Monday, October 07, 2013

Period 3 Article of the Week - Due Friday

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/rich-people-just-care-less/?src=mv&_r=0

1.  Read the article.  Consider the author's tone, structure of the essay, and your personal reaction.
2. Please add an intelligent comment (minimum 3 sentences) in response to the linked article from the NY Times.  Be sure to reference specifics from the article.
3. Optional: Comment on a classmates post in a second post (minimum 3 sentences)
*Use only your first name, last initial and class period.

28 comments:

  1. I do agree with a lot of what the writer of this article states. The wealthier tend to look the other away from the poor. I think a lot of it has to do with the way humans work. "Higher social classes" usually don't want to get involved with "lower social classes", simply because people want to worry about themselves and their own success rather than a country's or world's success and achievements. Yet, with this said, the solution to poverty is still trying to be created. As stated in the article, "Reducing the economic gap may be impossible without also addressing the gap in empathy." The solution starts with how we interact and care for each other.

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  2. The article brings up an issue with more relevance today due to the widening gap between the rich and poor. I think this is mainly due to not enough exposure to all different classes of people. The wealthy and poor tend to live in isolation and don't get a fair chance to interact. I'm sure if someone from the higher class got to know someone with a lower status, they would care just as much. I believe the article is truthful in fearing, "the expansion of an entirely different gap, caused by the inability to see oneself in a less advantaged person’s shoes." If we are unable to empathize with the poor, it will be impossible to solve poverty.

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  3. I feel as if the statements in the article make sense. You can see in everyday life how people who look wealthier, more powerful, sometimes treat a poor looking person as if they do not matter. That makes sense because there is a gap between wealthy people and poorer people, they do not always have the chance to interact. Many rich people live in "rich neighborhoods" while poorer people may live in poorer areas, which would result in children not growing up around as much diversity or many chances for an adults to be around somebody different from them. This obviously is not true for everybody. I am sure there are many sincere and empathetic wealthy people just as there are degrading and rude poor people. The article states, "Though the more powerful pay less attention to us than we do to them, in other situations we are relatively higher on the totem pole of status — and we, too, tend to pay less attention to those a rung or two down." I know everyone can relate to looking down on someone who is lower then them, whether you have seen it happen or even had done it yourself.

    Emma S
    Period 3

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  4. I agree with this article. It is true that people of "higher status" look down upon people that are not as "powerful" as them. This is unfortunate but it is an unbroken cycle. Wealthy people grow up around other wealthy people, then the influence of peers and family construct the way one will view others. The cycle should be broken because the author states in the article that, "Apart from the financial inequities, I fear the expansion of an entirely different gap, caused by the inability to see oneself in a less advantaged person’s shoes". Without that "gap" there would be more equality among people of any "status". Of course, not all wealthy people look down upon others. Some do not care whether you are rich or poor
    and others may have once been poor too, therefore enabling them to empathize.

    Gabby White
    Period 3

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  5. I do not entirely agree with the article, "Rich People Just Care Less" by Daniel Goleman because of the way he generalized the 'rich', and only made them seem like unsympathetic and less compassionate human beings. Yes, it is true that the rich and powerful may often neglect the ideals or opinions of the 'lower' class, however that is not always the case. Unless one is born into a wealthy family and born fortunate, to become rich, most people have to face hardships and struggle- weather it is financial problems or being corrupt, or failed businesses. When I was reading the article, it seemed to me as if the rich were emotionless and cruel beings who did not have to struggle. One does not simply wake up one day to realize that they are rich, they have to work hard for the fortunes that they earn. So, they have experienced or dealt with the struggle that a lower class individual faces in a daily basis. The truth is, because the poor and the rich are not accustomed to each others lives, we are not able to relate to each other- not because we can not empathize or be compassionate. This same concept applies to how the poor, or the lower class do not understand or empathize the conflicts that the rich face. It is our inability to comprehend each others situations. The article was bias, because they only mentioned the wealthy conservatives who are against welfare, but how about the rich who advocate welfare and food stamps among the poor? How are they able to empathize? I do, however agree that the poor are regarded as inferior, less relevant in society, and their opinions are often neglected because they do not have the same power.

