02 November 2013

The Economist: “The psychology of power”

They argue, therefore, that people with power that they think is justified break rules not only because they can get away with it, but also because they feel at some intuitive level that they are entitled to take what they want. This sense of entitlement is crucial to understanding why people misbehave in high office. In its absence, abuses will be less likely. The word “privilege” translates as “private law”. If Dr Lammers and Dr Galinsky are right, the sense which some powerful people seem to have that different rules apply to them is not just a convenient smoke screen. They genuinely believe it. The Economist

Very interesting study about how people behave when put in positions of power. It seems power doesn’t necessarily corrupt, as amplify our natural tendencies to feel entitled to extra benefits as opposed to playing by the rules. Again, a quote from Dune fits in perfectly:

Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect all who seek it… We should grant power over our affairs only to those who are reluctant to hold it and then only under conditions that increase that reluctance.

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