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Jul 302015

An interesting article I read yesterday talks about how many people become rich by being high in psychopathic traits—think Bernie Madoff. You can read the entire article here, but I like the paragraph below.

Wilkin has determined that behind almost every great fortune, there lies what he calls a ‘wealth secret’. This is a piece of knowledge or a technique that, while not exactly criminal, certainly skirts the customs of the time, and possibly the laws as well. All of them, he says, involve ‘some sort of scheme for defeating the forces of market competition’. Many involve legal manoeuvrings or the exercising of political influence. Boldness and fearlessness are a given. Mild psychopathy probably helps, too. (The bolding is mine)

Want to be rich? It helps if you’re a psychopath: Economist reveals common factors among the world’s wealthiest people

  • Sam Wilkin is an economist and has been studying the very rich 
  • Puts his life’s work into a new book, Wealth Secrets of the 1%
  • Uncovers common factors among relatively small number of people
Unfortunately, too many of the super rich and successful are high in psychopathic traits. The lack of remorse, the lack of a strict moral compass to keep them in line and the “worship of the almighty idol of money” seems to flow to those who have the smarts and the lack of fear of consequences to  reach their goals. Some inherit huge sums of money and may have been raised to feel “entitled” and “special” and that the rules don’t apply to them.
     Any day of the week you can pick up some scandal rag like the National Inquirer and read all about the wealthy and super wealthy and how they behave. There are some, however, like Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates who have an altruistic attitude about their wealth.
     Living in Arkansas where Wal Mart started, I’ve heard plenty of first hand accounts about the first Sam Walton and how he behaved even when he was extremely wealthy, probably the most wealthy in the state, he still lived modestly and was kind.
     Today however when the Wal Mart fortune has made the heirs super wealthy, they no longer live modestly. They pay most of  their workers  very poorly and have been getting bad press about it, so recently they started running an ad about how they value the employes and are giving them a raise (how much is not specified) and how that raise helps everyone. But they didn’t do this until there was a social media backlash against their Billion dollar fortune and how they lived like kings when their store’s employees were eligible for food stamps even if they worked 40 hours a week, which many are not able to do. They laid off their elderly “greeters” to save a few bucks, and my guess is that those elderly who held those minimum wage jobs needed that money.
      Being rich or becoming rich is not a “sin,” but what we do with that money can be. How we behave and conduct our lives is what determines how we make our money and what we do with what we have. Which is why I have a big problem with the televangelists who live like potentates while begging for money for their “mission work.” I don’t believe that in order to preach you should sew tents to support yourself  like the Apostle Paul did, I think ministers should rightfully be supported, but the lavish style that many “ministers’ live in bespeaks another motive to their “ministry.” I read an article once with the over head photos made by helicopter over the compounds of the wealthiest of the “preachers” These mansions were hidden behind long drives and could not be seen from the street. It amazed me what a “billion dollar” business some of them have made out of “ministry.”
       The same thing with politicians, I think they should be paid, but many if not most, become super wealthy by their “service” to the country. You can look at the news any day and see the politicians and dictators who live like Caesar while the population of their country may literally be starving. North Korea is a perfect example of such a ruler.
     Psychopaths are not all “criminals,” but they do prey on others in more subtle ways for their own benefit. Money and the power it brings also allows them to skirt and “buy their way” out of some criminal situations. Fame also seems to have the same effect. I think many people who are low level psychopaths who become wealthy  and/or famous become even more over bearing and “entitled.” Psychopaths also seem to gravitate to positions that have power of one kind or another, like judges, politicians, the military and police and many hide behind a facade of respectability which they wear like a mask. But the traits of a psychopath do tend to give one a leg up in the business world.
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  24 Responses to “The 1% How psychopaths become wealthy

  1. Article up

  2. Joyce, you mentioned altruistic wealth (Buffet & the Gates) and I think it’s really important to zero in on this because it’s very, very easy to be “altruistic” when one can afford it. Before ANY of these people became obscenely wealthy, I wonder if they dug into their own finances or resources to help other people out………

    I’ve told this story a zillion times, but I had a female “friend” that was single, never married, never had children, and seemed to really count every nickel and somehow afforded to live a fairly “good” life on a part-time salary and dog walking business.

    This “friend” would give me gifts – clothing and other necessities that I couldn’t afford when I left Victor. She would invite me to lunches and pick up the tabs, etc. When I was in extremely dire financial circumstances after my separation, she actually showed up to my apartment, unannounced, with a load of groceries and cigarettes for me and I cried and cried and cried because it was such a generous act of kindness.

