This Q popped up when I was reading the memoir of a successful investor. Here was a money manager who, after having made more millions than he can consume, was espousing high morals like doing good to others, being honest, avoiding bad karma, not fleecing others, and so on. He claims to have led the immoral low life in his younger days as he was climbing up the career (money) ladder.
Now, lets imagine the poor man in & out of low-paying jobs, with poor skills, a rented run down shack with almost no worldly conveniences or possessions, and the pressures of caring for the wife, 2 growing kids & an elderly mom. A typical struggling chap in most (atleast developing) parts of the world.
He is unlikely to think of high morals. He may be guided by some inner sense of being decent, honest & a good citizen. But, given the opportunity, he may simply take the low road, not thinking twice or deeply about it. He may not rob a bank or kill the rich neighbor, but small deceptions are perfectly fine. Dash high morals when survival is at stake.
Reaching the top flight in Maslow’s hierarchy cannot happen without the getting the basic needs. Most of us don’t reach the top flight anyway.
The poor man’s distaste for high morals can only be fueled further by increasing and omnipresent consumerism, envy & desire to possess.
A few rich charitable men who have learnt their lessons can preach and do a little good.
But they may not change the world.