Decades ago, it was believed that humans primarily based their management of resources from an economic calculation based on costs and benefits. According to this idea, everything we do in relation to others responds to a prior reflection on what we are losing or what we have gained by choosing each option.
However … where is altruism in this formula? Part of the reason that the conception of the human mind based on economic calculations has lost its force is because a lot of the things we do when we interact with each other have more to do with empathy, feelings of identification and the way we conceive. desire to gain power and not lose what we have. I the fact that the people who have the least are the most altruistic is an example.
Selflessness in people with less money
If we act in a totally rational way and following economic calculations (i.e. guided by the logic of numbers), we will have to wait until the richest people are those who are most willing to be altruistic and give up some of their property. , and which the poor are the most reluctant to share because they struggle to secure their livelihoods. However, several studies indicate that beyond theory, in the real world, the same thing rather happens: people with less money give the most to others, And they do it on purpose.
For example, in one study the results were published in 200 in the journal Health Psychology, it was found that people with lower purchasing power (determined from variables such as income level, education and type of office or profession) were more willing money to charitable causes, in addition to tending to adopt a more open and receptive attitude towards outsiders who need help.
On the other hand, the tendency to be more altruistic among people from lower socio-economic backgrounds was recorded even among preschool boys and girls. How is this explained? Of course, ignore rationality, understood as a series of strategies to preserve what you have and earn more. Let’s see what this is due to.
Less resources, more social assets
In practice, those who have few material resources do not limit themselves to living the life of the middle or wealthy classes but with much less means: if the lifestyle is qualitatively different, and the way in which social relations are established in is a differences.
Poverty is the default situation in which the majority of the population has lived over the centuries. Wealth, or the ability to live without major economic worries, is the exception, not the norm. Therefore, large communities of people were simultaneously seen in povertyAnd over generations, they’ve done something about it: create partnerships, create neighborhood and protection networks, which can reach people in other communities.
Because there are no habits that do not change ideas in the long run, communities of people with few resources have internalized the idea that individualism is a harmful thing that causes problems in the face of the threat of extreme poverty, it is therefore necessary to adopt a collectivist mentality. Therefore, the habit of helping others becomes something perfectly expected in any context in which someone needs help. It’s a cultural trend and peer recognition, a necessary logic so that groups of people without resources remain and are stable.
In contrast, middle and upper class people living in cities have little reason to create complex social bonds of solidarity, so aid is seen more as a personal decision, unrelated to the functioning of the community. .
He shouldn’t be mythologized
Such psychological phenomena can lead us to think that people from lower backgrounds live more authentic, honest, or even happy lives: after all, it would be more common for them to behave in the ways we identify as ethically correct. However, it should be remembered that poverty has very negative impacts on all areas of life: Health, education and ability to raise children.