    There came a point when this became very uncomfortable. When I remarried the second exspath, she declined to be my maid of honor in lieu of spending time with a boyfriend that was 25 years her senior and wouldn’t travel with her because he “…doesn’t like (me),” from her own mouth. She was also the foremost authority on everything in Life. How to parent – her never even having experienced pregnancy. How to have a successful relationship – her never having even become engaged, much less married. How to be prosperous – this was the final straw because she finally let it out that her father had been supporting her throughout her lifetime. I don’t mean a twenty here and there. I am talking about purchasing a house for her, in cash, paying for her health insurance, copays, veterinary bills, utilities, auto insurance, groceries, etc……….EVERYTHING. So……this disclosure made the previous gift of groceries quite clear: it was NOT some great personal sacrifice. It was easy and painless.

    The very wealthy are typically disordered. I have worked with, for, and around extraordinarily wealthy people and they have a sense of entitlement that is beyond description. They are above everyone else in every way – intellectually, financially, spiritually, etc. And, they are not required to be accountable to anyone for anything, bar none. When they get into legal trouble, it’s because someone else dropped the proverbial ball rather than through their own actions, choices, and decisions.

    While living a prosperous life is fine, becoming super-rich does NOT have the appeal to me that it once did. I am beginning to live life “well,” rather than focusing on “wealth.” I’m just fine and I’m quite content, at long last.

  3. Truthy, many times folks are “altruistic” (on the surface) but in fact they are using “gifts” as a way to effect control.

    In my Scots-Irish culture you NEVER accept a gift or a favor from anyone except a blood relative or CLOSE friend, because if you do you are putting yourself under an OBLIGATION to them. My mother kept trying to give me money after my husband died and I kept refusing because I KNEW I didn’t want to be OBLIGATED to her, so she started giving money to my DIL and Hamilton instead so they would be OBLILGATED to her. What she didn’t realize was that psychopaths are NEVER obligated to anyone, and have no gratitude for “help.” which they “repay” by returning favors. LOL

    Altruism isn’t about just “sacrificing” when you help someone, it means that you HELP THEM WITHOUT EXPECTING REPAYMENT. Jesus taught that we should “loan” or “give” to others but NOT EXPECT them to repay any “debt” to us. An ENABLER may give to someone but they ALWAYS expect you to repay them in some way. Like you mentioned that your “friend” that was so giving was an “expert” on everything…TYPICAL of someone who wants you in their debt and their “giving” to you is a way to feel superior to you, one researcher calls it “pathological altruism” and that’s exactly what it is.

    Back when my mother realized she could not “buy” my obligation to her, she became enraged with me. She said something along the line of “you wouldn’t take money from me if you were starving would you?” She KNEW why I was refusing her “gifts” (that of course had strings attached) and she realized that her method of controlling me was not going to work and she didn’t know any other way to “obligate” me to do her bidding.

    So what does she do? but accuse me of wanting to control her money! LOL At the time it hurt really badly but I am no longer under a self imposed obligation to “please” her no matter what the cost to myself. Fortunately, she has enough money to hire caregivers so I am not abandoning some poor little old lady who is unable to care for herself and has no resources.

    It is as sad for her as it is for me because her attempts to obligate me to do what I would have WILLINGLY done, and HAD DONE back when she and daddy were both so sick, actually deprived her of a relationship with me. I love my mother and have always tried to please her but I finally realized that you can not placate someone who feels it is necessary to control you, to obligate you to be under their thumb. I quit playing the “game” that has been a “family tradition” for generations. The cost is too high. People don’t realize that you can love someone and still not like them, or engage in dysfunctional behavior with them. We build up these expectations that love, blood or marriage obligates us to endure all kinds of abuse from someone, but the truth is we are not under any obligation to endure abuse from ANY person however much we may love them and wish that the relationship was different.

  4. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that the disordered find their way to the top. Someone with no shame, remorse, narcissistic, a sense of entitlement and always pointing the finger at others…. They would have no problem stepping on others to get to the top.

    Looking over this ^^^ after typing it? I’ve just described the ex and the in-laws.

  5. Yes, Phoenix, you are correct I think. Looking back over the “VERY successful” people I’ve known (whether they were rich or not) many of them actually were out and out psychopaths. Some were wealthy and some not so wealthy. I think psychopathy can lead you down the road to riches climbing over the backs of others, but it can also land you in prison like my son Patrick did. My biological father who was a full on card carrying psychopath that makes Patrick look like the “tooth fairy” became very wealthy in the end and that bought him some “friends” but only ones that money could buy.

  6. I have known a very slim number of people who have done well, been successful and made their mark without stepping on others or being a complete dou-che-wad to those around them. They’ve earned their money, earned their status and earned their well deserved respect.

