Friday, December 03, 2004

Corporate Psychopaths

A Canadian psychologist estimates that 1 out of every 100 North Americans is a psychopath, and points out that they tend to thrive particularly well in the business world.

"Corporate psychopaths" use arrogance and superficial charm to scale the top of the ladder, knocking off whoever gets in their way, Prof Hare explained.


"People might say he or she is charismatic, high profile or 'gets things done'. We have a whole series of euphemisms for the individual who may be self centred, grandiose, lacking in empathy and does not give a damn about everybody else," he added.

Sounds about right. However, I think we're culturally less inclined to apologetic euphemism than to starry-eyed, slack-jawed worship.

For some reason, this story calls to mind Engels' classic anecdote about his visit to Manchester:
One day I walked with one of these middle-class gentlemen into Manchester. I spoke to him about the disgraceful unhealthy slums and drew his attention to the disgusting condition of that part of town in which the factory workers lived. I declared that I had never seen so badly built a town in my life. He listened patiently and at the corner of the street at which we parted company, he remarked: "And yet there is a great deal of money made here. Good morning, Sir!"

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