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  6. I agree with some of the things that were brought up in this article. It is evident, in most cases, that the wealthy tend to look away from the poor. People who are in this higher social class tend to hang around with people are are also in a higher social class. This is just how it works in most society's around the world throughout all of human history. I believe that the handful of wealthy people who do associate themselves with the poor will actually agree that they are not bad people; they are just the same as you. These people who do associate with the poor do recognize the hardships they go through, and if more of the wealthy followed in their footsteps and associated with the poor, the end of poverty would be possible.

    Kevin C Period 3

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  7. I also agree with some of the arguments that were stated in the article. The way the author describes how the more wealthy act around people that are less fortunate was spot on in many ways. They act more powerful and almost look down upon others because they feel as they are better and more important because of their money. The issue of money acts as another thing to discriminate others about. This made me think about the fact that many politicians are wealthy and we have wealthy people making decisions about everything that the poor will be doing and that in my opinion seems unfair because they dont know what it is actually like and how to empathize for these people. It seems that this financial gap is causing a gap with people being kind to one another and working together on things like improving our country.
    Elena M Period 3

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  8. This article was clearly related to poverty and financial inequalities. Goleman mentioned that it’s normal to have social differences in every community but the social differences can act up in a negative way. Today the money that goes to support the people in poverty comes from the pocket of the rich ones. Without them, the government alone couldn’t take care of the poor alone. I think it kind of make sense for the wealthy people to act mean and rude towards the people in lower social position as their money is somehow wasting in the poor, (in the rich’s view). I can understand where the mean looks of the rich comes from but I don’t know about empathy. Maybe the difference in finance leads to various opinions and feeling of empathy. It makes sense for the poor to feel more compassionate and grief than the rich. Since, the less fortunate has less to treasure and which leads to more love, care and affection towards what they only have or own at the moment. Losing a loved one is much harsher and emotionally and mentally impacting for people with less power. Probably, the wealthy ones have several other possessions to take care of, after the divorce or death of loved ones. But, I do believe that there are wealthy people who wholeheartedly support the poor and provide with charity. They sure feel empathy and kindness and show their care and concern. To conclude, some people despite being wealthy are caring and some aren’t. Similarly, it’s not difficult to find mean and impolite poor people who despise rich.
    Goleman does a good job in bringing up both viewpoints including the opponent’s. He wasn’t very argumentative and just laid the points out there for his readers to consider and ponder about. It was interesting how the environment and our surrounding influence us to act certain way towards people with different social standards. Some people are able to fight and behave and feel the way they want towards people in different social classes, while some can’t or don’t choose to

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  9. This article was clearly related to poverty and financial inequalities. Goleman mentioned that it’s normal to have social differences in every community but the social differences can act up in a negative way. Today the money that goes to support the people in poverty comes from the pocket of the rich ones. Without them, the government alone couldn’t take care of the poor alone. I think it kind of make sense for the wealthy people to act mean and rude towards the people in lower social position as their money is somehow wasting in the poor, (in the rich’s view). I can understand where the mean looks of the rich comes from but I don’t know about empathy. Maybe the difference in finance leads to various opinions and feeling of empathy. It makes sense for the poor to feel more compassionate and grief than the rich. Since, the less fortunate has less to treasure and which leads to more love, care and affection towards what they only have or own at the moment. Losing a loved one is much harsher and emotionally and mentally impacting for people with less power. Probably, the wealthy ones have several other possessions to take care of, after the divorce or death of loved ones. But, I do believe that there are wealthy people who wholeheartedly support the poor and provide with charity. They sure feel empathy and kindness and show their care and concern. To conclude, some people despite being wealthy are caring and some aren’t. Similarly, it’s not difficult to find mean and impolite poor people who despise rich.
    Goleman does a good job in bringing up both viewpoints including the opponent’s. He wasn’t very argumentative and just laid the points out there for his readers to consider and ponder about. It was interesting how the environment and our surrounding influence us to act certain way towards people with different social standards. Some people are able to fight and behave and feel the way they want towards people in different social classes, while some can’t or don’t choose to.