  7. Yea, Phoenix, I think about Sam Walton and how his millions didn’t change him much, but then I look at how his kids and grandkids treat their hired help at Wal mart to maximize profits and I know Mr. Sam must be spinning in his grave.

    The people who EXPLOIT someone else’s labor, whether it is a slave, a sweat shop, or poorly paid workers while they themselves become filthy wealthy, well…I guess it is just the greed in some folks and their own laziness.

  8. And that Joyce, is a grand example of what many call ‘Affluence Syndrome’ and it has come to be known almost as a “medical condition”. The kids have been raised with no sense of reality, not having to earn their own money, be responsible or accountable for their actions and as a result feel they can say or do anything to anyone and it’s not a big deal. Their parents are their Enablers.

    This reminds me of the case in the news not too long ago where the rich kid was in court as a result of a DUI car accident where he killed the occupants of another car. I think there were 4 deaths. His parents were well off, paid the attorney and he got off with not much more than a slap on the wrist, if he even got that… You may have even posted about it here.

    • I can think of another family I know who fits the ‘Dysfunctional/Affluence’ mold to a T.

      The dad was a savvy business man. Well respected, well educated, smart and just about as friendly, kind and gracious to others as can be. He was a person who you could tell anything to and knew it would go no further. You could also tell that you could learn a lot from him, just sitting at the picnic table under a tree and chatting about life as you watched the day go by. His assets were numerous, plentiful and quite profitable, yet he was as down to earth as they come.

      As long as he was alive and kept things under control, the family seemed somewhat “Normal”. After he died, all he// broke loose and soon after- the truth came out about what a hot, sticky, nasty mess the remaining ‘family’ really was. Whooo Boy was it a MESS! Alcoholism, narcissism, drug use and addiction, domestic violence, adultery and I’m sure there’s plenty more could be mentioned. Toxic doesn’t even begin to come close to describing them.

  9. I’m just always cautious about wealth, in general. Particularly with people who are involved in religion – I have a VERY hard time with that. I worked for Pat Robinson many, many years ago, just when CBN was becoming a phenomenon. I cannot describe the money that came and went, and all in the name of religion.

    I remember being a kid when Jim and Tammy Bakker were just local blips on public television with a tiny, tiny broadcasting station in Tidewater. These people turned out to be some of the most narcissistic and psychopathic individuals I’d ever known.

    Later, I dated a fellow whose brother-in-law was a cameraman for CBN after it had gotten HUGE and moved to Va Beach. This man and his wife (and kids) were utterly dysfunctional and they has more money that I could explain (for a cameraman). They were pious, arrogant, judgmental, and their kids were spoiled, vicious brats.

    Yep…….I’m pretty cautious, these days………..

  10. Truthy It was mentioned to me one time about the ‘fish’ people sometimes use as a Christian symbol. Whenever it was on a business card, brochure, literature or whatever, it was taken as a sign that there was “something fishy about that person”. Seems to ring true more times than not.

    Faith is often a personal thing. Those who feel the need to flaunt it or show it off are likely using it as a diversion. Those people scare me. What’s in their closet???

    • Phoenix, I am very leery of people who are “in-your-face” about anything, including religious affiliations and politics.

      For me, there are 3 subjects that are very, very personal and I rarely discuss them in specific terms:
      * politics
      * religion
      * income

      I have “met” some very, very vocal people who attended their weekly ceremonies, without fail, and they turned out to be some of the most disordered people that I’ve ever met.

      One gal, in particular, has stuck in my mind over the years where this subject is concerned. She was deeply involved in the cult that requires women to wear skirts and let their hair grow out, while the men never grow out their hair and keep clean-shaven. It is a very, very misogynistic system of beliefs, and a great deal of simmering anger circulates amongst the women, I believe, because I visited her home – she was a neighbor and her husband was in the Coast Guard, along with Victor, on the same cutter ship. Her house was spotless, and her 9-month-old daughter was in her high chair with a snack. I heard a baby wailing in the back bedroom and inquired about this, and she said that she had been hired as a sitter for this infant whose mother was also on the same ship. The baby was in the back bedroom, in his car seat, and wailing like a fire engine. Non-stop, this went on for a long, long time and I asked her about it – was he hungry or needed a diaper changed, or even just lonely? Her response was (and, I’ll never forget it), “He’s the product of sin – he was conceived while she was having an affair with another man. He doesn’t deserve to be alive.” Now, this struck me dumb, literally. I couldn’t form words or a response to these statements – I had attended services with this woman and her husband, and witnessed this fervor of “faith” with people jumping around in the aisles and members speaking gibberish and claiming that they were speaking “in tongues.” HOW could someone so devoted to the gentle teachings of Jesus do such a cruel thing and feel justified in doing it? Well…………there you go……….

