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Psychopathy As a Preferred Corporate Executive Trait

This blogging thing is not my forté, but I had to share this article from The Guardian.

The 1% are the very best destroyers of wealth the world has ever seen

These two paragraphs say far more than enough:

In a study published by the journal Psychology, Crime and Law, Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon tested 39 senior managers and chief executives from leading British businesses. They compared the results to the same tests on patients at Broadmoor special hospital, where people who have been convicted of serious crimes are incarcerated. On certain indicators of psychopathy, the bosses's scores either matched or exceeded those of the patients. In fact, on these criteria, they beat even the subset of patients who had been diagnosed with psychopathic personality disorders.

The psychopathic traits on which the bosses scored so highly, Board and Fritzon point out, closely resemble the characteristics that companies look for. Those who have these traits often possess great skill in flattering and manipulating powerful people. Egocentricity, a strong sense of entitlement, a readiness to exploit others and a lack of empathy and conscience are also unlikely to damage their prospects in many corporations.

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CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

I've never heard these arguments made on television or radio but they are ones people on the left have to be able and willing to make going forward. Over at George Monbiot's own webpage you can find his Guardian article footnoted with sources that are worth a look at themselves. Footnote 6 links to a Mother Jones article which recommends two other webpages of graphs and charts. What's of particular note at that Charts: Who Are the 1 Percent? page is the ratio of non-entrepreneurs among the top 1% to the entrepreneurs who, we so incessantly are told, are the wizards of capitalism and whom, for our own sakes, the economy must be designed to spectacularly reward.

Corrente has posted some of the visuals from this referenced webpage but it's worth another look through. This second page I had not seen before.

The none too popular around here Atrios has an efficient summary of the state of affairs in a post of his from today:


Well the consensus seems to be we need to just install bankers as the leaders of all the countries, and the only way any of us can survive is if all the richest countries of the world are turned into 3rd world hellholes after the middle class gives all of their money to rich people....

Submitted by scoff on

I figured the article would strike a chord with people here. It epitomizes what has gone wrong with the world. Gaming the system is right up their alley, and they feel not one whit of remorse for what they've done to the 99%.

Submitted by lambert on

How about we design systems of social organization that don't act as filters so that psychopaths rise to the top? IMNSHO that is what the Occupations are really about.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

This was, if unintentionally so, an insightful chapter into the nature of the modern mega corporation.

Or as Chomsky would say:

[1:09] ...That's the traditional libertarian tradition that I've been talking about and in that sense I'm a libertarian. The U.S. sense is quite different. Here every word has taken on the opposite of its meaning. So here libertarian means extreme advocate of total tyranny. That's what libertarian means here. It means power ought to be given into the hands of private unaccountable tyrannies, even worse than state tyrannies because there the public has some kind of role.

[1:42] The corporate system, particularly as it has evolved here in the twentieth century, is pure tyranny. Completely unaccountable, you're inside one of these institutions; you take orders from above; you hand it out to below. You're outside the institutions the [true] libertarians want; there's nothing you can say, tyrannies do what they feel like, they're global in scale.

[2:02] I mean this is the extreme opposite of what's been called libertarian any place in the world since the Enlightenment.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

David Korten makes this point in his book "The Great Turning; from Empire to Earth Community". George Monbiot echoes this in the piece.

Reading their work, it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family, you're likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family, you're likely to go to business school.

This is not a glib statement. Korten identifies sociopaths as People with an "Imperial Consciousness" which is the 2nd of 5 orders of human consciousness. They are people who realize it's easy to cheat their friends i.e. people who trust them. They live in MY WORLD. They suck up to the powerful and exploit the oppressed. The first and lowest order of moral consciousness is called "Magical Consciousness" that believes in an OTHER WORLD of magical beings like Santa Claus and God. It's a child's consciousness. The Imperial is the consciousness of a 7-14 year old. So, yes, it's very disconcerting to meet someone in this order that is an adult. The next order is "Social Consciousness" where most people are. "Good Citizens who live in a SMALL WORLD, play by the rules and are mostly the swing voters". They live in tribes. Next up is the "Cultural Consciousness" who live in an INCLUSIVE WORLD and "see the possibility of creating an inclusive, life affirming world. They see themselves as part of an earth community. They see people in other cultures like them. Final order which few achieve is "Spiritual Consciousness".

Occupy Wall Street is pointing out the moral bankruptcy of these creepy crooks who are running the world. They create nothing of value. David Graeber and others are saying that the time is long past for us to stop this idea of growth and production of crap. Time for us to nurture our imaginations and dream of a different world. It is time to acknowledge that nature needs us to fight the 1%. As somebody said on one of the blogs, "nature is part of the 99%".

cripes's picture
Submitted by cripes on

The big question for me is: Why do we allow ourselves to be ruled by a bunch of adolescent boys (and girls) with raging hormones and a philosophy dredged from the lizard brain of a perverse Russian refugee misanthrope?

What the hell's wrong with the rest of us?

"those who want power don't deserve it, those who deserve it, don't want it."

hells kitchen's picture
Submitted by hells kitchen on

When we debate ideas, there is often a reference to "taking this to its logical extreme." The destruction of the New Deal has been going on for a long time. What we are seeing now is the logical extreme in action.

Just as little ago as Bush II's terms as president, we saw the attempt to gut Social Security. There was a horrified pushback on this and Social Security was saved for the time being. Now there are blatant boasts of gutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, our whole healthcare system. Let's let people die if they can't afford medical care. It's downright ghoulish and psychotic. The logical extreme has been unleashed.

I grew up with the New Deal. I thought Nixon was an aberration and we'd get back to normal. I thought Reagan was an aberration and we'd get back to normal. I thought Bush I was an aberration and we'd get back to normal.

Then - smack in the face with a dead fish - I heard Bill Clinton using Republican talking points (old cloth coat Republican) and I said "Hey, wait a minute, what's going on here?" But I still didn't get the point.

Then Bush II stole the election in 2000, and I thought to myself, surely the Democratic Party will wake up and get back to Democratic (New Deal) business.


This is how it is that we tolerate this. This is how we get to the logical extreme.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

We are told "there is no alternative" aka TINA. Neo liberalism is taught in almost every college and university. Since Milton Friedman, corporatists formed these "think tanks" on the so called left and right. There is no real difference between Cato, Heritage, Brookings. There is no real difference between Sierra Clubs and Clubs for Growth. Anarchism, I finally realized, is the alternative. Consensus decision making makes the process of deciding as important as what they are deciding on. I started a post called "Occupy Wall Street" is the Anti Think Tank. More on think tanks and their origin is on Adam Curtis' blog on

Brian.Nelson's picture
Submitted by Brian.Nelson on

Well, these are some very interesting points and it is very good for everyone to read this. I hope that we can learn more about what it is that everyone wants in the future. Thank you for sharing.

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