Are poor people more moral than the rich?

Rich people are more likely to lie and cheat and are prone to believing that 'greed is good'. This is the finding of new research from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, which suggested the upper classes have a greater propensity for behaving unethically.

According to the investigation, more affluent individuals might be economical with the truth when it comes to negotiating and gambling, while also not being averse to cutting others off while at the wheel of a car.

Paul Piff, a doctoral student of psychology at UC Berkeley - which was founded in 1868 - stated: "The increased unethical tendencies of upper class individuals are driven, in part, by their more favourable attitudes toward greed."

The research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Mr Piff claimed the findings are helping to shed light on the inequality that is serving to shape selfishness and other conducts relating to ethics.

Kim Stephenson, Chartered Psychologist and writer of the Mindful Money blog, commented: "In many ways this isn't a new finding, though I'm not sure how longitudinal this study and whether they can justify talking about 'increased' unethical tendencies over time. 

"I have previously made the observation that the system (certainly in the UK and apparently in the US) is set up to reward unethical behaviour, spin, etc.  Similarly, there seems to be little desire among the power elite (by whom I would mean politicians and political appointees, and the researchers apparently mean the upper classes) for a more equitable and democratic way of solving problems.

"It seems a shame to me, since recent research shows that the greed for material goods is linked to unhappiness and the desire for social interaction, So if the rich are so misguided as to be selfish, greedy and acquisitive, they will, according to research, be far more miserable as a result."

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