Author Topic: Rich A-hole Syndrome  (Read 4183 times)


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Rich A-hole Syndrome
« on: October 06, 2019, 09:07:22 AM »

A bit muddled article, but IMO with some food for thought and relevance to CoBF.  8)
"Before you can be rich, you must be poor." - Nef Anyo
"American History X", "Milk", "The Insider", "Dirty Money", "LBJ"


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Re: Rich A-hole Syndrome
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2019, 09:53:29 AM »
Good article.

Its probably as much on point as anything Ive read. People tend to need to keep up with peer groups and there is a certain human desire to be recognized and have status. I find this stuff to be toxic to the well being of a person and counter productive when trying to live what I consider to be a good balanced life.

Well before even starting to work I determined what would be important in my life; my family, and in general just trying to be a good person who lives modestly and sets a good example. Being in NYC and around "peers" I saw as the equivalent as living in a house full of asbestos. Same as the guys in the article when it came to Silicon Valley. Just constant running in the hamster wheel and too much is never enough. The shallowness of constant materialism and degree to which people(particularly in the financial biz) place value and self worth into the amount of money one has; I wanted no part of this pathetic "sport". Over the years Ive even had some pretty generous offers to jump back into the wheel, but there isn't an amount of money that's worth sacrificing the things the are really important. Especially if you already have the things you need and don't live extravagantly. There isn't a person on the planet who shouldn't be able to live on $5,000-$10,000 after tax dollars per month. When you look at guys like Buffett, yea they won the money game, but even by Warren's own admission, he was a shitty father and husband. People just need to decide which they want to be great at. Staying humble and reminding oneself what they desire is easier when you live normally and see the pure gratitude when you tip a bartender $20, vs going out on the town with your colleagues and seeing who can rack up the bill with the most zeros as part of some pathetic competition to show off who can act like large and meaningful amounts of money are meaningless...


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Re: Rich A-hole Syndrome
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2019, 10:56:08 AM »
Yup - thank you for posting that article Jurgis - it's a good one.

After 30 years in software sales (15 as a rep, 15 as a manager) - you see this rat race and lack of empathy.
The arrogance and elitism that results is frightening.

And then I see the same types in my neighborhood berate the Mexican landscapers and Polish housecleaners for a better price and
are so proud of themselves when the beat them down - and brag about it.

And I ask myself - "are they cheap? or do they just love to win?" - I think this article answers that question.

Thanks for passing it on.


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Re: Rich A-hole Syndrome
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2019, 03:00:15 PM »
Sounds like a good reason to increase taxes.  ;)


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Re: Rich A-hole Syndrome
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2019, 03:46:02 PM »
I was at the Chatuchak market in Bangkok & had stopped in a stall to buy some wind chimes.
They were nice little ceramic designs & came wrapped in paper with handwritten Thai messages.

Simple & elegant gifts.

There was a sign stating the price for one, with a discount for three.

I was getting a couple of dozen & the guy tried to give a bigger discount but I politely refused because they were already cheap as hell.
Thai merchants often offer discounts without even being asked, if you're kind & are buying in quantity or if they recognize you from before.

While the guy was bagging up my chimes, a woman stopped in & was all irate that she didn't get immediate attention.
Then she proceeded to hammer the guy over the purchase of one chime.

I told her she was chiseling the guy for the equivalent of about $0.25 & she acted like I was a liar.

I've seen this over & over, especially with hotel receptionists where the rich "farang" isn't getting their way & resorts to being a twat.

These are the times we live in & it's probably been the same throughout history with relatively wealthy individuals.

I'd be willing to bet these types are non-existent on cobf.
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Re: Rich A-hole Syndrome
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2019, 05:08:10 PM »
"A wealthy friend of mine recently told me, “You get successful by saying yes, but you need to say no a lot to stay successful.”

this is true. no is the most powerful word in the English language.  it is hard to know how to wield this power.  I for one dont begrudge anyone who uses it unwisely, since I live in a glass house.  how about you?