    ~Shilpa R

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  11. I agree with the article in that that rich have less empathy than the poor but I don't think it's because of the social classes as much. This can have a influence but i think it is more a personality trait. The people who are the rich and higher class are the ones who don't care about who they knocked off along the way. They are the ones not afraid to fire people or cut paychecks. I say this because I have met some very nice, rich people and I have met some mean and rude rich people. I think its a very cut and dry thing; either you're nice or your not. It could be that they had grown up from nothing and can relate but i think it's mostly personality. They used a study from social psychologists from the University of Amsterdam and the University of California, Berkeley that showed different level of compassion among the people. There were no actual numbers on whether all the rich or some of the rich showed no compassion. Everyone has some good in them, some may less than others, but it's not as if the people disregarded the desperate people.

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  12. I agree with the idea that the author is trying to get across; yes, the wealthy overlook the poor. And yes, the poor definitely have more empathy and generosity towards others. But all throughout the article I found myself wondering why. The author came up with a few reasons, and by the end of reading the article I had come up with a few opinions of my own. I agree with Mr. Keltner that we “focus the most on those we value most.” Its true that the poor tend to appreciate and respect those who aide them the most and benefit them. However, as for the wealthy, I don’t think it’s as intentional. They surround themselves with those who have the same opinions and views of the world as them, and they do lack the empathy to realize that there is more than just their opinions. But it is the many, many more middle class and poor people who seem to radiate generosity, empathy, and forgiveness that are going to make our world better.
    Cara b period 3

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    1. I not only agree with Cara but I believe that she worded it perfectly: "there is more than just their opinions" and "poor people who seem to radiate generosity, empathy, and forgiveness are going to make the world better" are not only true but painfully true, eye opening statements.
      Megan G Period 3

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  13. The author of this article, Daniel Goleman, believes that richer people are less empathetic because of the difference of social classes and opportunities. He tried to back it up with research, but-in my opinion- he didn't find scientific research to back up his belief, but only just studies to show a difference in behaviour between the classes. I believe that the people of the different social classes have different opinions of why the richer act more superior than the poorer. In a collective view (like the one of Goleman, who is a New York Times writer and makes a lot of money, to be noted) the richer tend to explain that they may act superior because they don't need to depend on other people like the poorer do, like the example that Goleman used of poorer people thanking their neighbors when they take of their kids when they are gone while the rich almost always pay for service and rarely thank. The poorer people, like myself, think that the rich act that way because not only are they bred that way by their parents and their upbringing, but because they DO feel superior and greedy and tend to not make friends with 'the help.'
    Megan G Period 3

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  14. I found this article both intriguing and refreshing. It can at times be hard to call out a class of people for their social and moral inadequacies but this article intelligently addressed the growing problem of the lack of concern for social equality that is held by the rich. As the article stated, "Mr. Keltner suggests that, in general, we focus the most on those we value most. While the wealthy can hire help, those with few material assets are more likely to value their social assets: like the neighbor who will keep an eye on your child from the time she gets home from school until the time you get home from work." The poor are simply more community oriented because they rely on each other more. I find it sad that the gap between the rich and poor has grown so large in this country. Many of the rich seem to disregard those living in poverty because these people don't directly affect their own needs and interests.
    -Cassidy McCarns ~Period 3

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  15. I do agree with the author of this article. I feel that you have more sympathy towards people who are in the same situation as you are and towards people you can relate with. If i was going through a rough financial time i would not look towards the wealthy for empathy because they would not know how i was feeling. I also think that this issue is present today with the gap between the classes. With many people being so poor and others being so wealthy it is difficult to find a common ground. Many times when people become so wealthy they lose touch with the feeling of having to worry about bills and how they are going to feed their children. This is especially true for people who are born rich because they have never known how it feels to struggle and not always get what you want.
    Michaela Spinello period 3

