The Psychopathic Crowd

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Since the 1980s we have seen the emergence of the psychopathic crowd.  No surprise psychopaths are often tied to financial success and riches.  Most psychopaths are intelligent and can be extremely charming when it suits their ulterior motives.  Its often learned behavior, a belief instilled of high human superiority over most others and that others have no real value.


It flourished in the 1980s with the sudden unleashing of the financial sector, large MNCs, and in our culture. Remember shows like Dynasty, Dallas and Knot's Landing.  Being rich, in style and void of any human caring became entertaining if not deemed commendable.  C level pay began to explode over ordinary worker pay.


In the 1990s the behavior moved to the world of technology.  Prior to the 1990s those in technology were considered geeks and nerds.  By the 1990s they were the new found sexy uber rich (even though many of their new Internet companies were a sham).  In the naughts, the focus of psychopathic behavior moved back into the financial sector on steroids.  Everyone saw the joke the subprime mortgage was and decided to cash in on want would most certainly be a trail of pure misery and economic pain, versus screaming foul. People like Bernie Madoff, Dick Fuld and Stan O'Neil sprang up over night as the architects of worthless financial activities. More to the point, the smart ones buttered up the Federal Reserve and politicians to make sure the ending did not take them down.  Other than Madoff (stupid enough to admit his guilt) all of these guys are living a life of luxury.  


Since then psychopathic behavior has erupted everywhere from big Pharma to defense companies to payday lenders, looking to cash in on misery and misfortunes.  The people at the top of Uber or Airbnb, psychopaths.  People running Wall Street, psychopaths.  People looking to take advantage of human misery and economic pain, psychopaths.  Its as if "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" has become the norm in society.  


