their feelings of entitlement … and their ideology of self interest increases.

[In one investigation into generosity,] individuals who made twenty-five, sometimes under fifteen thousand dollars a year, gave 44% more of their money to the stranger than did individuals making one hundred and fifty [to] two hundred thousand dollars a year.
[Indeed,] for the last 60 or 70 years there's been a [documented trend showing that] lower income households give proportionately more of their income to charity than higher income households.
[It turns out] the less well off you, are the more charitable you are.

[Priming studies suggest that these] differences are not innate or categorical, but are [highly sensitive] to slight changes in people's values and little nudges of compassion and bumps of empathy.

(Does Money Make You Mean?, TED Radio Hour, NPR, 4 April 2014)


The more severe inequality becomes, the more entitled people may feel and less likely to share resources they become.
The wealthier [that] segments of society become then, the more vulnerable communities may be to selfish tendencies and the less charity the least among us can expect. …

[This] idea that the more you have, the less entitled and more grateful you feel; and the less you have, the more you feel you deserve [turns out to be wrong.]
[In fact, what we find] seems to be the opposite of noblesse oblige. …

We’re not suggesting rich people are bad at all, but rather that psychological effects of wealth have these natural effects. …
While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything, the rich are way more likely to prioritise their own self-interests above the interests of other people.

(The Age of Entitlement: How Wealth Breeds Narcissism, The Guardian, 7 July 2014)

Would you like to know more?


CONTENTS


Economic Fairy Stories

Noblesse Oblige

How Wealth Breeds Narcissism

False Hope

Serving the Public Interest


THE GUARDIAN

  • The Age of Entitlement: How Wealth Breeds Narcissism, 7 July 2014.
    Anne Manne: Author, The Life of I, Random House.

    As we ponder Joe Hockey’s budget and his division of the world into "leaners" and "lifters", [and] as we learn from Oxfam that the richest 1% of Australians now own the same wealth as the bottom 60% …

    [Social psychologist Paul] Piff found drivers of expensive, high-status vehicles … were four times more likely to cut off drivers with lower status vehicles [and] three times as likely to fail to yield at pedestrian crossings.
    [Indeed, more] people simply primed to feel rich helped themselves to [sweets clearly marked as being] for children in a lab next door than those primed to feel disadvantaged.
    [So] even thoughts of being wealthy can create a feeling of increased entitlement—you start to feel superior to everyone else and thus more deserving …
    [When] asked to draw symbols, like circles, to represent how they saw themselves and others, more affluent people drew much larger circles for themselves and smaller ones for the rest of humankind. …

    As a society becomes wealthier, it can get more narcissistic, less empathetic and unwilling to look after the vulnerable.
    A majority of Republicans in a recent poll said they thought the poor in America had it easy.
    Greater feelings of entitlement might also lead to a tax revolt by the upper classes. …

    In 2011, the wealthiest Americans, those with earnings in the top 20%, contributed 1.3% of their income to charity, while those in the bottom 20% donated 3.2% of their income. …
    [Furthermore, poorer] people were also more likely to give to those charities servicing the genuinely needy.
    The rich gave to high-status institutions such as already well-endowed art galleries, museums and universities, while Feeding America, which deals with the nation’s poorest, got nothing.
    Jonathan Green:
    In the last financial year of [those Australians] earning more than $1 million a year, 37 per cent did not claim a single dollar of tax-deductible charitable giving.
    (Philanthropy: Are we giving enough?, Sunday Extra, ABC Radio National, 31 August 2014)

    The whole idea of "leaners" and "lifters" [echos the libertarian gospel of] Ayn Rand, who penned books like The Virtue of Selfishness [The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged].
    {[Rand spent] a lifetime proselytising on behalf of the "producers" and denouncing anyone needing government assistance as "parasites" …}
    It’s a self-serving crock [— which Rand eventually] found out the hard way.
    [For, on becoming] old and sick, she discovered that even a best-selling author could not afford health care in the neoliberal US.
    She availed herself of Medicare and ended her life on [that which she most] despised — Social Security.

    Would you like to know more?

  • Police logs raise questions over deletion of Milly Dowler voicemails, 10 December 2011.
    Nick Davies and David Leigh.

    Detectives told Milly's parents in April [2002, that News of the World] journalists had intercepted and deleted messages on the murdered teenager's phone.
    [Further investigation] has now revealed that Milly's phone would automatically delete messages 72 hours after being listened to.
    [Therefore,] the paper's journalists would have inadvertently caused some voicemails to be deleted after they began listening to them …

    The paper's activities hampered Surrey police inquiries at the time, promoting a wild goose chase. …

    Rupert Murdoch … closed down the paper, apologised to the Dowlers and paid £3m to the family and a number of charities. …

    Sally Dowler described how one day after Milly went missing she found that her daughter's voice mailbox had apparently been emptied.
    … Surrey police logs shows that this "false hope" moment occurred on the evening of Sunday 24 March 2002.
    Phone company logs show that Milly last accessed her voicemail on Wednesday 20 March, so the deletion on Sunday cannot have been the knock-on effect of Milly listening to her messages.
    Furthermore, the deletion removed every single message from her phone.
    But police believe it cannot have been caused by the News of the World, which had not yet instructed private detective Glenn Mulcaire to hack Milly's phone.
    Police are continuing to try to solve the mystery. …

    The Dowlers' lawyer, Mark Lewis, said last night that although Mulcaire had not been instructed by email at the time of Sally Dowler's "false hope" moment, it remained possible that the voicemails had been deleted by a News of the World journalist, or that Mulcaire had been instructed earlier by phone. …

    The original police theory was that journalists had deliberately deleted some messages because Milly's voicemail box had filled up, and they wanted to be able to listen to more. …
    Mark Lewis:
    The Metropolitan police earlier this year told Bob and Sally Dowler that in 2002 the News of the World had listened to their missing daughter's voicemail and deleted some of the messages.