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  16. I, like many of my classmates, also believe in the main premise of the article. Yes, rich people do care less. But doesn't this make sense? The article states that rich people don't care about the poor because research has shown,"that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power." Maybe this isn't right and maybe isn't helpful to fixing the poverty problem but it is reality. Those who don't have a loud voice don't get a say in what happens. The author of the article seems to lean towards this idea being a bad thing, which it can be in some respects, but it is not all bad. While I do believe that the poor should have a say in what happens in the country, I don't think they should be the say in what happens in the country.And that's what I think the author wants, he wants us to cater to the poor and I just don't think that's right. The same goes for the rich, I think everyone should get an equal say in what happens. Aren't those the principles on which this country was founded on? What ever happened to equality?
    -Justin C. Period 3

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    1. I agree with what you're saying here. This country was founded on the basis that all men were created equally, but our country never has been what our founding fathers set out for it to be. For a very long time, African Americans and Women were not considered a part of these "men", so i believe that our country still has some kinks to work out until we are truly an equal nation. This power/wealth discrepancy is just the newest kink we have to work out.

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    2. Jared P Period 3 (Above)

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  17. In concurrence with the article, the emotional and mental gap between those of the richer variety and those on the poorer side is quite evident. As many of my peers have stated, it is apparent that those who have gone through economic downturns are generally more community oriented, and value their possessions more so than those who are given everything their heart so desires. As the author stated - in quotations of another individual -“...In general, we focus the most on those we value most. While the wealthy can hire help, those with few material assets are more likely to value their social assets: like the neighbor who will keep an eye on your child from the time she gets home from school until the time you get home from work." This quotation I found to be quite interesting (for the reason that) the more you think about it, the likelier it seems. Is an individual, with more money than they know what to do with, likely to give money to a man on the side of the road? Or is it more probable that an individual who went through what the man did, give him money? If you stop to think about it, most would say the man with homologous experiences would give money. The poor rely on and respect each other more.

    I was amazed by certain parts of this article, particularly how those who are at a higher economic class think so highly of themselves and so lowly of those who aren’t at their “level.” One particular quote stuck out to me: “Higher-status people are also more likely to express disregard, through facial expressions, and are more likely to take over the conversation and interrupt or look past the other speaker.” Personally I find this absolutely astounding (for the wrong reasons) and also downright upsetting. Is that really what our human nature has become? The degrading of another individual who is less wealthy/powerful than oneself? However, there are two sides to every story. One can also note that there are those individuals who are living in significantly less than pleasant conditions who can also be very rude and ignominious to those who are “more powerful.” I suppose one could call it a degree of strife and jealousy.

    I’ve slightly digressed from the original topic. Nevertheless, it is quite evident that rich people (overall) care less. Those who are living in poorer conditions and lack a certain degree of power, are generally a community based people who care for those like them. However, to disagree with the article, I don’t believe that ALL of the richer people truly lack care (generally speaking), as there are some who genuinely do care about the well being of others. Those of certain economic class have their own social groups and people they associate themselves with. For some it could be awkward (as awful as this sounds) to talk and communicate with someone of a lower class. I find this odd though because many people aren’t just born into money; they need to work to make their living. This means that at one point or another, they were at the same economic class and power level as another individual who they “look down on,” and don’t care about.

    The article has some substantial points, and I find myself agreeing with it as a whole.

