History is written by the victors.
–Winston S. Churchill
I have this personal pet theory. It goes a little something like this:
What do I mean by this? It’s time for a tale of hungry dogs, drowning by garden hose, buxom secretaries, altered birth certificates and who’s car is parked next door.
Earlier I espoused my pet theory (my precious!) that the odds of being an asshole increase exponentially with the acquisition of wealth. For example, if someone is in the top one percent there’s an asshole threshold (AT) of 99 percent. For the top .01 percent that grows to 99.99 percent.
I said at the time I said that I thought extreme wealth was a function of “lie, cheat and steal (LCS).”
Is it a chicken and egg kind of thing? Are people in the top .01 percent because they were born with LCS? Or was LCS something they had to learn to get there? Chicken and egg.
Thinking about this, I thought to myself, “If only there was some way to know.”
Then I realized that an existing data study might be useful. But what existing data is available? How about words taken right out of their own mouths? Perhaps that might provide some insight into their character and world view.
Case Study – Ray Kroc
Ray Kroc was a “restauranteur” and founder of McDonalds Corporation and included in Time: The 100 Most Important People of the Century. Perhaps not in the .01 percent Kroc was still considerably wealthy, worth about $500 million when he died in 1984. The Kroc family now has an estimated worth of $1.7 billion.
Suffice it say he’s sold a few “hamburgers” and made a few bucks. Let’s see what he has to say.
If any of my competitors were drowning, I’d stick a hose in their mouth and turn on the water. It is ridiculous to call this an industry. This is not. This is rat eat rat, dog eat dog. I’ll kill ’em, and I’m going to kill ’em before they kill me. You’re talking about the American way – of survival of fittest.
Source: Bloomsbury Business Library – Business Thinkers & Management Giants (2007)
Wow. He truly sounds like a great guy. I think we’re ready for the peer review process to begin.
I’m updating my hypothesis. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that wealthy people say all sorts of the darnedest things. Like upside-down Weebles, they have an overly-inflated sense of self and think they can’t fall down. That’s when they’re at their quotable best. (See: Sterling, Donald.) It’s almost like they get off on exposing themselves. As if to say, “See what I can do? I don’t just have all the money. I can also do this. What are you going to do about it? Ha ha ha.”
Can you find other compelling examples of what the rich say?