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Re: Rich A-hole Syndrome
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2019, 05:11:15 PM »
It’s better to be a rich A-hole than a poor A-hole.
Life is too short for cheap beer and wine.

Read the Footnotes

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Re: Rich A-hole Syndrome
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2019, 05:55:48 PM »
Looks like the link to the piece was broken. Here's another.

Years ago I came across some research about rejection. The literature on the cost to the rejected individual is pretty broad, and it is widely accepted that rejection can have an emotional, psychological and physical health impact on the rejected party. A rejected person may be more likely to become socially isolated which will just compound the problem. We are social creatures and we have over time likely depended on others for our survival, so rejection and isolation are very painful.

What is interesting is the smaller field of research on the people who reject others. Most people cannot comfortably inflict pain on others, and rejection frequently clearly causes pain and distress for the rejected. So it shouldn't be surprising that it can be difficult for everyone to fire someone from an job or to end a romantic relationship. Breaking up really is hard to do. None of that should be surprising, but where it gets really interesting is what happens to the rejectors.

You might assume that someone who has to do a lot of rejecting might become more sensitive to the suffering of the rejected and develop more compassion and more sympathy, but generally it is the opposite. The mind of the rejector might prefer to minimize its own suffering, so reaction formation ( comes to the rescue. Instead of becoming more compassionate, the rejectors become more dismissive and more isolated. They are more likely to feel the rejected deserve to be rejected and that they are highly skilled at determining who deserves to be rejected, even if there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Also, though you might expect the rejector to try to engage in rejecting fewer people to balance out their guilt, instead they frequently start rejecting even more people. Sometimes you will see someone who has to reject people for a living then starts to reject people they are not required to such as coworkers or people from their private lives.  In some professions it can lead to an insider's gallows humor as people start to protect themselves from the discomfort of rejecting people.

Does this sound familiar? Can you see a connection to the article?

As an  example of reaction formation, think about someone who feels guilty for cheating on a romantic partner. You might imagine that they would be extra nice, or bring flowers to assuage their guilt. In fact they are more likely to blame the victim and lash out at them in anger. They also are more likely to falsely accuse them of also cheating. If the innocent romantic partner retaliates and is nasty or mean in return, it actually makes the guilty partner feel better and the offender feels they were justified in their cheating actions because they can now point to the innocent partners angry behavior. This is all reaction formation. So if someone starts acting very belligerent and accuses people falsely, it actually could be a sign they are feeling guilty.

With respect to the Wired article on why rich people so mean, as they isolate themselves, it is easy for the process to become self-reinforcing and to continue to be more and more isolating. When you think about it, as someone tries to isolate themselves in a privileged environment in order insulate themselves from privation, they are simultaneously rejecting others members of society and isolating themselves. This can become a feedback loop. Eventually, someone who started off a connected, social creature could end up an isolated, anti-social creature as described in the article.

I agree with DooDilligence that many people I have met through CoB&F are extremely kind and generous people and many have great examples to follow of how to be fine member of society. I also think if someone understands the value of community, the costs of rejection (to both the rejected and the rejector), and the concept of reaction formation, then that person has an even better chance of not ending up on the wrong side of this slippery slope.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 05:46:07 AM by Read the Footnotes »


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Re: Rich A-hole Syndrome
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2019, 08:36:16 PM »
Just for fun …..

It’s hard work being an A-hole!
Someone’s always trying to steal your stuff, key your car, get in your space, etc. And that’s before those other A-holes try to take your spot; as nobody respects A-hole #2, or A-hole #3 - just A-hole #1!



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Re: Rich A-hole Syndrome
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2019, 04:03:06 AM »
There is some an interesting implication for politics here, as there is a tendency for super rich to get involved more so in the US than anywhere else. Not all of them are A$$holes, but some of them are. We probably should caution the motives to “serve the country” a bit in general. It may just be another way to assert status and power in some cases.
Life is too short for cheap beer and wine.