Rich Purtell Added Feb 27, 2017 - 1:58pm
I don't like your choice of word psychopath here George. That word is more often associated with a physically violent personality.
The word you should use is sociopath.  "a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience."  That's a better fit.
I also think in terms of a "parasite class" being a problem.  You've enumerated upon the parasites in the upper income levels.  There are some in the lower income brackets also.  I don't think we should demonize all of the upper class, nor all of the lower class.  We should demonize the behaviors of corruption, graft, and other forms of sleaziness.
Conscience matters.  The great Adam Smith not only wrote "Wealth of Nations" but also "The Theory of Moral Sentiments."  Most of the great free market writers have written of the need for conscience.  At my daughter Amanda's commencement ceremony at Oral Roberts University last spring, the head of the school of finance spoke much about integrity during his dialog to the graduates from that school.
But of course we need better systems of checks and balances to keep corruption at bay.  This is why I feel supply side, Keynesian economics just can never perform properly in the real world.  Just as communism just does not work with real people due to the inherent collapse of ambition under such a system, the Keynesian approach creates cycles of expanding government and expanding deficit spending and central banking power.  The relaxation cycles during boom periods never counters the expansive cycles to "help" the economy recover during weak periods.
Most Americans have consistently rejected Marxism.  We must equally, or even more strongly, reject Keynesian economics if we are ever to bust up the oligarchy.  Study Keynes is you wish, but flawed people cannot apply systems which can only work effectively with perfect humans.
The failure of Marx has born out in other parts of the world.  The failure of Keynes has played out in the US, for those willing to objectively discern the failure.
George N Romey Added Feb 27, 2017 - 2:14pm
Rich good post.  I think we need a better level of understanding among the population and a move to de-glorify wealth at the expense of a cohesive and functional society.
Rich Purtell Added Feb 27, 2017 - 2:39pm
What most needs to be de-glorified, is central planning and control.  That is the essence of Keynes.  Keynesian economics strikes against the basics of our constitutional republic.  The only way to stay in constitutional compliance, is to deficit spend upon things which the federal government is charged to do.  So this means national parks (Teddy Roosevelt and FDR) or the military.  When we have ballooned the military to an enormous size, which sane people see as not worthy for further expansion, then we start wars.
Infrastructure projects, unfortunately, have too much of a time lag to be used effectively in a Keynesian strategy. When a bust market hits, there is too much time spent fighting about what projects to do first, so by the time a spending decision could be made, the bust cycle is over.  National park improvement is less of a challenge as those properties are in total control of the federal government, and any investment addresses the "common good" concern.
Keynes was brilliant, as was Marx, but there economic strategies just do not work in a real world with real people.  We've been suffering from a Keynesian strategy for over 100 years in the US.  It's time we broke out of it.
Billy Roper Added Feb 27, 2017 - 7:57pm
Of course a psychopath THINKS that they're just the same as everyone else. A sociopath knows that everyone else is stupid.
Minister Peaceful Poet Added Feb 28, 2017 - 5:53am
You write a lot of good informational articles George, maybe you're looking in the wrong place for a job, maybe get yourself a youtube channel and get yourself set up in Patreon.
George N Romey Added Feb 28, 2017 - 9:22am
MSP would love to. That is the future of television because you will find real topics being debated, not just Trump's latest whatever or the dribble the MSM drones on about.
Utpal Patel Added Feb 28, 2017 - 11:47am
You don’t have a problem with the psychopathic crowd, you have a problem with the successful crowd.  After all the people at the top of Airbnb and Uber should be applauded for what they’ve done for society.  That goes for the rest of the people on your list including payday lenders and Wall Street tycoons.  All of these people are providing a value to society or they wouldn’t be in business, let alone be successful in business.  Or would you prefer people desperate for cash call their local mobster?
Dino Manalis Added Feb 28, 2017 - 12:51pm
Mental illness is complex and comes in various forms, sometimes mild, sometimes severe.  Mental health is just as important as physical health and often results in physical problems.  It can affect anybody, regardless of income, we have to be careful and speak to people about their concerns.  
Leroy Added Feb 28, 2017 - 1:15pm
Nice article, George.  I agree with Rich that the better term is "sociopath".  I've only known two true sociopaths.   One can't keep a job.  The other either left or was encouraged to leave and formed his own company with partners.  I don't know the outcome, but I feel sorry for the partners. 
Many managers exhibit sociopathic behavior, but I believe they just tow the company line to keep their job and are not true sociopaths.  Nevertheless, I have little respect for them for selling their soul.  Maybe I haven't gone as far as I could have, but I have never sold my soul to The Man.
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 28, 2017 - 9:23pm
Nice work, George. I think the technology boom has only exacerbated the financial shenanigans by making trades quicker and even more complicated and difficult to trace. The techies have, with the direction of the financial types, overtaken the markets and rigged the game even further in the favor of the already wealthy. Sociopaths are incapable of empathy or understanding the pain of others, and in that sense they certainly fit the description.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 1, 2017 - 5:01am
I do not think they are psychopaths.
Jaques Ellul writes in his book on Propaganda that smarter people are more easily indoctrinated.  
  The new religion is self worship, there is no God, life only happens once, get what you can, etc. Young people buy into this, esp when it gives them a sense of superiority or sense of membership in an exclusive club. The club discriminates against non members (that is why we have clubs). People's basic thinking in terms of morals changes.
  And there are psychopaths, and they will tend to get further ahead in competition for obvious reasons but I think most of it is just the power of mind control technologies that the powers that be have to keep us divided.
  They want us divided in any way possible, income, sex, race and some to be (the "winners") completely unconscious of rational morals or respect for basic universal laws.
  To explicitly classify people as "winners" and "losers" puts a materialist spin on how people get judged or included or un-included in groups.
  I think it is social engineering rather than naturally occurring phenomenon. Most people really underestimate how easily they can be manipulated. If you have a huge ego then that is a weakness easily taken advantage of.
  Little cues in the media that when repeated, can gradually shift a persons moral center.
  I don't understand how they do it really, but I know the technology is there, its powerful and profitable so its likely being used to a far greater extent than most of us can imagine.
  We let the vampire in when we let him print our money for us and then rent that money back to us. The power shifted from governments to private interest. One can only imagine what private interests are doing or thinking about.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 1, 2017 - 5:05am
I wonder if micro-second trading and futures actually does harm or if it stabilizes prices. I think that it probably stabilizes prices when government is not part of it, when gov becomes involved you get the rumor mill and insider trading and every kind of corruption that comes when public and private powers intermingle. You get a soil fertile for corruption when you mix the powers.
Stephen Hunter Added Mar 1, 2017 - 8:09am
I think the old saying "Success breeds Success" can be applied here. Once one gets a taste, the human greed factor unconsciously kicks in, and you look for the next fix. But unwittingly start to change the rules to suit your situation, so that you/your company has an unfair advantage. One does not care about others at this point, and that is where the mental illness comes in. 
We were put on this earth to help others- not to become greater.
Stone-Eater Added Mar 1, 2017 - 5:31pm
That really nags on you. Think about my offer.
Patrick Writes Added Mar 2, 2017 - 6:44pm
It's funny but this is all I've ever known in larger American society growing up in the 80's as a youngster. It seems that George is describing a shift in American sensibilities from the 80's onwards.
T.V., media, magazines, it's always been about the Benjamins, getting rich, living large. And deriding the Leave it to Beaver 50's and 60's as being somehow inferior (not as "real" man). Disparaging religious people at every turn is cool.
George N Romey Added Mar 2, 2017 - 7:01pm
Patrick suddenly in the 1980s becoming rich was all the rage. Remember shows like Dallas, Dynasty and Knotts Landing ruled tv. Being average was out.  And if took home equity loans or credit cards to keep up that was ok now and the "banksters" were more than happy to oblige the fantasy.
Mircea Negres Added Mar 3, 2017 - 2:18pm
George, it is the truth and then some. Welcome to the age of the psycho.
George N Romey Added Mar 3, 2017 - 2:55pm
I had a just nifty experience with a sociopath today.  After going through several really good interview rounds I'm interviewing with the CFO today.  The 30 something snowflake shows up in a tee shirt and jeans even though I'm as good protocol would call for in a suit.  He gives me only 30 minutes of his time and during the time he dismisses everything I say, even though previous manager really liked my responses. He acts like I'm really a bother to him.  Typical "prick".
Mircea Negres Added Mar 3, 2017 - 2:59pm
George, sometimes it's nice to have relatives in the Mafia or know guys who like to hurt people for kicks; that way a guy like you can get some bloody pay back...
George N Romey Added Mar 3, 2017 - 5:33pm
Micrea a guy like that would never enter the rough and tumble world of WB because intellectually he would be put on his ass in a minute.
Mircea Negres Added Mar 4, 2017 - 1:31am
George, a buddy of mine was complaining to me about a lawyer who billed him for work not done some weeks earlier, and said the shyster was not listening. I replied "lawyers make their living with words and wind up thinking that's how the world works. There are people out there who break kneecaps, and they can remind them that it does not."
Jeff Michka Added Mar 29, 2017 - 6:39pm
SEFa wrote: That really nags on you. Think about my offer. - Geo probably won't, that doing so might mean doing something other than repeating his interview processes over and over again, and expecting different results.  Hmmm.  That is a definition of insanity.  Although Geo isn't insane, he'll never be able to overcome "hang dog" following him along with his tie-bars from interview to interview. "It's always THEIR fault!" really?