Saturday, December 12, 2009

Are greens simply evil?

They seem to be:

While mere exposure to green products may “prime” us to think about social consciousness and perhaps improve our behavior, if we actually buy a green product, we appear to take it as license to act like jerks.

Things got interesting when these students were subsequently given $6 for an economic task and asked to share it with an unknown partner. The students who had purchased products in the green store, it turned out, were far less generous with the $6 than students who had merely been exposed to the green products.

A subsequent experiment pushed things even further. Students were again asked to shop in a green or a conventional store. They were then put through an experiment where they had the opportunity to earn extra money by cheating — even to steal money from an envelope left in the room. Consistent with the previous experiment, participants who had purchased from the green store were significantly more likely to cheat and to steal than participants who purchased from the conventional store.

I'd draw a different conclusion than the one in the first paragraph. I don't think that buying green products makes you act like a jerk. Instead, it's the way the left-wing brain has been wired that makes you act like a criminal, a mentality of total disregard for the property and freedom of others. It doesn't surprise me in the least that a green person would steal the money from an envelope. These are the same people who see nothing wrong with high marginal tax rates. These are the same people who think it's acceptable to break store windows and burn cars of private individuals while demonstrating against government policies.

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Blogger Jarkko said...

Were the subjects allowed to choose from which shop did they buy or was it decided by researchers?

December 12, 2009 10:46 PM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

If you read the article, you know what I know. It's a relevant question though, and not very clear from the article.

December 14, 2009 7:13 AM  
Blogger Tiedemies said...

If I remember correctly, there have been similar experiments with other kinds of choices. It seems if people are asked to do something that is generally thought of as a "good thing" and then exposed to a choice where they can choose a "bad thing", they are more inclined to choose the bad thing.

I think the reason is that people's brains in general are wired in such a way that you don't think your "evil" choice is so bad, if you also do something "good" to offset it.

This is, of course, stupid, but as far as I know, it is universal. I.e., if people are given $6 and one group is asked to give money to charity and another to by pizza or whatever "neutral" act it may be, the first group will behave worse.

I have a belief that "green shopping" etc. are just ways to buy a good conscience. This experiment is evidence of the fact.

December 14, 2009 10:53 AM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

I think the reason is that people's brains in general are wired in such a way that you don't think your "evil" choice is so bad, if you also do something "good" to offset it.

Maybe this could also explain why many greens who have such a high opinion of their own righteousness think it's very much fitting, or should at least be tolerated, to destroy property when you're fighting for such an important cause (important in their opinion).

Of course, this is simply stupid because there's no connection between destroying private property and protesting government policies unless that private property is somehow a symbol of government and are targeted because they're easier prey than government buildings (police stations, military bases etc.).

December 15, 2009 5:11 AM  

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