      And, I take some measure of responsibility for NOT having reported that woman’s treatment of the baby because I was AFRAID that people wouldn’t believe me, first of all, and that I would be hated, secondly. In another thread, I mentioned how important it was for everyone to “like” me and “accept” me.

      There’s something in EVERYONE’S closet, I believe, with no exceptions. None. Whether or not those dark things are LEFT in those closets to breed and ferment is what makes “keeping secrets” a pathology.

      The original topic was the wealthiest 1%, and I have to say that Molly Brown was probably the most genuine of the very wealthiest. She was whom she was, and made no excuses about her origins. Other people are able to FEED their pathology with money – look at the Kardashians and the Duggars. Those are people who are obscenely wealthy and the WORST possible role models for others who are struggling just to survive.

      So……money can buy a lot of things, but it cannot purchase “class,” dignity, or character. It’s very, very easy to be benevolent when one has an excess of cash. It really is. But, the one person who looks at their last $5 bill for the month and goes to a sub shop and buys a sandwich for a homeless person has my high regard.

  11. Truthy- I can see why you were dumbstruck. I read that and seriously didn’t know what to say.

    The irony and the hypocrisy in her words and actions are astounding.

    • Many people are able to talk the talk with eloquence and ease. The second exspath had been enrolled in a Bible college and had intended upon becoming a pastor – so he said. He was able to quote chapter and verse fit for ANY event or experience, and I honestly believed (because I NEEDED to) that he was truly spiritual to his core! LOLOLOL Well……….when it came to walking the walk, he was incapable of doing so. He would not affiliate himself with any organization and insisted that ALL of them had “it wrong” and that HE understood “everything” that was “intended to be taught.”

      Talk about arrogance? Nobody has God’s cell phone number on their contact lists. They don’t. So, when a person doesn’t discuss their beliefs, it’s fine by me. If they’re walking the walk, they don’t need to talk the talk, as far as I’m concerned.

  12. Amen sista friend!

    Actions speak far louder than words. Any time. Any day. Always. And all ways.

    It’s pretty obvious there’s a Spathy Playbook….

    The ex spath here too, may not have intended to be a pastor, rabbi or even leader of a cult, (way too much responsibility for his tastes there) but he had supposedly gone to school and studied E.V.E.R.Y. religion, faith or following known to man. He even went as far as professing to different priests, pastors and anyone who would listen, that JC himself, “came to him” in a bathroom stall once. I guess that somehow makes him a prophet??? Or maybe that explains his God Complex…. Hmmmmm….. LMAO!!! I have my doubts on that for obvious reasons.

    Then there was his military service, he was highly recruited by all four branches you know…. I’m sure he could skip boot camp and start out as a decorated officer if you ask him.
    He also tested for every department of law enforcement in the state…
    He was a certified EMT, worked in various ER’s at? You guessed it! Just about every hospital in the state… At least he doesn’t have his medical license and posing as a doctor. Whew!
    He knows the higher up’s in just about every club, organization and group a person could belong to….
    Of course he has attended each and every college around. Local community colleges to the state college… Of course he did. With Pell grants recently and he has student loans…. It’s “Free money” You just have to show up for class a few nights a week, depending on what you signed up for, but hey. You didn’t have anything else to do anyways. Besides, you might even receive a degree. You also meet a new group of people you can later possibly leach off of. WIN!

    It makes you wonder if there is anything he HASN’T done???

    Lord only knows how he could keep track of all the lies. The dead giveaway in all of it?

    His lips are moving.

    • Phoenix! (snort, guffaw, wheeze!) LMAOLMAO!!!!!!!!!!

      That’s right. How can you tell if a sociopath is lying? If their lips are moving and sound is coming out of the holes in their faces!!!

      Yes……….he’s a GRANDIOSE spath, isn’t he?! Well, the second exspath wasn’t as grandiose as that – he was more of a whining mamma’s boy, which I did NOT understand until after we were married.

      Oh, boy………….at this point, I can look back and actually laugh my head off at the exspath’s ideas and notions. Even his actions are, in retrospect, pretty humorous because he clearly wasn’t the brilliant author that he believed himself to be and actually has to WORK to eat, which is something that he didn’t “like,” at all.

