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Jan 22, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

I am a retired clinical psychologist who worked for several years in the correctional system in Australia. (And BTW, I was trained in the use of the Hare psychopathy assessment, and found it very interesting and useful). And I will tell you now, one of my greatest learnings from that period of my life was that there are more psychopaths on my side of the bars than inside. And I don't mean the correctional officers - though you might find the odd one there. Look at the management...

That figure of 20% among inmates is not correct. True psychopathy among inmates is actually fairly rare (probably higher if you are talking about a maximum security unit though). OTOH, the highest numbers of psychopaths are among the powerful elite - whether business or government or institutional. I think it is the power that attracts them. That, plus the fact that you need to have a certain amount of moral flexibility to get to the top. I have never personally worked in parliament, but from what I have heard, it is almost impossible to succeed if you have ethical principles that you stick to.

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Ingredients for “success”: intelligence, hard work, and bastardry (willingness to strategically betray others, take credit for their work, etc).

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Manipulation, love of control, plagiarism, power, narcissism, glory - whatever that form takes, self-centredness- in the extreme, wearing a suit helps some from various manual labourer /trades etc., background, having ANY UNI Degree, need to obtain inner personal order, as they do not have it, the list goes on and on.

I do agree that Psychopath Criminals are unusual, though there appears to be a Tsunami of qualifiers in-the-making, that shall swell+++++++ the numbers of the incarcerated population.

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Jan 22, 2022·edited Jun 30, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

In my youth I was an investment banker with a top New York firm. I hailed from Houston, grew up in a middle class Catholic family (Dad was a senior manager at Exxon but not quite corporate executive level) and got an engineering degree at Rice. Spent a couple years out of college at Exxon, then went to Wharton and from there, Wall Street.

I was always struck by how different the people in finance were from the folks I grew up with. It wasn't really intelligence, although that may have been some of it. After all, Rice is an elite school and I would say the intellectual caliber there was at least as high as at Wharton, although arguably a bit lower than the investment banking average. It was more a certain coldness, a lack of empathy in my finance colleagues that struck me as being bizarre. Cold fish. Not true of all of them but true of a pretty high percentage, certainly much higher than in the general population.

After about ten years I left investment banking and returned to the land of the humans. Much happier for it. I remember joking with friends (not in the business) that many of the folks I used to work with would have made great hit men. I may have been on to something.

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Did you ever read Snakes in Suits?

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The questions about corporate values and creating a healthier model resonates with the career course of John Perkins. He's best known as The Economic Hitman who has dedicated himself exposing corruption then finding better social structures. He's a fab writer and thinker and Economic Hit Man is an essential for understanding predatory finance on the global stage.

https://johnperkins.org/

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I have read part of his story. Wish I could read it more quickly. I haven't decided how much trust to put in it yet, but haven't looked for evidence one way or another. There is definitely consistency with some realities I experienced running one of the larger buy side bond accounts on Wall Street.

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You have commented in other posts that you're not a fan of audio so there's no hard feelings if you pass on this. John did several interviews with Anonymous radio on the heels of the Stratfor hack aka WikiLeaks Global Intelligence files and did an amazing job explaining the predatory system to folks that were leading the resistance to toxic corporatism at the time. It's his background and experience in condensed form. He added big time street cred to ideas that were routinely dismissed as conspiracy theory and that was priceless so I'm forever biased in casting him among the brave who dare to speak truth to power.

https://www.anonymous-france.info/john-perkins-confessions-of-an-economic-hitman.html

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I too was a big Perkins fan, until I heard his motivation for writing the book. 9/11 he wanted us to understand why everyone hated us. Also a depopulation shill. He breaks out of the pasture fence to haul everyone back in. No thanks.

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I have been bemused at the numbers of references to 9-11 and geoengineering I find on substack. It is one of the bigger audiences where you can find a readership that understands, even if only just lately, that there really can be large conspiracies. I find money as the motivator behind many atrocious acts. Perkins might be the rare subset who can, as you say, work both sides of the fence. A different variety of the snake in a suit.

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Love a primary source links to any examples of John as a shill. Whatever his human failings he served as a primary whistleblower for Bankster cartels & Confessions of an Economic Hitman remains an invaluable tool for seeing the Mafia of global finance.

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if you desire something to read on the subject, the book Ponerology, by a Canadian prof/researcher is great at explaining the finding of psychopathy in high places.

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I take issue with the statement that they are almost all men. To the extent that's true it's only because of discrimination against women. As they enter the fields rife with psychopaths you will see more of them, people like Hilary (we came we saw he died) Clinton, Kamala (prosecute those pot smokers while I have a toke) Harris and Madeline (500,000 Iraqi children was worth it) Albright

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I think the gender proportion in psychopaths is due to how our brains are wired: men tend to think of things more as objects, while women as relationships.

