Does it Pay to be Nice?

A new study reveals some good news…

The Bible links material success to behavior. In general, doing right and treating others well is the road to success and riches. Being vile leads to poverty:

Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, but trouble is in the income of the wicked. (Prov. 15:6)

Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it. (Prov. 13:11)

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A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. (Prov. 13:22)

He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty. (Prov. 22:16)


The evolutionary worldview also links behavior to wealth. Except, its governing principle is survival of the fittest. In this material world, there’s no such thing as a conscience. Anyone who obeys what they think is their conscience, is just needlessly limiting their own capacity for success. They are also easy prey to the ruthless power seekers.

There’s also no such thing as a providential God governing the flow of history, no God who will punish the evildoers and uphold the righteous. If you want to make it big, then to climb to the top you need to do it by stepping on everybody else to get there. There will be no eternal consequences for your actions, and there can only be positive benefits to being so ruthless.

Except, a new study has revealed some interesting results. At Bloomberg we read:

In the world of high finance, it’s been an article of faith among some that the only way to succeed—or even survive—is to be ruthless. But a new study in the latest issue of the Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin suggests those money makers at the top of the food chain, hedge fund managers, could benefit from being a little less mean. It turns out that people who exhibit what health professionals consider psychopathic traits actually perform worse than their peers over time.

Psychologists define a “psychopath” as someone who, among other things, lacks a conscience—an individual who often acts in a manipulative fashion for personal gain. While such traits aren’t the best way to win friends and influence people outside of work, they are seen by the more mercenary as advantageous when it comes to climbing the career ladder or making money.

This may not be the case.

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