    Mrs Dowler linked this to an incident when Milly's voicemail had suddenly ceased to be full and which had given her 'false hope'.

    There is no doubt that there had been deletions by someone other than Milly, and the deletions had not been triggered by Milly's own actions.

  • Hacking away at the truth, Orwell Memorial Lecture, 10 November 2011.
    Alan Rusbridger: Editor-in-Chief.

    [Following] the Guardian's original revelation of the Gordon Taylor settlement — which blew apart News International's "one rotten apple" defence in July 2009 … almost nothing happened. …
    The police conducted the quickest review in recent history — a few hours.
    News International came out with a statement saying that the Guardian had "deliberately misled the British public". …
    Saturday's Times had Andy Hayman, the police assistant commissioner in charge of the original investigation, pouring cold water all over our disclosures.
    Sunday's News of the World carried a thunderous leader attacking the Guardian — and reprinting the Hayman article from the Times.
    Hayman insisted there were "perhaps a handful" of victims of hacking …

    The police last week revised their score card of hacking targets to around 5,800 …

    In November 2009 [the Press Complaints Commission] found "no new evidence" to suggest that anyone except the … already-jailed reporter Clive Goodman had been involved in phone hacking. …
    [Days later] the News of the World was [forced to pay] £800,000 in damages to a former News of the World journalist who got on the wrong end of the bullying culture that … existed under Andy Coulson [(later press secretary to David Cameron)]. …
    The following month the commissioner of police [tried to] persuade me that [we were] barking up the wrong tree.
    So, the following February, did his assistant commissioner …

    [in September 2010] The New York Times [conducted its own] exhaustive investigation which] confirmed everything the Guardian had originally written …
    The police reacted by treating the whistleblowers [uncovered by the paper] as suspects. …

    All the forces in civil society that you would normally expect to be engaged in such a situation failed. …

    Tom Watson MP was followed for five days.
    Mark Lewis and Charlotte Harris, two tenacious solicitors, were followed around, together with their children. …
    It was claimed … today that all the members of the culture, media and sport select committee had been placed under surveillance.
    [The] former culture secretary [and minister responsible for BSkyB] had her phone hacked. …

    [Culturally,] no one at the News of the World saw any problem [with the] systemic intrusion into … the lives of others. …
    Not only did the firm have the intelligence operation, it also had the means to publish any dirt it gathered to a mass audience.
    It had a formidable legal department which would defend any action and [argued that] it was justifiable to invade privacy [if it] was commercially necessary.

    [Media companies] need particular rules, which guarantee plurality and a level playing field when it comes to competition. …
    … I hope MPs and peers spend as much time thinking about the issues of market dominance as they currently` are about regulating the content and behaviour of the press. …

    Some journalists [argue that we] have the right to disregard privacy when we choose to …
    [That the right to free speech must always trump the right to privacy. …]

    [We learnt] from the phone-hacking saga [that so-called] "self-regulation" in the press is no such thing.
    [The] Press Complaints Commission … had no investigatory powers and no sanctions.
    No matter how much valuable work it did in terms of mediation and occasional arbitration, it was simply not up to the task [of regulating newsrooms. …]

    The Leveson inquiry …
    • [Will] provide a forum for the press to explain itself. …
    • [Is] an opportunity to put the behaviour of a relatively small number of journalists into a wider context of decent editorial practices. …
    • [May] uncover uncomfortable truths about the way a number of journalists have worked in the past. …
      [But in] what other sphere of public life do we think that transparency is an undesirable thing? …
    • [Has] already stimulated a debate and thinking about standards and journalism. …

    1.     Readers' editors


    2.     A regulator with teeth


    3.     [A one-stop dispute resolution service for press complaints]


    4.     Agree on what we mean by "the public interest" — and stick to it

      Are we really capable of agreeing on … a service which could prevent information from appearing because it believed it did not meet the public interest test of the code?
      [italics added]

    5.     Learn from others

      [The] former head of GCHQ … recently drafted a checklist of criteria that anyone … contemplating invasions of privacy should ask themselves. …
      [We've] incorporated a version of them in the Guardian's own code of practice. …
      • There must be sufficient cause.
        What's the harm to individuals or families that might follow from intrusion?
      • There must be integrity of motive …
        [The] intrusion must be justified in terms of the public good which would follow from publication.
      • The methods used must be [proportionate] to the seriousness of story and its public interest, using the minimum possible intrusion.
      • There must be proper authority …
        [Any] intrusion must be authorised at a sufficiently senior level and with appropriate oversight.
      • There must be a reasonable prospect of success …
        [Fishing] expeditions are not justified. …

    [In] the face of unprecedented financial, digital, legal and regulatory challenges and threats, we will always ultimately have to defend what we do on the basis of some notion of the public interest we serve. …

    [A] commonly agreed definition of the public interest has to be at the centre of all arguments about libel, privacy, confidence, data protection and regulation.

    Would you like to know more?

  • Press Regulation, Keynote Address, Human Rights Law Conference, 19 October 2011.
    Igor Judge: Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.
  • Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study, 2 February 2007.
    Ian Sample.

    Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by [the American Enterprise Institute] funded by [ExxonMobil] to undermine [the IPCC 4th Assessment Report] due to be published today.

No comments:

Post a Comment