Monday, February 17, 2014

Justifying unfairness

This study is fascinating. What is shows is that the more unequal a society, the more people feel that inequality is justified, and the more willing they are to believe in unfair outcomes:
There are two reasons for this, says Dr Trump. One is the status quo bias; a form of anchoring effect causes us to accept actually existing conditions. The other is the just world effect. We want to believe the world is fair, and if we want to believe something, it's very easy to do so. This is the system justification theory described (pdf) by John Jost and colleagues. There is, they say, "a general psychological tendency to justify and rationalize the status quo" which is "sometimes strongest among those who are most disadvantaged by the social order." 
All this corroborates my Marxian prior, that inequality generates cognitive biases - ideology - which help to sustain that inequality. 
Accepting Inequality (Stumbling and Mumbling). So inequality is a self-enhancing process.

And this study shows that lottery winners adopt more right-wing beliefs after hey become rich. This makes sense. In reality, most rich people have got there by winning some sort of lottery, whether it be by getting the right parents or being in the right place at the right time. They feel that because they clawed their way to the top, they must be better than everyone else by definition. So it is logical that the rich and powerful adopt right-wing economic beliefs to justify this:

Money makes people right-wing and inegalitarian (VoxEU)

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