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Female psychopaths are more risk averse and less likely to get caught, and more likely to benefit from the bias towards women if they are found out, especially if they are good looking, or can play on pity. Thinking in terms of relationships does not obviate seeing people as objects, but it does help immensely in manipulating others.

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so you think the proportion we see is not close to reality because the bias against female psychopaths?

i think female psychopaths tend to be more masculine precisely because the affected section of the psychopathic brain (i.e. prefrontal cortex) is where some of the more masculine features are processed, such as planning an decision-making. one example that comes to mind is the theranos ceo, i think her last name is holmes.

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I am skeptical of ranking traits such as decision-making as "masculine" or nurturing as "feminine," not least because it underlies the current gender craze with its notion of the 'gender spectrum.' Taken to its logical conclusion, all males would be psychopathic automatons, and all females would be passive blobs of emotional affect. One might argue that in the real world, people are mixtures of these traits, but if that is so, then on what grounds, other than whimsy, can personality traits be categorized as 'masculine' or 'feminine?'

Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos infamy looks and acts quite feminine. The fact she is a scammer shows that there is no moral monopoly based on sex.

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that would be a fallacious logical conclusion, because i stated that the prefrontal cortex of psychopaths is affected, meaning, it's atypical.

i understand that the ongoing craziness of gender politics could make one suspicious about masculine/femenine features, but they became such because that's what has been observed in males and females. they don't make a male less of a male, nor a female less of a female, because sex is a typical result of chromosome disposition.

about holmes, maybe was a bad example. i mentioned it because of a couple of videos i watched about her, and ond of the said she showed psychopathic behaviour.

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I wonder how this might be thought of in context to The Road to Serdom chapter, Why The Worst Get On Top. Time to reread it with this reference point.

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You're thinking along the right lines!

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Yes. Hayek wrote that power is a magnet for the dregs of humanity.

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Yep, he wrote that "scum" rises to the top. It is practically a law of human nature: wherever there is even a modicum of power to be had, even at a lowly food Co-op, there are people seeking it; and wherever there is the potential for immense power, there are people willing to do virtually anything to get it. And the more ruthless they are, the more morally unhinged, the more likely they are to obtain it. https://mistermicawber.substack.com/p/what-is-a-cult-what-is-fascism?r=110wl5&s=w&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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I do not believe that scum rising is "human nature", but rather "game theory" of circumstances where the Kunlangeta can transcend community guidance and standards. That's the battle we're in: finding a way to control just those you call "morally unhinged" before they become worse monsters.

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Not sure there is a way to construct a control framework that doesn't start to look like the worst iterations from fiction. My late husband was a psych nurse, and taught at the University level. He said everyone has bits and pieces of different personality quirks that might rise to the level of diagnosable disorders, only when they cannot control it, and it interferes with their daily life. By definition, the Wall Street types will be high functioning, and have a well tuned internal locus of control. Elementary school teachers can often tell you they can identify children that are future criminals. People bemoan the 'school to prison pipeline', with police resource officers present in the worst schools, but fail to recognize some of those children don't even belong in a regular classroom, and then complain when they are 'labeled' and sent to a behavioral resource center. For the ones that don't actually go to prison, they need further social and employment supports after school years end. Europe is pretty sensible with corporate training programs in high school. IMO, shoving them off the ice looks like an acceptable method of social ordering in a subsistence setting. We are not the same tabula rasa entities. Nurses can identify behavioral traits in newborns.

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Or we could push them off the ice. Maybe an AI-maintained virtual prison constructed for the few rather than the many.

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Sep 30, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

Thank you for yet another thought provoking article. I intend to read your follow on article "a study of corporatism" next. Considering that companies across the world share a mandated obligation to its shareholders to generate profits, and that companies are lifeless legal fictions incapable of human emotions, is it any wonder that psychopaths excel at the helm of these companies? Psychopath CEOs are perfectly equipped to deal with the mental conflict that justify the inhumane actions attributed to so many companies around the world as simply a "cost of doing business". As long as these actions generate an ever increasing profit, no actions are off the table. The history is littered with the conduct of some of these morally corrupt companies many still in existence today. Does anyone really believe that the biggest drug companies in the world is concerned about your health? Or that Monanto is concerned about the quality of your food or the environment? Do I even have to mention "Round-up"? These companies continuously to operate with limited impunity. The equation is simple, if you make sure your profits are directed to the decision makers its a symbiotic existence. If along the way you are fined a record amount and found guilty of fraudulent activities to keep up appearances by those regulating these companies, it matters not because you will be allowed to continue to operate and continue to generate record profits. These companies and the kunlangeta CEOs are like 2 peas in a pod.

