Shrey here! If you liked this article you can read my other articles at http://shreysfinanceblog.com – “A 15 year old’s blog on finance and economics”.
In the mass media these days, psychopathy has been vilified to no end. Using examples such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy, the media has managed to convince people that being a psychopath is contemporaneous with having an intrinsically malevolent personality. However, this could not be further away from the truth. Psychopathy is, in fact, simply an alternate way of being, not the thing that defines killers such as the aforementioned Dahmer. In fact, after having carried out extensive research about the matter over the past week, I have concluded that some of the most successful people in the world of business have psychopathic characteristics. Before I expand on my reasons for believing this, I would like to thank Mr. Matthew Gaffney for putting the proverbial seed in my mind to write about this matter. I would also like to say that these are simply my opinions and they are not to be taken as fact, or as definitive proof that any person or the companies mentioned are psychopathic in the slightest.
I will use some of the criminal psychologist Professor Robert Hare’s criteria to determine psychopaths in this blog post. The first trait I will examine is having a tendency to lie, or pathological lying. If a person is a pathological liar, this means that they lie in an extreme way, which I take to mean destructive, rather than constructive or “white” lies, which cause other people distress in some way. This trait was shown in its entirety by Coke last year, when they blatantly lied about their so called “Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of 5 Juices” a drink which contained just 0.3% pomegranate juice. Coke blatantly using false advertising in order to increase profits was indubitably to the detriment of their consumer base, meaning that Coke, did, indeed, show the trait of pathological lying when they blatantly did not tell the truth about the actual type of beverage that it was. This means that, without a doubt, some of the higher-ups at Coke must have seen this as a good thing to do, which does indicate a degree of psychopathy.
Psychopaths are also defined by another trait, which is to show a lack of remorse. What this means is that after having done something bad, a person does not feel bad about doing it and is not empathetic with the victims of whatever he or she has done. An example of this was not recherché at all, as it took me the best part of half a minute to find this article, detailing how Walmart fired 2200 employees due to “plumbing problems”. Walmart doing this just hours before stores closed shows an unequivocal lack of remorse on their part, as it shows that they were not empathetic in the slightest to the employees or their families. Again, some higher-ups in the corporation must have made the decision to make so many employees redundant at the same time, which shows this psychopathic trait has been exhibited by this corporation’s higher-ups.
According to Professor Hare’s test, a tendency to boredom is also exhibited by psychopaths. This is shown clearly when we look at the scenario of RBS executive Mr. Rory Cullinan leaving the company after complaining of being “bored” at work. Even after having such a presumably high-paying jobs, complete with the glamour of being in such a high position that we see on our television screens so much, Mr. Cullinan was bored of his life at RBS and so decided to leave. This fits in perfectly with the trait of a tendency to boredom, which shows that Mr. Cullinan was psychopathic to a degree in this regard. Being in such a high position, one can only wonder how many company decisions he may have influenced, which also must have added to the psychopathy of the company as a whole. This is also only one example, and one only has to wonder how many famous departures are not due to issues over pay and the like, but over the genuine boredom that a psychopath frequently experiences.
The final two psychopathic traits that I will examine in this article is a grandiose sense of self worth and sexually promiscuous. This means that people have an inflated ego, which leads them to believe that they are worth more than what they actually are and are somehow “special”, when it fact it may not be so. This trait could also perhaps lead to the sexually promiscuous behaviour mentioned before, as these individuals may think that they are too “good” to only keep to one partner. This is perhaps best shown by the executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, who is described as a “serial womaniser” in the article, which talks about him buying a $15 million Manhattan penthouse. This article shows both of the psychopathic traits mentioned earlier in Schmidt, as not only is he buying himself such a large penthouse, which it could be argued that he does not need, but is also a “serial womaniser” and cannot stick to one partner, perhaps due to the aforementioned grandiose sense of self-worth. As such, it can be argued that Schmidt is indeed a psychopath to some degree, which may have been transferred in some part to the company he works for, Google.
In this blog post, I have examined five of the twenty traits that define a psychopath, and have shown how companies themselves and also their higher-ups exhibit these characteristics, whether it be through buying luxury penthouses or through falsely advertising pomegranate juice. Sometimes, these psychopathic traits can be good for a company, for example when a firing needs to happen and the psychopathic individual in question is only worried about the best thing for the company, and not the welfare of the individual being fired or his or her families. However, some of the arrogance displayed by these CEOs can and does give these companies a bad image. Regardless, this blog post has indeed proven that psychopathy is not also exclusive to serial killers such as Ted Bundy, but even the most successful individuals that we live up to display it as well. It is far more commonplace than the general populous think, and even the best of us are not free from its hold.
Shrey Srivastava, 15