Elsewhere online
May 07, 2015

Opinion: Research Sheds Light on Tech World's View of Needy

Social-science experiments on wealth and empathy might help explain Silicon Valley's "wayward moral compass" when it comes to giving, a New York Times columnist writes.

Tech writer Nick Bilton describes his own time living in the California high-tech hub, saying he was struck by "the lack of compassion that wealthy tech workers sometimes displayed toward the poor" while at the same time pursuing "bizarrely frivolous" ideas like an Uber for private jets and a dating app for rich men.

Noting Silicon Valley's reputation as history's greatest wealth creator, Mr. Bilton cites research by psychology and marketing professors into the social behavior of people who think about and obtain money, finding them to be more self-concerned and lacking in empathy for those with less. Such experiments "can be illustrative of the way many tech workers live, and why some may be oblivious to the plight of those around them," he writes.