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"kunlangeta" could equally translate to (clinical) Narcissist. Certainly, huge overlap between Psychopath, Sociopath and Narcissist. Having had one extremely nasty encounter with a Narcissist (who I had known all my adult life) had one useful outcome - once you've had dealings with one, you can spot them a mile off.

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I think the Mandarins are more often narcissistic. The psychopaths have the luxury of doing and saying what they want without personal manipulation poisoning their personalities. They offload that poison through the sociopaths to the narcissists who must then feed on the flock in order not to lose energy.

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Dec 17, 2021·edited Dec 17, 2021

Quite possibly. All malignant, for sure. In the UK, the civil service is not at the service of the nation, and has not been for a long time; witness their multiple attempts to derail Brexit. A part of me longs for a purge. Stalinist if necessary. All our institutions are infested with parasites, and if I were provided with a biohazard suit and as much Paraquat as it takes, I'm yer man...

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“When the system is rigged, when ordinary citizens are powerless, and when whistle-blowers are pariahs at best, three things happen:

First, the worst people rise to the top. They behave appallingly, and they wreak havoc.

Second, people who could make productive contributions to society are incentivized to become destructive, because corruption is far more lucrative than honest work.

And third, everyone else pays, both economically and emotionally; people become cynical, selfish, and fatalistic. Often they go along with the system, but they hate themselves for it. They play the game to survive and feed their families, but both they and society suffer.”

Charles H. Ferguson, Inside Job

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Sep 27, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

This is fascinating to me. A friend of mine (who we had tons of conversations about narcissists), worked with CEOs and by his count, it's seemed like nearly all of them were narcs.

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The Last Psychiatrist! Fascinating work, greatly missed. After the unrelenting and extremely successful psy-ops of the last two years, it is clear to me that the "bad guys" know far more about human nature than the rest of us, and don't hesitate to use it against us.

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"What is it about the human condition, or this era of civilization, that pushes the most potentially destructive people to the top of decision-making hierarchies?"

Opportunity and power. Psychopaths are uniquely suited to take advantage of any and all opportunity. The success of a psychopath allows other psychopaths' opportunity to gain as well.

I read a substack that mentioned evolutionary theory in regard to altruism vs seflishness (Dove vs Hawk). I thought this was an interesting take on the problem:

https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/game-theory-evolutionary-stable-strategies-and-the-25953132/

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A more basic question: how do we know about the percentage of psychopaths in each sex? I don’t know the answer, but some evil women have made it into pinnacle government positions in recent years. Also there have been about 30 seasons of “Snapped”.

I love the Eskimo term. Thanks.

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One thing I've noticed over years of working is that a group can be toxic, usually with the tacit approval of the leader, and when that's the case it's nearly impossible to reform it. I know of a case at USMA in which a toxic company of cadets was disbanded and not recreated, under a new mascot, motto and leader, till a few years later.

You can't heal a toxic organization and if you find yourself in one, best thing is get out.

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Jung talked about 'group think' as it applied to corporations:

Any large company composed of wholly admirable persons has the morality and intelligence of an unwieldy, stupid, and violent animal. The bigger the organization, the more unavoidable is its immorality and blind stupidity. Society, by automatically stressing all the collective qualities in its individual representatives, puts a premium on mediocrity, on everything that settles down to vegetate in an easy, irresponsible way. Individuality will inevitably be driven to the wall. This process begins in school, continues at the university, and rules all departments in which the State has a hand. In a small social body, the individuality of its members is better safeguarded; and the greater is their relative freedom and the possibility of conscious responsibility. Without freedom there can be no morality.

Jung, C.G. The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious , from The Basic Writings of C.G. Jung , ed. Violet S. de Laszlo, New York: The Modern Library, published by Random House, 1959, pp. 133-4.

And the film 'The Corporation' does a fantastic job of looking at the expressed 'psychology' of of the corp (body) oration (talk).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y888wVY5hzw

or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU5-hbxwUXI

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The film 'The Corporation' has a good look at this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y888wVY5hzw

or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU5-hbxwUXI

Well worth watching.

Begins with the idea of giving the corporation a psychological test.

And links the formation of corps (bodies) to the emancipation laws in America through the American legal system and much much more.

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Link blocked ~ must be great watch. Now I’ll just have to search high & low for it ..

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Thank you, Maggie, for letting me know.

Try this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y888wVY5hzw

or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU5-hbxwUXI

I've updated my comment above.

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Works ~ thanks much

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Thank you for asking. The search revealed there is a 2020 sequel. I'll see about finding a link to that that works as well. :-)

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And we have morons writing books like "the wisdom of psychopaths"

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Way back in 1980 while passing notes in Ms Borseth's general psychology class, I came up with the idea, which felt independently invented, that "psychology is the process of giving names to things that nobody understands in order to be paid for pretending to treat them in ways that never seem to resolve the underlying condition."

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