    -Kathryn C. Period 3

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  18. The wealth gap between social classes has always existed, and is often talked about in terms of how people treat one another. However, the empathy gap is often not talked about, but instead is a very real and present issue in today's society. No one every speaks of the empathy gap, and yet everyone in some way or at some point in their life experienced the empathy gap. The wealthy upper class so little to no empathy for those in lower classes, it typically comes off as a "better than you" attitude. The article beautifully states how unlike the upper class, "Poor people are better attuned to interpersonal relations". People who are of the lower classes understand hardships and can better identify with people. Those in the upper class are unable to empathize. Those living in the upper class are usually very self-centered people. Unlike those living in the lower class where there is more of a sense of community. Those people show empathy towards one another in numerous ways, small and large. It is truly sad to see that this empathy gap really exists between the social classes. There is already such distinctive separations between the two in terms of economics, it is really unfortunate to see that they can't even empathize with one another. I agree with the article that it is hard to find common ground between the social classes. It makes sense that people are unable to empathize with one another. There are such extremes in todays economy. Some people are very poor, and others extremely wealthy. It can be hard for someone with nothing to empathize with someone who has everything, and vice versa. It is truly deplorable to see that such and economic gap between social classes really creates a "empathy gap". I hope that one day people from all spectrums of the social classes are able to empathize with one another. Money shouldn't deter people from natural instincts such as empathy.

    -Hailey N. Period 3

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  19. This article expresses a truly harsh reality, and although we may not always like it, the truth about poverty does make sense. Those who are viewed as poor, are valued less. This is truly a testament to the values we believe in, as Americans. We classify ourselves by our income, and those with a lesser net worth, seem to be worth less. It's not pretty, by any means, but it's the truth. Just as the article says, "We focus the most on those we value the most." Today in our society, we value the rich and what they have to say, more than any other class. As I'm sure that most, besides the rich, would like this to change, it's a long way away. There will always be a gap in wealth, and there will always be a gap in power. It's a harsh reality, but just as any, that's life.
    Jared P Period 3

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  20. I believe that this article touches on a key issue of modern times. It is often seen that we judge people's characters based on social class. As stated in the article, the author references how the rich people seem to look through poor people, and how we put celebrities on a pedestal. I do not believe that is how you should judge somebody's character. Some men have ended up in completely different work classes, despite working as hard as each of them could. I just think that you have to look at the opportunities given to a person, and where they came from before you can decide whether someone is a hard worker based on social class. After all some of us are born into poverty and others are born into the upper class. Mike B

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  22. I agree and disagree with this article in some spots. While I agree that a large amount of wealthy people don't pay much attention to those who are lower than them. But then I also disagree because some of those wealthy people do pay attention to lower class, and they try to help them through donating and giving them relief. While the two classes are separating more and more there is still wealthy people who are good people and look out for those with less. This is a big issue in our modern culture nowadays the wealthy need to learn how to cooperate and help the less because they were both born with equal opportunity and deserve to stay that way. While i agree with Goleman in some spots, I think he needs to look at the refuting parts and even out how he explains his claim.
    Dalton E

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  23. In some ways, I agree with what is said in this article. Early on, the author says, "This tuning out has been observed, for instance, with strangers in a mere five-minute get-acquainted session, where the more powerful person shows fewer signals of paying attention" This grabbed me because I can recall situations where I have been on both sides of this sort of interaction. And it made me think; maybe I am subconsciously looking down on people? And that made me feel, of course, immensely guilty. But when I looked further into it, anything that made me act this way wasn't exactly how much money I had or how superior I felt. I think that this interaction should not be analyzed as something to do with class, because it isn't. Sometimes if someone isn't as educated, conversation isn't as stimulating, but most wouldn't look down on someone for that. It is hard for me to agree with any generalization. Yes, I can guarantee that some wealthy people look down on the poor 24/7. But most people out there aren't like that. From personal experience, I am friends with people of different classes. And it hasn't ever caused any strain on the friendships. This may be the case sometimes, but over all, I think that everybody acts differently in these situations.
    - Jennifer G

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  24. I agree with Claire and her statement on the poverty gap when in the article it mentions, "Reducing the economic gap may be impossible without also addressing the gap in empathy." This quote is so significant because it explains that the actual economical gap between the rich and the poor isn't the only problem. It is also necessary to address the factor of empathy between the two social classes. The wealthy social class tends to feel as if they are "too good" for everyone else and ignore what is happening to those who are less fortunate. The are obsessed with feeling superior and are consumed and controlled by success. If everyone could just manage to treat each other equally, then the economy and human relations would raise correspondingly.
    Alyssa C period 3

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