      It is my FERVENT hope that the New Mrs. Target will get wise (if she isn’t like him, herself) and divorce him, too, so that he has to give away every bit of his income in the form of alimony! Or, (God forbid) child support! LOLOLOL

      Four days ago marked the 4-year anniversary of when I unzipped his bag of skankage and discovered what a sick basturd he really is. Thank goodness, I didn’t know about the financial frauds until AFTER he left.

      TOWANDA for all of us!!! 😀

  13. Truthy- he was mighty Grandiose AND a whining mama’s boy. (So much so I called him a crybaby b!tch, because it just fits so well.) They can be both, just usually not all at once.

    Although he did tell tales in front of his parents from time to time. You know, so they had something to tell their friends they were proud of him for…. As she stands there over his crib, um, I meant chair, smiling and patting him on the head.

    It all depends on the company they’re in at the moment, which and how many masks they choose to put on for their ‘audience’….

  14. I’ve been watching the news lately about that “adultery” site and how it was hacked and thousands and thousands of folks were UNMASKED as having “accounts there” and then yesterday I read another article about the 4,000 or more “women” on that site that were “available” were in fact HOAXES and that the owner of the site had made them up to attract more paying customers. Of course, never intending to provide a “hook up” with these fake women. LOL

    The cheaters got scammed for their money. LOL I can’t remember who said it, but “it is hard to cheat an honest man.”

    Of course lots of honest men and women are cheated by psychopaths and other cons but when you are not honest, it makes it much easier to con you.

    The old Pigeon Drop scam is described in this link http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/Crimes/InPerson/MajorPerson/pigeon_drop.htm which used too be pretty common. But of course there are MANY scams that are pulled over the eyes of those who are vulnerable, and in many cases this is the ELDERLY who have lost their “edge” in determining OBVIOUS scams. My elderly neighbor was scammed by some guy who was going to make him a “millionaire” if only he’d send another 100 bucks to the guy in Jamacia. There was NO WAY anyone could convince my friend he wasn’t going to be a millionaire.

    • WOW, Joyce……….what a hoot, right?

      After the second exspath left, I had our “joint” financial records researched and sent to me for the past 4 years, and my private investment records sent, as well. In all, there was a stack of documentation that was 10 inches thick. This documentation told the story of how the exspath accessed my finances and used ALL of our monies to fund his quest for whatever. He even used MY investment money to post a personal advertisement on the Yahoo classifieds – absolutely YUCK – which has since been dismantled because it was raunchier than Craigslist.

      And, the elderly ARE “easy” targets because of many, many reasons. There have been, are, and forever WILL be people who scam and con. It’s unavoidable. Even if laws are altered to make the consequences harsher, a “bad person” cannot resist a good scam, and the fact is that a prosecutor would much rather take on a high-profile violent crime than some hard-to-win case against a con artist.

      That’s why I’m so grateful that I’m where I am, now. Emotionally speaking, that is. 😉

  15. This one sort of goes along with this post- Remember the teen who was driving while drunk, killed 4 people and got off because his attorney claims he has “Affluenza’? His parents have a lot of money, hired some good attorneys and he didn’t have to pay for his crime….

    Affluenza teen back in trouble Seems he thinks he doesn’t have to abide by his probation conditions either. Not a matter of IF he violates conditions, but more a matter of WHEN…. Sounds just like the spath. Yuck!

  16. I googled the kid (now an adult at 18) and there were many articles including this one on him and his family http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2015/12/tarrant-da-investigating-twitter-video-claiming-to-show-affluenza-teen-ethan-couch-playing-beer-pong.html/ Apparently his father was arrested for trying to pass himself off as a police officer, the mother is “missing” as well as Ethan is “missing” This “kid” is a chip off the old block I would think, and his apple did not fall far from his parental tree…the entire family seems to think they are entitled to do whatever they want and hang the consequences to others. The judge should have been booted from the bench. Wonder how much the family paid her?

    • The Affluenza Kid is a psychopath, and his parents’ affluence only fuels his misdeeds, as do ALL people who can buy their kids’ ways out of trouble.

      This kid sort of reminds me of the Kennedy clan…………….

  17. Yea, but you know the people kept electing them over and over even though none of their shenanigans were a secret. Old man Joe was a bootleger and a pimp….and the boys were just like him. And that grandkid that raped the girl in Florida….but there are more politicians in congress now that are just like them….psychopaths are willing to do whatever it takes to “rise up” in money and power. Only a few of them are like Patrick and wind up in prison.

  18. Joyce it’s like you said, Only a few of them end upp in prison. Sadly though, not enough of them end up in prison. Those that do, usually end up serving a “fluff” sentence in a ‘white collar’ prison that’s more like a resort spa trip than actual prison. Which to me is a load of cr.ap, but I digress… *sigh*

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