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Are the rich stingier?

Are the rich stingier?

Do we become stingier as we become richer? NPR reports on study about giving and wealth:

Patricia Greenfield has tracked families in Chiapas, Mexico, over four decades. Many were very poor when she started her study. Slowly, over time, they grew wealthier. Along the way, Greenfield noticed something: As the people she followed grew richer, they became more individualistic. Community ties frayed and weakened.

Greenfield points out that one “silver lining” of the recent recession in the U.S. is that community ties appeared to strengthen as the economy buckled.

Neither Keltner nor Greenfield is offering a screed against wealth. As America has become richer, lots of good things have happened. Disease has declined. Education has improved. Women and minorities have gotten more equal treatment.

Read more here.


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Weiwen Ng

It’s not just that people grew more individualistic, it’s that (I suspect) they moved to more exclusive neighborhoods. They became physically divorced from seeing upfront the needs of others. Like when affluent people moved from the cities to the nicer suburbs. It made them safer (crime was definitely a problem back then), but it also took them away from people who could have used their help. Those people became more an abstraction. Humans are not great at helping abstractions.

By the way, when you become physically divorced from the poor, you are also taking your buying power out of the local market that they probably work in.

All this means that one thing Christians can do on a personal level is move to a city. I do not mean you have to live in Southeast DC or in West Baltimore. But move to the city. Don’t necessarily worry about gentrifying a certain neighborhood (that could be a longer story, but in most cities you want to worry more about increasing the total number of residences rather than worrying about am I pushing this person out). Worry more about finding something like a soup kitchen and signing up. Worry more about making some friends, or at least co-volunteer acquaintances, who don’t look like you.

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